Third Floor, Bell House, Bell Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 4DH
TERMS OF BUSINESS
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Our aim is to offer our clients sound legal advice and a personal service at a fair and reasonable cost. It will be helpful to you if we set out in this statement the basis on which we will provide our professional services to you.
1. WHAT WE WILL DO
A) We will as part of our FULL service:
i) Explain the legal work we will carry out for you and where relevant the prospects for a successful outcome, represent you if you ask us to do so and explain what it will cost you insofar as that is possible.
ii) Keep you up to date periodically with the progress of the case and deal with your queries promptly.
iii) Subject to our obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 keep your business confidential but you agree to us using fax and email in the conduct of your business.
You also authorise us to (i) divulge such information about your personal and financial affairs as is necessary to complete the work for you, and (ii) if necessary to pass your personal details outside the European Economic Area to countries which do not offer the same level of protection as the UK.
B) We will as part of our LIMITED service to litigants in person or clients not wishing us to undertake the conduct of their work or case:
Act for you from time to time only and on specifically agreed issues only. In such a case the scope of the service we provide you is set out in paragraph 1(A) above amended in the following way in every case. Our service will exclude:-
any advice as to whether you can expect a successful outcome in your case (although we may try to appraise you of likely outcomes based on our general experience in a matter such as yours);
any representation for you in correspondence or at court; and
any duty to keep you periodically up to date and/or deal with any queries, court notices or correspondence about your case.
Our service will be limited to issue specific items you need help with only.
2. OUR OFFICE HOURS
The normal hours of opening are between 9.00am and 5.00pm weekdays only. Messages can be left on the answer-phone outside those hours.
3. PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WORK
The individual and person ultimately responsible for dealing with your work will be set out in our Letter of Engagement together with details of the assistant/secretary who may be able to deal with your queries.
4. OUR CHARGES AND EXPENSES
A) For our full service:
Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by solicitors, legal executives and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf (this will include, for example, meetings with you and others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed costs calculations and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary and telephone calls).
Our fees will be charged to you at hourly rates calculated by reference to the time spent on your casework. Letters, emails, faxes, telephone calls, copying costs and office and admin charges will be covered by an additional charge of 5% of the total hourly rate on all invoices over the sum of £1,000.
The current hourly rates are set out in your own copy of these terms and conditions which you signed at the outset of your matter.
B) Where additional work is called for on our part which was not contemplated within the original work covered by the fixed fee we reserve the right to revise our charge and if a further additional fixed fee is not agreed we will charge you at the appropriate hourly rates set out above.
C) In addition to the time spent, we may take into account and make an additional charge for or increase the hourly rate for a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand (so, in property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to the client, a charge reflecting the price of the property, the size of the estate or the value of the financial benefit will be considered in addition to the hourly rate).
D) Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses (“disbursements”) on behalf of clients ranging from Land or Probate Registry fees, court fees, experts’ fees, and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the cleared funds for that purpose in advance of payment. VAT is payable on certain expenses. In respect of inter-bank telegraphic transfers we will charge you the fee charged to us by the Bank (a disbursement) and a fee (plus VAT) to cover our time in dealing with the Bank which taken together will not exceed £35.00. We will also make a separate charge for photocopying, having any schedule of costs drawn up professionally and VAT, which is not included in our overhead calculations.
E) Where relevant we will provide you with an initial estimate of fees and expenses and give you a periodic update of them.
F) If, for any reason, a matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred on an hourly basis.
G) In all cases we are required properly to identify our clients and ascertain their usual residence. We may ask you, and by accepting our terms of business you consent, to our using electronic and other means to verify your identity and address. There will be a fee for this which at present is £4.00 plus VAT per individual.
H) For our limited service and/or for litigants in person:
i) Our charges will be calculated by reference to specific work and limited scope of that work agreed with you wherever possible in advance. We will ask you to pay the agreed fee plus VAT in full in advance too.
ii) If we cannot estimate accurately in advance the cost of the work you want us to carry out we will agree to charge you at the hourly rate of the person dealing with your work, details of which are set out in clause 4(A) above. We will agree in such circumstances a maximum fee plus VAT which will be payable.
In some cases where the scope of the casework is clearly defined and agreed upon it is possible to agree a fixed fee (subject to terms) in advance. Where we agree to carry out work for a fixed fee we will specify the fee and at the same time tell you what, if any, expenses we consider are likely to be incurred. The fixed fee will never include the expenses or VAT elements, both of which are additional to the fixed fee. N.B an estimate of your likely fees and expenses under paragraph 4(A) should not be interpreted as a fixed fee and we try to make that as clear as we can in our Letter of Engagement where applicable.
5. PAYMENT OF OUR CHARGES
Property transactions : We will send you our bill following exchange of contracts and full payment is required in the case of a purchase prior to completion and at completion in the case of a sale. If sufficient funds are available on completion and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct our charges and expenses from the funds and you expressly agree to this course of action. We will decline to complete the sale or purchase of property for you if you do not pay our account with cleared funds (including expenses and VAT) at or prior to completion. If you are borrowing money to assist you with your property (or other transaction) and you have agreed to pay the lender’s legal costs we will send you a copy of their bill and the same terms as to payment of it will apply as above.
