Terms and Conditions
Doing Business with The Law Jurist
Standard Terms and Conditions
Some of our standard terms of engagement may not be immediately relevant to you. Our objective is to build a relationship with all of our clients which will last over years and we think it helps if we provide you at the outset with a description of the terms on which we provide all our services.
In order to avoid repeating your name and ours in this document, we have used the expressions “we”, “us” and “our” to refer to The law jurist Limited and “you” and “your” to refer to you, our client. We have also used the expression “charges” to avoid repeating the expression “fees, disbursements and expenses” all of which are referred to on each occasion this word is used.
2. Client and Matter Director
We operate a structured system to ensure that you have a single lawyer who will be responsible for maintaining an overview of your affairs. A Supervisor will supervise those who carry out your work. It is important that you are kept fully informed of progress and that in handling your work we always act in accordance with your instructions. We shall report to you at such intervals and by such means as you may reasonably require.
3. Instructions and Service Standards
We have set out the agreed scope and objectives of your instructions in the Letter of Engagement. Any subsequent change will be discussed with you and, where appropriate, a new Letter of Engagement will be issued. We shall proceed on the basis of the instructions we have received from you and rely upon you to tell us as soon as possible if anything occurs which renders any information previously given to us incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete.
We shall not be responsible for any failure to advise or comment on any matter which falls outside the scope of your instructions. We cannot accept any responsibility for any event, loss or situation unless it is one against which it is the express purpose of those instructions to provide protection. The advice given by us is provided in light of the instructions to which it relates and for your benefit only. It may not be used or relied upon for any other purpose or by any person other than you without our prior written consent. We shall proceed on the basis of the following service standards:
- We will update you (orally (e.g. by telephone or in a meeting), email or in writing) with progress on your matter regularly but in no event less than every six weeks, unless otherwise agreed with you;
- We will communicate with you in plain language;
- We will explain to you (orally (e.g. by telephone or in a meeting), email or in writing) the legal work required as your matter progresses;
- We will update you on the cost of your matter as deemed reasonably appropriate by us but in any event, no less than every six months;
- We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances;
- We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates;
- We will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
Conversely, however, we would ask that you provide us with timely, accurate and clear instructions and provide all documentation required to complete your matter in a timely manner.
4. Standard Fee Basis
Our fees are calculated by taking into account a series of factors established by law. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, these include the amount of time we spend, the complexity of the matter and the level of skill and specialised knowledge involved. In addition, we take into account the value of the matter and its importance to you. Time spent may include but will not necessarily be limited to:
- Perusing and working on papers and correspondence;
- Telephone calls to third parties;
- Time spent with you on the telephone or in face to face meetings;
- Time spent with others in preparing the case on your behalf (which may include witnesses, experts and counsel);
- Dealing with other parties involved in the matter;
- Travelling and waiting time.
As our time and expertise are the core elements of our service, our fees are normally calculated by reference to the current hourly rates of the lawyers concerned and applicable at the time that the work is carried out for you. The rates currently applicable are set out in the Letter of Engagement.
Our intention is that our fees should be fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances. Our aim is to be as flexible as is commercially sensible in our approach to fees and we are prepared to consider alternatives to hourly rates including by way of example, fixed fees, blended rates, percentage fees based upon specific criteria or retainers. The Letter of Engagement sets out the agreement we have reached as to the basis of our fees.
All figures in our Letter of Engagement or any correspondence with you are exclusive of VAT.
5. Estimates of Fees
Any estimate provided as to fees is only a guide and must not be taken as a firm quotation unless we have confirmed in writing that we shall charge a fixed fee. Our estimate will aim to give you a breakdown between likely charges and VAT. Where time is a factor in assessing fees, we will explain clearly to you how we intend to use the time. our estimate will be expressed as a range. It is likely that our estimate will include, where possible, details of any third parties to whom you will need to make payments and when those payments are likely to be needed. Where, in our judgment, it is not possible to provide you with a fixed or realistic estimate of charges, we shall, at your request, give you the best information about the total cost of the next stage of the matter. We shall review the original estimate regularly and provide you with revised estimates, where applicable, giving the reasons for any changes made.
6. Cap on Fees
If a cap or limit is agreed on the level of our fees then our fees will not exceed the amount specified in the Letter of Engagement. However, the application of the cap or limit is agreed on the basis of the instructions and information supplied to us and on any assumption set out in the Letter of Engagement. Unless the Letter of Engagement states otherwise, expenses and disbursements shall be payable in addition to any cap or other limits on fees.
