Out of hours assistance, Weekend consultations by appointment, & visit you if necessary
At Maddison & Morgan Solicitors we pride ourselves in being able to offer our clients out of hours assistance and appointments during the same week of contact. We endeavour to make available appointment slots throughout each week so new clients can be seen within a day or two of first contact. We will visit you at your place of work or home if it is not practicable for you to come to our office, although in some circumstances it is not always necessary to meet with clients during the course of their matter.
Costs and updates.
Legal costs are one of the most fundamental issues a client needs to address in any contentious matter. We will as soon as practicable provide you with a cost estimate in relation to your matter. Where an overall costing is not possible, as is often the case in contentious matters, we will update you regularly during the key stages of your case. We will discuss with you possible alternative ways of funding your matter and the most cost-effective way of dealing with it. We will bill you at regular intervals in order for you to keep control of any costs and we will provide you with further estimates of future costs as your matter progresses. We believe costs should be transparent so we will happily provide you with a breakdown of costs at any time you request this and you may ask us to cap the amount of work we undertake for you if this aids you to budget on on-going matters.
Terms and Conditions of Business
It is important that you are fully informed about how your matter will be handled. This page sets out the firm’s Terms and Conditions of Business. Please read all of this document carefully, together with the client care letter you will be sent upon instruction. Please keep these safe for your future reference as together they set out the terms under which the firm and your Fee Earner shall be acting for you and they also form the basis of our retainer with you. It covers the various ways in which our fees are calculated for different types of work. It also covers other important financial related information and conditions. The fees charged by solicitors are subject to the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009.
Our aim is to ensure that at all times our services provided to you are of a high quality and that our fees are fair and reasonable. These Terms also contain details of your right to challenge our fees and what steps you should take if you have a complaint.
The use of the singular in these Terms and Conditions may include the plural and vice versa. In the context of these Terms and Conditions of Business (the ‘Terms’, ‘Terms of Business’ or ‘document’), the terms ‘we’ or ‘us’ or ‘our’ or ‘the/this firm’ refer to Maddison & Morgan Solicitors. The term ‘client care letter’ includes the covering letter sent to you once you have instructed us plus these Terms and any enclosures attached thereto. The term ‘(your) Fee Earner’ refers to the person with the day to day conduct of your matter unless otherwise advised. The term ‘costs’ refers to the firm’s charges plus Value Added Tax (VAT). The term ‘disbursements’ refers to any expenses that are subject to VAT which the firm incurs on your behalf, including any third-party fees. The term ‘expenses’ refers to any non-VAT chargeable expenses the firm incurs on your behalf.
2. Business Hours
Our offices are open between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
3. Service Standards
We will endeavour to update you with the progress of your matter and will explain to you the legal work required as your matter progresses. At the outset, we will confirm to you in writing your instructions and our advice about what steps should be taken and explain to you the issues involved. Where applicable and reasonably practicable, we shall update you on the likely costs of your matter as it progresses, which shall include updates on the likely timescales involved for your matter and any important changes to those estimates. We aim to communicate with you in plain language. We are of course happy to receive calls and encourage communication by email wherever possible. Within reason, our aim is for calls and emails to be dealt with within 24 hours. We hope you understand that this enables us to manage our caseloads in the most efficient way. Occasionally, however, due to work commitments, it may not always be possible to revert back to you within the desired timescale. In such circumstances, we need to know that you are trying to contact us and request that you email in the first instance or if very urgent telephone the out of office mobile number. We will usually only contact you where it is necessary for us to do so, for example where we are in a position to update you on your matter. We shall therefore not normally contact you where there is nothing to report or update you on.
In turn, we require you throughout your matter to provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions, together with all required documentation to complete your matter in a timely manner. We shall also require you to safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for disclosing and also to keep us updated with any key information that may be required by us, for example, your home address and/or telephone contact numbers, national insurance numbers when purchasing a property or bank account details when requiring sale proceeds following a sale or transfer.
Please note that it will not usually be possible to have a personal attendance with your Fee Earner without prior appointment, although we will endeavour to facilitate an attendance where-ever it is possible.
