Terms of Business

SSLLP Terms & Conditions of Business


1. Introduction.

The Terms of Business set out below are the terms upon which we (Silver Shemmings LLP (“SSLLP”)) will carry out work on your behalf.

These terms will apply to all work that we carry out on your behalf as from 1 October 2015 this is an important document and we request that you retain a copy for future reference.

When we accept instructions to carry out work on your behalf, we will send you our letter of engagement which will set out the work that you have requested us to do and will refer to these terms.

These terms are binding on you whether or not you sign the engagement letter and whilst you continue to give us instructions to act on your behalf.

 

2. Service Standards.

Silver Shemmings LLP is committed to providing a good service to all clients. As part of that service, we will endeavour to:

  • Keep you regularly informed of progress of your matter;
  • Communicate to you in plain language;
  • Explain the legal work that may be required to be carried out on your behalf;
  • Advise you regularly on the costs/risk benefit of pursuing a matter; and
  • Advise you of the likely time scales involved.

 

3. Scope of work and your Responsibilities.

We will agree with you what work you require us to do.

You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information you have given to us to carry out that work.

It is your responsibility to deal promptly with any correspondence and to keep us updated with any change in information that may affect our advice and the way we handle the matter on your behalf. In particular any changes of name of the company, the personnel involved, addresses and contact details must be notified to us immediately.

When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP) in the event of that limited company or LLP being unable to pay the charges and expenses of this practice for whatever reason, the directors of the limited company or members of the LLP agree personally to be jointly and severally liable for the charges and expenses of this firm. We may require that a director or controlling shareholder or member signs a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm.

 

4. Fees.

Our fees are based on the time we spend in dealing with a matter on your behalf.  We will charge a fee which is fair and which fee is based on an hourly rate.

Our rates are reviewed annually in April.  We will notify you of any increase in the rates.

Our fees are calculated on a time basis which takes into account the experience of the individual person concerned, the amount of skill and responsibility involved and the resources required to carry out the work on your behalf. 

We will charge you for all time spent on your matter which includes, but is not limited to,

  • meetings with you and others;
  • travel time (where time cannot be usefully spent working on other matters);
  • research and review of papers;
  • dealing with correspondence including letters, emails and faxes;
  • making and receiving telephone calls;
  • attending Court and any other proceedings including waiting time;
  • preparing notes of meetings, telephone calls and other proceedings;
  • complying with professional and statutory requirements.

Any estimate of fees we provide is only a guide and is not a fixed quote. We may agree a fixed fee.  If so, our letter of engagement will confirm this and the services, where appropriate, we are to provide for this fee. It will be based on the information you have supplied to us. If any of that information proves to be incorrect, or if the services we are to provide you change, or are increased, our fixed fee may not apply. In the event of any change or increase in the scope of our services, we will advise you that the fixed fee no longer applies, and will agree a new fee with you.

We will add the following to our fees, namely:-

  • VAT where applicable.
  • Disbursements such as barristers’ and other agency fees, search fees, Court fees.
  • Expenses including travelling costs, including mileage which is charged at 45p per mile, copying and scanning documents and couriers.

 If you wish to limit the amount of fees that you want to incur, we are happy to accommodate this.  We will agree a realistic limit of those fees and advise you as that limit is approached and once it has been exceeded.

 

5. Money on Account.

On receiving instructions, it is normal practice that we will request money on account of our charges and expenses.  Half of this amount will be held in our Client Account until the matter comes to an end when we will apply that money and any accrued interest in line with our interest policy, to our final invoice to you.

 The remaining half will be used to offset our interim invoices. We also reserve the right to request top ups to the monies on account in respect of on-going work and disbursements which have not yet been invoiced to you.  Interim invoices will be sent to you each month (see below).

 It is our usual practice to request a payment of money on account of costs before we commence work on your behalf.

 

6. Invoicing and payment.

 We will send you an interim bill for our charges and expenses at the end of each month whilst the work is in progress.  We will send you a final bill after completion of the work.

 Our bills are due for payment immediately. 

 If you have not paid your bill within one month of receiving it, we will reserve the right to charge you interest in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.  The rate of interest as allowed under this Act is 8% above the Bank of England Base Rate as at the date the bill is sent to you.  We will charge this rate of interest from the date of the bill to the date of payment.

 If it is necessary to take proceedings against you because of non-payment of our invoices, we will ask the Court to order you to pay all of the costs we incur in those proceedings. Until such time as payment is made we have the right to retain your file and all documents in our possession. (This is called a ‘lien’).

 If for any reason the matter does not proceed then we will be entitled to charge you for all work done and expenses incurred up to that date.

You are responsible for paying our bill.  If someone else is to pay your bill, then we require you to let us know immediately as we have a duty to carry out checks in accordance with the money laundering regulations (see below).  If that third party does not settle your account, you will always be responsible for payment in the event of any default by that third party.

If you have a query in respect of an invoice please raise this with the relevant person as soon as possible.  If you are still unhappy after that, please refer to the section below dealing with complaints.

 

7. Other Parties’ Charges and Expenses.

It is important that you understand you will be responsible for paying our bill.  In certain circumstances some of your legal fees and expenses may be paid by another person under order of a Court.  Even if you are successful, the other party may not be ordered to pay all of your charges and expenses.  If this happens, you will be responsible for paying the balance of those charges and expenses.

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 these.  We will account to you in respect of that interest.

If the Court orders you to pay the other parties’ legal fees and expenses, i.e. if you lose the case, that money is payable in addition to our charges and expenses.  We will discuss with you whether our charges and expenses and your liability for another parties’ charges and expenses may be covered by insurance and if not, whether it would be advisable for you to have insurance to meet the other parties’ charges and expenses.  Details of funding are available on our website and we urge you to review this.            

