Terms and conditions of business
- DEFINED TERMS
Contract: means the agreement between you and the firm as set out in the terms of business, client care letter and any other documents referred to within either the terms of business or the client care letter.
The firm or this firm: mean O’Donnell Solicitors Ltd and any successor practice and any service company owned or controlled by or on behalf of the Firm or any of the Partners;
These terms: means these Terms of Business.
We, us and our (and other relevant first-person terms): mean O’Donnell Solicitors Ltd and not to any individual or group of individuals within the firm.
You: means each and every party to this contract (other than us).
In relation to the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013:
- Consumer: means an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside of that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession.
- Trader: means a person acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession, whether acting personally or through another person acting in the trader’s name or on the trader’s behalf. The firm is a trader for the purposes of these regulations.
- Distance contract: means a contract concluded between a trader and a consumer under an organised distance sales or service-provision scheme without the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, with the exclusive use of one or more means of distance communication up to and including the time at which the contract is concluded.
- Off-premises contract: means a contract between a trader and a consumer which is any of these:
- A contract concluded in the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, in a place which is not the business premises of the trader;
- A contract for which an offer was made by the consumer in the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, in a place which is not the business premises of the trader;
- A contract concluded on the business premises of the trader or through any means of distance communication immediately after the consumer was personally and individually addressed in a place which is not the business premises of the trader in the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer;
- A contract concluded during an excursion organised by the trader with the aim or effect of promoting or selling goods or services to the consumer.
- Conclusion of the contract: means the date you sign the Form of Acceptance to confirm acceptance of our Terms of Business
- Cancellation period: means 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
- Terms of Business
These Terms of Business issued by O’Donnell Solicitors Ltd (“the Firm”),
No variation of these terms shall be effective, unless it is in writing and is signed by one of our Partners.
You should read these terms carefully, along with your client care letter any other documents referred to within that client care letter, as these documents set out the basis on which we will provide services to you and form the contract between us.
By accepting these terms, you are entering into a contract with the firm.
- INFORMATION ABOUT THIS FIRM
The firm’s contact details are:
- Name: O’Donnell Solicitors
- Constitution: Limited Company
- Registered Address: Appleby’s Business Centre, 3 Mossley Road, Grasscroft, Saddleworth, OL4 4HH,
- Contact number: 01457 761 320
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://odonnellsolicitors.co.uk/
- Hours of business: 9.00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Appointments can be arranged at other times when this is essential.
- VAT number: 230 9196 14
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and our SRA ID number is 626658. This means that we are required to comply with a number of professional rules set out in the SRA Standards & Regulations which you can view at https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/. Alternatively, you can contact the SRA at ‘Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN’ or by calling the SRA’s contact centre on 0370 606 2555 (inside the UK).
If we are advising more than one person (whether individuals, companies or other entities), we will, unless otherwise agreed in writing, act for those persons jointly and severally.
If you are instructing us jointly, it is your responsibility to tell us straightaway if you require more than one person to give us instructions in relation to your matter. Otherwise, we will accept instructions from any one person.
If you are a company or other commercial entity, it is your responsibility to tell us at the outset if you require more than one Director (or equivalent) to give us instructions.
- OUR FEES
The basis for our charges will be set out in your client care letter.
Fixed fee services:
If we charge on a fixed fee basis, this is based on the assumption that the work will be completed without any complications arising. If any unforeseen additional work is required, or if you change your instructions to us, we will either provide a revised fixed fee or agree that any additional work will be charged at the hourly rate of the person dealing with your matter. In either case, we will not carry out any further work until any changes to our original estimate have been agreed in writing.
Hourly rate services:
If we charge on an hourly rate basis, hourly rates vary according to the experience of the person handling your matter. The hourly rates that apply to your matter are set out in your client care letter.
We review our hourly rates from time to time, we will notify you in writing of any increase.
You will be charged for time spent on your matter which will include: any meetings with you (and any third parties); considering, preparing and working on papers; correspondence; making and receiving telephone calls; research; internal consultations; and travelling. Time is recorded and charged in six-minute units at the applicable hourly rate. Therefore, this is the minimum amount of time we will charge for any piece of work undertaken on your matter.
