Terms & Conditions of Business

We never want to deal with a client only once. We have capability across several areas of law that may be of interest to you and we hope that our relationship will be a long one. As you would expect from a professional organisation, there are necessary formalities that need to be concluded the first time that we act for you and the following Terms and Conditions of Business should cover every aspect of our relationship. If we have overlooked something that requires clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us. Pellys RJP service is based upon personal relationships where mutual trust and understanding is paramount.

HOW WE WORK WITH YOU

Our commitment to you

Responsibility for carrying out your work

We will agree with you the fee earner who will be appointed to work on your case and he/she will be constantly supported by other members of the team.

If for any reason this person is unavailable, please speak to another member of the team's support staff, or you can leave a voicemail that will be promptly dealt with.

Should there be any changes to the people handling your work (reasons may be sickness, holiday or other absence or cost saving to you), we will discuss with you why the change is necessary.

Overall responsibility for delivery of service lies with the Partner who heads the department.

How we manage our relationship

Pellys RJP is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you have any complaint about our service, including a complaint about a bill, please contact me in the first instance. If you are unhappy with the response or you feel that you would rather raise it with someone else then please raise it with Andrew Arnold who is the Complaints Officer of Pellys Solicitors Limited. The firm has a Complaints Handling Procedure which describes our internal processes and provides details of other bodies to which you have the right to refer.

Under normal circumstances the Practice has eight weeks to resolve the complaint to the client’s satisfaction.

If you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint you can contact the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.
Telephone 0300 555 0333, email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk, www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should usually be made six months from the date that the final letter resolving the complaint was sent. There are exceptions to these time periods which are set out on the website as above.

Complaints should be made within six years from the act/omission; or three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint. A leaflet entitled ‘Here to Help - What to do if you have a complaint’ can be downloaded from the Legal Ombudsman website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

Not all clients are eligible to have recourse to the Legal Ombudsman. Please see the Legal Ombudsman website as set out above.

A copy of Pellys RJP’s Complaints Procedure is available on request.

We constantly review our service levels and welcome any feedback, positive or negative, that will help us to improve the way we deal with our clients.

Unless otherwise agreed, these terms of business apply to any future instructions you give us. Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business. Even so, we ask you to please sign and date the enclosed copy of these terms and return it to us immediately.

Who controls the relationship?

You remain in control of the relationship and may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time.

We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example if you do not pay an interim invoice or comply with our request for a payment on account, or if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed. We will give you reasonable notice of our intention to stop acting for you.

If you or we decide to terminate the arrangement, you agree to pay our charges calculated on an hourly basis and expenses as set out elsewhere in this document immediately upon termination.

Individuals or businesses

We act on behalf of private clients and businesses of all sizes. We are happy to accept instructions from businesses and require that a Partner, Director or controlling shareholder has signed these Terms and Conditions so that he or she accepts liability. In such cases, the signatory does accept as a personal liability that they are solely responsible for meeting any costs incurred by Pellys Solicitors Ltd should the business remain in default after 60 days on any invoices submitted to them for payment.

Money Laundering

We are obliged to follow The European Money Laundering Directive and must satisfy ourselves about the identity of all our clients. Evidence of your identity can only be verified by allowing us to see certain documents that confirm your full true name and your up-to-date postal address.

In order to comply with the laws on Money Laundering we are required to obtain evidence of your identity before we can commence work on your behalf. We shall need from you one item from each of the lists below:

List A
Evidence of personal identity:

  1. Current signed passport
  2. EU member state identity card
  3. Residence Permit issued by the Home Office (together with own country’s passport)
  4. Current EU or UK photocard driving licence
  5. Armed Forces ID card

List B
Evidence of current address:

  1. Confirmation from the electoral register
  2. Recent utility bill or bank statement or mortgage statement with the current address
  3. Local Authority Rates bill
  4. Current UK driving licence (but only if not used as evidence of ID)
  5. Local Council rent card or tenancy agreement

Evidence for Limited Companies:

  1. A copy of Certificate of Incorporation
  2. A list of all directors and their home address
  3. A list of all shareholders
  4. Confirmation of Registered office

AND Evidence of Directors:

  1. As List A above
  2. As List B above


Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception; recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing 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, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it. Where the law permits us to do, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take.

Our firm's policy is only to accept cash up to £500. If clients circumvent this policy by depositing cash direct with our bank we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.

