Please read these terms and conditions carefully as they govern our relationship with you in relation to work undertaken by Ewart Price on your behalf. By signing and returning to us the final page of these terms and conditions you confirm your acceptance of them.
PLACE AND HOURS OF BUSINESS
Our offices are located at First Floor 16-18 Church Road Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL8 6PS. The normal opening hours are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. We do not have wheelchair access but home visits can be arranged.
LEVEL OF SERVICE
The work will be carried out for you by qualified professionals and their support staff. We are committed to providing all clients with a high degree of service.
Our support staff are:
For Michael Steel, Solicitor Jeanette Williams
For Michael Briscoe, Solicitor Louise Wingate
For Michael Bottomley, Solicitor Teresa Dunn and Joanne Arbery
For Rachael Marshall, Conveyancing Teresa Dunn and Joanne Arbery
For Graham Tooze, Solicitor Lauren Jarmain-Chew
For Mounia Le Gaufey, Solicitor Louise Wingate
For Francine Ross, Solicitor Louise Wingate
Should any problems arise please let us know as soon as possible and we will try to resolve these quickly. If however, you have any concerns about our service then you should contact the person within this firm mentioned in the second column below. The person named in the second column is responsible for overall supervision of the work undertaken for you.
Work carried out by: Supervised by:
Michael Steel Michael Briscoe
Michael Briscoe Michael Steel
Michael Bottomley Michael Briscoe
Graham Tooze Michael Steel
Rachael Marshall Michael Bottomley
Mounia Le Gaufey Michael Briscoe
Francine Ross Michael Briscoe
Tom Bottomley Michael Bottomley
COMMENCEMENT OF WORK AND CANCELLATION
In the event that your instructions to us have not have been given at a face to face meeting, you would generally have the right to cancel those instructions without any cost to you within seven days of your instructions being received by us. If you wish to cancel the agreement at any time thereafter please provide us with written confirmation clearly stating you are cancelling your instructions. We will then send you an invoice for the work carried out up to the date of cancellation.
By signing and returning to us the final page of these terms and conditions, you are agreeing that, to avoid any delay in the transaction, we may start work on your behalf straightaway and we do not have to wait for the cancellation period to expire.
Upon commencement of the work, we shall undertake to complete the transaction for you with reasonable expedition. However there may be many reasons why work cannot be completed within periods requested. If you do have particular concerns regarding timing of the work it is essential that you make these known to us as early as possible.
CONVEYANCING QUALITY SCHEME
We are accredited as part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
The scheme is designed to improve transparency of transactions, raise service levels and provide better communication and a more efficient process. To achieve this then, if your matter is a conveyancing one, we need your authority to enable us to share information with other parties involved in this transaction and any related chain of transactions. By signing and returning the copy of these terms and conditions you will be confirming that we have your authority to provide information to other parties in accordance with the Law Society Conveyancing Protocol. If you do not wish us to do so please advise us immediately.
We do not advise clients upon the tax aspects of their transactions. We recommend that you seek the advice of your accountant upon such matters. If you do not have an accountant we are happy to recommend one to you. In particular, if the work undertaken for you involves the completion and submission to HM Revenue and Customs of a Land Transaction Return you acknowledge that this is a specialist tax return which we are completing at your request and with the information that you have provided and that we accept no responsibility for any financial penalties or other losses which arise as a result of the information contained therein.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOU
If we communicate with you electronically, you acknowledge that there is a possibility of data corruption and we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their despatch. We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information are borne by you.
Where you have provided us with an email address, you confirm that you are content for us to contact you at that address alone and in the event of multiple clients, you confirm that all clients will have access to any emails sent to that address and that you do not require us to confirm emails in writing as well.
Where we are acting for more than one person we have an obligation to obtain instructions from each of them. This may be inconvenient for you so, to enable us to accept instructions from either of you on behalf of both, you are asked to sign the authority at the end of this form. We will then accept instructions from either of you on behalf of you both
THE LAW SOCIETY
The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has 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 Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling body for solicitors..
