BILLING POLICY & FEES
In the light of Good Practice, the Firm would like to make known its Terms and Conditions for carrying out legal work on your behalf. The Firm aims to provide qualitative legal advice, personal service and Partner led services at a reasonable and competitive rate.
A counsel would be attached to your case; he/she would be responsible for liaising with you on matters relating to your case.
He/she would explain to you what legal steps are required and the possible consequences.
A status report will be sent to you regularly to keep you informed of progress and developments on your case.
Our fees would be communicated to you as soon as your instruction is accepted.
We aim to please and provide you with the best legal service available.
SCOPE OF INSTRUCTIONS
On receiving your instructions, we would write to accept them, notifying you of the scope of our instructions and where possible the likely timescale for completing the work. In litigious matters we would also speculate on the time it may take to complete and what steps the firm needs to take on the matter. We would notify you intermittently of any substantial variations in the course of action.
Our partners being the heads of department would ultimately be responsible for your work either personally or for the supervision of assigned counsel. Counsel to be attached would be one with the relevant expertise and knowledge to handle your matter/case effectively. As much as possible the firm would strive not to change counsel on your matter midstream but due to unforeseen circumstances should this happen you would be notified of this change and the necessity for it.
Our fees are generally based on time spent dealing with your matter for example attending meetings, researching and drafting of documents, correspondence writing and response, making and receiving telephone calls, traveling, attending court, preparing notices and written statements and attending other hearings in contentious matters.
Our professional fees are a standard rate but incidental expenses vary due to the peculiarities of each matter. For example fees charged by the court in various matters.
Responsible Counsel would inform you of the hourly charging rates that apply to those dealing with your matter, unless an alternative charging arrangement has been agreed with you. Hourly rates are reviewed annually in December of each year and they may rise. The firm would notify you in writing of any proposed increase in rates and would assume this is acceptable to you unless we hear from you to the contrary shortly thereafter. If your instructions require us to work outside normal office hours, we may apply higher hourly rates by as much as 50% and we will notify you of the increased rate. When we are by more than one person or company, each person or company for whom we act will be jointly and severally liable for payment of our charges.
In property transactions, the administration of estate and transactions involving a large amount of money or benefit to you the client, our charges would be based on time spent and the value element such as the price of the property, the size of the estate or the value of the financial benefit. The value element reflects the importance of the transaction and the responsibility you have placed on the firm to handle it on your behalf. We may by virtue of our long-standing relationship with you reduce the percentage charged on the value element, but this is entirely a matter of discretion and would depend on the timeliness of the payment. An alternative charging arrangement such as a fixed fee may be fixed, but this would need to discussed and agreed separately.
In contentious matters such as litigation proceedings, in addition to time spent other factors would need to be taken into account such as the complexity of the issues involved in the matter, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge required and if possible the value of the property or subject matter involved.
Our fees and charges would be based on the information made available to us at the start of a contentious matter, if however, the matter becomes more complex than expected, the rates would be increased and we would notify you of this necessity. We will discuss with you on your ability or otherwise to recover fully your costs from the other party.
We may need to incur certain expenses and make certain payments on your behalf from time to time e.g. Land Registry fees, search fees, fees for experts reports, fees for other professionals, court fees, travel expenses, courier charges, photocopying documents commercially, faxes, overseas and mobile telephone calls. These expenses fall under the heading of incidental expenses and we would need to ask you to advance such sums as may be deemed necessary to facilitate these disbursements at the start of the matter. We may also need to give an undertaking on your behalf to pay a third party’s costs, in such event we would ask you to place in advance such sums with us.
Our fees are based on a possible estimate of the likely overall costs and disbursement to be spent, the value element and any specialist knowledge required. As you are aware it is difficult if not impossible to estimate accurately at the outset of any matter because of unforeseen contingencies. Estimates made are for budgeting purposes only and are not contractually binding. We would inform you of any significant unforeseen contingencies or extra work that becomes necessary.