HOW WE CHARGE FOR OUR WORK

Charges can either be based on the time spent dealing with your matter or, if appropriate, we can agree a fixed charge with you. You will need to discuss and agree the charging method to be adopted before any work is carried out.

Time Spent

The time spent on your matter(s) is comprised of (but not exclusively):

We charge you the hourly rate appropriate for each complete or part of an hour divided into minimum units of six minutes that a member of the department spends working on your matter:
 
Directors £200.00 to  £240.00
Consultants £120.00 to  £220.00
Solicitors £185.00 to  £230.00
Legal Executives £185.00 to  £210.00
Trainee solicitors/legal executives £150.00        
Paralegals and Support Staff (undertaking
Work of a fee earning nature)       £75.00 to £150.00
All charges are plus VAT at the appropriate rate

N.B. All rates are reviewed annually on 1 February

Routine letters and e-mails written and received and routine telephone calls made and received will be charged for in units of 1/10th of an hour (6 minutes). Other letters , e-mails and calls will be charged for on a time basis.

If, for whatever reason, Pellys Solicitors Ltd does not complete the work, we will charge you for the work done and expenses incurred including the VAT element.

In some cases we may have to take into account other factors such as where speed of action is crucial there may be a need to carry out work outside our normal office hours; or if it is a complex issue, specialist (external) expertise may be required. We would always hope to advise you in advance should these factors or any unforeseen extra work, or if your requirements or the circumstances significantly change during the matter that have an impact upon the charges quoted.

As a consequence of the changing nature of some matters, it can be difficult at the outset to estimate how many hours may be required. If an estimate is provided it is not intended to be fixed. We will update you on the position as to your charges and expenses regularly and inform you if it appears that any estimate may be exceeded. In any event, the above quoted rates will apply unless you are advised otherwise, and we will also inform you in writing of the estimated cost of any extra work before incurring extra costs on your behalf

Fixed Charge

If you have agreed a fixed charge, the amount (plus VAT at the appropriate rate) pertaining to the matter will be confirmed in writing.

Occasionally, unforeseen extra work becomes necessary, perhaps due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances change significantly during the matter. In such cases we will inform you in writing of the estimated cost of the extra work before incurring extra costs. Unless you give approval to an amended fee, we will do no further work and charge you on an hourly basis for work to date.

Similarly, if the work is not completed we will charge you on an hourly basis for the amount of work we do.

In either case, our total charges will not exceed the original fixed charge but our expenses will also be payable.

Expenses

There may be other payments (also known as disbursements e.g. barristers and expert fees, travelling and subsistence) that you are likely to have to make. An estimate of their cost and when payment is likely to be needed will be provided separately. In the case of minor disbursements under £100 these will automatically be added to your invoice without prior notification. VAT is payable on certain expenses. These will be charged in addition to other costs mentioned above

Photocopying and Printing

There may also be additional fees for photocopying which is chargeable at 25p per copy for black and white copies and 50p per page for colour copies. Charges will be made for printing of documents, plans and drawings and burning of CDs and discs where necessary.

Other parties' costs

In some cases you may be entitled to payment of costs by some other person. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances the other person may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with us. You have to pay our charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them. If the other party is in the receipt of Legal Aid no costs are likely to be recovered.

If a court orders another 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 are entitled to the rest of that interest. You will also be responsible for paying our charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs the court has ordered another party to pay.

If you are unsuccessful in a court case you may be ordered to pay the other party's legal costs and expenses. That money would be payable in addition to our charge and expenses.

How and when you pay

Before we can commence work on your matter, we will require payment on account. The payment (usually £1000) is divided into two parts

N.B. Any money that you pay to us on account will be held in our Client Account and, subject to minimum amounts and periods of time, we will calculate and pay you a 'reasonable amount' of interest.

To help you budget while the work is in progress, we will send you an interim bill at the end of each month showing charges, expenses and money still held on account. We will send you a final bill after completion of the work.

Payment is due immediately upon receipt of ANY INTERIM BILL AND the final bill. Should you prefer, we have the facility of being able to accept payment by credit or debit card and such payment may be made, in person or by telephone. Alternatively, we have made arrangements via a third party to offer payment via regular monthly instalments; there is an interest charge levied by the supplier for this service. Please ask for more details should you wish to pursue payment by this means.

If you have any queries about your interim or final bill, you should contact the person dealing with your case immediately. If you are not satisfied with the outcome you may raise your objections by way of the firm’s complaints procedure. You may also make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, and/or by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part 111 of the Solicitors Act 1974.