4. Acceptance of Terms and Conditions of Business
Whilst your continuing instructions constitute acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, the accompanied client care letter should be signed where indicated and returned to our offices at your earliest convenience. By signing the client care letter you are deemed to have read, understood and accepted the terms of both these Terms of Business and the client care letter in their entirety except where they have been varied in writing with our agreement.
A confirmation email from you to your Fee Earner upon receipt of these Terms shall be treated as sufficient acceptance for work to commence on your matter. The letter should still however be signed and returned as soon as possible.
If you pay money on account in respect of any costs, disbursements or expenses relating to your matter, after we have sent to you a copy of these Terms, it shall be deemed that such terms have been accepted in their entirety.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing these terms of business apply to any initial matter and any future instructions you provide to us.
If you have any queries or questions relating to these Terms, please raise them immediately with your Fee Earner before agreeing.
5. Identification, Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
We are required by law to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients and sometimes people related to them and/or any third parties involved in your matter. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.
To comply with the law, we need to get evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our requirements in this respect are set out in the client care letter sent to you upon instruction.
Please note, the identification requirements referred to herein and in the client care letter may vary depending on the matter type and the individual circumstances of the case. We therefore reserve the right to request further documentation should we deem it appropriate in order to satisfy the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and any other such governing regulations and/or legislation.
Where instructing us on behalf of a limited or limited liability partnership, the identification requirements shall be as above but we may also require the identification of any other constituent member(s). If instructing us on behalf of a company, we may require a written guarantee from an appropriate person authorising you to provide the firm with such instructions.
We do of course appreciate that not everyone has access to some of the forms of identification as accepted by the firm. It is therefore imperative that you speak to your fee earner immediately at the onset of your matter if you are unable to meet the identification requirements, as otherwise, we may be unable to act for you, as to do so may be contrary to the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and/or the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (or such other legislation that may currently be, or come into, force).
We have a professional and legal duty to keep your affairs confidential. However, should an occasion arise where any of the firm’s Fee Earners suspects that a transaction during your matter may involve money laundering or terrorist financing, it will be reported to our Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO), Wendy Maddison-Ward, which may result in a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and we may be unable to inform you of the disclosure. We may have to suspend work on your matter for a period of time and/or even terminate the retainer and we may not be able to notify you as to the reason why.
6. Responsibility for Work
You will be informed of the identity of the person with overall responsibility for your matter in the attached client care letter. You will also be advised of the name and status of the person responsible for the day to day conduct of your matter. That person may change from time to time, although we shall endeavour to keep changes to a minimum and will inform you of any changes at the earliest known opportunity.
7. Who can provide us with Instructions?
Generally speaking, we may only accept instructions from our clients. Where we are instructed by more than one person or legal entity or any other company or partnership, the Fee Earner with conduct of your matter may accept instructions from any party who has signed the client care letter, without consultation and/or approval from the other(s). We may require a signed guarantee from all constituent members to allow an individual client to provide us with instructions on behalf of the legal entity, company or partnership. Should the letter be signed by only one party, we shall not be able to accept instructions by any other party, irrespective of whether the said party is a constituent member and shall require authorisation from the signatory to act upon such instructions. In order for the firm to accept instructions on your matter from a third party, we shall require written authority from our client(s) confirming the same.
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 apply where we do not meet with you. This means that you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within 7 working days from the date of receiving these Terms of Business and attached client care letter. Please note however, the conditions for acceptance of these Terms of Business, as above (paragraph 4) still apply and where you have instructed us to work on your matter but then decide to cancel your instructions, you shall be liable for any costs, disbursements or expenses we incur up until the date of cancellation. Any cancellations of instructions should be emailed, posted or faxed to us and marked for the attention of the Fee Earner with conduct of your matter.
8. Data Protection Act 1998 and Confidentiality
Generally speaking, all information supplied to us by you shall be treated as confidential at all times, unless we are required to disclose and/or discuss your information upon your instructions (implicit or actual), by an Order of the Court, under current legislation, updated legal and/or regulatory compliance or by way of any other statutory exceptions. Your personal information is stored by us in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998).