7. Fixed Fees
If we have agreed a fixed fee with you, then the Letter of Engagement includes a detailed description of what we have agreed to do for that fee and a summary of the information which you have given to us. In order to provide that description, on which the fixed fee is based, we must have as much information as possible about the work which you want us to do, so that we can estimate the time it will take us.
Expenses and disbursements shall be payable in addition to any fixed fee. Provided:
- The scope of your instructions does not change; and
- The information in the summary is accurate; and
- There is no material delay in progressing or completing the matter beyond our control
We will complete your instructions for the fixed fee. If anyone of the three provisos is not satisfied, we shall advise you that in our view the fixed fee agreement should cease to have an effect. If you agree with our view, we shall seek a new agreement with you for a new/revised fixed fee or agree on a different method of charging fees. If you do not agree with our view, then the Complaints Handling Procedure referred to below.
Expenses and Disbursements
Your instructions authorise us, unless you instruct us to the contrary, to incur such disbursements and expenses as we consider necessary to comply with your instructions. You will be required to reimburse them to us on request either by payment on account or against submission of a bill.
Disbursements and expenses are charged at cost. We reserve the right to charge you for:
- Expenses of travel, accommodation and meals when travelling away from the office (and exceptional costs of in-house provision of food, subsistence items or other amenities) in fulfilling your instructions;
- Late night transport home for Directors or staff or the cost of overnight accommodation where the work necessary to fulfil your instructions must be necessarily be undertaken after 21:00;
- Photocopying and scanning expenses incurred on your behalf;
8. Payments on Account
Our standard policy is to ask clients to provide sums in advance to cover charges. If we do, any payment will be held on generally on account of charges which we are likely to incur on your behalf. We will discuss with you the amount which is appropriate at the outset of any new matter. It will be helpful if you could please meet any requests for payment promptly. However, if there is any difficulty in this respect please contact the lawyer who is dealing with your matter.
Save for any advance payments for expenses and disbursements which may be applied when the expenses or disbursements are incurred, the money will be retained until completion of the matter although, at our discretion, some or all of it may be applied towards any bill which has remained unpaid for more than 28 days. If part or all of the money is used in this way or if for any reason it is reasonable to review the amount held by us, we may ask you to provide a further sum to cover future charges.
9. Interim Bills
We will bill charges on the basis set out in the Letter of Engagement. Payment of interim bills helps us to spread our charges fairly between clients for whom we are working over different periods of time.
10. General Provisions about Bills
Bills will contain a brief description of the work performed during each billable period but not a detailed narrative. solicitor dealing with your matter know. Bills may be sent by post or by email. Bills are due for payment within 14 days of delivery unless that period is extended, in writing, by a Director. Our bills will also, where appropriate, add a sum for VAT.
If you wish to make payment by way of bank transfer, our bank account details can be made available to you upon request. Our preferred mode of payment is by PayPal or bank transfer, though we are open to considering other forms of payment methods that are convenient for you.
We may, in order to secure payment of our charges, have first call upon any money or other property recovered or preserved for you by our efforts.
If a third party undertakes responsibility for payment of some or all of our charges on your behalf, and payment is not made as set out above then you will be responsible for settling any outstanding amount. If a bill remains unpaid for more than 14 days or if you decline or fail to meet a request for a payment on account of our charges, we may decline to act any further. If our instructions are given by or on behalf of more than one person or company each person or company for whom we are acting will be responsible for the payment of the full amount of our charges regardless of whether our bills are addressed only to one or some of such parties.
The Law Jurist 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 a bill, please contact our CEO or COO by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
11. Termination of Instructions
You may terminate our instructions at anytime by giving us written notice. In some circumstances, for good reason, we may decide to cease acting for you. Examples of circumstances where we might so decide include a failure on your part to provide us with adequate instructions or when we find ourselves unable to comply with your instructions or when our invoice remains unpaid outside an agreed payment timetable or when a payment on account is not made in accordance with these standard terms and conditions and our Letter of Engagement.
We will give you reasonable prior written notice if we decide for whatever reason that we are no longer willing or able to act for you. If we are on the court record on your behalf you must, if we have given such notice, arrange for other solicitors to file a Notice of Acting on your behalf or file a Notice of Acting in Person. If you fail to do so we shall rely upon this condition in applying to be removed from the record as acting for you. In circumstances where our instructions are terminated or we cease to act for you, we will be entitled to receive payment for our reasonable charges.
