Anthony Philip James & Co Ltd Terms of Business
1. People responsible for your matter
1.1 The name and status of the person who will handle your matter (your “lawyer”) will be stated in the accompanying letter, together with the name of the person with overall responsibility for that type of matter. We shall try to avoid changing the lawyer, but if this cannot be avoided we shall inform you promptly regarding the new lawyer. The lawyer will explain to you the issues raised in your matter and keep you informed of progress. In relevant cases, they will also advise you whether the likely outcome of your matter will justify the likely charges and expenses and risk involved, from time to time as necessary. The lawyer will also inform you how long the matter is likely to take.
2. Service Standards
2.1 We will endeavour to give you a high quality service and to that end we shall:
- Keep you regularly informed of progress in your matter;
- Communicate with you in plain language;
- Explain the legal work that may be required to deal with your matter;
- Advise you regularly of the costs/risk benefit of pursuing your matter;
- Advise you of the likely timescale involved;
- Review your matter regularly and advise you of any changes in the law, circumstances or risk which could affect the outcome of your matter;
- Advise you of any actions which you should take in connection with your matter;
- Send you copies of all substantive correspondence relating to your matter;
- Attempt to return all telephone calls you make to us on the same day;
- Make appointments to see you at your convenience as quickly as possible.
2.2 We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), having SRA registration number 629443. Anthony Philip James & Co Ltd is a limited company, having company registration number 10011883
2.3 Our offices are normally open between the hours of 8.30 am and 5.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays (except for bank holidays).
3.1 If you have any queries or concerns about our work for you, please raise them in the first instance with the person who is handling your matter. If that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction or you would prefer not to speak to the person who is handling your matter, then please contact our client care manager, Ayesha Khaliq. Your right to complain includes the right to complain about a bill. In the case of a complaint about a bill, there might also be a right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. However, we would point out that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest, such entitlement being stated below.
3.2 As we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we have an obligation to resolve any problems that may arise with our services and it is important therefore that you should immediately raise with us any concerns which you may have. We value you and would not wish to think that you have any reason to be unhappy with us.
3.3 If you remain dissatisfied at the end of our complaints process, you would then be at liberty to contact the Legal Ombudsman, provided you are an individual, a personal representative of a deceased person, a “micro-enterprise” (having fewer than 10 employees and annual turnover or assets not exceeding 2,000,000 Euros), a charity or club/association with annual income not exceeding £1 million, or a trustee of a trust with assets not exceeding £1 million. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints up to six years from the date of the problem happening or within three years of when someone should have found out about the problem. However, if we send a final written response to your complaint within eight weeks of receiving it, the time limit for you to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman would be 6 months from the date of that final response.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, their contact details are as follows:
- Visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk
- Call 0300 555 0333 between 8.30am to 5.30pm (calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02) from both mobiles and landlines. Calls are recorded and may be used for training and monitoring purposes.)
- For minicom call 0300 555 1777
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Postal address : Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Alternative complaints bodies (such as Small Claims Mediation www.small-claims-mediation.co.uk ) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
We do not agree to use Small Claims Mediation.
4. Our retainer
4.1 A Retainer is the technical word that describes the Contract between a Solicitor and his or her clients. The Retainer includes an agreement as to the nature and extent of the work, which the Solicitor will carry out. Please note, therefore, that in this case our Retainer is limited to investigating the position with regard to the financial mis-selling to include pension mis-selling. We will not be examining the nature and content of your Loan Agreement, to see whether it is valid in law or not. This is to a large extent a separate area of law and requires different specialties. You are perfectly free, of course, to take any advice that you wish as to whether your Loan Agreement is unenforceable either in whole or in part.
5. Payment of expenses
5.1 We shall provide details of any expenses that have to be incurred. These may include barristers or expert’s fees, court fees or travelling expenses. VAT is payable on certain expenses. Usually we would fund these expenses as they arise, but deduct them from monies received from the other party at the end of the matter.
6. Billing arrangements
6.1 A bill will be issued at the end of the matter (and also possibly where costs are received in relation to a court order made before the end of the matter).
6.2 Unless a bill is paid by deduction from funds that we hold, payment of the bill is due to us within 30 days of our sending you a bill (unless payment is required or agreed on any other basis).
6.3 We will charge you interest on the bill at 4% per annum over the Bank of England base rate as it applies from time to time from the date of the bill, if you do not pay our bill within this time, with interest being charged on a daily basis.
6.4 If you have any query about your bill, you should contact the person who is handling your matter straight away. Our terms as to payment of our bills are shown in full on reverse of all of our bills.
