Terms and Conditions
Thank you for instructing James Legal to deal with your case. James Legal is a trading name of James Legal Limited company registration number 06837013, registered address is Planet House, 2 Woodhouse Street, Hull HU9 1RJ (referred to in this documents as “James Legal, Us or We”).
James Legal Limited is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA number 510398 at our Hull office and SRA number 664876 at out Beverley office.
Because of the broad range of legal services which we provide we now set out details of our general terms and conditions applying to all clients. When you instruct us on a particular case, transaction or matter we will generally also send you a formal terms of engagement letter and/or Proposal and/or Order (these engagement letters and/or Proposals and/or Orders either separately or together shall for the purposes of this small print be called “the Engagement Letter”) setting out any specific additional arrangements or terms which will apply to work on that case, transaction or matter (“Your Case”).
In the event of any conflict between the terms and arrangements as set out in the Engagement Letter and referred to below, the Engagement Letter will prevail. By instructing us you agree to the terms and arrangements set out below as varied by the terms of the Engagement Letter which we send to you.
OUR SERVICE COMMITTMENT TO YOU
We endeavour to provide a quality legal service and we will endeavour at all times to fulfil this. In particular we will, during the course of your retainer, endeavour to achieve the following:
- Keep you regularly informed of the progress of your case.
- Communicate with you in plain language.
- Explain the nature of the legal work that may be required in your case.
- Keep you fully advised as to the likely risks/benefits of pursuing your case.
- Keep you advised of the likely timescale of your case.
- Keep you regularly advised as to the costs incurred on your case.
OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO YOU
- We will act in your best interests at all times and pursue your case conscientiously and efficiently.
- We will review your case regularly to ensure progress.
- We will advise you of any changes in the law that are relevant to your case whilst it progresses.
- We will advise you of any circumstances or risks that change or arise during the course of your case that may affect its outcome.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO US
- We require you to provide us with prompt and clear instructions as and when required in your case to enable us to progress your case.
- We require you to keep us informed of any change of address or of your contact number.
- We require you to discharge any final or interim bill invoice that we may from time to time submit promptly and comply with any request by us to make payment on account of costs.
HOURS OF BUSINESS
Office hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Notwithstanding the above, we appreciate that you may need legal advice outside our normal office hours. Accordingly and where appropriate, you will sometimes be given the mobile telephone number and or email of the solicitor with overall responsibility for your matter.
PRICING, CHARGES AND EXPENSES
Our charges will be based either on a quoted fixed fee, or a time based fee calculated by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work done on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and others third parties, telephone calls with you and any third parties, correspondence (in any form) with you and any third parties, reading and working on papers, any other correspondence, preparation, research, time spent travelling (if relevant to your case) and any other time spent carrying out work on your case or related to your case.
In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, and any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand. In particular, in property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a client, a charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property, the size of the estate, or the value of the financial benefit may be considered. Where a charge reflecting any value element is to be added we will explain this to you.
Where a fee is quoted in advance (even if this is expressed to be a fixed fee) and unforeseen problems arise or additional work becomes necessary, we reserve the right to charge an increased fee to cover the extra work; but only if we have informed you of this before the increased fee is incurred.
Unless we agree otherwise all work will be charged in 6 minute units of time.
In some types of work the fee will include a value element, a charge not exceeding 100% of the value to which the work relates. You will be specifically informed if this work includes such a value element.
The current hourly rates are set out set out below. These hourly rates are exclusive of VAT.
- Partner/Director £225.00
- Experience/Senior Solicitor (8 years plus) £200.00
- Experience/Senior Solicitor (4 years plus) £175.00
- Solicitor / Legal Executive £150.00
- Trainee Solicitor £125.00
- Legal Assistant £100.00
These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1st April each year. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.
Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land or Probate Registry fees, Court fees, experts’ fees, and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the cleared funds for that purpose in advance. VAT is payable on certain expenses. We refer to such payments generally as ‘disbursements’.
We reserve the right to apply an administration charge to certain expenses such as travel ticket cost, in circumstances were we apply such a charge this shall be no more than ten percent.
It is sometimes necessary to provide photocopies (copy) of all or parts of the file for you, Counsel and/or the Court. Normal copy costs (usually below 50 A4 pages) will not normally be charged but bulk copy (above 50 A4 pages) will be charged to you as an expense / disbursement. Such expenses / disbursements will be charged on a rate per page basis as an additional disbursement to the file. Charging rates will be given on request.
If for any reason, your case does not proceed, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
Payment is due on invoicing / billing.