Where you are obtaining funding from a lender in a property transaction and/or you are required to pay a balancing sum of money for the purchase price and disbursements, we will ask you (and the lender) to arrange for those funds to be with us if sent by cheque a minimum of seven working days prior to the completion date. If the money can be telegraphed we will request that we receive it the day before completion. This will enable us to ensure that the necessary cleared funds are available in time for completion. We WILL NOT complete the transaction unless all necessary funds have cleared (including stamp duty, HMLR fees, search fees and our costs and VAT) before completion. You need to be aware that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of a loan, cheque or the telegraphing of the payment.
Estates : We may submit interim bills at regular stages and during the Administration of an Estate, starting with the obtaining of a Grant. Our final account will be usually prepared when the Estate Accounts are ready for approval.
It is usual practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected to arise in the course of a transaction. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of a case will almost certainly result. In the event of any bill or request for payment not being met, we reserve the right to stop acting for you further.
In all cases payment of our fees is due to us immediately. Interest will be charged on a daily basis (at 8% over NatWest Bank plc’s base rate from time to time in force from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made within 14 days of the date of our account). Each chaser email, letter and telephone call to you will incur a charge of £150 plus VAT.
Meetings : These are chargeable at the fee earner’s hourly rate. If the meeting is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice the charge will still be payable. Walk in appointments will depend on the availability of the fee earner and will also be charged at their hourly rate.
Referrals of Business : We are often referred business by outside agencies and we comply with the provisions of the Solicitors Code of Practice in dealing with those referrals. You can remain confident that we will not do anything which will compromise our independence and ability to act in your best interests.
Even if you have a legal agreement with a third party for payment of your legal fees e.g. a legal expenses insurer, you remain primarily liable to pay our costs and charges.
6. PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF LITIGATION
In some cases you may be entitled to payment of all or some of your costs by some other party. In such circumstances, you will have to pay our charges and expenses in full in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered for you will be reimbursed to you from the other party. If the other party is publicly funded, i.e. in receipt of legal aid, no costs are generally likely to be recovered for you. You should understand that the other party could become insolvent or default on an obligation to pay all or part of your costs and will not be liable to pay the VAT element of your costs if you are able to recover the VAT yourself.
In the same way you may be ordered to pay the costs of another party. You will still remain liable to pay our costs and disbursements in full.
You will also be responsible for paying our charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you (if so instructed) as these costs are not included in our initial acceptable of your casework (unless expressly specified in writing and included in our estimate of costs or fixed fee).
7. INTEREST PAYMENTS
If a court orders a party to pay some or all of a party’s costs and expenses, interest can be claimed from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest awarded to you to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account, but otherwise we are entitled to the rest of that interest. You hereby irrevocably agree to us receiving the costs, VAT and interest on your behalf from the paying party, their solicitors or other third party.
Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 1998, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate we earn on our ordinary client account unless the money is in a designated deposit account when that rate will apply. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are received by us, are cleared, until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account or transfer out of our accounts of client money.
We reserve the right to make a minimum charge of £30 plus VAT for computing interest due to you from time to time.
Commission – if we receive a commission you hereby irrevocably authorise us to retain it and we will notify you of the amount received on each occasion.
8. BEFORE AND AFTER THE EVENT AND GENERAL INSURANCE COVER
Arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for some legal expenses. Please discuss this with us if you are interested in this possibility.
You should check carefully to see whether ANY policy of insurance you hold (individually or jointly with another) will cover your legal costs and expenses and by agreeing to these terms you confirm you have checked and notified us in writing of any such policy. If you do not advise us in writing we will continue to charge you on the basis there is no such cover.
9. STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS IN OUR ARCHIVES
After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us. Generally, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for six years and we may keep them longer if we decide. Storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right and you hereby authorise us to destroy the papers and documents after such period as we consider reasonable.
We will not of course destroy any documents such as Wills, Deeds, and other securities, which you ask us to hold in safe custody.
We make a charge for storage in our fees to you.
For time we spend producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request we may also make a charge. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
10. TERMINATION OF THIS AGREEMENT
(A) For our full service:
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time and you must tell us this clearly in writing. You will be responsible for paying our fees, disbursements and VAT for any work undertaken prior to cancellation and the cost of returning any papers to you. We will retain papers until all outstanding bills have been paid in cleared funds.
If we decide to stop acting for you, for example if you do not pay our charges or comply with the request for a payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 may apply to this agreement and may give you the right to cancel within 14 days. The relevant form and information are attached.
If you are in a situation where we require instructions by a certain date and you fail to comply with such a request, we reserve our rights to terminate the contract and, if necessary, seek to be removed from the Court records as your legal representative. You will sign, without delay, a notice entitling us to cease to act in these circumstances.
