1. Introduction

    These are our standard terms of business.

    Our letter of engagement may alter or override any of these terms.

    If more than one client instructs us, both/all of you are liable, together and separately, for keeping to these terms of business and any variations in the letter of engagement.

    These standard terms of business may be revised from time to time and it is the most recently published version that will apply. An up to date version will be posted on our website.

    The standard terms of business which follow apply as from 1 January 2014.

  2. Our fees

    We will charge a fee which is fair.

    Our standard hourly rates take account of experience. These rates are reviewed from time to time. Where we make any change to rates, this will be reflected in any subsequent work we do for you.

    Unless we agree otherwise, we will charge for all the time spent working on your matters, including time spent on the telephone, correspondence, considering papers, research, advice notes, and file records.

    We will also charge for time spent travelling which is referable to your matters, for example travelling to meetings or to the Employment Tribunal.

    We may charge extra if the work is particularly complex or if we have to send any reports to a third party for you. We may also charge appropriately for the use of know-how.

    You may limit the amount of fees that you want to incur. We are happy to agree a realistic limit.

    We will add to our fees:

    • VAT where applicable.

    • Amounts incurred on your behalf, for example:

      • specialists’, barristers’ and overseas lawyers' fees.
      • expenses, such as for travelling, copying and binding, special or recorded deliveries and couriers.
      • storage costs.
      • an allowance for any work to be carried out after concluding a matter.

  3. Billing arrangements

    Our normal arrangement is to bill each month to cover time spent and amounts incurred on your behalf during the previous month. We will also send you a bill when the work is finished. If there are any amounts incurred on your behalf after the work is finished, these will be billed separately.

    We may in our discretion bill you more frequently than monthly. We might do this, for example, in a period of intense activity when we are expending a lot of time on your matters or if we are incurring substantial disbursements or expenses.

    To avoid the risk of duplication, when we bill you, we will charge for the time, disbursements and expenses booked to your files in the period. Any late-booked time (e.g. because the lawyer was away from the office working on your behalf when the bill was drawn up) or late-booked disbursements or expenses (e.g. because they were charged to a credit card) may be billed later.

    We might ask you to pay an amount to us at the start of our arrangement, or as it progresses. We may do this by billing fees ‘on account’. On account bills are our best estimate of the cost of time, disbursements and expenses we will be immediately incurring for you which need to be covered. When we do this we will always subsequently raise an accurate bill for you and show set against it the on account charge.

    Our bills are all due for payment straight away. If you do not pay any bill promptly, we reserve the right to stop working for you and bill you for any unbilled work we have already done, disbursements and expenses.

    As the client you are the person responsible for paying unless we have agreed otherwise in writing, even though you may be looking to a third party to reimburse you.

    Where we agree any discount on standard rates, or we agree or decide not to bill for some of the time recorded on your matter, it is the strict understanding that bills will be settled promptly and without undue delay. If you do not do this, we reserve the right to withdraw the concessionary fee arrangements and re-invoice you for all time recorded, at our standard rates.

    If you do not pay within one month of the date an invoice was first raised for work, we will charge interest as allowed by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. The rate we charge will be 8% above the Bank of England base rate on the date the bill was first sent. We will charge interest from the date when the invoice was first sent until you pay it, even if we have to take court proceedings to recover the amount owed. If we take proceedings against you because you do not pay, we will ask the court to order you to pay all the costs we incur in proceedings.

    Once we have sent you a bill, we may deduct the amount you owe from any money we might hold or may in the future receive for you, unless we have received payment in the meantime.

    If you deposit funds direct with our bank other than in settlement of a bill, we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we consider necessary regarding the source of the funds and for the cost of returning the funds.

    You are entitled to complain about your bill and there may also 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.

  4. Communicating with you

    We may communicate with you by e-mail as well as by post, fax, and phone. Unless you tell us otherwise, we will assume that you are happy for us to communicate by e-mail or fax, even though we cannot guarantee security or confidentiality. It is your responsibility to ensure that communications to any fax number or e-mail address you give us are secure.

