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Terms and Conditions of Business

Our aim

We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with personal service at a fair cost, and we hope that it is helpful to set out in this statement the basis upon which we will provide our professional services.

Places of Business Telephone Fax
35 Bury New Road Sedgley Park, Prestwich Manchester M25 9JY 0161 798 9000 0161773 6578
59 York Street, Heywood OL10 4NR 01706 628008 01706 620236
Sankey Street, Bury, BL9 0JE 0871 288 9000 0161 765 3649
13 Square Street, Ramsbottom, BL0 9BL 01706 824811 08712 889010
  1. Places of Business, People Responsible.

The fee earner named on the accompanying letter is primarily responsible for the conduct of your case under the control of their Department Supervisor. Other trained staff will deal with your general queries and will be pleased to assist you in the progress of your case.

The normal office hours are between 9:00 am to 5:15 pm on weekdays. Appointments can be arranged outside those hours when essential to the interests of a client. The place of business is provided in the attached client care letter.

  1. Our Charges

If you have insurance cover for your own or another’s legal fees, you must tell us straightaway. We will ask you if you have any relevant insurance. If you do not tell us we will assume there is none and you may lose the right to be covered by the policy.

We charge either by hourly rate or fixed fee. Whatever the agreed basis for charging, we will add VAT at the rate that applies when the bill is approved.

You will be responsible for payment of our charges even if you have entered an agreement with another to pay or share payment.

Fees are payable whether or not a case is successfully concluded or a transaction completed.  If any case or transaction does not proceed to completion for any reason during the period in which the Firm is instructed, then the Firm shall be entitled to charge for work to date.

Wherever possible we will, upon accepting instructions, give you an estimate of the likely costs involved and will revise the estimate from time to time if it becomes necessary.  Likewise we will give you an estimate of disbursements that are likely to be incurred.  Such an estimate is however only a guide to assist you in budgeting and should not be regarded as a fixed quotation.

In property transactions, in the administration of estates, and in transactions involving a substantial financial consideration or benefit to the client, fees may be calculated both by reference to the time spent and also by reference to a value element based on e.g. the price of the property, the size of the estate, or the value of the financial benefit.

Disbursements are any payments made by the Firm on behalf of the client e.g. court fees, counsel’s fees, fees for medical reports, search fees, Land or Probate Registry fees, etc. The Firm will not effect such payments unless funds have been provided by the client in advance for that purpose.  VAT is payable on most disbursements.

Fixed Fee: We may agree to carry out work for a fixed fee. It will be quoted in our engagement letter to you. If at any stage it becomes impractical to complete the matter for the fee agreed we will inform you and seek your agreement to a revised fee prior to incurring additional charges.

Hourly Rate: Each client has a unique number. Case handler’s time is recorded in six minutes on a computerised time-recording unit system or manually. Rates are reviewed every 30th April. The rate is applied to time spent, for example, on research, meetings, making and receiving telephone calls, correspondence and travel.

We reserve the right to ask you to pay us money on account of both profit costs and disbursements.

The current hourly expense rates are set out below.  These rates do not include VAT which will be added when an invoice is prepared.

Notaries Public £275
Consultant Partner £275
Senior Associate Solicitor £275
CILEX £275
Chartered Accountant £275
Associate Solicitor £250
Legal Executive £220
Costs Clark £220
Legal Assistant £165
Trainee Solicitor £165
Support Assistant £100
  1. Funding

. Property Transactions: An account will normally be rendered following the exchange of contracts and payment is required prior to or upon completion.  Where sufficient funds are payable to the client upon completion, amounts due to The Firm shall be deducted from such funds unless otherwise agreed.

. Administration of Estates: It is our usual practice to deliver interim accounts at intervals during the Administration. An interim bill will normally be submitted when the Grant has been obtained.  If it then transpires that it will take some time to complete the Administration, further interim accounts will be rendered periodically and the final account will be presented when the estate accounts are delivered for approval

For the above Non-Contentious matters we shall apply the charging guide lines in accordance with the Solicitors (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009, a copy of which will be provided to you upon your written request for the same.

