DARBY & DARBY SOLICITORS
(SRA registration no.: 61431)
OUR TERMS OF BUSINESS
The following Terms are our standard terms across all of our areas of work. The following terms are available to you from your Fee Earner and through our website.
Your continued instruction of our Firm amounts to acceptance of the following Terms.
We aim to
- Provide you with the best possible service and legal advice, based upon compliance with the SRA rules, the Law Society’s Rules and Guidelines and any other Statute or regulations which govern the method of our practice. We are not liable for matters upon which you have not specifically asked us to advise.
- Keep you advised of progress, on legal issues involved and about costs at regular intervals. We will always consider the likely cost of your matter and the risks involved and advise you whether it is worth continuing or not.
- Deal with the entire matter as quickly as possible and achieve your objectives as far as possible.
- Continue to act for you until you tell us in writing that you do not wish us to continue or we tell you in writing that we cannot or will not continue to act for you. If this firm terminates instructions, we will notify you in writing and give reasons where we can. If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis as set out in these terms and conditions. We can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
- Under certain circumstances we may be required to work on your matter even though our instructions have ceased.
- While we are instructed by you we will not act against you for any other client.
We ask you to
- Provide us with full, accurate and true up to date information upon which we will rely. All information you provide us is confidential. We will not disclose any information to a third party unless we have your written consent, other than in the usual course of your representation (e.g.: corresponding with other Solicitors pursuant to your instructions).
- Let us know if other Solicitors have at any time been involved in your matter.
- Understand that problems or delays may be due to circumstances beyond our control.
- Provide us with proof of identity in order to comply with Money Laundering Regulations (see section 6).
- Contact us if you require any up to date information about your matter.
- Respect our professional rules and obligations.
- Our charges are either fixed or estimated, details of which will be in our covering letter.
- Payment of bills is due within 14 days. We can charge interest on overdue bills. If a bill is overdue, we may decline to act any further and the full value of the work done will be charged. Please raise queries on bills quickly. You have the right to have the final bill officially assessed. Should you be concerned about the amount of any account, please do not hesitate to contact our Mr Ben Darby.
- If we hold any monies on your behalf or receive any commissions as a result of dealing with your affairs we will inform you.
- From time to time we will send you accounts for work done. If we are holding money on your behalf, for whatever purpose, we may use it towards settlement of any outstanding account for fees or disbursements. We will of course notify you of money so used.
Monies held on your behalf in Client Account
- During the period of your instructions we may hold money on your behalf in our Client Account. We will maintain a ledger of all monies received, held and spent on your behalf.
- If we hold monies for a significant period of time then it is possible that interest will accrue on them. Any such interest will be at the rate paid on our Client Current Account by our Bank. We will account to you for any interest, in excess of £20, accrued on monies held. This in accordance with our policy and SRA guidance on providing a fair and reasonable account to Clients. Interest under £20 will not be paid on monies held as the cost of calculating the same will outweigh the benefit to you.
Our Fees (plus VAT and Disbursements)
- Our fees are based on the cost of time that we spend on your matter as recorded on our computer system and your file which might include seeing you or other persons, telephone calls, reading, considering and preparing documents, research of your case, going to Court, travelling time and waiting time. We are also allowed subject to Law Society Guidelines and SRA rules to charge an additional charge where a matter is very complex, urgent or vital to you. The value of the matter to you is of course taken into account. Our hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Bills delivered will attract VAT at the prevailing rate.
- Our standard fee rates are:
(i) Partner - £295 +VAT @ 20% per hour (£354 per hour)
(ii) Consultant Solicitor - £295 + VAT@ 20% (£354 per hour)
(ii) Assistant Solicitor - £240 +VAT@ 20% per hour (£288 per hour)
(iii) Licensed Conveyancer - £200 +VAT @ 20% per hour (£240 per hour)
(iv) Conveyancing/Legal Executive - £150 +VAT @ 20% per hour (£180 per hour)
- Where an estimate of fees or fixed fee has been given, and your matter becomes more complex then extra fees may become payable. If an increased or additional fixed fee is not agreed between us then the extra work (work not anticipated at the point of the original estimate) will be charged at our standard fee rates at 5 (b) above.