We add VAT to our fees at the applicable at the time that the work is completed.
Where we give you an estimate of costs, it is a guide to assist you in budgeting for your legal costs and is not fixed. We will do our best to keep you updated with the best costs information that we are able to provide at any one time. If you would like to agree a ceiling figure, above which we will not incur any further costs without your consent, please let us know as soon as possible.
Limited Companies When accepting to act on behalf of a limited company, it is hereby acknowledged and agreed that the Directors shall be personally liable and shall afford a full and unlimited indemnity in respect of our fees and expenses. If such request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and require immediate payment of our fees on a time spent basis and expenses as set out above. Unless we hear from you to the contrary, the indemnity herein contained shall be binding.
All disbursements (expenses) which we incur in working on your matter will be payable by you in addition to our charges. Examples of these expenses include but are not limited to Land Registry and Companies House fees; search fees; Stamp Duty Land Tax (and similar taxes); fees charged by experts, agents, couriers and barristers; court fees; travel expenses and subsistence; international telephone calls; use of on-line databases; and telegraphic transfer fees. VAT is payable on certain expenses, which you will need to pay in addition.
- PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT
We may require you to make a payment to us on account of our fees and expenses at any time and on more than one occasion. Money paid on account which is not subsequently required for fees and expenses will be returned promptly.
Where we ask you for payment on account (payment in advance of us carrying the work out), we are not obliged to carry out any work on your matter until that payment has been made.
You must tell us straightaway if you have any form of legal expenses insurance that you think might pay for our bills.
Where we hold money on your behalf, because we have received funds on your behalf or you have made payment on account, we may use this money towards payment of our bills. We will advise you if we do this.
If we receive a commission from a third party arising from work we are doing for you, we will credit you with the commission unless you have agreed otherwise or the amount is less than twenty pounds (£20) (excluding VAT).
- OUR INVOICES
Unless otherwise agreed in the Client Care Letter, we will be entitled to invoice you in respect of our fees and expenses monthly and on completion of each Matter. At the end of our financial year we shall be entitled to bring up to date our invoicing in respect of all your then unbilled work.
All bills, whenever they are submitted, will be for final bills for the period to which they relate but this does not prevent us from invoicing you for expenses for that period on a subsequent bill.
If a third party agrees to pay our bills, you will remain responsible to us for payment until those bills have been paid in full.
If we are providing services to more than one person whether individuals, companies or entities and we are asked to deliver bills only to one person, those bills will remain payable in full by all persons that we provide services to under this contract.
Interest will accrue on all debts over 14 days until the time they are paid at the rate of 8% above the Bank of England’s Base Rate. Any debts that have to be chased will incur a handling charge of £50 plus VAT.
We may also suspend or terminate the provision of all or any Services (and instruct any third parties engaged by us to suspend the provision of their services) and may invoice you for all accrued fees and expenses.
We may also retain any papers and documents belonging to you while payment for our bills is outstanding.
You may pay by cheque, credit card or directly into our client account, details of which are available upon request.
Please note that with effect from 13 January 2018 all surcharges for paying by card have been banned. We have not ever charged for payment by card and this will continue. However please note the following:
With regard to payment of purchase monies and other costs including SDLT we will not accept payment by credit or debit card.
You can make a complaint about a bill using the firm’s complaints procedure which is available upon request. You may also have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (see clause 19) or to apply to the court for an assessment of the bill under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
- COSTS RELATING TO LITIGATION WORK
In litigation matters, the Court may decide to order one party to pay the costs of the other. The Court usually orders the unsuccessful party to pay all or a part of the successful party’s costs, although there is no certainty about this. The successful party usually recovers a proportion of its costs from the unsuccessful party, although there is no certainty about this. You should be aware that: –
If you make an interim application to Court which does not succeed, you may have to pay the other side’s costs, usually within two (2) weeks. If you lose the case, you may have to pay the other side’s costs and it is not usually possible for you to withdraw from the case without dealing with the issue of those costs.