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and other related purposes, including analysis to help us manage our practice and for updating and enhancing client records. Our use of such information is subject to your instructions, the DPA 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the information we hold about you.
It may be necessary for the successful and efficient conclusion of your matter for us to occasionally disclose your personal information that you have provided us to third parties; for example to mortgage lenders, experts or our IT company. Our firm may be subject to audit or quality checks from time to time by outside organisations and your information may also be passed to Authorities in the event of any disclosures. Your acceptance of these Terms shall be treated as appropriate authority for us to pass on such details unless we hear to the contrary in writing beforehand. All external organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
If we hold any sensitive personal data (as defined in the DPA 1998) such as medical records, you must provide your permission before we may disclose it to third parties.
We encourage communications by way of email and therefore we shall correspond with you by such means where you are happy for us to do so and as such we should be grateful if you would complete the section at the bottom of the attached client care letter, confirming your authority for us to correspond with you via email. However, please note communications by email can be unsecure and emails may contain viruses. Whilst the firm uses anti-virus software for all email communications, we cannot be held responsible for any potential risks that may arise from any emails that we send, which may contain viruses and which shall also include any circumstances where emails have been misdirected or not received by you.
9. Changes in the Law and Critical Dates
Unless we have current and/or specific instructions from you in writing to review the law and report to you from time to time or to deal with the matters in question immediately prior to a critical date, we will not remind you of changes in the law which might affect you or future critical dates. For example, we cannot accept on-going responsibility to write to you on such matters as rent review dates, lease renewals, the exercise of options, the service of notices and counter-notices within time limits reminding you of the expiry of limitation periods and the like.
We will charge you on a time basis for any research which may be necessary to obtain an up to date position of the legal position as it relates to your matter.
10. Responsibility for Costs, Disbursements and Expenses
If you are instructing us as an individual, it shall be your responsibility to settle all the legal costs, disbursements and expenses that we incur throughout your matter. Where we are instructed by more than one person or legal entity to represent their joint interests, those instructions are considered to be joint and several and thus we reserve the right to look to either party for settlement of any outstanding costs, disbursement and expenses.
If you are instructing us as an owner/director/partner on behalf of a partnership or company, it is a condition of our instructions that you signing on behalf of the company are providing a personal guarantee at the outset of the matter confirming personal liability for all the costs, disbursements and expenses that the firm incurs throughout your matter, should we be unable to retrieve such costs, disbursements and/or expenses from the partnership or company. If you are providing instructions as a representative on behalf of a partnership or company, it is a condition of our instructions that you signing on behalf of the partnership or company are providing a personal guarantee from at least one partner/director/owner confirming his/her personal liability to settle any costs, disbursements or expenses owed to the firm which cannot otherwise be recovered.
We shall accept undertakings from separate parties where such costs, disbursements and expenses are to be settled by that party. However, notwithstanding any written agreements (e.g. undertakings or guarantees) in place on your matter, it is a condition of our instructions that should any circumstance arise whereby the said third party dishonours its agreement, it shall be the personal responsibility of the firm’s client(s) to settle any outstanding costs owed, which we have not otherwise been successful in recovering from the third party.
11. Third-Party Payments
If we receive payments from any third party on your behalf, the person dealing with your matter will need to follow certain procedures this firm has in place in order to ensure that we comply with anti-money laundering regulations. The Fee Earner with conduct of your matter will need to obtain evidence of the third party’s identity as explained in paragraph 5. The source of any third party funds will also need to be verified and we shall also require the reason as to why the third party is paying on your behalf. We reserve the right to refuse payments which are not from you personally and the firm cannot accept any liability for any problems (e.g. time delays) that subsequently arise from us doing so. We appreciate your kind cooperation should it be necessary to make enquiries with you. Please note, where we refuse a third party payment, we may be bound by the regulations not to return the payment to the sender.
12. Interest on Client Monies
We hold monies belonging to or relating to our clients’ matters in a separate client account. The term ‘monies’ in this sense refers to all monies which may be accountable to interest in accordance with the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 2011 and shall include monies received in respect of deposits in conveyancing matters. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules, monies held by us on your behalf may earn interest. We shall account to you any interest when it is fair and reasonable to do so, however, please note that we may levy a charge for the administration costs of calculating the interest, which can often be a complicated procedure and the cost of such may often exceed any interest sum due. The retention of interest by this firm will usually be treated as a full discharge of the safekeeping of holding such monies.