- In all Conveyancing matters we may give you a written estimate of our costs and this will be in place of our standard fee rates.
- In all Litigation matters, if you lose your Court case, you will usually be ordered to pay your opponent’s legal costs as well as your own. It may be that if you win your opponent may not be able to pay all or even part of your legal costs. In this situation you would be responsible to meet any short fall.
- You will be personally responsible for payment of our fees, VAT and for reimbursement of any expenses we incur on your behalf irrespective of whether somebody else is ordered to pay them at the end of your case.
- If you are legally aided you are responsible for our fees, expenses and VAT before your Legal Aid Certificate is issued and also after it is discharged.
- While we will do our best to give you an accurate estimate of costs of your matter it can often be very difficult to be certain how much it will cost. Any monies you pay us on account of fees or expenses do not indicate the likely costs involved.
- From time to time we may need to instruct Barristers or other persons of professional standing in relation to your matter. If this proves necessary we will always seek your authority first and let you know who we are going to instruct and estimate the cost of instructing that person.
- We reserve our right to exercise a lien in respect of unpaid fees, VAT and disbursements (to hold your file in the event of an unpaid bill or outstanding balance).
Right to cancel – Distance Selling
If you have instructed us remotely without meeting one of our team or attending our Offices, you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days of your initial instruction without giving any reason.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us by contacting the Fee Earner dealing with your matter, or Ben Darby (Managing Partner) [email protected] of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement in writing via letter or e-mail.
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
Effects of cancellation
If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse to you any payments received from you on account of our fees.
We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.
We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
Commencing work within the 14 day cancellation period
If you sign and accept our terms of business within the cancellation period we will take that as your request for us to commence work before allowing the period of 14 days to pass.
- While we endeavour to provide an excellent service to our clients, problems can from time to time arise. If you feel you have a problem please contact us immediately as we want to deal with it for you.
- Firstly discuss your concern with whoever is dealing with the matter on your behalf. This can often resolve misunderstandings but if you are still concerned please do not hesitate to contact our Mr Ben Darby (Managing Partner) at our office Darby & Darby, Tudor Chambers, Fore Street, St Marychurch, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 4PR or on 01803 313 656, [email protected].
- Darby & Darby is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please contact Ben Darby as outlined above. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints, which is available at our office.
- If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman at Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or via www.legalombudsman.org.uk or on 0300 555 0333 or email [email protected] to consider the complaint.
The time limits for referring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman are no later than:
(i) one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about; or
(ii) one year from the date when the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint.
Proof of Identity
In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon a practicable. We should be grateful if you would provide us with documents to verify your identity and address as set out on the attached sheet.
Our firm’s policy is to only accept cash up to £2,500.00 per matter.
If clients circumvent this policy by depositing cash direct with our bank we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.
- Sometimes conveyancing/ family/ probate/ wills/ litigation and company work involves investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and so may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However, we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments, provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you, as we are regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and the Legal Complaints Service.
- The Law Society is the designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling had been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.
We have a duty to inform you if we are acting for you and your lender, we have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. This includes (this is not an exhaustive list):
- any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction.
- any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you.
- any third party contributions used to fund your purchase.
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 tax implications of a transaction that you are 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 can not we may be able to identify a source of assistance for you.
Vital and important instructions should be confirmed to us by post. Email communications cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error free and may be lost or delayed. If you do decide to contact us by email we do not accept liability for any losses suffered as a result. Please let us know if you do not wish us to contact you by email.
Data Protection – How we use your data and your Rights
Darby & Darby Solicitors are registered with the Information Commissioners Office under Registration number Z2138820.