Costs awarded have to be proportionate to the value of the dispute and, in the ordinary course, recovered costs from the other side rarely exceeds sixty to seventy per cent (60-70%) of actual expenditure.
You will still be liable to pay our costs in full, even if the other party fails to pay the costs awarded to you by the Court.
Issues which the Court may take into account in assessing the costs payable or recoverable include:
- efforts made before and during the proceedings to try to resolve the dispute, including the appropriate use of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution procedures;
- the effects of payments into court and offers of settlement;
- the complexity and size of the Matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions raised;
- the skill, effort, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved;
- the time spent;
- the place and Circumstances in which the work was done.
if the other side is or becomes legally aided, it is highly unlikely that you will recover your costs, even if you are successful.
If you are unsuccessful, or the Court so orders for some other reason, you may be ordered to pay the other side’s costs. We will discuss with you whether the likely outcome will justify the expense/risk.
Legal expenses insurance may be included in your contracts of insurance and you should check your policies to see if you are covered. Your policy may cover your costs and/or your liability to pay the other side’s costs. If you believe you are covered, please discuss this with us so that we can assist you in notifying your insurer. If you do not have legal expenses insurance, you may be able to purchase insurance to cover you in the event that you have to pay the other side’s costs.
A conditional fee agreement is an agreement whereby we would be entitled to charge you an increased fee if you were successful and would charge you no fee or a reduced fee if you were not successful. You might be able to take out an insurance policy to cover you in the event that you were ordered to pay the other side’s costs. You may be able to recover this insurance and any sums you paid to us from the other side if you were successful depending on the type of case we are instructed on. We are happy to discuss this further with you at your request.
- INTEREST POLICY
Where we hold money in a client account for you, the SRA Accounts Rules require us to account to you for interest where it is fair and reasonable to do so in all the circumstances.
Our interest policy shall be kept under review and may change if the bank of England base rate increases or decreases. Interest rates payable on client accounts are currently around 0.1% and the Bank of England base rate is 0.25%. Therefore, the rate of interest available on client accounts is lower than rates of interest which can be obtained on other bank or building society accounts.
For cleared funds paid into a client account, the firm shall account for interest unless one of the following circumstances apply:
- The amount of interest calculated on the balance held is £20.00 or less; or
- The client money was held in cleared funds in client account for a period of five working days or less.
We will usually account to you for interest under our interest policy at the conclusion of your matter.
- CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION
This firm is the data controller (for the purposes of The Data Protection Act 2018) of personal data that you provide to us. This means that the firm has a duty to comply with the provisions of The Data Protection Act 2018 when processing your personal data. The firm’s appointed data protection representative is Rebecca O’Donnell.
If you are an individual, you have rights under The Data Protection Act 2018. These rights are:
- The right to be informed – To request a ‘subject access request’ (SAR) please email the supervisor of your matter of your matter or Rebecca O’Donnell firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your matter and the data that you want to have access. We will ensure that the subject access request has been completed within 30 days.
- The right of access – To request a ‘subject access request’ (SAR) please email the supervisor of your matter of your matter or Rebecca O’Donnell email@example.com with the details of your matter and the data that you want to have access. We will ensure that the subject access request has been completed within 30 days.
- The right to rectification – Please contact the supervisor of your matter to rectify any information that we hold. In some cases, we may ask to see proof of this change of data.
- The right to erase – To request to erase any data that we hold on you please contact your supervisor or Rebecca O’Donnell. Please also bear in mind if we are in the middle of a matter this may affect our capability to act for you. If this is the case, we will discuss this with you.
- The right to restrict processing – To request a restriction of processing please notify your supervisor or Rebecca O’Donnell who will contact you to discuss the requirements of your requested restriction. Please bear in mind that some restrictions may prevent us from acting on your behalf. If this is the case, we will discuss this with you.
- The right to data portability – To request this please contact your supervisor or Rebecca O’Donnell who will discuss the format you would like your data in when you make a SAR.