Payment may be made by Visa or Bankers Card and arrangements can be made for regular payments by Bankers Order. Cheque or Bank transfer must be used for all payments over £250. Government Regulations restrict cash payments.
In the unlikely event of any bill, invoice, request for any payment or payment on account not being met, this firm reserves the right to stop acting for you further unless and until payment is made.
Further to the above we shall be entitled to retain all documents in relation to your matter until full payment of any outstanding bill is made.
Administration of Estates. We will normally submit an interim bill at regular stages during the administration, starting with the obtaining of a Grant. The final account will be prepared when the estate accounts are ready for approval.
Property transactions. We will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts and payment is required on a purchase prior to completion; and at completion on a sale. If sufficient funds are available on completion, and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct our charges and expenses from the funds.
Other cases and transactions. We will report to you on the amount of outstanding work in progress and disbursements on a regular basis.
Often payments are required prior to work commencing. We find that this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of a case may result.
Interest will be charged on a daily basis calculated at 8% above the Bank of England base rate per annum from the date of the bill if payment is not made within 28 days of the date set out therein.
OTHER PARTIES’ CHARGES AND EXPENSES
In some cases a client may be entitled to payment of costs by some other person. It is important that you understand that in such cases the other person may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses you incur with us. You still have to pay our charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts that can be recovered will be a contribution toward them. If the other party is in receipt of legal aid no costs are likely to be recovered.
If you are successful and a court orders another party to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can sometimes 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 for seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you.
A client who is unsuccessful in a court case may be ordered to pay the other party’s legal charges and expenses. That money would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses. In limited cases arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for such legal expenses. Please discuss this with us if you are interested in this possibility.
RECOVERY OF COSTS
In civil court proceedings (High Court/Court of Appeal/House of Lords/county court) the general costs rule is that the losing party pays a proportion of the winning party’s costs but the court has a very wide discretion to make an order in any terms which it considers appropriate. Only in very exceptional circumstances will the court order the losing party to pay all of the winning party’s costs. You are still responsible for paying our charges even if the other party has been ordered to pay towards them and our entitlement to payment is not postponed until you have received those costs. The position will be the same if an insurance company is to pay your costs.
Money held by us for you, whether on account of fees, expenses or disbursements or otherwise will be place in our Client Account and you will be entitled to interest the earned on that money as calculated by our bank. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from the date(s) when funds are received by us until the date(s) on the cheque(s) issued to you. The payment of interest is subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 1998.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Save as stated below, our total liability to you in respect of our engagement for any loss, liability or damage howsoever caused, whether in contract (by way of indemnity or otherwise), tort (including negligence), misrepresentation, restitution or otherwise (in each case whether caused by negligence or not) and whether related to any act, omission, services provided to you or not provided to you or failure to act or delay in acting by James Legal will be limited to an amount recorded in writing (the “Liability Cap”). The Liability in respect of all loss or damage is as set out in the Engagement Letter. If the Engagement Letter does not address the Liability Cap (and we have not agreed otherwise in writing), the Liability Cap in respect of all other loss or damage is £3 million.
We shall not be liable to you for any failure or delay or for the consequences of any failure or delay in performance of your instructions if it is due to any event beyond our reasonable control including, without limitation, acts of God, war, industrial disputes, protests, fire, flood, storm, tempest, explosion, act of terrorism and national emergencies.
The extent to which any loss or damage will be recoverable by you from us will also be limited so as to be in proportion to our contribution to the overall fault for such loss and damage, taking into account such contributory negligence by you, your advisors and/or any other third party responsible to you and/or liable in respect of such loss.
You agree not to bring any claim in respect of loss or damage suffered by you arising out of or in connection with our engagement (including but not limited to delay or non-performance of our engagement) against any of our partners, members, directors, employees or agents even when our partners, members, directors, employees or agents have been negligent. This restriction will not operate to exclude any liability that cannot be excluded at law or to exclude the liability of James Legal for the acts or omissions of any of our partners, members, directors, employees, or agents. It is agreed that each of our partners, members, directors, employees and agents will have the right to enforce this paragraph pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. We reserve any right we may have to rescind or vary the engagement without having to seek the consent of our partners, members, directors, employees and agents.
Nothing in the engagement shall affect any liability which we may have to you where the law prohibits us from excluding or limiting our liability to you. The provisions of this paragraph shall continue to apply notwithstanding the termination of our engagement for any reason.