(B) For our limited service and litigants in person:
You agree to engage us to carry out for you specific agreed work only to enable you better to deal with your own affairs personally and on your own and without our permanent involvement.
You are free to involve us permanently if you choose at any stage if we agree but we will need to reach a specific agreement in writing to that effect concerning what it is you want us to undertake for you, our fees and the incorporation of our full terms and conditions of business.
11. AGREEMENTS WITH LIMITED COMPANIES
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company or partnership, we require a Director and/or controlling shareholder and/or partner to guarantee the charges and expenses of this firm. In that regard, you (as such a Director and/or controlling shareholder and/or partner) hereby guarantee that you will be liable for the charges and expenses of this firm should they not be paid by the Limited Company or Partnership. This constitutes a separate contract enforceable by this firm.
12. NO TAX OR INVESTMENT ADVICE
We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority to give financial advice.
We will not offer tax advice or on matters which have investment and/or tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. If you have any concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately so that we can identify a source of assistance for you.
13. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN US
a) Our clients and our staff are of first importance to us. We will work hard for you and we hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, please raise your concern in the first place with the person dealing with your file. If you still have queries or concerns, please contact Barry Bond, who is the Client Care Partner.
b) The Data Protection Act 1998 requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you and you hereby authorise us so to do. We may deal with, transfer or disclose information about you for the purpose of providing you with our services, the prevention of fraud and verifying your identity and so as to comply with the law as it is from time to time.
Our liability for breach of contract, negligence or otherwise is limited in total to the maximum of our indemnity insurance currently (£2,000,000 in aggregate). We will not accept liability for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages.
If you have any queries or concerns regarding our work for you, you should raise these in the first instance with the person handling your work. If you are unhappy with their response, you must write to our Complaints Partner (Mr Barry Bond).
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms and/or letter of engagement will be determined by the law of England and considered exclusively by the English Courts.
16. BANKING POLICY : SENDING MONEY TO US
Given recent high profile media cases of email interception and fraudulent alterations of bank details and in particular those relating to solicitors' firms, PLEASE NOTE:-
We will NOT send you our bank account details by email. Jarmans Solicitors’ client or office account details will be sent to you by fax or post only.
You MUST NOT rely on any bank details you receive by email, even if they appear to come from this firm. There are no intended changes to our bank details.
To avoid fraud it is your responsibility to check with us (not by email) that you are using our correct bank details for any payments to us.
If in doubt you should NOT contact us by email. Write to us by post or fax or pay us a personal visit so we can verify your identity and instructions.
TERMS OF BUSINESS
a) Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of hourly rates currently in force, these Terms of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.
b) Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms of Business, we will be entitled not to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been returned to us for us to keep on our file.
-Regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority-
Registration number 00070628
Please read through these terms and conditions carefully
The content of this website does NOT constitute legal advice.
(1) Licence to use website
Unless otherwise stated, we or our licensors own the intellectual property rights in the website and material on the website. Subject to the licence below, all these intellectual property rights are reserved.
You must not:
(2) Acceptable use
You must not use our website in any way that causes, or may cause, damage to the website or impairment of the availability or accessibility of the website; or in any way which is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful, such purpose or activity.
You must not use our website to copy, store, host, transmit, send, use, publish or distribute any material which consists of (or is linked to) any spyware, computer virus, Trojan horse, worm, keystroke logger, rootkit or other malicious computer software.
You must not conduct any systematic or automated data collection activities (including without limitation scraping, data mining, data extraction and data harvesting) on or in relation to our website without our express written consent.
You must not use our website to transmit or send unsolicited commercial communications, or for any purposes related to marketing without our express written consent.
(3) Restricted access
Access to certain areas of our website is restricted. We reserve the right to restrict access to all or part of our website, at our discretion.
If we provide you with a username and password to enable you to access restricted areas of our website or other content or services, you must ensure that that username and password is kept confidential.
We may disable your username and password in our sole discretion without notice or explanation.
(4) User generated content
You grant to us a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to use, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and distribute your user content in any existing or future media. You also grant to us the right to sub-license these rights, and the right to bring an action for infringement of these rights.
Your user content must not be illegal or unlawful, must not infringe any third party's legal rights, and must not be capable of giving rise to legal action whether against you or us or a third party (in each case under any applicable law).
You must not submit any user content to the website that is or has ever been the subject of any threatened or actual legal proceedings or other similar complaint.
We reserve the right to edit or remove any material submitted to our website, or stored on our servers, or hosted or published upon our website.
(5) Limited warranties
Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information on this website is correct, we do not warrant its completeness or accuracy; nor do we commit to ensuring that the website remains available or that the material on the website is kept up-to-date.
To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law we exclude all representations, warranties and conditions relating to this website and the use of this website (including, without limitation, any warranties implied by law of satisfactory quality, fitness for purpose and/or the use of reasonable care and skill).
(6) Limitations of liability
(12) Exclusion of third party rights
(13) Entire agreement
(14) Law and jurisdiction