Terms and Conditions
The following document sets out in more details our general Terms of Business. If you have any queries regarding the contents of this or any of our documents do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff.
- Terms of Business
- We will update you by telephone, writing or via e-mail with progress on your matter at least every six weeks, unless agreed to the contrary or there is a good reason not to.
- We will communicate with you in plain language.
- We will explain to you either by telephone, e-mail or in writing the legal work required as your matter progresses.
- We will update you on whether the likely outcome still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances.
- We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates.
- We will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
Our responsibilities include:
- We will review your matter regularly.
- We will advise you of any changes in the law.
- We will advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.
Your Responsibilities include:
- You will provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions.
- You will provide all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner.
- You will safeguard any documents which are likely to be required for discovery.
- First Appointment
At your first appointment with us we aim to:
- Identify your problem and how we might help. If we cannot handle your case from start to finish, and need to refer you somewhere else for help with part of your case (e.g. if your case involves representation at an immigration tribunal) then we will tell you this, and give you details of where and how you will be referred.
- Tell you who will be dealing with your case and whether or not he/she is a solicitor.
- Explain what public funding/legal aid can and cannot do for you and especially whether or not it will pay for advice only or representation at court as well. We will also explain what being a legally aided client involves for you.
- Explain what we will do to help you with your problem and what you need to do.
- Tell you the likely cost both of our help and that of any other firm/agency to whom we might refer part of your case. We will tell you about any contribution you may have to pay and explain the circumstances in which you might have to pay costs to the other side. You might have to repay the Legal Services Commission out of any money or property you get in your case. This is called the “Statutory Charge” and will be fully explained to you.
- Tell you how long your case might take and when you can expect to hear from us.
- Check that we have properly explained everything you need to know and answer any questions you have.
After your first appointment we will confirm all these points, and anything else we tell you, usually in writing.
- Papers and Documents
Please remember to bring all relevant papers to the first appointment. If you are not sure which papers are relevant, bring anything you think will be helpful. This will make it much quicker and easier to find out what your problem is and how we can help you with it. You should also bring with you information about your own and your partner’s income, savings and outgoings; for example, recent wage slips, mortgage or rent information, and bank statements. Proof of your identity is also required in every case.
- At the End of Your Case
When we finish dealing with your case, we will:
- Tell you about the outcome and anything else you need to do, including whether you need to look at the matter again in the future.
- Return any of your property
- Hours Of Business
Our normal hours of business are Monday to Friday 0900 hours (9am) to 1700 hours (5:00pm).
During the course of our business with you Landons may use e-mail as a means of communication, either with you or other parties in connection with your case. We would point out that, due to the nature of e-mail communication and despite our best efforts: –
- Confidentiality of email cannot always be guaranteed
- E-mail always has a risk of interception
- Landons treat email received as confidential and subsequently it may not be opened if the addressee is away from the office.
- Landons do not encrypt email
Whilst the chances of interception are unlikely we feel it is our duty to advise you of the above. Should you NOT wish us to communicate via e-mail regarding your case, please notify us in writing.
- Equality and Diversity
Landons are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
- Data Protection & Confidentiality
We comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 and Data Protection Act 1998 with respect to information held on our clients. We enclose a copy of our Privacy Notice along with a Consent Form which please complete and return to us.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
- To provide you with a fee estimate;
- To open your file and commence working on your matter;
- Conducting checks to verify you, your identity and screen for financial or other sanctions which will include checks with third parties;
- Progressing your matter;
- Gathering and providing information required by or relating to audits, enquiries and investigations by regulatory bodies;
- Complying with professional, legal and regulatory obligations to apply to our business;
- Internal record keeping and updating client records;
- Preparing and filing statutory returns and court documents;
- Drafting and issuing legal documents i.e contracts, transfer deeds etc;
- External audits and quality checks i.e Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) and other accreditations;
- Operational reasons; such as improving efficiency, training and quality control;
- Statistical analysis to help us manage our practice, i.e in relation to our financial performance, client base, work type or other efficiency measures; and
- To make suggestions and recommendations to you about the legal services we can provide that may be of interest to you.
Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, GDPR and the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. Please refer to our Privacy Notice which sets outs in full how we collect, use and share your personal information.
We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please complete the Consent Form which you will have received with the Client Care Letter.
All the advice we give you is entirely confidential. Your file may be seen by staff from the Legal Services Commission as part of their quality check of our work. Legal Services Commission staff are bound by law to keep information confidential. However, if you do not wish your file to be audited, would you please tell me as soon as possible so we may note your file accordingly.
However please note that we are obliged by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to inform the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) of any suspicion or knowledge that we may have of any ‘criminal property’ (including any money, cash or benefit received) that is, or we suspect may be, the product of any criminal behaviour. Therefore we must reserve the right to give such notices as we deem appropriate and thereafter not to discuss such matters further with you.
Please contact the firms Data Protection Officer ([email protected]) if you have any queries or require further clarification on our data protection policy.