In any circumstance where interest is payable to you, it shall be calculated from the date the (cleared) monies were received to our client account until the date the monies were/are released and any liability to pay interest must be agreed in writing between us prior to the deposit of any funds. Please note any amount of interest under £20.00 is subject to the de minimis provisions and will not be accounted to you.
It is often very difficult to predict the costs, disbursements and expenses involved in the conclusion of a matter. However, for matters where we have not already agreed with you a fixed price, where it is appropriate and practicably reasonable, we will provide you with an initial estimate. Given the difficulty in calculating the estimate, it is often the case that such estimate relates to completion of work up until a certain stage of the matter. Further estimates will be provided as the matter progresses and when your Fee Earner has more of an idea as to the likely costs, disbursements and expenses to be incurred. Please note, such estimates shall be exclusive of any applicable VAT and there may be occasions, where, due to factors beyond our control, such estimates may have to be revised. If any factors affect your estimate, for example, if the matter becomes more involved than initially set out, then your Fee Earner will endeavour to write to you with an updated estimate.
It is important to understand that an estimate is exactly that and can be very hard to predict. The actual costs incurred will always replace any estimate provided, unless otherwise advised.
14. Calculation of Fees, Charges and Expenses, Annual Hourly Charging Rates and Time Records
For matters where we have not already agreed with you a fixed price such as in residential conveyancing, our fees are generally calculated principally on the basis of all the time spent dealing with your matter. Our fees will be charged in accordance with the hourly rate(s) of the Fee Earner(s) working on your matter. We charge time in six-minute units. Minutes are rounded up to the subsequent unit; by way of example to help you understand, time spent up to six minutes amounts to one unit. The fees calculated include attending you and others, time spent on the telephone (including telephone calls made and received), preparing and reading or considering documents (including letters in from an opponent and/or third parties), travelling and waiting time, correspondence, research, preparatory work, retrieval of papers and obtaining information from a stored file, preparation of invoices, statements and other accounting work, typing, word processing and other secretarial/clerical work and generally supervising, perusing, reviewing and administering your file. We shall notify you of any other fees calculated that are not mentioned in these Terms as and when appropriate to your matter.
It is often the case that there are disbursements and expenses that the firm is required to incur on your behalf, which shall be payable by you in addition to our costs in advance of incurring such expenditure. Certain disbursements and expenses may be charged for separately; by way of example, these may include postage and packaging costs where they exceed the price of a first-class stamp, telephone calls (especially long-distance calls), photocopying and/or any travelling charges (such as courier fees or taxi charges to and from court), search and court fees. Such charges will not exceed a reasonable amount to reflect our own costs in this regard.
The hourly charging rate of the Fee Earner with conduct your matter will be specified in the attached letter. The rate is reviewed annually and may be increased with effect from the 1st January every year. We shall notify you in advance of any increase in rate. If at any time any other Fee Earner is required to undertake work on your matter, you will be advised of their hourly rate.
All the time spent working on your matter is recorded save for certain matters where the fee is agreed in advance. Copies of our records are available on request.
15. Other Factors taken into Account in Fees
In accordance with the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009, we may also take into account other factors in calculating the charge made to you and an additional charge may be made where a case is complex, urgent, of special importance to you or where your Fee Earner is required to work on your matter outside office hours. In matters not involving Court proceedings, we may in addition to the hourly charging rate charge a value element which will be based on the value of the transaction as a whole. We will have previously agreed this with you in writing. The addition of a value element will not apply where a fixed fee quotation has been given for residential conveyancing. In such a case a reasonable charge may be made in the case of abortive transactions.
In the event of emergency work, such as work on emergency injunctions, or where there are tight deadlines to comply with, we may charge an uplift to the applicable hourly rate. We will notify you of this in writing beforehand.