12. Data Protection and Privacy
The information which you provide to us is confidential. It is also likely to be covered by the Data Protection Act 1998. Inevitably we may have to disclose some information to third parties and we accept instructions only on the understanding that we have the authority to do so when reasonable and necessary for the purposes of dealing with any matter on which you instruct us.
If we have any doubt as to whether you might object to the disclosure of any information we will seek to obtain your consent before doing so unless disclosure is required as a matter of law. We may use the information provided to check our own records, your records at credit reference agencies and the records held by credit reference agencies relating to your business. You consent to us holding information relating to your matter, including personal information, in our electronic case management system.
This information will be accessible by the solicitor(s) handling your matter, the Directors of The Law Jurist and essential operational staff. If you request a copy of your file, or that the file is sent to a third party or any such similar instruction, you consent to us sending that file by electronic file transfer. If you require us to send the file in hard copy format then we reserve the right to charge you for the time involved (for example in printing and copying your file) and any postal charges necessary to comply with your instructions.
If, and to the extent, you provide personal data relating to any third party to us, you confirm that you have obtained their consent to pass their personal data to us and for us to process it in the manner and for the purposes of providing services to you as described herein. If we instruct counsel on your behalf, we may keep a copy of an opinion given by counsel in electronic form for internal know-how purposes but we will ensure that client confidentiality is preserved.
We will retain information about you after the closure of your file for as long as permitted for legal, regulatory, fraud and other financial crime prevention and legitimate business purposes. 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.
13. Storage of Papers and Deeds
Upon completion of any matter for you or earlier termination of our instructions, we are entitled to retain your papers, documents or other property held by us if there is any money owing to us in respect of our charges until you have paid any outstanding amount, including interest. We shall keep our files of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) in storage but in the understanding that we have your authority to destroy the file six years from the date of delivery of our final invoice in respect of the matter.
We shall not however, destroy documents which you specifically ask us to deposit in safe custody. We do not normally make a charge for retrieving stored papers or deeds in respect of continuing or new instructions to act for you. However, we reserve the right to make a charge based upon the time we spend reading papers, writing letters and other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
14. Electronic Communication
We are able to communicate electronically with our clients and other parties using electronic mail (both direct and via the internet) and using computer disks. If we communicate electronically with or for you, you acknowledge and agree as follows:
- There are some delivery risks in using electronic mail and you accept the risk of interception by third parties or of non-receipt or delayed receipt of the message;
- Computer viruses and similar damaging items can be transmitted through e-mails and by introducing computer disks into your system; we use virus scanning software to reduce these risks and ask that you do the same; however, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of introducing viruses;
- You release us from all claims, losses, expenses and liabilities caused by any of the risks referred to above and arising directly or indirectly out of that communication.
15. SRA Code of Conduct & Complaints Handling Procedure
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulates solicitors in England and Wales. While we are a global firm, we have opted to follow the SRA Code of Conduct, out of goodwill.
These principles or rules are known as the SRA Code of Conduct and a copy can be found at http://www.sra.org.uk/rules/. As a valued client, you should know that we take every care in providing the service that you are entitled to expect. We recognise however, that occasionally things can go wrong and you may wish to complain about the service you have received and/or about a bill. We have a formal Complaints Handling Procedure and we want you to understand how it works.
The procedure will ensure that:
- Complaints are taken seriously and get a prompt response; and
- Any complainant knows as soon as possible whether or not we agree that the complaint is justified.
If you wish to make a complaint then you may do so by e-mail or letter. In our view, it is best if it is made in writing and addressed to the CEO or the COO. The Director will then follow the Complaints Handling Procedure.
16. Ability to Pay
Please note, however, that we do not operate a legal aid practice. You will advise us if you know of any arrangements available to you for the payment of our charges or to pay any costs which you might be ordered to pay to an opponent. You may, for example, have legal expenses insurance by virtue of your own personal or household insurance or membership of a trade or professional association.
17. Our Liability to You
In order that our liability to you arising from our negligence or wilful default shall be fair and proportionate, we may include provisions in the Letter of Engagement which limit our liability in certain circumstances. In any event, please note carefully the exclusion of liability in circumstances where matters fall outside our instructions. 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.
Any advice given to you by a solicitor or a Director is given by that person on behalf of us and that person does not assume any personal responsibility to you for that advice. Accordingly, you will not bring any claim against any individual solicitor or a Director in respect of any losses which you suffer or incur, directly or indirectly, in connection with our services.
18. Equality and Diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.
19. Jurisdiction and Applicable Law
These standard terms and conditions shall be construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.