Frequently Asked
Questions

Taking legal action against a financial advisor or provider can seem a daunting prospect for anyone, particularly if they haven’t experienced it before. APJ Solicitors are experts in our field and will support you through each stage of the process and are available to answer all your questions giving your confidence that you have the right team on your side. If you’re thinking about taking action, or if you’re not sure your situation qualifies for redress, or if you just want to know a bit more about the process take a look at our FAQs below.

Alternatively, you could speak to one of our specialist advisers with any
queries or case worries you may have and they will be more than happy to help.  

 

Get in touch

Our disclaimer and alternative routes.

Though APJ have significant experience in submitting claims for Mis-sold Financial products, please note that you do have a choice as to whether or not you instruct us to act on your behalf. While many choose to do so, individuals are not required to use the services of a firm to pursue their claim. It is possible for an individual to present a claim themselves, either to the person against whom they wish to complain or to the relevant statutory ombudsman or the statutory compensation scheme for free, where the claim is one that falls within a statutory compensation scheme, such as the Financial Ombudsman Scheme or the Compensation Scheme.

APJ have proven abilities to successfully challenge decisions made by various statutory bodies and can also deal with any shortfalls which involve litigation as a regulated firm of solicitors. Full details of our fees and disbursements will be provided before you decide to engage our services.

What services do we offer?

Mis-sold pensions & investments  : If you have lost money after receiving negligent advice to move your pension into a mis-sold investment we may be able to help you claim thousands in compensation.

PPI+ : Were you part of an unfair contractual relationship? We could help you claim back compensation.

What happens when you make an inquiry and how do we contact you?

At APJ, we are a dedicated and professional law firm that put the needs and experience of our clients at the forefront of what we do. We will never cold call you to pressurise you into using our services, we only get in touch once we have received your permission following your completion of an enquiry form on our website.

What does a FREE Initial Assessment mean?

One our advisers will call you to discuss your situation and note all the information you provide us with. This will result in 3 outcomes:

  • We believe we can help you and will send you our a pack for you to fill in.
  • We will require more information from you in order for us to accurately assess the situation.
  • We won’t be able to help you but can provide you with some avenues that may.

Limitation

Different time periods, called ‘limitation’ periods are allowed for various types of claims. If the relevant limitation period is missed, it provides an absolute defence to a claim on the grounds it is time-barred, irrespective of the strength of the underlying claim.

Complaining to a business: Complaints to a business must be within six years of the cause of the complaint happening. FOS will not investigate the complaint unless the complainant wasn’t aware, they had a reason to complain at the time. The Complainant must then lodge a complaint within three years of becoming aware (or when they ought reasonably to have become aware) that they had cause to the complaint.

Final Response Letter: Where a business sends a final response letter to a complaint then the complaint to FOS must be made within 6 months from the date the final response was sent. The relevant rule is DISP 1.6.2 which states the Final response letter must include a FOS standard explanatory leaflet and provide the website address of the FOS. This means that if a response to a complaint doesn’t contain all the required elements, it is not considered a final response and a complaint can be considered by FOS even after 6 months.

What is a SIPP?

A self-invested personal pension, or SIPP is a flexible retirement investment option designed specifically for those who want to manage their own fund and make their own investment decisions.

While standard pensions are managed for you, SIPPs afford much more freedom, allowing you to stay in control of your savings, and meaning you can switch your investments, whenever and wherever you choose.

What is Plevin?

Susan Plevin took legal action against Paragon Personal Finance Ltd after she had PPI added to a loan. The retired lecturer discovered that 71.8 percent of the PPI premium was taken as commission.

Susan argued that the failure to disclose this commission level amounted to an unfair contractual relationship.

In 2014, the Plevin vs Paragon Personal Finance Ltd (Plevin) case was heard by the Supreme Court. The court ruled that as the PPI seller failed to disclose to Susan Plevin that it had received a large commission from the product provider, this amounted to an unfair contractual relationship under the 1974 Consumer Credit Act.

What is an unfair relationship?

What is an unfair relationship? – An unfair relationship is found when a lender has mis-sold a financial product for personal gain. The relationship is established in the purchase of financial products such as mortgages or loans.