If any limitation or provision contained in this limitation of liability section is found to be wholly or partly invalid or unenforceable under any applicable statute or rule of law it shall to that extent be deemed omitted, but the validity of the other limitations or provisions in this section, the remainder of the provision in question and our other terms of business shall not be affected.
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all its dealings with clients, third parties and employees, and is required to produce a written Equality and Diversity Policy. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a copy of that Equality and Diversity Policy.
LEGAL PROFESSIONAL PRIVILEGE
Under the principle of legal professional privilege communications between clients and their lawyers may enjoy special protection from later disclosure in litigation or in other circumstances. A necessary element of privilege is confidentiality. Legal professional privilege can therefore be lost if advice is circulated beyond the original recipient. This is a complex area but our general advice is that you and anyone else involved in this matter should treat all information and communications relating to it as confidential and avoid circulating them more widely than necessary.
LEGAL EXPENSES INSURANCE
Please let us know straight away if you have a legal expenses insurance policy. Insurance cover for legal costs is sometimes included as an extra feature of other insurance policies. It would be advisable to check whether any of your policies include this cover. If you would like us to review a particular policy for you, please let us know. If you are covered and wish to rely on the policy, you should notify your insurers immediately and should not take any steps in this matter until cover has been confirmed. Insurers usually have a panel of solicitors and may wish to refer this to a firm on the panel. If your insurers have no objections and you would like us to act for you, we will need to discuss separately with you any additional terms and conditions that would then apply to our relationship.
Proof of Identity
The law now requires Solicitors, as well as Banks, Building Society and others to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identify of their clients. This is because Solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients can be used by criminals wishing to launder money. In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as practicable this may be by hard copy documents or electronic means. We should be grateful therefore if you could provide us with documents to verify your identity and address. This can include a passport, a driver’s licence or some other form of photographic ID. Please note that we may also carry out an electronic search to provide evidence of your identity at the outset of your case. We will charge a sum of £10 for carrying out this search. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you agree to us carrying out such a search.
Proof of Funds / Wealth
As part of our checks, we may ask you to provide bank statements. By law, when we’re dealing with large amounts of money, we need to understand where the money comes from.
Solicitors are under a professional legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exemption. Recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed Solicitors under a legal duty to in certain circumstances to disclose information to the serious and organised crimes 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 will not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it. By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions you authorise us to make any such disclosure should any relevant information come into our possession or knowledge.
Our policy is:
- Only to accept cash from clients up to the sum of £250.
- If a client circumvents this policy by depositing cash directly with our Bank we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.
During the course of our work for you we will naturally acquire information personal to you which will be stored both electronically and on our paper files. We will not disclose any personal information or details of you to any other person or organisation without your express consent unless necessary to progress your case. We may however from time to time use your details to send you information about ourselves and services that we offer. If you do not wish to receive such information, please notify us.
Where the services that we carry out for you will be for content supplied in an exclusively digital form, the functionality will be as follows:
- In English, unless specifically requested by you prior to commencement of the contract;
- The digital content will be provided in a format appropriate to the type of service supplied, for example, PDF or Microsoft Word and will be accessible on most computers;
- We will normally forward you the digital content via email or secure portal for which an internet connection will be required or alternatively if you do not possess an internet connection we can provide you with the content in an alternative format.
EXPRESS REQUEST TO BEGIN URGENT WORK
Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014 and if you are a Consumer (as defined by the regulations) you have the right to cancel the contract with us within 14 days of commencement. Where this applies this means that we will not commence any work for 14 days after you confirm that you wish to proceed. However your continued instructions after receipt of these terms and/or signing and returning the signed terms of engagement letter will be deemed to be an express request from you to begin the work prior to expiry of the statutory 14 days cancellation period.
By your continued instructions after receipt of these terms and/or signing and returning the signed terms of engagement letter you acknowledge that, as a consequence of your express request to begin the work prior to the conclusion of the 14 day termination period, where the contract for services will be concluded within the 14 day termination period, you forfeit your right to cancel the contract within the 14 day termination period.
OUTSOURCING OF WORK
We may from time to time outsource work from within the firm such as typing, photocopying, some legal process or electronic scanning of documents.
We will provide you of the identity and geographical address of any third-party that we outsource the work to at your request.
We ensure at all times that the organisations with which we entrust this work are bound by the same rules of confidentiality that we are. There are however always potential risks however small when information and documents are sent to a third party.
If you object to us outsourcing any work related to your case, please notify us in writing.