7. Other parties charges and expenses
7.1 It is important that you understand that you will be responsible for paying our bills, subject to the terms of the Contingency Fee Agreement and the Conditional Fee Agreement.
7.2 If you are successful and the court orders the other party to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account, but we would be entitled to the remainder of that interest.
7.3 In some circumstances, the court may order you to pay the other party’s legal charges and expenses; for example, if you lose the case. The money would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses. We will discuss with you whether our charges and expenses and/or your liability for another party’s charges and expenses may be covered by insurance, and, if not, whether it would be advisable for you to seek insurance to meet the other party’s charges and expenses.
7.4 You may be able to obtain insurance to cover you for some or all of the costs of losing the case (including the risks of being ordered to pay your opponent’s costs). Please contact your lawyer if you would like more information about this.
8.1 You agree that we may receive directly any compensation you recover, for example in the County Court or by way of a settlement agreement. You agree to permit us to take any of our professional fees and disbursements from any such money, the balance being returned to you.
8.2 In the event we hold a nominal amount in our client account – nominal amount defined as less than £4 – we shall pay the money to a local charity, unless otherwise directed.
9. Civil Litigation (i.e. where you are a party in a civil case – a “litigant”)
9.1 The rules for conducting cases in the civil courts impose strict obligations on litigants. If, as a litigant, you fail to comply with the court rules you may find that you lose your case or have some other penalty or sanction imposed on you. For this reason it is essential that you should follow our advice on all procedural requirements of the civil courts, particularly in relation to complying with time limits.
9.2 We will not accept responsibility if you fail to observe the guidance we give you on these procedural matters. If a Court is considering whether to impose a costs sanction against you or us in relation to any failure to comply with a Court Order, rule or direction, we shall be entitled to inform the Court of the full circumstances and you authorise us to divulge to the Court all relevant information, even if it is privileged. In the event of your revoking this authority, you will indemnify us fully in respect of any order for costs that the Court may make against us in relation to that matter.
10. Money laundering
10.1 In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we may need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as practicable. Thus, if we so request, we would be grateful if you would provide us with documents to verify your identity and address, as notified either at the first meeting or in correspondence. If they are not received within 7 days of a letter of request we may have to stop working on your matter until the documents have been produced.
10.2 Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of their client confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception, and that is the legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing. This has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.
10.3 As part of our initial discussions with you it will be necessary for us to ask you a series of questions concerning your own identity, place of residence and date of birth.
10.4 We assure you that we are only following those procedures that are essential (for both of us) to comply with the law. Please note that these legal requirements override our professional duty to you to keep your affairs confidential.
10.5 Our fees may also include the costs of verifying your identity and complying with our obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, or any similar legal requirements.
11. Data protection
11.1 We will deal with any personal information about you in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. We use the information that you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you, and for related purposes including updating records, analysis for management purposes, statutory returns and regulatory compliance. The information can be held by us on computer and/or paper files and records, and may be transferred internally. Our use of the information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998, and our duty of confidentiality. Our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers.
11.2 We may from time to time send you information that we think may be of use to you, but if you do not wish to receive such information, please inform us in writing.
12. Financial services
12.1 We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but we are able, in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.
12.2 The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society.
13. Insurance mediation
13.1 We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on 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. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at ww.fca.gov.uk/register.
13.2 In the event of our recommending an insurance policy (for example for after the event insurance) we confirm that the market would be researched before any recommendation is made; and that we would provide a “demands and needs” statement based on the information provided by you, along with reasons for recommending a policy.
14.1 The firm’s policy is to account to clients for interest earned whilst their money is in our client account, provided the amount of interest exceeds £20. The interest payable is unlikely to be as high as might be obtainable by you, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority Accounts Rules state that client’s money must be held in an account enabling instant access, in order to facilitate a transaction. However, if we are aware that a significant amount of money will be held in client account for a fairly significant length of time, consideration would be given to opening a designated deposit account. When we hold money for you in a separate designated client account with our bank we will account to you for all interest earned on that account.
15. Tax advice
15.1 We will not give you any tax advice on any matters or transactions on which we are advising you. You are advised to take separate specialised taxation advice where appropriate.
16. Vetting of files and confidentiality
16.1 Your file of papers may be subject to inspection as part of our quality control system (including external audit by a Lexcel assessor or the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority), financial audit or for the purposes of the Money Laundering Regulations or the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
17. Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (applicable only to non-commercial clients)
17.1 If our instructions to act arose from a meeting that occurred with a representative of our firm at a venue other than our office, it would be an “off-premises” contract; and as such (unless the payment for the services by you would not exceed £42), you would have a right to cancel your instructions to this firm (by letter, fax or e-mail) within 14 days of the day after the date that you contacted/instructed this firm. If you cancel the contract within that 14 day period, but in the meantime you instruct us to carry out an item of work, and we carry it out, you would be liable to pay our reasonable costs for that work. Also, if you authorise us to commence work and thereafter give notice of cancellation, by which time we have completed the matter, again you would be liable to pay our reasonable costs for that work. However, subject to this point, if you exercise your cancellation right, you would not be charged for our services.