- The right to object – If you wish to the objection of any processing (irrelevant if consent has been provided previously). Please contact the supervisor of your matter or Rebecca O’Donnell who will discuss your needs with you and action your request. Bear in mind, depending on the extent of the request this may prevent us from acting on your matter.
- Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling – The firm does not conduct any automated decision making or profiling.
We may also wish to contact you by letter, telephone, e-mail or otherwise about our services and about events such as seminars and conferences and to send you briefings and similar material. We may also refer publicly to your name as a client of ours, but we will not disclose any information which is confidential to you. For this type of activity we will require your specific and verifiable consent. If you are happy for us to contact you please follow the instructions in the relevant consent form attached. Or, if you have provided consent previously and you wish to withdraw or amend it, please inform us in writing.
Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/other administration duties on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We believe we have a legitimate interest in doing this. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.
We may store information about You, Your Matter or any other Documents and correspondence relating to Your file(s) using cloud-based technology. Again, we believe we have a legitimate interest in acting in this way and take every possible precaution to protect your personal information. If you do not wish for your file(s) or other information to be stored in this way, please inform Us in writing before we commence work on Your Matter.
- FILE AUDITING AND VETTING
The firm may become subject to periodic audits or quality checks by external firms, companies or organisations. This could mean that your file is selected for checking. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms, companies or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/ quality checked by them. If You do not wish to disclose your details and file to be released, you must notify Us in writing and discuss this with us when signing and returning a copy of the Client Care Letter/ Terms of Business/ Instruction Form/ Form of Authority/ other such document. Your refusal will not affect the way your matter is handled in any way.
- CUSTODY, RETENTION AND TRANSFER OF DOCUMENTS
If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may charge you both for time spent producing stored papers that are requested as well as reading correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers. We will ask you to confirm that any personal data we have retrieved remains current and up to date if we are to act upon such data as part of our duties under data protection legislation.
- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
We retain copyright and all other intellectual property rights in all documents and other works we develop or generate for you in providing the Services (including know-how and working materials as well as final documents). We now grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable licence to use such documents or other works solely for the Matter to which the Services of developing or generating them relate and not otherwise. If you do not pay us in full for our Services in relation to that Matter we may, on giving you notice, revoke that licence and only re-grant it to you once full payment has been made.
We may retain, for our subsequent use, a copy of the advice or opinion of any barrister or other third party given in written form (or any note of any advice or opinion) obtained in the course of providing the Services. Any barrister or other third party will be instructed on the basis that any such advice or opinion will be so retained.
If we retain a copy of any advice or opinion in this manner we will take all reasonable steps to conceal information (such as names, addresses or descriptions) which might reasonably enable you to be identified.
- LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
We will use reasonable skill and care in the provision of the Services. In the event of a breach of your instructions our liability to you shall be limited to three million pounds (3 000 000.00). We can limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.
The Services are provided to and for the benefit of you as our client and you alone. No other person may use or rely upon the Services nor derive any rights or benefits from them. The provisions of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 are to that extent excluded.
- SECURITY OF COMMUNICATIONS
We shall communicate with you at the postal and email addresses and the telephone and fax numbers which you publish unless you ask us to use other addresses and numbers. We will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that your arrangements are sufficiently secure and confidential to protect your interests. You will notify us if you regard any communications from us as particularly confidential and the means by which you require us to make such communications and we shall have no liability to you arising out of your failure so to notify us.
Subject to any notification you may make to us under the previous paragraph, we shall not be required to encrypt, password-protect or digitally sign any email, or attachment, sent by us. We shall not be responsible for any loss or damage arising from the unauthorised interception, re-direction, copying or reading of e-mails, including any attachments.
We will take reasonable steps to protect the integrity of our computer systems by screening for viruses on email sent or received. However, we shall not be responsible for the effect on any hardware or software (or any loss or damage arising from any such effect) of any e-mails or attachment which may be transmitted by us (save to the extent caused by our negligence or wilful default).