INTRODUCTIONS AND REFERRALS
In certain areas of work, mainly conveyancing, we pay a referral fee to an “Introducer” (i.e. an Estate Agent) in return for receiving work from them. If your case is affected by this we will notify you at the outset and inform you of the terms of the referral.
INSTRUCTIONS AND AUTHORITY TO CARRY OUT WORK
Agreeing to our engagement letter or subsequent communications (in whatever form) dealing with work and / or your continued instructions will constitute acceptance and authority to carry out work.
TERMINATION OF INSTRUCTIONS
You may terminate the contract for services within 14 days of entering the contract. You do not have to provide any reason for doing so.
If you terminate within 14 days of the service commencing then there will be no charge for the work carried out unless you have expressly consented to us starting the work before this date and we will refund you in full all payments made by you within 14 days of cancellation. If you have given us your express consent to starting the work before the 14 days has expired, you may still terminate the service within the 14 days but you will be charged for the work that has been carried out to date.
After the expiry of the 14 days you terminate our retainer at any time by giving us notice in writing but you will be charged for the work that has been carried out to date.
WE MAY STOP ACTING FOR YOU IF:
- You do not us give us clear and proper instructions.
- You appear to us to have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work.
- Your work puts us in breach of the law or of the rules of professional practice which apply to us.
- A conflict of interest arises
- You do not pay our invoice (including any interim invoice) or make payment on account as requested.
- There is some other good reason why we cannot continue to act.
We will give you reasonable notice if we wish to stop acting for you in any of the above circumstances.
If any of the above happens you will still be responsible for our fees and expenses up to the date of termination and we are entitled to keep your papers and documents while any money remains owing by you to us.
STORAGE OF DOCUMENTS
After completing your case we will keep your file of papers in relation to it for no more than seven years after the date of our final invoice. By instructing us you expressly authorize us to destroy the file after that time and you should therefore ask us on completion of your case if you wish us to return any papers or documents to you. We will not be responsible for any losses which may arise from the destruction of your file after the seven year period or for the loss or destruction of any documents or consequential losses caused by fire, flood or any other cause beyond our control.
We are entitled to retain documents if you have not paid us for any services which we have provided.
You may also ask us to look after important documents for example title deeds or wills in safe custody but we reserve the right to charge a fee for this service.
We do not however accept liability for loss or damage to documents placed in safe custody unless such loss or damage arises from our negligence.
If archive files and documents have to be taken out of storage or safe custody in connection with the current matter we will not normally charge you for that.
We will however make a charge for retrieving stored papers or documents in other circumstances for any other time which we spend (for example if you ask us to look through the documents) or expenses which we incur (for example if you ask us to copy documents or send them to you).
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND US
We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. Generally that communication will be by normal Royal Mail or e-mail. It is therefore essential to ensure that you keep us informed should you change your address and email address.
With regard to e-mail please note the following provisions: we may need to virus check discs or email; unless you instruct us otherwise we will communicate with others when appropriate by email or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by email or fax.
The Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended from time to time) requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information we think, may be of interest to you. Your particulars will not be circulated or referred to any other data base or business.
We comply with the Solicitors Anti-Discrimination Rules 2004.
In the unlikely event that you are unhappy with the service provided please in the first instant contact the person who had conduct of your case who may well be able to resolve the matter informally between you. If the matter cannot be resolved on that basis then please address complaints in writing to “Complaints Director, James Legal, Planet House, 2 Woodhouse Street, Hull HU9 1RJ or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request but in the event we receive a complaint a copy of the procedure will be sent to you as a matter of course.
We will always try to resolve any problems which may arise. If we are not able to resolve the problem you may contact the Legal Ombudsman with details of your complaint on 0300 555 0333 between 0830 and 1730 Monday to Friday.
If your complaint relates to an invoice and the issue cannot be resolved between us you have the right to object to the invoice by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and / or applying to the court for assessment under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
CONSUMER PROTECTION (DISTANCE SELLING) REGULATIONS 2000
In the event that we have not met with you, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 will apply to this file. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven working days of receiving the Engagement Terms. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by post or by fax to this office.
Once we have started work on your file, you may be charged if you then cancel your instructions. If you would like us to commence work on your file within the next seven working days, please sign and return our letter of engagement by fax, email or post.
ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TERMS
Your continuing instructions after receipt of these terms and conditions amount to your acceptance of them.
Agreeing to our engagement letter or subsequent communications (in whatever form) dealing with work and / or your continued instructions will constitute acceptance and authority to carry out work
GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION
The Engagement Terms and any matter arising in connection with our provision of goods and services to you are governed by the law of England and Wales.