  5. Papers and documents

    We are entitled to keep all your papers, documents (including any held in electronic form – see section 6 below) until you have paid all you owe us. If we get papers or documents out of storage to carry out your instructions we will not normally charge for this. We may make a charge to cover expenses if you ask us to get papers or documents out of storage for you or someone else.

    When you have paid your bills, we will keep our file of papers (except for any papers which you ask to be returned to you) for at least 6 years. After that we will usually destroy our file. We will not destroy documents which you specifically ask us in writing to hold in safe custody.

  6. Electronic files

    We increasingly hold documents and correspondence relating to your matters in electronic form, so we may not create or retain a paper file.

    If we receive original documents during our conduct of a matter we will either copy and scan them into our electronic file and then return the originals to you (or the third party providing them) as soon as practicable or, if requested, keep such original documents securely, but may charge for that service.

    Correspondence and any copy documents received during the conduct of a matter will either be retained in hard copy form, and stored in accordance with our paper file procedures, or, if the correspondence or documents are scanned and entered onto our electronic filing system, the hard copies may be destroyed.

    We are entitled to keep all your papers and documents in an electronic or paper format until you have paid all you owe us. If we retrieve papers or documents out of electronic storage to carry out your instructions, we will not normally charge for this. We may however make a charge to cover expenses if you ask us to get electronic records of papers or documents out of electronic storage for you or to transfer them to someone else. Electronic records will usually be provided in electronic form only. We can dispose of electronic documents belonging to you at your request, although we may make a charge for this.

    When you have paid your bills, we will keep our electronic file for at least 6 years. After that we may keep the file on our systems, archive the file to a format which we would ensure was kept in safe custody, or destroy the electronic file.

  7. Conflict of interest

    When we accept instructions we will check that there is no professional or commercial conflict of interest that prevents us from acting for you. If we later find out about a conflict, or one arises while we are acting for you, we will contact you immediately to discuss what we should do.

  8. Money Laundering Regulations 2003 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

    The Money Laundering Regulations 2003 impose obligations on us to obtain sufficient knowledge of clients, their identity, their business and the nature of funds that pass through our accounts. The rules also require us to report any suspicious activity, particularly where we know or suspect that money or property includes the proceeds of any crime.

    If we have any suspicion about your affairs, our obligation to report to the authorities must prevail. We may explain the notification obligation to you, but will have to withdraw if you refuse to co-operate. Our legal duty overrides any duty of confidentiality that we owe you as a client. We cannot accept any liability for loss where it arises as a result of any such disclosure to the authorities.

  9. Client money

    We currently have no facilities to hold client money.

    If you deposit funds direct with our bank other than in settlement of a bill, we might have to return the funds to you. We reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we consider necessary regarding the source of the funds and for the cost of returning the funds.

  10. Data protection

    We will put your details on our databases and computer systems to help us provide our services and send you information that we feel may meet your needs, for example legal updates. We may also use information about you to make decisions on payment arrangements with you (for example, to carry out a credit search).

    We will keep all the information about you confidential, subject to the provisions outlined above in section 8. We will not give it to any person or organisation without your permission unless we need to do so to provide services to you or to collect our fees.

    Unless you tell us otherwise in writing, we will assume that you agree to your information being used in this way. If, at any time, you do not want to receive information about our legal services, please advise us in writing.

    If you give us any personal information about another person, you must keep to any relevant data protection laws which apply to you when providing that information.

  11. Copyright

    We retain all copyright and other intellectual property rights in all materials developed or created by us either before or in the course of carrying out any work for you, though you may freely distribute copies of these materials within your own organisation.

  12. Tax avoidance schemes

    Recent changes to tax laws mean that advisers must notify the HM Revenue & Customs when they become involved in promoting certain tax schemes. In order to comply with our legal obligations we reserve the right to make a notification if we reasonably believe that we should and in such way as we believe is appropriate.

  13. Client care and complaints procedure

    We encourage our clients to maintain full and frank communication with us and to raise any problem which might occur during the course of acting for them.