It is very unlikely that we will change our bank details during the course of your matter. In any event, we will never contact you by email to tell you that our details have changed. If you receive any communications purporting to be from this firm, that you deem suspicious or have any concerns about, please contact our office straight away.
- ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING
In accordance with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the payer) Regulations 2017 (‘the regulations’) we are required to:
- Obtain information about a client’s identity and to verify that information;
- Obtain identity information about people related to a client (such as beneficial owners), where relevant, and verify that information; and
- Continue to monitor the transaction and keep identity information up-to-date.
We may make checks using online electronic verification systems or other databases as we may decide in order to comply with our obligations under anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regulations.
We will only process any documentation or personal data received from you in respect of client due diligence for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing unless (a) use of that data is permitted by or under any enactment or (b) you give your express consent for the documentation or personal data to be used for other forms of processing.
If you are a new client or an existing client who has not previously supplied information, you are requested to supply both of the following; one item from List A and one item from List B (please note we require certified copies if you are sending these by post or if you are bringing in the original documents to our offices – we will make certified copies here)
LIST A – Proof of Identity
Current fully signed Passport
Current full UK Photocard Driving Licence.
LIST B – Address Verification
A bill for the supply of electricity, gas, water or telephone services (provided it is fewer than three (3) months old). Mobile phone bills are not acceptable.
Television Licence renewal notice.
Council Tax bill (provided it is for the current financial year i.e. fewer than twelve (12) months old).
Recent Tax Coding Notice.
Recent Mortgage Statement.
Credit Card/Bank Statement (provided it is fewer than three (3) months old) showing current address.
If you are a new or existing corporate body not listed on a regulated market who has not previously supplied information to us, we will require the following:
- Company / organisation full name;
- Company or other registration number;
- Registered address and, if different, principal place of business address;
- Memorandum & Articles of association or other governing documents;
- Names of the Board of Directors or members of your management body and its senior management, including information on any beneficial owners;
- Documentation in accordance with lists A and B above for any beneficial owners and directors.
- Written confirmation from the corporate body that the instructing individual, if not a director is authorised to act on its behalf.
Please note we require certified copies if you are sending these by post or if you are bringing in the original documents to our offices – we will make certified copies here.
Under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”), we may be required to make a report to the relevant authorities if at any time we become aware of or suspect (whether from you or any other person) the existence of the proceeds of crime in relation to any Services on which we are engaged. Our obligation to make such a report will, in certain circumstances, override our duty of solicitor/client confidentiality and we may not be permitted to inform you whether or not we have made, or might intend to make, such a report.
We may terminate the provision of any Services to you, or be instructed to do so by the relevant authorities, if you fail to comply with your obligation to provide evidence of identity or we suspect that you or any other party connected with you or with the Matter is involved in activities proscribed by POCA.
We will not accept any liability for any loss caused to you or any other party as a result of our refusal to proceed with a matter or transaction or otherwise complying with our legal obligations.
The anti-money laundering guidance which UK banks and other finance services firms must adhere to is issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (“JMLSG”). The JMLSG considers all clients with funds deposited in a law firm’s pooled client account to be beneficial owners of that account. The JMLSG does not require banks to routinely identify the beneficial owners of law firm’s pooled accounts, as they do with most other accounts they issue. Pooled client accounts are granted this exemption on the proviso that this information is available upon request. In the event of our bank requesting information about the beneficial owners of our pooled client account, we have a legal obligation to disclose your details to them.
The firm does not tolerate tax evasion, or the facilitation thereof in any circumstances, whether committed by or facilitated by a client, personnel or associated persons/companies.
- FINANCIAL SERVICES & INSURANCE DISTRIBUTION ACTIVITIES
If during the course of the matter upon which we are advising you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not. However, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.
As we have said, we are not authorized 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
The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but responsibility for regulation has been delegated to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the independent regulatory body of the Law Society), and responsibility for complaints handling has been delegated to the Legal Ombudsman. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of these bodies.