 

8. Professional Indemnity Insurance & Limitation of Liability.

This firm is required to carry compulsory Professional Indemnity Insurance as required by the Solicitors Indemnity Insurance Rules.  The insurance covers the work carried out from offices located in England & Wales.

The firm’s insurers are Travelers Insurance Company Limited.  Their address is 61 – 63 London Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1NA.  The Insurance Policy No. is UC SOL 3982160.

In any event and in the absence of any specific limit specified in our letter of engagement, our entire liability in respect of any claim or series of claims resulting in the same or similar loss shall not exceed £3million in aggregate (limit of insurance liability). We will not be liable in respect of loss of profit or any type of special indirect or consequential loss including actions bought by a third party.

We have no expertise in any of the specialist subjects listed below and unless specifically stated to the contrary in the engagement letter, we will not be responsible for advising or commenting in any way on any of the following, namely:

a) The laws of any legal jurisdiction other than England and Wales;

b) Any accounting or tax consequences of any transaction that you are to enter into and the general taxation implications of any advice given;

c) The commercial or financial viability of any contracts or arrangements entered or to be entered into by you;

d) Matters of business efficacy.

Nothing in these Terms of Business affect our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

Once a matter has been completed we will have no further responsibility nor will we accept liability for advising you in respect of any expiry dates relating to limitation of actions.

 

9. Storage of papers and documents.

 After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents where is money owing to us for our charges and expenses.  We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which we will return to you on payment of our final invoice) for no more than 6 years.  We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

 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 or dealing with correspondence or other work necessary to comply with the instructions given by you or others on your behalf.

 

10. Termination.

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to retain by lien 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 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 however give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.

If you or we decide that we will no longer act for you, you will pay our charges and expenses up to that date and as set out above.

 

11. Complaints procedure.

We are confident of providing a high quality service.  If however, you have any queries or concerns about our work please raise them in the first instance with Sarah Shemmings, Managing Partner.  If that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction or you prefer not to speak to her, then please contact Richard Silver, the Senior Partner.  We operate a complaints procedure and would be happy to supply a copy upon request.

If we are unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, that deals with legal services complaints.

You have six months from the date of our final letter dealing with the complaint in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman whose details are.

Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806,Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ

Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email address: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk  

Alternative complaints bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

We agree to use:

Pro Mediate Uk Ltd of Brow Farm, Top Road, Frodsham, Cheshire WA 6 6SP

      Telephone: 019287 32455

      Email address: enquiries@promediate.co.,uk

      Website: www.promediate.co.uk

 

12. Confidentiality.

 We will keep confidential all information about you and your business and not disclose it to anyone outside this practice without your consent. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you do consent to disclosure during the handling of your work, on a confidential basis to auditors who make random checks of files, to our professional indemnity insurers, where compelled by professional regulations or by law (see in particular paragraph below relating to the Money Laundering Regulations 2003) or on a confidential basis to any external provider of administration services. If we are compelled to disclose information or you ask us to object to any such disclosure, we may charge for the work involved.

 

13. Email.

 We routinely use email to communicate and whilst we have normal levels of security in place, you will accept the risk that email communications may not be secure.

 

14. Copyright.

 Copyright in any document created by us will be and will remain vested in us and will not be transferred to you. We assert the right to be identified as the author of and to object to the misuse of any such documents.

 

15. Data Protection.

We will hold your details on our computer database system.  The information is confidential and will not be given to anyone outside of this practice without your permission unless we need to do so to provide services or collect our outstanding charges and expenses (including credit searches).

We will however use the information that we hold to help us provide our services and forward information that we consider will be of assistance to you including legal information updates, and invitations to seminars.

Unless you let us know in writing to the contrary, we will assume that you agree to us using this information in this manner.

 

16. Cookie Policy.

 In line with all other businesses cookies are used on our website.  We would refer you to our cookie policy which can be accessed here

 

17. Money Laundering Regulations 2003.

 i.   Proof of Identity

We are required to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of our client.  In order to comply with these requirements, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as practicable.  We should be grateful, therefore, if you could provide us with documents to verify your identity and address as follows;

 For personal instructions:

 a photocopy of your passport or driver’s license with photograph;

  • copy utility bill showing your current address which is no more than three months old; (required only if you are instructing us in a personal capacity)

 If we are instructed by a company:

  • in respect of a company or LLP, a copy of the certificate of incorporation and signed authority on behalf of the company or LLP that you have authority to give instructions on behalf of that company, such authority must be signed by a director or the company secretary.
 ii.  Confidentiality

Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client 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 Serious Organised 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.

 iii. Cash

 Our firm’s policy is not to accept cash from client. If clients circumvent this policy by depositing cash direct with our bank, we reserve the right to charge for any additional costs for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.

 iv. Third Parties

 If your bills are to be settled by a third party then we have a duty to carry out the    same money laundering checks on them as we do with you.

        

18. Distance Selling.

 If we receive your instructions over the telephone or by the internet (email) you will be entitled to cancel our engagement as your solicitor at any time before we accept your instructions, or within 7 days of our accepting those instructions provided you write to us cancelling those instructions, and you have not instructed us to commence acting on your behalf (i.e. by writing to others, including the Court, advising of your instructions) before sending the notice of cancellation.

 

19. Financial Services.

 We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

 

20. Insurance Mediation.

Silver Shemmings LLP is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services 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 Regulatory Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.

 

21. Equality and Diversity.

This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees.  Our policy is available on our website and can be accessed here

 

22.  Jurisdiction.

These terms of business and our relationship are governed by English law, and you hereby agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

 

October 2015