16. Payments on Account
Often at the outset of a matter, we are required to incur expenditure on your behalf; by way of example search fees and other disbursements and expenses. Therefore, unless advised to the contrary, we shall require from you at the outset of a matter, an interim payment on account to authorise the firm to incur such expenditure on your behalf. For matters that we have not already agreed a fixed price with you, we shall require from you monies on account in respect of our on-going costs. In such cases, disbursements and expenses may be requested separately. The amount required may vary between departments and the individual circumstances of each case but will be specified in the client care letter.
Where we require one-off payments to cover expenses on your behalf, these shall be requested from you separately where there are insufficient funds on account to reimburse the firm. We are prepared to consider regular payments on account provided these are made by Direct Debit.
It is important to understand that our requests for monies on account (including requests for disbursements and/or expenses) are exactly that and therefore, unless otherwise advised, do not constitute any form of estimate.
We may retain any funds held on account upon conclusion of your matter to contribute towards settlement of any costs, disbursements or expenses owed on any other file(s) belonging to you and your acceptance of these Terms shall authorise us to debit such monies.
17. Value Added Tax (VAT)
All quotations, estimates and hourly charging rates are exclusive of VAT. If you or the organisation you represent is exempt from VAT, we shall require written evidence to support the same within 7 days from the date of delivery of any bill. Any failure in this regard may result in the bill(s) including VAT. The Senior Partner shall be the person responsible for approving such documentation.
Please note that VAT is chargeable on disbursements, such as photocopying, postage and telephone and travel expenses. Third-party fees, such as barristers’ fees are also subject to VAT, although the figure we require from you may include the applicable VAT. This is a requirement under the Solicitors Accounts Rules and the VAT treatment of solicitors’ overheads by HM Revenue & Customs. We will not charge VAT for expenses such as Court or Land Registry fees. If you have any queries in this regard (including your residency in the UK) please raise this with the Fee Earner with conduct of your matter as soon as possible.
Please note that we do not have expertise to offer any financial or tax planning advice. We suggest that you speak to your financial advisor/accountant for further information in this regard.
18. Financial Information
We accept the following methods of payment; for ease of reference the clearance time of each payment method is indicated in brackets:-
Cash (immediate) maximum of £500.00 accepted on any one matter.
Cheque / Banker’s Draft (10 working days)
Debit Card (up to 3 working days including the day payment is received) incurs a £0.30 charge per transaction
Credit Card (up to 3 working days including the day payment is received) incurs a 2.5% charge of the transaction total for UK credit cards and 3.5% for international credit cards
Telegraphic Transfer (TT) (immediate) incurs £12.00 charge to destinations in the U.K or £50.00 to international destinations plus a £25.00 inclusive of VAT administration charge.
BACS (1 working day in most instances however we are advised by the bank that these can sometimes take up to three working days depending on the bank and thus the time frame is at the clients own risk)
We require cleared funds on account in order to begin work on your matter. Please speak with your Fee Earner if you have any questions relating to payment methods.
In common with most other solicitors, we charge a fee for transferring funds through the banking system. A charge will also be made where a charge credited to your account with us is dishonoured.
We accept cash payments of up to £500.00 throughout the duration of a matter. Cash payments include any payment made by depositing cash directly into our bank account and where this rule is broken we reserve the right to charge you for any checks we consider appropriate to verify the source of such funds.
Where we are required to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party. We shall only ever pay money to our client(s) (or other person(s) on whose behalf the money is held).
Where it is necessary, or we are requested to transmit monies by way of TT, a separate charge in connection with arranging such transfer, inclusive of any bank charges, will be made for each transfer. TTs sent within the United Kingdom incur a charge of £40.00 plus VAT and international TTs incur a charge of £50.00 plus VAT.
Please note that rarely, but on occasions and without fault on our part, funds may not arrive from their source in time for an appointed day. This can lead to contractual liabilities for you, however, the firm cannot accept any responsibility for any problems that may consequently arise thereof. Where we can anticipate such problems we will let you know as soon as possible.
In accordance with our normal practice, where we are in possession of any monies due to you, we would expect to deduct any costs, disbursements and expenses owed in respect of the relevant matter or any other matter belonging to you from such funds and your acceptance of these Terms shall be treated as sufficient authority for us to do so.