How we receive your data
You are our main source of your data. We will ask you for personal information including your name, address, date of birth as well as financial information including bank details, national insurance number. We will also receive data, on your behalf and depending on the nature of your instruction to this Firm, from 3rd parties such as a Mortgage Company, Estate Agents, Courts, Solicitors acting on the other side.
(ii) Why we hold and use your data
To enable us to progress your matter we utilise the data we receive. We only use that data to:
(a) to fulfil our Contract – completing your instructions in this matter.
(b) to comply with a Legal Duty – such as external audit or a disclosure to HMRC, a Court or the Land Registry (for example).
(c) Our own legitimate interest – we check for Conflicts between existing and prospective clients to ensure that no dispute arises.
(d) In accordance with your consent – we will ask you for consent to us eyour data in accordance with these terms of business.
How we store your data
Your data is retained in either paper and/or electronic format. Paper copies of your data will be retained on your personal file. Electronic data is stored within our Legal Software Case Management system. Only the staff of Darby & Darby will have access to your physical and electronic files. Their access is password protected and encrypted.
When we share your data
Internally your data is available to all Partners and Staff at Darby & Darby. Their access to your data is limited for their use in the furtherance of your matter.
Externally, as detailed further under 12 below, we will use your data to advance your matter. It would be impossible to actively provide legal services without the ability to share your data, where necessary or relevant. It is for this reason we seek your specific consent.
We DO NOT share your data with 3rd parties outside the scope of your consent or the purposes of advancing your instructions.
We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.
Under the GDPR legislation you are entitled to:
- Be informed of this Policy
- Access your data
- Seek rectification of any errors in your data
- Seek destruction of your data
- Withdraw your previous consent for us to use your data
- Object to the use of your data
- Request transfer of your data (where possible/practicable)
- Complain to the regulator at https://ico.org.uk
To request any of the above to be actioned you can send a “Subject Action Request” in writing to the person responsible at this Firm namely Ben Darby. Your Subject Action Request should be sent for Ben Darby’s attention at the Torquay Office or to his email [email protected].
We endeavour to deal with all complaints and concerns direct with you as swiftly as possible. Should you not be satisfied with our response you can complain to the Information Commissioner. Further details can be found at https://ico.org.uk.
Destruction of your data
In the absence of an earlier successful Subject Access Request from you to destroy your data your paper file of papers will be destroyed after a period in archived storage which will be notified to you at the end of your matter. It is intended that electronic data we hold will be stored on our computer system to assist with future audit processes and to mitigate the risk of Conflicts of Interests arising in future matters.
Vetting of Files and Confidentiality
Solicitors are under a professional and legal duty to keep the affairs of clients confidential. During the course of your transaction we will have to disclose certain details to third parties (eg: Mortgage Company, Estate Agents, Solicitors, Barristers etc..) to further your instructions. Save for these aforementioned routine disclosures there are three further scenarios that we bring to your attention at this stage:-
- Legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed Solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency (“NCA”). Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering disclosure will be made to NCA. If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that disclosure has been made or of the reason for it.
- We may be required to produce all or part of your file to assessors, the Law Society, Solicitors Regulatory Authority or similar, as part of an audit or quality check.
- Concerns and/or disclosure to a relevant authority (for example Social Services and Police) in accordance with Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy where there are concerns that an individual who may be seemed a Vulnerable Adult and is at risk of, or the victim of, abuse. Abuse in the policy is not limited to physical, mental or psychological and includes financial abuse (or the risk of exposure to such abuse).
Our Liability to you for breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000, unless we expressly state a higher amount in the letter accompanying these terms of business. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.
We can only 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.
Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
Any disputes or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh Courts.
Storage of Papers and Documents
After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for charges and expenses. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for a period of six years. After that period storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy your file after such period as we consider reasonable or make a charge for storage if we ask you to and you fail to do so.
Equality & Diversity
This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealing with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us for further information about our equality and diversity policy.