COSTS ON ACCOUNT
You would be expected to pay for our charges and expenses and we would request this from you from time to time. This is to enable us pay disbursements as they become due to avoid delay in the progress of the matter.
Where we hold payments on your behalf, we will offset such payments against our bills; but it is important that you understand that the total charges and disbursements might be greater than any advance payments. We will not account to you for interest on any advance payments, as costs will be accruing from the outset of the work.
Bills would be sent out at intervals depending on the work involved, the first being at the outset of the matter and then at every significant time in the course of the matter. In contentious matters we will send the bills for our charges and disbursements at regular intervals while the case is in progress and at the conclusion of the case.
In relation to property and land transaction work, we will send you a preliminary bill for our charges and disbursements at the commencement of the work and a final bill at the completion of the transaction.
If the work is likely to be a protracted matter, we will send the bills at appropriate intervals and a bill on or after completion of the work.
PAYMENT OF BILLS
All bills are to be paid on presentation, we reserve the right to suspend our services or withdraw from acting for you if bills are not paid on time. All bills are to be paid in the currency agreed upon at the commencement of the work, we may agree to accept payment in another currency but our prior consent is needed.
Our Accountant or Practice Development Manager would from time to time call upon you or phone you to enquire about the payment of our bills; please accord either of them all the assistance they may require.
RECOVERY OF COSTS OR LIABILITY FOR COSTS OF OTHER PARTY IN CONTENTIOUS MATTERS
In contentious matters, please note that you will be primarily responsible for paying our bills whatever the outcome of the case. Even if you are successful in the case, the other party may not be ordered to pay all your costs or these might not be recovered from them in full. In this case you would still be responsible for our costs in full.
You would also be responsible for paying our charges and disbursements involved in seeking to recover any costs that the courts may order the other party to pay.
In circumstances where the case is lost and the court orders that you pay the legal costs of the other party, these costs would be paid by you in addition to our charges and disbursements.
STORAGE OF PAPERS, DEEDS AND DOCUMENTS
We will keep title deeds, wills and other important documents in safe custody at no charge to you, neither would we charge for retrieving stored papers, deeds or other important documents. We may however charge for time spent working on these papers in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you. We may also charge for time spent on reading papers, writing letters or other work necessary to comply with your request where we do not continue to act for you.
We take issues of security and confidentiality very serious. In particular you should be aware that the Internet is an insecure medium, although it is widely used for speed and convenience. We therefore assume that if you have and e-mail address you are willing to receive any correspondence sent via e-mail. Please contact us if you would prefer not to receive communications by e-mail or not to receive communications unless they are encrypted.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Our firm has a professional indemnity Insurance policy that covers us against liability for any damages or losses, as a result of any proven negligence or breach of contract or breach of statutory duty. We will not be liable for indirect or consequential damages or losses or for any loss of profits. You agree not to bring any claim against our employees personally.
These terms and conditions as set out are the rights and obligations as agreed between you and us only. All work done and advice proffered is for your use and benefit only our duty of care is to you as our client and not to any third parties. Nothing in our agreement will confer on any third party any benefit or right to enforce any of these terms and conditions or to rely on any worked done or advice proffered by us.
All professional firms are now regulated by strict rules relating to crime and money laundering. We might be required to request evidence from you to check identity or details concerning payments made via this firm and we ask for your understanding in this respect.
We would not decide to stop acting for you without good reason for example if you do not pay your bills in good time or in the event that that it has in our opinion become impracticable for us to continue working with you. We will give you reasonable notice if we decide to stop acting for you. You may however, terminate your instructions to us but this must be done in writing with the understanding that we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while money is still being owed to the firm on any instruction from you or your affiliate company.
QUERIES OR CONCERNS
We are confident of our ability to provide you with a high standard of professional service. However if you have any queries or concerns about the work please do not hesitate to call on the counsel in charge of your matter, if that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction then you may revert to the Partner in whose department the matter falls.
We expect a mutually beneficial relationship with you and would strive to provide you with excellent and qualitative service. We hereby request that you accord us the same with regards to information we require from you and the prompt settlement of our bills.