19. Terms of Payment, Recovering our Fees, Interest and Your Right to Challenge Our Fees
Invoices we render are due 14 days from the date of delivery. All other costs, disbursements and expenses are due 14 days from the date of delivery or request, whichever is the earliest, save for any third-party fees and expenses which are required in advance unless otherwise agreed.
Apparent failure to comply with the above timeframes may result in the firm ceasing to act for you and if, after 30 days from the date of delivery or request, any costs, disbursements or expenses remain outstanding, the firm reserves the right and may begin to issue formal legal proceedings against you in order to recover any sums due. We also reserve the right to accrue daily interest on the outstanding sum at a rate of 8% per annum after 30 days. We would urge you to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss with us any difficulty you may have in making payment.
If at any time you are unhappy with the level of our fees, you should in the first instance contact the person responsible for the day to day conduct of your matter. Please refer to paragraph 25 for further guidance in respect of any complaint you may want to bring against the firm.
You may also be entitled to challenge any outstanding sum on an invoice by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill(s) under Part III, Sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974 provided the application is made within one month from the date of delivery of the bill(s).
20. Instructing Third Parties and their Charges
Where we consider it appropriate to obtain specialist advice and/or services from third parties such as barristers, expert witnesses, process servers, bailiffs, costs draftsman etc. we will let you know and seek your instructions. Your acceptance of these Terms shall be treated as sufficient authority for us to incur such expenditure and we also reserve the right to terminate the retainer in the event that you unreasonably refuse to authorise us to incur such fees.
In the event that you instruct us to obtain such third party services, it shall be your responsibility to settle all of their costs, plus any applicable VAT, prior to formal instruction of the expert. We shall notify you of the third party’s estimate where appropriate and as a general rule will require the estimated costs to be paid to us on account (in addition to any monies held on client account at such time) as a pre-condition to instructing that third party. Where no estimate can be provided for practical or any other reasons, such as due to shortness of time or the urgency of the situation, we shall request an amount we deem appropriate or a contribution thereof. Please note, however, in circumstances where it is not possible to obtain an agreed fee quote with the third party, the actual costs may exceed any previous request and/or estimate and you shall remain liable to reimburse us for the balance of such fees.
Unless otherwise advised, all third party charges must be settled through the firm. Please note, although we shall endeavour to instruct well established third parties, we cannot be held responsible for the quality of their work or advice or the level of their charges.
21. File Retention and Retrieval
After completing the work, we will be entitled to retain all papers and documents relating to your matter while there is money owed to us, which shall include any outstanding disbursements or expenses and any monies owed on any other file of yours.
As a general rule, we shall store your file of papers for a period of six years unless otherwise stated in writing from the date of your final invoice, depending on the matter description. At Maddison & Morgan Solicitors we do not store original papers and files, all paper files will be ready for you to collect from us at the end of your matter. We will, however, store all salient documents such as court orders, land registration documents and file correspondence electronically. You are entitled to your electronically stored file upon request. Unless we hear to the contrary, we will destroy your electronic file unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary.
In the event that you require us to retrieve a file from storage or send any of your electronic PDF’s to you or any third party, we may levy a charge for the service. This is done to reflect the time spent in retrieving the file and to cover any postage and photocopying costs (converting an electronic file back to paper) that we incur. We may also levy a charge where your instructions in relation to the retrieved file of papers involve perusing, corresponding or any other such work. We shall not usually make a charge for retrieving files that relate to a continuous or new matter.
Should you require us to send your file of papers to you in the post, we shall require such postage costs to be paid on account in advance of releasing the papers. We shall not release any file of papers to any third party unless we have your written consent to do so. The party collecting the file on your behalf will need to supply us with photo identification and a copy of the same will be retained for our records. We require a signed ‘form of authority’ in order to release a file to another firm of solicitors.
22. Suspension of Work and Termination of the Retainer
You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time. We may decide to stop acting for you but only ever when we have good reason to do so and where we have provided you with reasonable notice.
In the event of either party suspending or terminating instructions or work on your matter, we reserve the right to retain your file of papers, together with any other documents or property we may be holding on your behalf as a lien pending settlement of any outstanding costs, disbursements or expenses.