- DISPUTE RESOLUTION
All claims, complaints and disputes arising out of or in connection with the Services will be resolved pursuant to this paragraph.
We hope you will have no complaint. To underline how seriously we take complaints, we have a set Complaints Procedure which can be summarised as follows: (a copy of our full complaints procedure is available on request)-
If you have any complaint or observation (good or bad) about our service, please say so. Raise any complaint first with the Fee Earner or supervising partner assigned to your matter, including any complaint about your bill. If this does not resolve it satisfactorily, contact Rebecca O’Donnell the Partner nominated by the practice to ensure prompt and thorough investigation of any complaint firstname.lastname@example.org 01457761320.
We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If still unresolved at this stage, you may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Normally, you will need to bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from us about your complaint and 6 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or alternatively 3 years from the date you should reasonably have known there are grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before 6 October 2010 or was more than 6 years ago).
The address of the Legal Ombudsman is: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; telephone, 0300 555 0333; or view their website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk, email enquiries to: email@example.com
A complainant to the Legal Ombudsman must be one of the following:
- An individual;
- A micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million);
- A charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
- A club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;
- A trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or a personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.
- If you do not fall into any of these categories, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.
Kindly note that you have the right to object to your bill by making a complaint to the appropriate body referred to above and/or by applying to the Court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors’ Act 1974 and, if all or part of our bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest.
- Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)
If you are a client and we have made a contract with you by electronic means (website, email, etc.) you may be entitled to use an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. Details of this service may be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr. Our email address for the purposes of using this service is firstname.lastname@example.org
Either you or we may terminate the provision of all or any of the relevant Services at any time by giving written notice to the other. We will not do this without good and substantial reason, including but not limited to:
- the threat or risk of violence, injury or other danger to the physical, psychological or moral well-being of any of our personnel; or
- the discovery or creation of a Conflict of Interest; or
- your requesting us to break the law or any professional requirement; or
- the relationship of trust and confidence necessary between solicitor and client ceasing to exist between us; or
On early termination, by either you or us, you will remain liable to pay all fees and expenses incurred before termination and due under our contract or due on the basis of the time spent at our usual hourly rates, whichever is the less, together with any further fees and expenses for work necessary to transfer our files to another adviser of your choice. All our rights set out in these terms shall continue to apply even if we terminate the agreement.
- YOUR CANCELLATION RIGHTS
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013:
If we have not met you either in person (because, for example, instructions and signing of the contract documentation is taking place by telephone/mail, e mail or on-line – i.e.: by way of a “distance” contract) or we have taken instructions and a contract has been concluded away from our business premises (because, for example, we have met with you at home – i.e.: by way of an “off-premises” contract) and the contract was entered into on or after 14 June 2014, you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 calendar days of entering into the contract without giving any reason.
The cancellation period will expire after 14 calendar days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
To exercise your right to cancel, you must inform us, O’Donnell Solicitors Ltd, Appleby’s Business Centre, 3 Mossley Road, Grasscroft, Saddleworth OL4 4HH of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g.: a letter sent by post, fax or e mail). You may use the model cancellation form attached to your Client Care Letter, but it is not obligatory. To meet the cancellation deadline, you must send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
Should you require the work to be commenced within the 14 calendar day cancellation period, you must provide your agreement to that in writing, by e mail, post or fax to enable us to do so. Where you have provided your consent for work to commence within the 14 calendar day cancellation period and you later exercise your right to cancel, you will be liable for any costs, VAT and disbursements incurred up to the point of cancellation. Unless you make an express request for us to commence work within the 14-day period (i.e. by signing and returning this agreement, we will not be able to undertake any work during that period.
The SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules, in force from time to time, require us to take out and maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance with participating insurers. Our qualifying insurers are:
Axis Specialty Europe SE whose address is 1St Floor Plantation Place South 60 Great Tower Street, London EC3R 5AZ. The policy number is P8029116 the insurance covers our practice carried on from our offices in England and Wales and will extend to acts or omissions wherever in the world they occur.
- FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPENSATION SCHEME
In the event of a banking failure it is unlikely that the firm would be held liable for any losses of client account money.