In many cases, lenders paid a commission to brokers who arranged the loans, which was added to the cost of the loan, even when the customer wasn’t aware and/or it wasn’t required by consumers.

If a customer has taken out a loan and the lender has not disclosed how much commission they received, it’s likely that they have formed an unfair contractual relationship. 

What is a mis-sold mortgage?

Mortgages are a type of loan which are taken out either to buy a home, or to release funds from your home for other purposes.

They are classed as mis-sold if you could have had a better deal or if you didn’t receive correct advice from your financial or mortgage advisor.

You should have a clear understanding of all the features of your mortgage, including any risks that might be involved. The Financial Conduct Authority states that mortgage advisors must comply with statutory principles to treat customers fairly, including giving sound advice.

What is the Financial Conduct Authority?

The Financial Conduct Authority is an independent body set up in 2013 by the Government, that regulates over 58, 000 financial services firms, to protect consumers and ensure that all those that use these service get a fair deal.

What is the Financial Ombudsman Service?

The Financial Ombudsman Service is an independent body set up in 2000 by the Government, that helps consumers settle disputes with financial services firms, and each complaint is thoroughly investigated to ensure that those that use these services are treated fairly.

What is the Financial Services Compensation Scheme?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme was set up in 2001 by the Government, that protects consumers when financial services firms “go bust”, but the maximum pay-out is £50,000 which in large numbers of cases is only a fraction of the losses incurred.

Bereavement Policy

If a claimant dies, we can only speak to the person who is formally appointed to deal with their Estate.

If they left a Will – that is their Executor.

If they did not leave a Will – that is their Administrator.

Both would be appointed by the Probate Court.

We would also need the death certificate for the deceased and ID for the Executor/Administrator.

Contingency Fee Agreement and Conditional Fee Agreement

What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?

A Contingency Fee Agreement is a contractual arrangement between a solicitor and the client addressing how APJ will be paid. This type of agreement covers all work carried out by APJ before litigation. If court proceedings become necessary, then the work will be covered by a Conditional Fee Agreement.

Under the terms of the Contingency Fee Agreement, APJ will only be paid if you win the case, and APJ’s fees will then be calculated as a percentage of the amount recovered or percentage cash value of non-cash benefits. The percentage amount will be specified in your agreement.

What is a win?

Your agreement will set out when APJ considers the case to be won. This will usually be when any amount is recovered from any paying party.

What happens if the case is lost?

If the case is lost, then APJ will not recover its fees from you but you will still have to pay disbursements/expenses incurred on your behalf. We will advise you at the outset of the likely costs to be incurred.

What does the Contingency Fee Agreement not cover?

Usually, the agreement will not cover disbursements incurred on a client’s behalf. This could include for example expert fees, and counsel’s fee. If we need to incur expenses on your behalf, then you will be advised about this. If you win your claim, these costs will need to be deducted from your settlement.
You must pay attention to the terms of the agreement given to you at the outset of your claim.

If you decide to stop your case part way through, or we are unable to get instructions from you, you are unreasonable, or you decide to instruct another solicitor/business for the same matter, then we are entitled to recover all of our fees and expenses incurred from you even if the case does not continue. These fees will then be calculated based on the normal hourly rate. Full details of your obligations are contained in the agreement and our terms of business.

When are the fees due and why am I receiving a costs letter?

Under a Contingency Fee Agreement, the fees are usually paid at the end of the case. However, you will receive cost updates throughout the lifetime of your claim because solicitors are professionally obliged to keep the client informed of the costs incurred, even if they are not yet payable, or may not become payable under the terms of the agreement.

What about VAT?

Vat will be added to our charges at a current rate of 20%. Please note that the hourly rates contained in the agreement are inclusive of VAT.

What is a Conditional Fee Agreement?

This is a contractual arrangement between the solicitor and the client addressing how the costs of the case involving court proceedings will be funded. The agreement is also known as a “no win no fee” agreement. If the case is lost, then the client pays either no fee, or reduced fees as contained in the agreement. If the case is won, then the opponent is usually ordered to pay the base costs plus expenses incurred. The client will be liable to pay the success fee, and any insurance premium.

What are base fees?