If you notify us that you no longer wish us to act on your behalf, there may be further work that we are required to carry out on your matter even though you have requested us to cease acting for you. In such circumstances, the time spent on the matter shall be kept to a minimum and you shall personally be liable for the costs we incur.
Please note, where we have stopped acting for you, you shall personally be liable for any outstanding costs, disbursements or expenses owed up until the date thereof and any work in progress costs shall be billed. In fixed fee matters, we reserve the right to make a charge of up 75% of the agreed costs plus VAT, disbursements and expenses, depending on how far the matter has progressed before final collapse.
23. Limitation of Liability
We have professional indemnity insurance giving cover for claims against the firm. Details of this insurance, including contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy, can be inspected at our offices or made available on request.
Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000.00 (three million pounds sterling), unless we notify you at any other time otherwise. We shall not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities. We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence. Should you have any questions in this regard, please contact the firm’s Practice Manager on 01508 805580 or [email protected].
24. Regulated Services
Maddison & Morgan Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) under SRA Number 592212. The SRA rules can be accessed by visiting the SRA rules website.
25. Complaints Procedure
Whilst we endeavour to ensure that you will be pleased with our service, in the unlikely event that you do have any cause for complaint, this should be made within 6 months of completion of the matter and in the first instance should be raised with the Fee Earner responsible for the day to day conduct of your matter. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available on request from your Fee Earner. Your Fee Earner will attempt to settle any dispute that you may have, however, if for whatever reason you remain dissatisfied following his/her input, you should direct your concerns to our Complaints Handler, Wendy Maddison-Ward, who will investigate the matter in full. If, after having exhausted our complaints procedure, you still remain dissatisfied with the outcome you should direct your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman, contactable at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or by telephone on 0300 553 0333 or by email at [email protected]. or click The Ombudsman website can be found by clicking the following link http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/
Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (if outside of this period, within 3 years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Please note, some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman but this will be explained to you if applicable to your matter.
If you are a client and we have made a contract with you by electronic means you may be entitled to use an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. This service can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
Any failure to enforce at any time one or more of these Terms of Business shall not be a waiver of them or the right at any time subsequently to enforce all applicable Terms of Business.
27. Status Disclosure
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), formerly known as the Financial Services Authority (FSA). However, we are included on the Register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry out insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The Register can be accessed via the FCA website.
We are not authorised under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000, but we are able, in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are members of the Law Society. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.
28. Explanation of Terms
If you are unclear as to the nature and/or extent of either our or your obligations under these Terms and Conditions of Business, or you require further information, please contact the person responsible for your matter before signing the client care letter.
It should be understood that by instructing us, you accept that there is a risk that there may be occasions, where, due to matters outside yours and/or our reasonable control, your matter may not complete or in litigious matters, you may not be successful in resolving your dispute. In such circumstances, the firm cannot be held responsible for any loss that may be suffered as a result thereof.
30. Jurisdiction and Law
The law of England and Wales applies to these Terms and Conditions of Business and any dispute that may arise in respect of them. The English and Welsh Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction of any matters of dispute that may arise in respect of these Terms of Business.
31. Conflicts of Interests
Solicitors must endeavour to avoid situations of conflict and ensure that a client’s interests are not compromised. We will advise you if we become aware that an issue of conflict exists. If you should be concerned about such an issue then please immediately refer your concern to your Fee Earner. We assure you that we will always act independently and in your best interests as our client. Money Laundering Regulations can also give rise to matters of conflict and lead to us being unable to continue acting in some exceptional circumstances.
32. Equality and Diversity
This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. We have a written Equality and Diversity Policy, a copy of which is available upon request.
THE LAW SOCIETY
If you require information about any of our Solicitors or Solicitors we liaise with on behalf of you, you may click the following link to find out more about them http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/find-a-solicitor/ The Law Society also provides useful public guides on a whole range of matters http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/
Maddison & Morgan Solicitors aim to provide you with the most cost and time-efficient method of pursuing a particular matter with the minimum amount of stress. Talk to one of our friendly staff about all your legal needs on 01508 805580.