We currently hold our client account funds in Handelsbanken PLC. The £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) limit will apply to each individual client and £170,000 for joint accounts, so if you hold other personal monies yourself in the same bank as our client account, the limit remains £85,000 or £170,000 in total, so it may be advisable to check with your own bank as some banks now trade under different trading names.
However, with effect from 3rd July 2015, the FSCS will provide a £1 million protection limit for temporary high balances held with a bank, building society or credit union if it fails. Further details relating to what constitutes a temporary high balance and the rules relating to the protection can be found at www.fscs.org.uk.
In the event of a bank failure you agree to us disclosing details to the FSCS.
- LEGAL AID
We do not undertake legal aid work and it is important that you are aware of Legal Aid. Legal Aid is useful to a litigant because if he loses, his liability is limited to his means-tested contribution, and it is unlikely the Court will allow the victor to recover any costs against him. Legal Aid is not free. In most cases it is only a loan repaid from the fruits of the action. If the assisted party succeeds and recovers or preserves any asset (except for some exemptions for maintenance and family proceedings), it is subject to the statutory charge. The statutory charge operates to put the recovery or the preserved asset first towards payment of the assisted party’s legal costs, and the assisted party only gets the net balance (if any) – often much later because of the time taken in quantifying the final costs. If money is recovered, it has to be paid to the assisted party’s solicitor who has to pay it into the Legal Aid Fund who carry out the accounting and pay out the balance. The Legal Aid Agency has no power to reduce or waive the effect of the statutory charge. If a home is involved, it is sometimes possible to delay payment, but the statutory charge then operates like a mortgage and attracts interest until everything is repaid on sale. For more information, please discuss this with the person attending to your case (they will be able to confirm if Legal Aid will be relevant to your type of case and if you may qualify) / alternatively go to the LAA website www.gov.uk/legal-aid or telephone them directly on 0300 20 2020
- HELP TO BUY ISA SCHEME INFORMATION
The Help to Buy ISA Scheme was launched by HM Treasury on 1st December 2015. If you have taken out a Help to Buy ISA, then you may be eligible for a bonus payment of up to 25% of the closing balance of the Help to Buy ISA subject to a minimum bonus payment of £400 and a maximum of £3000 and provided that you and the property you are purchasing meet the eligibility criteria set out in HM Treasury ISA Scheme Rules. The fee earner with conduct of your matter (who under the Help to Buy ISA Scheme is known as the Eligible Conveyancer) will be able to advise you on eligibility and, if appropriate, will undertake the necessary process to apply for any bonus payment.
If you are purchasing a property through the Help to Buy ISA Scheme, HM Treasury will be the Data Controller of any relevant personal data that is given, via the Eligible Conveyancer, to HM Treasury and to the Administrator and / or any sub-contractor of HM Treasury or of the Administrator, for the purposes of the Help to Buy: ISA Scheme.
The information will be disclosed to HM Treasury and the Administrator for the purposes of verifying the eligibility of a Help to Buy: ISA Bonus payment and payment of Bonus funds, carrying out audits of Eligible Conveyancers and any investigations or compliance work in accordance with the Scheme Rules.
We serve your legitimate interests in disclosing your relevant personal data to HM Treasury, the Administrator and / or to any sub-contractor of HM Treasury for the purposes of verifying the eligibility of a Help to Buy, ISA Bonus payment and payment of Bonus funds; carrying out audits of Eligible Conveyancers; and any investigations or compliance work in accordance with the Scheme Rules.
- GREEN DEAL SCHEME
The Green Deal Scheme is a government driven initiative to allow for a loan to be provided on a property for the improvement of its energy efficiency. The loan is repayable on a monthly basis, in conjunction with the power bills on the property. The loan will run with the property unless it is repaid on the sale or transfer of the property.
The seller(s) of the property are required, by law, to disclose the existence of any Green Deal loan on the property they are selling, or they may become liable for repaying the outstanding debt, even after they have sold the property. The Estate Agent/Seller must disclose the existence of a Green Deal loan agreement prior to a sale being agreed. If the property is being sold at auction, the existence of a Green Deal loan agreement should be disclosed before the winning bid is made.
