I aim to offer my clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. As a start, I hope it is helpful to you, to set out in this statement, the basis upon which I will provide my professional services.
I am generally available and contactable during normal weekly business hours. If I am not immediately available I will respond to messages and emails as soon as possible.
As I am a sole practitioner, I will be the person responsible for dealing with your work.
My charges will be calculated by reference to the time actually spent by me in respect of any work which I do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, including e-mails, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, and time spent travelling away from the office, when this is necessary.
Routine letters are charged at 6 minute units of time and I charge for the time spent on making and taking telephone calls in 6 minute units and considering incoming letters at units of 3 minutes per page.
My current hourly rate is £185.00. I offer an initial consultation at a rate of £90.00.
My hourly rate has to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rate is reviewed with effect from 1st January each year. If any review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, I will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.
In addition to the time spent, I may take into account a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, and any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand.
Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients, ranging from Court fees to barristers’ fees. I have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided me with the funds for the purpose (made out in the name of the recipient). Such payments are generally referred to as ‘disbursements’.
I reserve the right to seek interim payments as my work on your case progresses. Payment is due to me within 28 days of my sending you a bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis of 4% over Nat West bank base rate from time to time, from the date of the bill, in cases where payment is not made within 28 days of delivery by me of the bill.
In some cases and transactions, a client may be entitled to payment of costs by some other person. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances, the other person may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with me. You have to pay my charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them.
If you are successful and a Court orders another party to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date of the Court Order.
You will be responsible for paying my charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you.
A client who is unsuccessful in a Court case may be ordered to pay the other party’s legal charges and expenses; that money would be payable in addition to my charges and expenses. Arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for such legal expenses. In the Employment Tribunal, an order to pay the other side’s costs will only be made if a case has been brought on unreasonable grounds.
I run my Practice in a way which does not discriminate against any client on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
My practice is to hold most documents on an electronic case management system’ Such case files will be deleted after 6 years. Where I hold paperwork, after completing the work, I am entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to me for my charges and expenses. In addition, I will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than one year. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that I have the right to destroy it after such a period as I consider reasonable.
If I retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions in connection with your affairs, I will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, I may make a charge based on time spent for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. I may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
You may terminate your instructions to me in writing at any time, but I will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing for my charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish me to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell me this clearly in writing.
If I decide to stop acting for you, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill, I will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
Solicitors are not allowed to disclose information about a client’s affairs without the client’s authority. By signing this Terms and Conditions of Business and returning it to me, you authorise me to disclose it to other parties in the case. You may withdraw this authority at any time, but if you do so, you should appreciate that I will inform the other party and their agents or advisers that this authority has been withdrawn.
I will not be liable for any loss, damage or delay arising out of my necessity to comply with any statutory or regulatory requirement.
My aim is to offer all my clients an efficient and effective service at all times. However, should there be any aspect of my service with which you are unhappy, please raise your concern in the first place with me. If you still have queries, or concerns, please contact Emma Smith, my Client Services Manager, at my address.
I will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. I may need to virus check disks or e-mails. Unless you withdraw your consent, I will communicate with you and others where appropriate by e-mail or fax, but I cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.
The Data Protection Act requires me to advise you that your particulars are held on my database. I may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which I think may be of interest to you.
Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.
Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it may not be possible for me to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been returned to me, for me to keep on my file.
Address:Catherine Herries-Smith SolicitorJubilee House, Globe Park, Third Ave, Marlow SL7 1EY