1. About Boyce Hatton LLP
2. Your Agreement with Us
3. Work that is not included
4. Instructions and Authority
5. Cancellation Rights
6. Third Party Rights
7. Our Aim
8. Our Commitment to You
9. Your Responsibilities
10. Our Hours of Business
11. Fees and Expenses
12. Bills and Payment Arrangements
13. Interest Payments to You
14. Storage of Papers and Documents
15. Copyright and Disclosure of Documents
16. Money Laundering
18. Insurance distribution
19. Client Money and Exclusion Of Liability
20. Termination of this Agreement
21. Limited Companies
22. Quality Standards
23. Client Care and Complaints
24. Communication Between You and Us
1.1 References to we, us or our mean Boyce Hatton LLP.
1.2 Boyce Hatton LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales under number OC381360.
Our registered office is 58 The Terrace, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 1DE.
Our VAT registration is GB 140 9043 95 and our principal email address is [email protected]
1.3 We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) practice number 611531.
The SRA may be contacted via their website www.sra.org.uk
1.4 Where we refer to a “Partner” in these term and conditions or in any other correspondence, communication, document, medium or publication we mean a Member of Boyce Hatton LLP or a senior solicitor who has the designation of partner and any reference to Partner shall not be construed as indicating or meaning that the Members of Boyce Hatton LLP are carrying on business in partnership within the meaning of the Partnership Act 1890
1.5 A list of Members is available for inspection at our registered office.
1.6 We have the benefit of and maintain professional indemnity insurance policy in accordance with the rules of the SRA. The policy is with Endurance Worldwide Insurance Limited who may be contacted at Paragon International Insurance Brokers Ltd, 40 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4QT.
These terms and conditions of business (“Terms”) are to be read with the accompanying Engagement Letter and together they form the entire agreement (“the Agreement”) between you and us. Should you instruct us in respect of other matters now or in the future, new terms of business may be issued but until then these Terms shall apply in respect of those other matters. Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of the Terms.
Please note that there is no contract between you and any member, employee or consultant of Boyce Hatton LLP. Any advice given to you, or any other work done for you is given or done on behalf of Boyce Hatton LLP and not by anyone in their individual capacity and they do not assume any personal responsibility to you for the advice or work.
Subject to our Engagement Letter, or unless otherwise agreed to the contrary in writing, our advice shall not include advice on matters relating to: the laws of any jurisdiction other than England and Wales, taxes or duties, financial planning or accounting.
If you are a company, partnership or other organisation, we may accept instructions from anyone within your organisation unless you have written to us identifying which individuals we are to take instructions from. When our Agreement is with more than one person, unless otherwise agreed in writing we may accept instructions from any one of those persons on behalf of all; and correspond with any one of those persons on behalf of all.
If you are a consumer, you may have cancellation rights and, if you do, these will be set out in the Engagement Letter.
Unless the Engagement Letter provides to the contrary, then for the purposes of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 no part of the Agreement is enforceable by any third party.
We aim to offer our clients a high quality legal advice at a fair cost.
• REPRESENT your interests and keep your business confidential.
• EXPLAIN to you the legal work that may be required.
• KEEP YOU regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us.
• TRY to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you.
• DEAL with your queries promptly.
In order to carry out our services in a prompt, effective and professional manner, we shall require your full co-operation and assistance throughout the duration of the Agreement. This means that we expect to receive clear, timely and accurate instructions from you and to be provided with documents promptly upon request. In litigation matters you are required by the Court Rules (the Civil Procedure Rules) to safeguard any documents which are likely to be required for disclosure and we will give you further guidance on the types of documents which you are obliged to disclose, as necessary.
The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00am and 5.15pm on weekdays. Messages can be left on the answer phone outside these hours.
Our fees will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors, fee earners and other staff in respect of any work that they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, and time spent travelling when this is necessary. Time is recorded in units of six minutes.
The hourly rates for the persons dealing or assisting with your matter are set out in the accompanying Engagement Letter. We will add VAT at the current rate to these fees
In addition to the time spent, we may consider a number of factors, including: any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours; the complexity of the issues; the importance of the matter to you; the speed at which action has to be taken; and any specialist expertise that the case may demand. In particular with 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.
Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land or Probate Registry fees, court fees, barristers’ fees, experts’ fees, non-routine photocopying and so on. We refer to such payments generally as ‘disbursements’. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses.
If, for any reason, your matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
We will always attempt to give you estimates as to the likely overall fees for either the whole of the matter or part of it. However, there are times when it is difficult to do so and there are times when our original estimates may need amending. As a result, any estimates we give you must be taken as a general guide only and not as a firm quote. When our estimates do change then we will notify you in writing.
You are entitled to ask us to set an upper limit on our costs/fees. If we agree to such an upper limit, then you will be responsible for that amount without further authority.