The purchaser on a normal sale should be given an EPC showing the Green Deal improvement or an EPC and a disclosure document showing details of the work carried out under the Green Deal Scheme. This disclosure document will be provided by the energy provider on completion of the work as well as details of the repayment amount, the unexpired term of the loan and details of the loan provider.
Disclosure of the Green Deal loan must be made at least 7 days before the transaction or arrangement is entered into or if this is not practicable then the disclosure requirement must be satisfied as soon as practicable before the transaction is entered into. The seller must secure that the contract for sale includes an acknowledgment by the purchaser that they have received notice that the property is a Green Deal property and that the bill payer at the property is liable to make payments under the green deal plan and further that certain terms of that plan are binding on the bill payer.
Whilst there are no charges, restrictions, notices or cautions registered when a property is a Green Deal property, the mortgage lender must be notified of the existence of the Green Deal loan because the borrower / new property owner is taking on another loan which runs with the property.
If this applies to you, we will ask you to sign and return the Declaration and Agreement Section of the Client Care Letter we send to you confirming your authority for us to make any such disclosure to your mortgage lender.
Please note that we offer no guarantees/warranties in relation to the extent and nature of any works undertaken under the Green Deal Scheme. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have satisfied yourself as to the extent, nature and repayment provision of any such works undertaken in accordance with the Green Deal Scheme.
We would recommend that all Green Deal loans be repaid by the seller on completion of the property transaction, as the value of the property will undoubtedly have already taken into account the work undertaken under the Green Deal loan.
- CONSUMER PROTECTION REGULATIONS (CPR)
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (as amended) regulate transactions between traders and consumers and prohibit trading practices that amount to unfair commercial practices and misleading acts and omissions. Neither You, the client, or Us, your legal representative, must mislead a buyer or tenant either by providing incorrect or ambiguous information, or by omitting to provide material information about the property You are selling.
Certain information will be revealed through searches and other enquiries of public databases, surveys and valuation reports. However, You must disclose to Us any known defects and other material adverse matters relating to the property known to You and failure to do so may mean that, in certain circumstances, the buyer or tenant would have rights of redress against You.
We encourage You to make all known disclosures as early in the transaction as possible to prevent delays.
If We become aware of any such existence of material information, and You decline to authorise disclosure to the buyer or tenant, then We would have to consider whether it was possible to continue to act for You as the CPR’s impose a duty to act fairly towards You as Our client and also towards third parties, especially those that are unrepresented.
We are not qualified to advise you on the tax implications of transactions you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising.
Planning in property transactions
We will not advise you on the planning implications of your proposed purchase, unless specifically requested to do so by you, otherwise than by reporting to you on any relevant information provided by the results of the “local search”.
Other property disclaimers / Environmental
It is not our responsibility to carry out a physical inspection of the property nor advise on the valuation of the property nor the suitability of your mortgage nor any other financial arrangements. We shall not advise generally on environmental liabilities where we shall assume, unless you tell us to the contrary, that you are making your own arrangements for any appropriate environmental survey or investigations.
We may, however, need to obtain on behalf of your lender, at your expense, an environmental search. However, we will not advise you about any issues relating to the possible contamination of any land which may be relevant to your purchase. We have to tell you that we are not qualified to advise on the results of any search made in that respect and would only be able to report to you the actual results of such a search. This is particularly significant in respect of the potential liabilities that may arise at some future point in time as a result of land contamination or flood risk that are having increasing significance. If you have any doubts, please discuss your concerns with us.
If we are instructed on purchase and we are also acting for your proposed lender, we have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and the mortgage. This includes any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction and any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving to you
- LAW AND JURISDICTION
The terms on which we provide Services to you are governed by, and shall be construed in accordance with, English law. You and we each agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts, provided that we may in our sole and unfettered discretion commence proceedings against you in any other Court.