In the event that our bill remains unpaid, we will charge you interest daily on the full amount at 4% above base rate per year from the date of the bill. We may not carry out any further work for you if money on account or payment of a bill has not been received.

We may use monies held on account in relation to other cases where we are acting for you towards costs incurred in relation to this matter.

If we receive third party cheques (made payable to Pellys Solicitors Ltd) that are to be credited to your account, we will deduct any outstanding charges and expenses before accounting to you for the balance.

In cases where we carry out property transactions we will send you an invoice for all our charges and expenses, payment of which is due on completion. If sufficient funds are available on completion and we have sent you an invoice, we will deduct our charges from the funds.

N.B. As a consequence of the money laundering directive, we cannot accept any more than £500 in cash from you over the life of a matter.

Interest

In accordance with the SRA accounts rules 2011 Pellys Solicitors Ltd are required to have an interest policy which is fair and reasonable. The following policy applies:

Interest is paid gross unless placed on a separate designated deposit account.
Interest will be calculated on any sums greater than £10,000 held for more than 30 days.
Interest will only be paid if the amount calculated on cleared funds is greater than £20.00
The interest will be calculated using a rate of .05 below the rate of that Pellys Solicitors Ltd receive from Lloyds
The interest policy will be reviewed every time that Lloyds rates change.

HOW WE LOOK AFTER STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS

After completing the work, there will have accumulated many papers and documents; this is how we deal with them:

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 for you under any other circumstances.

YOUR SAFEGUARDS

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Pellys Solicitors Ltd is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which obliges us to have a minimum compulsory professional indemnity insurance in place. Our insurance cover is to the value of £10m maximum liability in respect of an aggregate sum against the limited company,  its shareholders, directors  and  employees per individual claim.

Personal Information

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, we are required to inform you that the professional services provided by Pellys Solicitors Ltd will inevitably involve our collecting and processing personal information about you and disclosing that information to employees, agents and other persons involved in the conduct of your case. From time to time, we may also write to you in connection with other services we provide and which we think may be of interest to you.

We are under a duty to you to keep all information relating to your affairs completely confidential unless authorised by you to disclose information to someone else.  However, we may sometimes have other duties and obligations which affect our obligations to you, for example we are obliged to disclose to the National Crime Agency any suspicions we may have regarding money laundering or terrorist activities and this will override our duty of confidentiality to you.

Financial advice and related matters

Pellys Solicitors Ltd is 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 www.fca.gov.uk/register.

However, from time to time many of our clients require financial advice on matters relating to investments, pensions, life insurance and mortgage.  As explained above we are not ourselves authorised to provide such advice but are concerned to ensure that our clients have access to independent financial advice when appropriate and we will make arrangements with independent  Financial Advisers to refer clients who require such advice.

LEXCEL

We are a Lexcel accredited firm  working to the Law Society’s quality mark.   This involves a limited inspection of the firm’s case files by external assessors.  We have an overriding duty of confidentiality to you and must therefore request your consent to such inspection.  In considering this matter we would wish to make it clear to you that:-

Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we will assume that you have no objection to your file being inspected should the need arise, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries in relation to this aspect either now or in the future.

MARKETING

Pellys Solicitors Ltd may use your information to keep you updated about services and events which may be of interest to you via e-mail.  Should you not wish to receive communication by e-mail please tick the box below.  We will then note our system accordingly.  You can, at any time, have your details removed from our marketing contact lists by writing to us at any of our addresses shown below.


  I/We do not wish to receive marketing information by electronic format.

CONCLUSION

We can then be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you, and will not take any further action until we have received a duly signed Terms and Conditions of Business document.

This is an important document: please keep it in a safe place for future reference.

Signed ………………………        Print Name …………………………………….

           ……………………….      …………………………………….

           ………………………..      ……………………………………..

Dated ………………………..

Pellys Solicitors Ltd Pellys Solicitors Ltd Pellys Solicitors Ltd Penn Sassoli
(Trading name of Pellys Solicitors LTD)
18 The Causeway 12 Market Walk 1-3 High Street 20 a Market Hill
Bishop's Stortford Saffron Walden Great Dunmow Royston
Herts Essex Essex Herts
CM23 2EJ CB10 1JZ CM6 1UU SG8 9JG
       
01279 758080 01799 514420 01371 871600 01763 245234

Hours of business at our offices are 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday inclusive.  Appointments can be arranged to see you at any of our locations or outside of these hours where possible.

Pellys RJP Reference: ………………………….

© Pellys Solicitors Limited 2013/6