- Storage Of Documents
At the conclusion of your case, I will send your papers to our old file storage depot and they will be kept there for the required statutory period and then destroyed. If you wish me to retrieve your papers after they have been placed in storage, then my Company must reserve the right to make a reasonable charge being the cost of retrieval (£50 + VAT). The copyright in all documents prepared by this Company shall remain the copyright of the Company. In order to avoid the above charge being made, please ask for your original papers to be returned immediately upon the conclusion of your matter. I will send you copies of all important letters at the time that they are sent out by me or received by me.
- Outsourcing of Work
We do not as a rule outsource any aspect of our work on client files, however were we to do so each supplier would be bound by strict confidentiality agreements to preserve client confidentiality at all times. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible, in writing.
- Vetting of files
External firms or organisations such as our indemnity insurers or regulatory bodies such as but not limited to the Legal Services Commission or the Legal Complaints Service, may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
- Applicable Law
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.
- Terminating the Retainer
You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. This right of retention is known as a “Lien”
We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, e.g. if you do not pay an interim bill, if there is a conflict of interest or you fail to provide timely and reasonable instructions. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point if you are funding your representation privately. These are calculated as set out in the client care letter you have been provided, or if you are Publicly Funded we will notify the Legal Services Commission and your Public Funding Certificate may be transferred to another firm of solicitors, discharged or revoked.
- Money Laundering Regulations
In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we may need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as practicable. Your Solicitor will advise you if your instructions would be subject to Money Laundering regulations and if so we should be grateful, if you would provide us with documents to verify your identity and address as set out as below. We require evidence of your full name and current address, including your postcode. If you are a UK resident, examples of suitable evidence include:
- Current signed passport
- Current UK or EEA photo-card driving licence
- A recent utility bill or statement
- Local council tax bill for current year
- Bank, building society or credit union statement
The Solicitors Regulation Authority require us to carry out specific procedures in certain circumstances to ensure that the transactions that we carry out on your behalf do not involve the use of proceeds of crime or money laundering. One of these procedures is to carry out anti-money laundering searches against our clients as a matter of course. Please be advised that we may see it necessary to conduct an online electronic search against your name in order to comply with the anti-money laundering regulations. We will inform you if this will apply in each matter you instruct us in by way of our Client Care Letters. Where applicable, the cost of this search is £6.00 per person. This charge where relevant will be shown in the fee estimate section of each Client Care Letter.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
If we are acting for both the lender and the purchaser we have a requirement to fully disclose to them relevant facts affecting their decision to make the loan, for example
- any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction
- any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you
- Payment of Invoices
We accept cash, and cheques (supported by a bankers card) as well as most debit and credit cards. A small charge will be made for credit card transactions to cover the costs charged to us by the financial institutions.
- Payments of Interest on Client Money
In accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Accounts Rules we are required to account to our clients for interest on money held by us in our client account when it is fair and reasonable to do so. We are required to hold client money in an instant access account to facilitate transactions and in every case the holding of client money is incidental to the carrying out of clients’ instructions. As a result, the rates of interest paid under this policy are unlikely to be as high as those obtained by an individual.
Interest will be paid where the amount calculated on the balance held exceeds £50. Where money is held in relation to separate matters for the same client we will treat the matters separately, unless the matters are so closely related that they should be considered together.
Interest will be calculated on a daily basis, using the average rates of interested offered to business customers on instant access deposit accounts across all banking institutions where we hold general client funds. Where appropriate we will adjust these rates to take into account our overall banking arrangements so far as they affect the rates received. Importantly, interest will be calculated on cleared client funds. In the case of cheques received, this will be 5 working days after the cheque has been deposited with our bank, and for amounts received in cash, or via credit or debit card, standing orders, BACS and CHAPS, interest will accrue from the day of receipt into our client account.
We will normally account to the client for interest at the conclusion of the matter. This interest policy, including the de minimis limit of £50, will be reviewed periodically, particularly if changes are made to the Bank of England’s Base Rate.
- Financial Services
We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice.
Landons take every precaution possible to safeguard any funds held on account, however we cannot accept responsibility for any funds which may be lost as a result of the collapse of a financial institution.
Landons is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about your bill, please contact Jessie Stewart on 01277 210021 or on [email protected]. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available at our offices and from your lawyer.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of the complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider your complaint on 0300 555 0333 or at [email protected].Their postal address is The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. You will need to bring a complaint to The Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from us about your complaint. Please be further aware that a complaint can be made within 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or 3 years of your becoming aware of it, if it happened more than 6 years ago).
- Challenging a Bill
Our standard complaints procedure is also applicable if you wish to complain about your bill, you may also object to the bill by making a complaint to the Legal Complaints Service or the Office of Legal Complaints, and/or by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974; and however if all or part of the bill remains unpaid the solicitor may be entitled to charge interest
- Payments to Third Parties for Referrals or Potential Referrals
Landons will in certain circumstances enter into agreements with third parties to act as referral agencies, these payments may be an amount of money paid for each referral or potential referral or an annual payment to be included within a referral scheme
- Insurance – Provision of Service Regulations 2009
Landons comply with the above regulation by displaying the required details of our Professional Indemnity Insurance in each of our offices.
- Further Information
Should you require any further information please speak to your solicitor who will be happy to assist you.