    If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our service or about a bill, we want you to tell us so that we can sort out the problem quickly. Any complaint should in the first place be referred to our Legal Director, Nicholas Moore (telephone +44 (0)1823 421 900, e-mail nm@nicholas-moore.co.uk, or by post at One Ruggin Place). It will be dealt with sympathetically and promptly. We will work with you to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

    We have in place a written complaints policy which details how we handle complaints. A copy of this can be made available to you on request.

    If we are unable to resolve the problem between us, you may be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB, telephone 0300 555 0333) within six months of receiving from us a final written response about your complaint. Not all clients are entitled to have a complaint considered by the Ombudsman, as the service is only available to members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts.

  14. Ending our arrangement

    If you want us to stop acting for you, you can end our arrangement by writing to us at any time. We will bill you for time, disbursements and expenses on your matters to date even if fees were conditional on any event.

    If you have contracted with us for a retainer, it may have a fixed end date or a minimum notice requirement.

    We may decide to stop acting for you only if we have a good reason (for example, if we cannot get clear instructions from you, you do not pay a bill, you fail to give us money we have asked for up front or in circumstances of conflict of interest ). We will give you reasonable notice before we stop acting for you.

  15. Right to enforce these terms

    Only we and the people named as clients in the letter of engagement can enforce these standard terms of business and any terms set out in the letter of engagement.

  16. Governing law and jurisdiction

    English law governs these terms and if court proceedings are needed to settle any dispute arising out of these terms, that dispute may be resolved only in the English courts.

  17. Entire agreement

    All work carried out by us is subject to the terms and conditions of business set out in this document and the letter of engagement alone, except to the extent that changes are expressly agreed in writing between us.

    These terms and conditions of business apply to the exclusion of any other terms you may seek to impose or incorporate, or which are implied by trade, custom, or course of dealing.

  18. Revision of these terms of business

    We will keep these terms of business under review and may revise them from time to time as we consider either commercially expedient or necessary or for regulatory compliance. The most up to date version will be published on our website. Once published it will apply in place of any previous versions.

  19. Special terms for litigation and dispute resolution

    As well as the terms above, there are special additional terms which are relevant when we are dealing with litigation and dispute resolution matters:

    • Orders for costs

      If proceedings are issued in any matter on which we act for you, you will be responsible for paying our charges in full, even if these are greater than the amount you could recover from another party to the proceedings.

      If you win the case, your opponent may be ordered to pay your costs. However, such an order rarely covers all costs: it is very difficult to predict, but the order could be for anything between about 50% and 90% of your costs.

      There is also the risk that your opponent may not be able to pay your costs. If they cannot, you will still have to pay us.

      If your opponent is receiving funding from the Legal Services Commission, you will probably not be awarded any costs.

      If the court orders another party to pay some or all of your costs, you can claim interest on those costs from the date of the court order. We will pay over to you the interest on any charges or expenses that you have paid to us by then, but we are entitled to keep the rest of the interest.

      If you lose your case, you will probably have to pay most of your opponent's costs (and possibly interest on them) as well as all of your own.

    • Conditional fee agreements

      Conditional fee agreements (CFAs) are complex agreements, where a lawyer agrees to share some of the risks of the case. This is done by charging some or all of the fees only if the client wins. CFAs change the relationship between lawyer and client and are not always appropriate.

      If you ask us to, we will assess whether we would be prepared to offer to enter into a CFA with you. Another firm of solicitors may be willing to enter into a CFA with you where we would not.

    • Alternative dispute resolution

      The courts and tribunals expect parties to attempt to resolve a dispute using alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration or conciliation. Where successful, they can result in a dispute being resolved quickly and cost effectively. We will discuss these options with you at an appropriate point.

  20. Insurance/legal expenses cover

    If you have legal expenses cover (this is often a benefit in general insurance policies), please let us know as soon as possible so that we can discuss your cover with you and/or the insurer before we do any work.

    You may be able to buy insurance to cover any costs you may have to pay. Please let us know if you wish to consider this.



Quotation

Nicholas Moore is a firm of solicitors authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no: 534097