. Other cases or transactions:   It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the fees and disbursements which are anticipated in the following weeks or months.  It is helpful if clients meet such requests with prompt payment to avoid any delay in the progress of their case.  In transactions or cases likely to continue for more than one month, interim accounts covering the work already carried out will normally be rendered at least quarterly.  This procedure enables clients to budget for costs as the matter progresses.  In the event of any account or request for payment on account not being paid, the Firm reserves the right to decline to act further in the case.  The full amount of work done up to that date will be the subject of a final account rendered and will be a debt due from the client.

. In cases of transactions continuing for some period of time, many clients find it convenient to arrange regular payments on account by way of Bank Standing Order. Clients who wish to make use of any of these facilities should discuss it with the person having the conduct of their file.

. If your matter is to be dealt with on a conditional, and or, no win no fee arrangement then this must be in writing and signed by a Partner of the Firm and be subject to the Firm’s Terms and Conditions. Please note that the terms provide that in the event of termination of your retainer with the Firm in respect of the matter, then the Firm’s normal fees will apply for all work done to the date of termination.

  1. Billing Arrangements

Unless otherwise agreed, we will submit a statutory interim bill for our charges and expenses at the end of every 30 days while the matter progresses. We may submit other invoices if we need to incur a substantial expense on your behalf. We will send you a final bill after the matter has concluded.

Payment is due within seven days of date of the invoice. If full or part payment is late;

. It is our right to suspend work on all matters where you instruct us and to claim statutory interest at 8% above the Bank of England base rate as at the date the debt became due or the fixed sum (where relevant in accordance with the amended Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest Act ) 1998) and

. We may charge interest on unpaid bills and we will do so at the rate payable on Judgment Debts, from one month after delivery of our bill in accordance with Article 5 of the Solicitors (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009.

. We reserve the right to exercise a lien and to withhold your file pending payment.

If you have a query about the bill you should contact the supervising partner immediately. If you have a complaint about a bill, you should deal with it under our Complaints procedures referred to in this document. There may also be a right to object to a bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and or by applying to the court for any assessment of the bill under Part lll of the Solicitors Act 1974.

  1. Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships

In cases where instructions are given to the firm by Directors and/or Shareholders and/or Members on behalf of a Limited Company and/or Limited Liability Partnership, then unless otherwise agreed in writing, such instructions are only accepted by the Firm on the basis that the Directors and/or Shareholders and/or Members concerned shall be personally responsible for payment of the Firm’s costs and disbursements if the Limited Company and/or Limited Liability Partnership shall fail to pay the same.

  1. Interest on Client Account

Any money received on your behalf and will be held in our general client account. Will have interest calculated and paid to you at the prevailing rate applied by the Natwest Latimer Lee Client account.

Mortgage: Where clients obtain borrowing from a lender the Firm will request the lender to arrange for the advance to be received by and credited to the Firm a minimum of 4 working days prior to the completion date so as to ensure that cleared funds are available in time for completion. Clients should note that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of the advance.

  1. Client Care

The Firm aims to offer all clients an efficient and effective service. If however any difficulty should arise, or you have any problems with the service provided, please raise them with the named case handler with day to day responsibility for the matter or with their supervisor. If this does not resolve the situations to your satisfaction please contact Mrs. Patricia Latimer at the Sankey Street office (telephone no.  0871-288-9000) who is the firm’s appointed Client Care Manager.  The Firm has a written procedure in place which details the way in which we handle complaints, a copy of which will be made available to you upon request. If when we tell you that we have finished investigating you are unhappy with our conclusion you may write to the Legal Ombudsman www.legalombudsman.org.uk or at PO BOX 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by telephone number 0300 555 0333 to consider the complaint.  Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.