This firm is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can undertake insurance mediation activities, 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 Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register
STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DEEDS
After completing the transaction, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while money is owing to us. We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) for no more than 6 years and on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy the file 6 years after sending you our final bill. We will not destroy documents we agree to deposit in safe custody.
We do not normally make a charge for retrieving stored papers or deeds in response to continuing or new instructions to act for you. However, we reserve the right to make a charge based on the time we spend on reading papers, writing letters or other work necessary to comply with the instructions.
In most cases we will already have provided you with an estimate of our anticipated fees and expenses for acting for you. However, in exceptional circumstances, the transaction may prove to be substantially more complex or time-consuming than we can reasonably anticipate at the present time and we reserve the right to review our estimate in such cases.
If this firm does not complete the work, we will charge you £150 per hour for each hour of work. We will charge for writing letters, and for making and taking telephone calls in units of 1/10 th of an hour. Our charges for considering letters received will be in units of 1/20 th of an hour. Our total charge will never exceed the original quote for costs given at the outset of the transaction (as amended, if at all, during the course of the transaction). Our bill will also include VAT and expenses.
We will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary – for example, due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances change significantly during the matter. We will also inform you in writing of the estimated cost of the extra work before incurring extra costs.
We will attempt to agree an amended charge with you. If we cannot reach agreement, we will do no further work and charge you on an hourly basis for work to date, as set out earlier.
In common with many solicitor firms we pay commission to some estate agents and brokers to cover their administrative work in providing assistance when referring clients to us. If you have been recommended by Mather Marshall or Pikes estate agents we generally pay a commission fee of £125 plus VAT. This is not, however, an additional expense for you.
LIMIT OF LIABILITY
We maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance cover of up to £3,000,000, in the event of any claim for negligence against us. As a condition of our retainer with you, we therefore limit our liability to you, for any claim against the firm to a maximum of £3,000,000. This limit applies irrespective of the value of your transaction. By signing these terms and conditions you agree that the maximum claim that can be brought against this firm is limited to this amount.
It is our intention to undertake all the work that we do for you in a professional and conscientious manner. In the event, however, that you are unhappy with the service we provide or the amount of the fees we charge, then you should initially take the matter up with the person who is responsible for the supervision of the fee-earner dealing with your case. These details are set out under the heading “LEVEL OF SERVICE”. This firm operates a Complaints Procedure and if we are unable to resolve your complaint immediately then Mr Briscoe will provide you with a copy of the Complaints Procedure and the matter will progress in accordance with this.
You also have the right to complain about our invoice and the fees we have charged. In addition to our dealing with such a complaint as outlined above, you may also have a right to object to the bill by applying to the court for it to be assessed under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Whatever the nature of the complaint, if we are unable to resolve it between ourselves then you can refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman (see www.legalombudsman.org.uk for details of how to contact them). Alternatively, correspondence can be addressed to Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.
Our Complaints Procedure contains further details about this including the timeframe in which you would ordinarily have to make contact.
OUR TERMS OF PAYMENT
Save for conveyancing bills, which are normally payable on completion, our bills are payable within one month from the date of delivery of the bill. If, after expiry of one month, any amount of the bill remains outstanding, and, in the meantime you have not objected to the amount we have charged as outlined above, we are entitled to take proceedings against you for the recovery of any part of the bill which is unpaid.
Such proceedings will, we hope, be unnecessary and would be taken by us only with great reluctance. Should proceedings be taken, we would apply for the usual order for payment by you of the cost of proceedings, if appropriate.
INTEREST ON UNPAID BILLS
We are entitled to charge interest on any unpaid amount of our bill (including disbursements) not paid within one month of delivery. Interest will be charged at the rate applicable to judgement debts due from the date of the bill until payment. (However, where the balance arises from a remuneration certificate application, interest will accrue 30 days from the date of delivery of the bill).
We reserve the right to claim such interest whether proceedings are instituted or not.
In most cases we will act for the building society, bank or life assurance company involved in your mortgage and our fee already takes into account this work.
VAT is payable on our fees but no VAT is payable upon disbursements which where appropriate will be quoted inclusive of VAT.
DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998
To enable us to discharge the services agreed under this engagement, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance, we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you. You have a right of access, under the data protection legislation, to the personal data that we hold about you. We confirm when processing data on your behalf that we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. Your approval to these terms and conditions also authorises us to hold your details on a computer database.
PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002
In common with all accounting and legal practices we are required, with effect from 1 March 2004, to;
CLIENT IDENTITY AND PAYMENTS TO FIRM
This firm is obliged, under the Money Laundering Regulations, to have procedures in place to prevent the laundering of money obtained from criminal activities. In particular, clients are requested to provide evidence of identity and comply with our requirements regarding payments made to the firm. A summary of The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 appears above.
If, whilst acting for you, suspicions should arise that monies to be utilised in a transaction may have come from a criminal activity or information is received that a crime may have been committed, (for example tax evasion), we are obliged to notify the appropriate authorities.
Please note that payments may ONLY be made to this firm as follows:
(a) By personal cheque – drawn on the account of one or more of our clients from whom identification has already been obtained. However, this type of payment will not usually be acceptable for a deposit or balance to complete where urgency is involved due to the time this will take to clear.
We are usually unable to draw on cheques until they have been finally cleared into our bank account, being the 7 th working day after the day of paying the cheque into the bank (banking regulations 30th November 2007)
(b) Bankers draft or building society cheque – we may need to receive this up to one week before completion if it represents the balance to complete a property transaction.
(c) Cash from a client up to a maximum of £1,000 per transaction.
(d) Bank telegraphic transfer drawn on the account of one or more of our clients PROVIDED you have telephoned us prior to its transmission and have provided us with the following information:
(i) The name of your Bank (UK only)
(ii) The name or names of the clients from whose account the money is to be sent
(iii) The branch sort code
(iv) The account number
Our bank details are sent under cover of a separate letter on request or you can call 01707 332 383 for verbal details.
Our Reference: [this will be on all our correspondence]
(e) BACS and other forms of electronic transfer – in addition to all the requirements of a telegraphic transfer, we shall also require a letter from your bank confirming the details (i) to (iv) above. This is because this information is not made available to our bank when the monies are sent to us.
(f) Cheques, drafts, telegraphic transfers, BACS and electronic transfers from third parties (for example, relatives, friends or investors who are not clients) can only be received by us if, in addition to the information requested above, we also have evidence of identity and address from that third party.
(g) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES must monies (for example cheques or cash) be paid into another bank for credit to our account without our express approval in advance.
(h) Debit or credit card. The payment must be made on a card in the name of one of the clients. If the payment is to be made by someone else other than a client then the additional identification evidence as set out in (f) above will be first required. There is a charge of 2% of the payment for acceptance of money by credit card. This is a charge imposed by our bank. You will be told of the actual amount to be taken prior to making the payment. There is no bank charge for using debit cards.The payment can be made either on the telephone or by personal attendance at the office when you will need to enter your PIN number. We are unable to accept card payments for either the whole or any part of the deposit or the purchase price for property transactions but they can be used to pay incidental expenses such as agents fees, stamp duty land tax, search fees or land registration fees. We regret that we are unable to accept payment with American Express cards. You also need to be aware that any payment made by debit or credit card will not be credited to our bank account for up to three days and as such we will not be in a position to utilise the funds until they are actually received.
(i) Please note these have been our account details for over 20 years. We have no plans to change these. If you should receive an email from us purporting to change these details do not pay to that new account but instead advise us of this straight away please.
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to us. These Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply save to the extent that they are modified by us in any accompanying letter or memorandum or by notice in writing. These Terms and Conditions of Business and any accompanying letter shall be interpreted in accordance with the laws of England & Wales. The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any dispute arising out of our acting on your behalf.
EWART PRICE STANDARD TERMS OF BUSINESS
By instructing us to proceed with your transaction either verbally or by returning a completed questionnaire form (when provided) you are acknowledging and agreeing to these terms and conditions including providing us with the authorities referred to. We would, however, ask you also to sign below, remove this page from the Terms and Conditions, and return this page to us.
This will help expedite your transaction.
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