17.2 If we have been instructed to act for you otherwise than as described above, this would be an “on-premises” contract, with no right of cancellation; although you would be entitled to terminate our retainer (as mentioned elsewhere in this document).
17.3 If you return these Terms of Business, duly signed, then this would amount to your authority to proceed with this matter, with any cancellation right having been waived; and once we have started the work, you may be charged if you then cancel the instructions. As mentioned above, during the course of the matter you would be entitled to terminate our retainer.
18. Equality and diversity
18.1 This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees, and we have a written equality and diversity policy.
19. Storage of papers and deeds
19.1 After completing the work you have instructed us on, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us. We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) for no more than 6 years, and on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy the file 6 years after sending you our final bill for this matter. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
19.2 If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with the instructions given by you or on your behalf.
20. Insurance and legal liability
20.1 We hold professional indemnity insurance and, should you so request, we can provide you with the name and contact details of our professional indemnity insurer, and details of the territorial coverage of the insurance.
20.2 The Solicitors Regulation Authority Indemnity Rules require us to insure against claims made against us by clients and others subject to a minimum level of cover of £3 million per claim (or series of claims). Because of this protection for clients we consider that it is fair and reasonable to limit the amount of any liability we may have in any matter to that figure of £3 million, and by accepting these terms you are agreeing to this. If you do not agree to this provision you should contact us. Additional cover may be provided in appropriate cases on payment of an enhanced fee to reflect any increased premium or other costs.
20.3 We will not be liable for any claim which you may make against us which is not covered by our policy under the Indemnity Rules nor in respect of any claim which is covered by the policy to the extent that it exceeds the figure of £3 million mentioned above. We will not be liable for any claim in relation to any matters dealt with on your behalf which may be made by any third party against us, and you will indemnify us in the event of any such claim being made against us.
21.1 You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. In some circumstances, you may consider we ought to stop acting for you, for example, if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work. We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with our request for a payment on account. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
21.2 If you or we decide that we no longer act for you, you will pay our charges on an hourly basis and any expenses. We are entitled to retain our file of papers relating to your matter pending payment of the balance of our costs and disbursements.
22. Variations to these Terms of Business
22.1 We may make reasonable variations to these terms by giving you written notice, setting out details of the variations. Unless you inform us in writing within 7 days of our sending you that notice that you object to the variations, you will be deemed to have accepted the variations as explained in our notice to you. If you notify us of your objections to the variations within that period of 7 days, we shall have the right to terminate our engagement as your solicitors and cease to deal with your matter, but you will remain liable to pay all fees and disbursements incurred by us before we terminate the agreement.
23. Cyber-crime avoidance
23.1 In order to reduce the risk of cyber-crime we would ask you to ensure that any very sensitive information such as financial details, your bank account details, etc. should be communicated to us by a means other than e-mail (unless the e-mail is encrypted). Our policy will be to communicate similar information to you by a secure means other than ordinary e-mail.
23.2 If your e-mail account or address is subject to a hack attack by third parties the firm will disclaim liability for negligence and/or fraud.
23.3 In matters where we are required to send funds to you electronically or by any other means we will verify the correct details by telephone, fax or post.
23.4 If you receive any e-mails purportedly from this firm but which are actually from a different e-mail address, particularly if the domain name is different or if there is anything else suspicious about the communication, then you should query this e-mail directly with the lawyer handling your case. Please do not rely on any e-mail purporting to be sent by us if there are discrepancies or if it represents a last minute, very late or otherwise suspicious variation of steps previously agreed with us. In particular you should never send funds to an account number that differs from one previously notified to you, without first telephoning our office first, and speaking to the relevant lawyer to verify the details.
24.1 Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business apply to any future instructions you give us. Your continuing instructions in this matter amount to your acceptance of these terms of business. Even so, please sign and date this document, and return it to us immediately. We can then be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you.
24.2 The professional rules relating to solicitors’ firms, including the Code of Conduct, can be accessed on the website of the Solicitors Regulation Authority at www.sra.org.uk/code-of-conduct.page.
24.3 We hope that these terms of business and the accompanying letter(s) have addressed your immediate queries about the day-to-day handling of your work and our terms of business. However, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact your lawyer. This is an important document, which we would urge you to keep in a safe place for future reference.