  1. Storage of Papers and Documents.

Following the conclusion of a transaction or case on behalf of a client, the Firm will retain the client’s file of papers for a minimum period of 3 years and thereafter for such period as the Firm, in its absolute discretion, shall deem to be appropriate     

The Firm provides a safe custody and storage service for clients’ Wills, Deeds and other securities and will charge for the work carried out in dealing with the same.  

  1. Anti-money Laundering

In order to enable us to satisfy our obligations under these Regulations and related legislation, it will almost always be necessary to supply appropriate proof of identity before we are able to act or continue to act for you or for any principal whom you may represent.  We will also not be able to receive any funds from, or pay any funds to, you or on your behalf unless all necessary identification and other procedures have been satisfied for the purposes of the Regulations.

We may use electronic identification service providers to confirm your identity, and that of any beneficial owners.

For individuals and unincorporated partnerships, proof of identity will usually be a current valid passport, driving licence, recognised identity card or equivalent showing your name, date of birth and photograph, together with a current utility bill or equivalent confirming your address

We understand that the operation of these Regulations may be a cause for concern, but we ask for your understanding and cooperation in assisting us to comply with our legal obligations. Delay in providing requested evidence will delay progress in your instructions.

We have a policy of not accepting payment, even bills, in cash (unless under £500). If you think this may cause a problem, please discuss it with us as soon as possible. If you try and avoid that policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may charge you for the additional checks, necessary to prove the source of the funds. Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep affairs of clients confidential. However recent legislation on money laundering creates a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency (NCA). If this happens we may not be ale to tell you because the law prohibits “tipping off”

Our duty to report includes any transactions which appear to us suspicious.  The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“the Act”) creates a number of offences relating to the proceeds of crime which you should be aware of when you instruct us.  The proceeds of crime are any monies/property/assets which have arisen as a result of any crime.  These include for example, monies (however low in value), saved as a result of tax evasion, whether that money has been saved or spent.

If we become aware or suspect the existence of the proceeds of crime are any monies/property/assets which have arisen as a result of tax evasion, whether that money has been saved or spent and/or if we become aware or suspect the existence of the proceeds of crime in your case (whether from you or from any other person), we may have to report the irregularity to the NCA.  NCA may withhold permission for us to continue with the case.  NCA can pass the information received to any relevant body such as HM Revenue and Customs and an investigation may take place at any time in the future.

It follows that if you have any concerns about irregularities in your financial position you may wish to seek specialist accountancy advise to correct those irregularities.  We strongly recommend that you do this before proceeding further.  Please note that accountants are also required to comply with the provisions of the Act.  It is important that you are aware that we may have a legal duty under the Act to report known or suspicious circumstances without telling you.  This could have serious consequences for you.  In rare situations you could find that you then become subject of an HM Revenue and Customs investigation or benefits investigation and/or criminal proceedings.

The obligations we have under this Act can, in certain circumstances, override the duty of solicitor/client confidentiality.  Circumstances may arise where we have to approach you to seek your permission to report certain matters to NCA.  For instance we may take the view that by proceeding further with your case (without permission from NCA) we may be assisting in the commission of a money laundering offence.  In the event that you refuse such permission we reserve the right to terminate your instructions and if we do so in these circumstances you will be liable for all our fees and expenses incurred up to the date of such termination.  We will not be liable to you for any losses arising out of our statutory reporting obligations under the Act.  The limitation of our liability  to you  under this paragraph will only apply if we have acted (in terms of such reporting obligations) in accordance with the requirements of the Act and any anti-money laundering guidance published from time to time by the Law Society.

You represent to us throughout our retainer that you know of no matter upon which you ask us to advise which facilitates money laundering.

  1. Termination and Suspension

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers if there is any money owing to us for our charges and expenses on this or any other matter.