Solicitors usually calculate their fees on the basis of time spent for all work done on the client’s behalf and is usually calculated in 6 minute units. The hourly rate applied will differ depending on who is working on your case, and their level of experience. You will find the hourly rates set out in the agreement. You will be also be provided with cost updates throughout the progress of your case.

What is a success fee?

The success fee is a percentage uplift on the base costs that becomes payable by the client if the case is won. It reflects the risks taken by the solicitor in the event that the case is lost, and the solicitor is unable to recover any fees.

How much is the success fee?

The success fee can be set at up to 100% of base costs but will be capped so that it remains proportionate to the level of damages you receive. Your solicitor will assess the risks in your case and the agreement will indicate the level of the success fee applied based on the merits and value of the claim.

The calculation of the success fee is not related to the actual amount of damages that you may receive (unlike the Contingency Fee Agreement explained above).

Who is responsible for paying the success fee?

Solicitors usually calculate their fees on the basis of time spent for all work done on the client’s behalf and is usually calculated in 6 minute units. The hourly rate applied will differ depending on who is working on your case, and their level of experience. You will find the hourly rates set out in the agreement. You will be also be provided with cost updates throughout the progress of your case.

What is a success fee?

The nature of a solicitor client relationship and the validity of any work done must be contained in a contract, known as the retainer. This means that the client is primarily responsible for the solicitor’s base fees, together with any success fee and expenses.

In the event of a successful claim, the base fees and expenses can usually be recovered from the losing party. The success fee and any insurance premium are never recoverable from the losing party and will be paid by the client if the claim is successful.

What happens if the case is lost?

If the case is lost, or the definition of success is not met, then you will pay reduced fees or no fees. These terms will be written in your Conditional Fee Agreement. You will still have to pay disbursements and expenses incurred on your behalf, and you may also have to pay some of your opponent’s costs. Often, some or all these expenses can be covered by legal expense insurance.

When are the fees due and why am I receiving a costs letter?

Under a Conditional Fee Agreement, the fees are usually paid at the end of the case. You will receive cost updates throughout the lifetime of your claim because solicitors are professionally obliged to keep the client informed of the costs incurred, even if they are not yet payable, or may not become payable under the terms of the agreement.

What does the Conditional Fee Agreement not cover?

Usually, the CFA will not cover disbursements incurred on a client’s behalf. This could include for example, Court fees, expert fees, and Counsel’s fee. If we need to instruct an expert to progress your claim, then you will be advised about this. In a successful claim, these costs can normally be recovered from the opponent. Any insurance premium purchased on your behalf will not be covered under the CFA. If you win, it will need to be paid from your damages,
and if you lose, it will be self-insured.

The agreement will not cover an adverse costs order, this means that you might be ordered to pay some or all of your opponent’s legal costs. Usually the legal expense insurance will cover this. You must pay attention to the terms of the agreement. If you decide to stop your case part way through, or we are unable to get instructions from you, or you decide to instruct another solicitor/business for the same matter, then we may be able to recover all of our fees and expenses incurred from you even if the case does not continue.

The Conditional Fee Agreement will not cover the cost of counterclaims against you, or the cost of any appeals.

What about VAT?

Vat will be added to our charges at a current rate of 20% and will be added to APJ’s charges recoverable under the success fee. Please note that the hourly rates contained in the agreement are inclusive of VAT.

Legal Expense Insurance

Legal expense insurance helps you cover the costs of the case incurred outside of the above agreements, such as court fees and any opponent’s costs payable. You may already have this insurance or we can obtain this for you.

What is Before the Event Legal Expense Insurance?

Before we obtain insurance on your behalf (after the event insurance) you should consider whether you already have legal expense insurance in place. This type of insurance could cover our fees, any order to pay your opponent’s costs and disbursements. You might find this in a home insurance policy, credit card or trade union membership. If you have this type of cover, then we will be able to check the terms for you and see whether all your risks are covered.

What is After the Event Legal Expense Insurance?

If you do not have before the event insurance, then we might recommend the purchase of an after the event insurance policy to protect you for the costs risks not covered by the funding agreement.

How much will after the event legal expense insurance cost?