If we engage the services of others on your behalf (for example accountants or other professionals) then we do so as your agent. When instructing these others, we will do so with care but we are not responsible for any act or omission on their part.
Any costs that we incur complying with Money Laundering Legislation will form part of our fees to you.
All bills are due for payment 14 days from the date of their issue.
Interest will be charged on unpaid bills at the higher of
• 4% over Bank of England base rate from time to time in force
• The rate payable on judgement debts or
• the rate payable under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the fees and expenses, which are expected in the following weeks or months, and we reserve the right to do so. We find that this helps clients in budgeting as well as keeping them informed of the costs which are being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of a case may result. Where these payments on account are made then we reserve the right to apply them immediately to reduce our fees and expenses.
As another way of helping you monitor and budget for our fees we shall deliver to you regular interim bills and at the end of the matter a final bill.
We accept payment by way of all debit cards and both Visa and Mastercard credit cards although in the case of credit cards we cannot accept these in respect of payment for disbursements.
We will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts. For purchases, payment is required prior to completion. For sales payment is required at completion. If sufficient funds are available on completion, and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct our fees and expenses from the funds.
We will normally submit an interim bill at regular stages, usually monthly, during the administration. The final account will be prepared when the estate accounts are ready for approval. Our fees/costs will be settled directly from the estate and not from the personal representatives or the beneficiaries.
In some cases and transactions, a client may be entitled to payment of costs by some other person(s). It is important that you understand that in such circumstances, the other person may not be required (or may not be financially able) to pay all the fees and expenses, which you incur with us. You have to pay our fees and expenses in the first place and any amounts that can be recovered will be a contribution towards them. If the other party is in receipt of legal aid no costs are likely to be recovered.
You will also be responsible for paying our fees and expenses of 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 fees and expenses. That money would be payable by you, in addition to our fees and expenses. 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.
You must consider whether you have an alternative way of paying our costs where you are or might be involved in a dispute.
Funding may be available via your employer or trade union. You may also hold a legal expenses insurance policy that could cover our costs; such a policy may be part of household contents, car or other insurance policies.
It is your responsibility to check and to tell us whether these other funding methods are available.
You should be aware that the availability of other funding methods may affect the recovery of costs from your opponent. If another body does pay your costs then, with your consent, we may have to tell that body about your dispute.
Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in our Payment of Interest Policy, which is available on request. Interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on Barclays Bank Plc’s Designated Client Accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which we receive cleared funds until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account.
Where a client obtains borrowing from a lender in a property transaction, we will ask the lender to arrange that the loan cheque is received by us a minimum of five working days prior to the completion date. If the money can be telegraphed, we will request that we receive it the day before completion. This will enable us to ensure that the necessary funds are available in time for completion. Such clients need to be aware that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of their loan cheque or the telegraphing of the payment.
We are entitled to keep all of your papers and documents while there is money owing to us in respect of our fees and expenses. Our working papers, drafts and documents together with copy letters sent by us will remain our property.
At the conclusion of the matter, we will ask you if you wish us to return your original documentation to you. If you do, then we will return them. If you do not request your documents, then we will retain them for a period of six years from the date of the final bill that we send you relating to the matter or the date of our closing letter for the matter. At that date, and unless you have previously notified us to the contrary in writing and requested their return, you will be deemed to have authorised us to destroy them and we will do so. We will not destroy documents you have asked us to deposit in safe custody.
We will not make a charge for retrieving the documents from storage but we may make a charge for the delivery of your documents, copying documents and for providing information or advice in relation to them such charges being based on their terms and the then prevailing hourly rate of the fee earner involved.
Copyright in any document created by us is and will be vested in us and will not be transferred to you. We reserve the right to be identified as the author of such document.
If we are required by a lawful authority to disclose information or documents about you or your affairs then we reserve the right to comply with that request and to charge you for the cost of doing so in accordance with the then applicable hourly rates and other relevant provisions of these Terms.
In the event that the information or documents attract or may attract legal professional privilege then we will notify you of that right and ask you if you wish to waive that privilege; if you do not then waive privilege we will be entitled to charge you for the cost of asserting or preserving privilege in accordance with the then applicable hourly rates and other relevant provisions of these Terms.
As part of the work we do for you we may use the services of third parties, for example Counsel, Search Agencies and Costs Draftsmen. You agree that we may do so and provide to them such information and material as we determine is reasonably required.
The law requires solicitors to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and sometimes people associated with them including beneficial owners. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.
If you cannot come in to see us so we can check your identity documents, we can accept copies but we will need those copies to be certified by a trusted third party, such as another solicitor or a chartered accountant or doctor. They should write ‘This copy is a true likeness of the original which was presented to us by the person named therein’ on the copies, and sign and date them, and include their name, occupation and contact details.
Alternatively, or in addition to, we may also undertake electronic verification of your identity through a third party provider. Electronic Verification of your identity will be subject to a charge of £15.00 plus VAT which we will invoice to you.
