terms of business
Our aim and charging structure
We aim to provide an efficient, friendly and professional service at a reasonable cost. Where the scope and extent of the work is clear from the outset and does not materially change, we will charge you a fixed fee, together with VAT and disbursements. "Disbursements" are expenses that we pay to someone else, for which you reimburse us. If a fixed fee is agreed in respect of a matter that subsequently becomes abortive, you will be charged a fee based on the work actually done, together with any disbursements we have paid on your behalf
Occasionally, where the complexity of the work to be performed under the agreed fixed fee changes significantly, we may need to charge an additional fee. If this becomes the case we shall inform you at the earliest opportunity and in any event before any additional fee for our services has been incurred.
Where the scope and complexity of the work to be performed is unclear, we shall charge you a fee based on the time taken in handling your matter, together with disbursements and VAT. We may invoice you on an interim basis for our services as your instructions are carried out.
Payment of Invoices and Disbursements
Please settle our invoices within 30 days of the issue date. If the invoice is not settled within 30 days the Firm may charge interest at the prevailing Law Society interest rate. We reserve the right to deduct monies from any sums we hold to pay our invoices and disbursements.
Where the Firm accepts your instructions and is expected to undertake a primary liability to a third party for payment for services or goods other than of a trivial amount the practice reserves the right to require you to pay reasonable sums in respect of the Firm's charges for its services and / or in respect of the liabilities to be undertaken before it performs further steps. We will seek your agreement before incurring a disbursement on your behalf exceeding £100 which has not already been notified.
Communication of Information & Identity
Please provide the fullest information available to you when instructing us to enable us to deal efficiently with your affairs. We advise you not to reach any agreements nor to sign any documents (particularly in litigious matters) as they may have more wide-ranging consequences than may appear at first sight.
By virtue of various legal requirements including those relating to Money Laundering, we are required to verify your identity and make checks on occasion where the source of funds is unclear. Where the Firm divulges details of its Client Account for the payment of funds, such information is to remain confidential and is not to be disclosed to a third party except by prior arrangement.
Problems occur from time to time in all businesses. We believe that the effect of these problems can be minimised if the parties communicate at an early stage. Please notify the fee-earner responsible for your file as soon as possible, as we may be unaware of it. If the problem remains unresolved then please let the Principal in charge of complaints, Nigel Hunt, know so that it can be resolved quickly and without any further delay.
All important documents will be returned to you. If you wish us to hold some documents on your behalf such as deeds and wills we will do this at no additional fee. Our files are then archived for a period which, once expired, should ensure that no prejudice will accrue to you from their destruction. At the end of this period the files are destroyed. If you wish us to keep your files for a particular time then please let us know.
Third Party Advice
In certain situations it may be desirable to take the advice of a third party - e.g. a financial adviser or surveyor. Many transactions have several facets and it can be unwise to proceed until comprehensive advice is received on all important aspects. For example in property transactions it is advisable to take the advice of a surveyor, even when a new or fairly new property is being acquired. Please ask us if you are in any doubt so that we can let you know what third party advice may be desirable.
Distance Selling Regulations
Under the terms of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 you normally have the right to cancel your instructions without any cost to you within 7 days of the receipt of this letter (the 'cancellation period'). However, by instructing this Firm you are agreeing that we can start work before the end of the cancellation period and expend your funds on account of disbursements and fees.
Whatever the outcome of a particular case, you will be responsible for paying the invoices rendered in respect of the Firm's costs, disbursements and VAT. The Court has discretion to award "costs" of Court proceedings to the winner, but does not have to do so. Therefore you may not be able to recover the full costs, or any of them, from the other party.
In the unhappy event where you lose a case in Court, you will normally be obliged to pay the agreed or assessed costs of your opponent in addition to meeting your liability to the Firm.