If this type of policy is recommended, then we will provide you with a recommendation and details of the premium cost. The premium is calculated based on the risks, and the extent of cover needed. We will provide full advice to you. The premium is not payable upfront and is deferred until the end of the claim. If you win, the premium must be paid by you out of your compensation. If you lose or cannot continue the claim through no fault of your own, then the premium is normally self-insured, i.e. you do not need to pay it.

What are the benefits of after the event legal expense insurance?

If you lose your case through no fault of your own, the after the event insurance provider will pay any costs that you owe to the event or third party such as experts and court fees, and will pay its own premium.

Glossary of Terms

UCIS: Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes –A fund that several people contribute to. A fund manager will invest the pooled money in one or more types of asset, such as stocks, bonds or property. These cannot be promoted to the general public in the UK.

Defined Benefit Pension –An employer guarantees that the employee receives a definite amount upon retirement. This is usually based on earnings and years of service.

Pension –A pension plan is a retirement plan that requires an employer to make contributions into a pool of funds set aside for the employees future retirement.

Defined Contribution Plans –A retirement plan in which the employer, employee or both make contributions on a regular basis. The final benefit received by employee upon retirement depends on the investment performance. With DCP employee decides how to take the money out.

SERP –Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan –It is a non-qualified retirement plan for key company employees, such as executives, that provides benefits above and beyond those covered in other retirement plans.

EPP – Executive pension plan –Tax efficient savings plans set up by a company for key employees. It builds up a tax efficient fund, which is used at retirement to provide tax free cash and a pension income.

Money Purchase Pension –Same as a DCP Defined Contribution Plan.

EPP – Executive pension plan –Tax efficient savings plans set up by a company for key employees. It builds up a tax efficient fund, which is used at retirement to provide tax free cash and a pension income.

GPP – Group personal pension –Members of a GPP build up a personal pension pot which then on retirement becomes their income.

Master trust pension (egNEST, NOW pension, the People’s Pension) – Is defined as an occupational pension scheme that provides money purchase benefits, is used by two or more employees.

Stakeholder pension –These are normally a personal pension. These must meet minimum standards set by the government.

Receiving Scheme – Where the pension transfer ended up before being invested.

SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension) – this is a pension ‘wrapper’ that holds investments until you retire and start to draw a retirement income. A SIPP gives more flexibility with the investments you choose.

SSAS (Small Self Administered Schemes) – this is a type of UK occupational pension scheme. These are established individually, usually by directors of limited companies for specified employees of the company.

QROPS (Qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme) –This is an overseas pension scheme that meets certain requirements set by HMRC. A QROPS must have a beneficial owner and trustees, and it can receive transfers of UK Pension Benefits.

ORBS: Occupational Retirement Benefit Scheme –an unregulated vehicle for making Investments into risky UCIS.

Regulators – regulatory bodies with responsibility to oversee the conduct and performance of the companies they regulate within set guidelines and rules.

FCA: Financial Conduct Authority -The Financial Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator for 58,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK and the prudential regulator for over 24,000 of those firms.

FSA: Financial Services Authority –this is now the FCA Financial Conduct Authority.

COBS: Conduct of Business set by the FCA, the rules regulated parties are held accountable to.

SRA: Solicitors regulation authority – the SRA regulates more that 10,000 solicitors in England & Wales. They are here to protect the public by ensuring solicitors meet high standards, and by acting when risks are identified.

FOS: Financial Ombudsman Service – They settle individual disputes between consumers and businesses that provide financial services.

POS: The Pensions Ombudsman – A free, fair and impartial service to settle complaints and disputes.

FSCS: Financial Services Compensation Scheme –They protect customers when authorised financial services firms fail.

TPR: The Pensions Regulator –They protect the UK’s workplace pensions.

TPAS: The Pensions Advisory Service –free pension advice for all types of pensions and help resolve disputes about work and personal pensions.

IFA: Independent Financial Advisor –is a professional who offers independent advice on financial matters to their clients and recommend suitable financial products from the whole of the market.

AR – Appointed Representative is a firm or person who runs the regulated activities and acts as an agent for a firm the FCA authorise.

Pension Liberation – also known as pension loans describes a way of releasing pension funds pre-retirement, usually before the age of 55, and converting it partly or entirely to cash.

Free Pension Review – A review allowing someone to access all of your pension/s and review its/their performance.