We may decide to stop acting for you (permanently of temporarily) only on reasonable notice and with good reason.  Examples are if an unforeseen conflict of interest arises, we are unable to obtain instructions from you, you do not pay an interim bill or comply with our request for payment of anticipated expenses, if there is a breakdown of the relationship of trust and confidence or if your instructions might put us in conflict with our Code of Conduct or the law.

Our charges and expenses will be payable on the date of termination.

  1. Distance Selling/Off-Premises Contracts

If we have not met you and our retainer is concluded away from our premises the Consumer Contracts (Information Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 may apply to our retainer.  If so, you can cancel your instructions to us within 14 days of receiving this letter without giving any reason.  To exercise your right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision either by using the attached cancellation form or by letter sent by post, fax or email.  Once we have started work you may be charged if you then cancel your instructions.

  1. Insurance mediation activities

This Firm is 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 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 SRA. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk.

  1. Tax advice

Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies.  We may not be qualified to advise you on the tax implications of a transaction that you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising.  If you have any concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately.  If we can undertake the research necessary to resolve the issue, we will do so and advise you accordingly.  If we cannot, we may be able to identify a source of assistance for you.

  1. Insurance Arrangements

The Firm maintains Professional Indemnity Insurance in excess of the minimum required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  Our Insurer is Amelin The Leadenhall Building 122 Leadenhall Street London EC3V 4AG.The Legal Ombudsman (see paragraph 17 above) may provide a non judicial dispute resolution procedure.

We are obliged by our insurers to notify them of any circumstances known to us which may give rise to a claim against us.  That may require us to tell them (and our brokers) information about you and your instructions to us which is privileged and to supply documents to them.  We will only pass on privileged or confidential information in good faith to ensure your legal rights to claim against us are preserved.  Our insurers and brokers are contractually obliged to keep all information we pass to them strictly confidential.  They may only use it for the purposes of administering our insurance arrangements including any claim you might make.  Accordingly disclosure is important for you to protect your interests.  We will assume you consent to our sharing information in this way unless you tell us you do not.

  1. Data Protection Act

We are data controller and bound by the Act.  We are entitled to obtain, process, use and disclose your personal data to enable us to discharge our duties to you, to liaise with third parties on your behalf and to comply with the law, update client records, produce management data, prevent crime and comply with regulatory requirements.  You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data we hold about you.

  1. Equality and Diversity

Consistent with our internal policies and procedures we will not discriminate in the way we provide our services on the grounds of race, colour, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability or marital status.

  1. Communication

We will not be liable to you should any funds of yours or money received on your behalf be lost as a result of the failure or any other event beyond our reasonable control. Please be vigilant to fraud, we will NEVER notify you of a change of banking details by email, post or text message. If you receive such a notice, even if it appears genuine, always speak to the person dealing with your matter by calling their main office number, this is printed on any official letter-headed correspondence received from us. Please be alert to the fact that fraudulent communications could contain fake contact telephone numbers. Please always speak to the person dealing with your matter before transferring any money. If you receive an email from Latimer Lee requesting your bank details or requesting monies always telephone your Solicitor immediately to confirm the details before making payment. Latimer Lee Solicitors Limited will not take responsibility if you transfer money to a wrong bank account.

  1. Security of e-mails

Our e-mail is unencrypted. Whilst we take all reasonable security measures, there is a risk of interception. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss arising from a third party gaining access to e-mail between us. We will assume that you consent to the use of e-mail unless you tell us in writing that you do not.

  1. Agreement

Your continuing instructions amount to your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business. In addition please sign and date the enclosed copy of these terms, and return it to us immediately.  Unless otherwise agreed, these terms of business apply to any future instructions you give us.

  1. Status

Latimer Lee Solicitors Limited is a Limited Company registered in England and Wales (registered number 05776773) and its registered office is 35 Bury New Road Prestwich Manchester M25 9JY. A full list of Directors is available from the registered office. We use the term ‘Partner’, to refer to a Director of Latimer Lee Solicitors Limited. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Number 597229).