If we receive personal data from you for the purposes of our money laundering checks, such as a copy of your passport, these will be processed only for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing or otherwise permitted by law or with your express consent. You consent to us retaining such data for longer than the five-year statutory period, unless you tell us otherwise.
Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception. Legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing places 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 by law to make a money laundering disclosure. If that happens we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it because the law prevents “tipping off”.
Sometimes the work we carry out for you involves investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and so may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However, we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you, as we are regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.
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 distribution 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.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register.”
Where we hold money on behalf of Clients we will comply with all statutory requirements and all requirements of the SRA. We will hold Client’s money in our client bank accounts held with Barclays Bank Plc and any other banks where we may hold a client account from time to time, and also, where required, in client designated deposit accounts with such banks. Such banks are independent lending institutions over which we have no direct control. Consequently, in the unlikely event of any failure of a bank which holds client monies we will not be liable to you for any monies lost or for other losses caused to you by or consequent on that failure. However, you may be entitled to compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or such other scheme as is in force from time to time.
• Unless you advise us otherwise we will assume that you consent to us disclosing your details to the Prudential Regulation Authority in the event of a bank failure.
• If you require further details of the banks that we use to hold client money, please ask us for such details when you deposit funds with us.
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 fees and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring fees and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.
We may terminate this agreement by reasonable notice provided there is good reason to do so; such reason would include
• A failure by you to pay any outstanding bill
• A refusal or failure by you to make a payment on account
• A refusal to accept our advice
• Where you have requested that we act in a way that we believe would be unlawful or would be in breach of a professional rule or guide
• Where there is in our opinion a conflict of interest
• Where we believe that your interests would best be served by us ceasing to act on your behalf
• Where there has been a breakdown of trust and confidence
In the event of termination for whatever reason, you agree to pay to us our fees for
• Transferring our file to yourself or to others acting for you
• Coming off the court record unless within 7 days of a request from us you file a notice of intention to act in person or new solicitors file notice of change.
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the fees and expenses of this firm.
If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our fees on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.
We hold the Law Society’s Lexcel Quality Standard and we are an accredited member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme. As a result of this we are subject to periodic checks by outside assessors. This could mean that your file could be selected for checking. All inspections are, of course, conducted in confidence. If you prefer to withhold consent to the release of your file for these purposes, then please let us know. If you do not, we will assume that we have that consent., We will also assume, unless you indicate otherwise, that consent on this occasion will extend to all future matters, which we conduct on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like a further explanation or you wish us to mark your file as not to be inspected.
Our aim is to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service at all times, and we hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, then please raise your concern in the first place with the person
If you are still not satisfied that we have resolved your problem then you are entitled to complain to Peter Lewis who is the partner in overall charge of Client Care and Complaints at Boyce Hatton, 58 The Terrace, Torquay, TQ1 1DE, telephone 01803 403403 email [email protected] A copy of our Client Care and Complaints Procedure is available on request.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, website www.legalombudsman.org.uk, telephone 03005 550333, email [email protected] to consider the complaint. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final written response from us. Your complaint could be about our bill and in these circumstances there may be a right to object to the bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and/or by applying to the Court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
We will not charge you for the cost of handling your complaint.
Information or documents that are confidential will be kept as such by us (subject to any disclosure obligation – see clause 15 above). Where we are working on your matter with others we will assume, unless you instruct us to the contrary, that we are permitted to disclose confidential information or documents to them.
If you provide us with an address, fax or e mail for the purposes of communication we will assume, unless you tell us to the contrary, that such is sufficiently confidential and secure.
As part of our insurance arrangements we may have to pass information about your matter to our insurers. You agree that under this Agreement we are able to do this.
We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. We may need to virus-check disks or e-mail. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by e-mail or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
• Updating and enhancing client records
• Analysis to help us manage our practice
• Statutory returns
• Legal and regulatory compliance
Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, data protection law and our duty of confidentiality.
Please note that our work for you may require us to pass on such information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisors, including sometime advisors appointed by another party to the matter. We may also give such information to others who perform services for us such as typing and photocopying. Our practice may be audited or checked by our accountants or our regulator, or other organisations. We do not normally copy such information to anyone outside of the European Economic Area, however, we may do so when the particular circumstances of your matter so require. All such third parties are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
You have the right to access under the data protection law the personal data that we hold about you. We seek to keep that personal data correct and up to date. You should let us know if you believe the information we hold about you to be corrected or updated.
If you send us personal data about anyone other than yourself you will ensure you have any appropriate consents and notices in place to enable you to transfer that personal data to us, and so that we may use it for the purposes for which you provide it to us.
Should you have any concerns arising from this them please contact our Practice Manager who we have appointed to act as our Data Controller.
This Agreement and our relationship with you are governed by the law of England and Wales and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts.