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.
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.
The work will be carried out for you by qualified professionals and assisted by other members of our support team. We are committed to providing all clients with a high degree of service.
We will update you on the progress of our work at agreed intervals and also update you on the likely timescales for each stage of your matter. We will review the matter regularly, discuss and agree strategies involved in your case and advise you of any circumstances or risks which we are aware of that may affect the outcome of your matter.
SUPPORT FROM YOU
We are able to provide you with a professional service only with your assistance. This includes:
In most cases we will already have provided you with an estimate of our anticipated fees and expenses in acting for you and this can be found on your client care letter.
Except for where we have agreed a fixed fee, our fees are based on several variables including our hourly rates. Any time we spend in connection with your work is recorded and charged on the basis of 6-minute units using these hourly rates, this includes time spent writing emails, making or receiving telephone calls, research and reviewing letters, documents or emails received.
In rare circumstances, the matter may prove to be substantially more complex or time-consuming than we can reasonably anticipate at the time of engagement and we reserve the right to review our estimate in such cases. Should your requirements change significantly during the matter this will also naturally lead to a review of our costs.
If any extra unforeseen work becomes necessary, we will inform you of these additional costs as soon as reasonably possible. If we cannot reach an agreement about our revised costs, we will cease acting and charge you on an hourly basis for the work undertaken to date.
TERMS OF PAYMENT
Conveyancing invoices are payable upon completion. All other legal services invoices are payable from one month from the date of the invoice.
We reserve the right to ask you to make payments on account and to submit interim bills whilst working for you.
If we hold money on your behalf (in your client account) which is not designated for another purpose, we shall pay (in full or partially) our bill from the money held including appropriating money from another separate active matter that we are handling for you.
We reserve the right to charge interest at the judgement debt rate on any unpaid bills including disbursements from one month after delivery whether proceedings are commenced or not. You will be responsible for any costs and expenses incurred in recovering sums due from you.
If we have agreed that your invoice may be paid by a third party and the invoice is outstanding after one month from the date of the invoice, you will immediately become liable for payment.
You will be directly liable for VAT where appropriate.
In litigation cases, you are directly liable to us for payment of charges in full, whether or not we have obtained an order for costs against the other party to the litigation. You are likely to become legally responsible for your opponent’s costs if unsuccessful in litigation.
We will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for our fees and expenses.
Money held by us on your behalf is deposited in a designated client account at a bank in line with the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) Account Rules. We do not accept any liability to you or anyone else if a bank holding the client account defaults in making a payment when due. However, if there is such a default you may be entitled to compensation under a financial services compensation scheme administered by the Financial Conduct Authority.
We are required, in certain circumstances, to pay you interest on your client funds which we have held for a period on your behalf in accordance with the rules noted above. The rate of interest applied is that considered fair and reasonable for the amount of money held and will usually be based on an instant access account. Accrued sums under £20 will be disregarded and you are unlikely to receive as much as interest as might have been obtained had you held and invested the money yourself.
Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash. We reserve the right to refuse to make payment to a third party of any sum due to you.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
We take conflicts seriously. Our conflict procedures help us fulfil our professional obligation not to act for one client in a matter where there is actual or a significant risk of a conflict with the interests of another client or ourselves.
Conflict checks are carried out on every matter as soon as possible so that we may discuss any issues with you. If at any time you become aware of an actual or potential conflict of interest, please raise it with us immediately.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOU
Our solicitors work under a professional and legal duty to keep the affairs of our clients confidential. If work undertaken on your behalf involves liaising with other professionals related to the matter, we will assume your authority to discuss the relevant confidential information with them unless you tell us otherwise.
We may be obliged to disclose confidential information in relation to you if we are subjected to by law or by a regulatory body.
Our files may be reviewed by an independent assessor to ensure that they comply with the Law Society’s Practice Management Standards. Your file may be selected for review unless you tell us that you do not wish for it to be checked.
Where we are acting for two or more parties on the same matter, we accept instruction on the basis that we have each party’s authority to discuss relevant confidential information with all joint clients.
We will share any advice given or update on work undertaken with all joint clients and that we may accept or rely upon instructions given by any of the joint clients unless informed otherwise.
If you have provided us with an email address, you confirm that you are content for us to contact you at that address alone, 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.
If you have provided us with an email address, this will be our default method of communication. If you would prefer us to communicate with you using another method, please inform us. 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. You are to check that emails received from us originate from our genuine email address and are not a fraudulent email received from a variation of our email address. We expect you to report any suspicious activity to us.
We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise using electronic communication and all risks connected with sending commercially or personally sensitive information are accepted by you. Any bank details that may have been sent via an email should be verified with us over the telephone before you send any payment.
We take all reasonable steps to ensure the emails we send are free from viruses that may harm your computer system and you agree to act likewise with any email you send us.
We may monitor emails to investigate or detect any unauthorised use of our email system, or for any other purpose permitted by law.
USE OF ADVICE GIVEN TO YOU
Any advice that we give to you is confidential and only provided for your benefit alone, and only in the context for which it was intended. Therefore, it is a part of our terms of business that any letter, documents, information or advice given by us to you, will not be made available or disclosed to any third parties without our consent. Our duty of care extends solely to you as our client.
We are not responsible for advising on matters outside the scope of your Client Care letter or advising on changes in law that have occurred after we have provided you with advice.
COMMENCEMENT AND CANCELLATION OF WORK
Should your circumstances change, and you no longer require our services, you may terminate your instructions to us at any time by providing us with written confirmation clearly stating that you are cancelling your instructions to us.
We may decide to stop acting for you only if we are permitted to do so for good reason, such as your failure to pay an invoice or should you not assist us in progressing your matter for a lengthy period of time. We must give you reasonable notice that we intend to stop acting for you.
If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, we will ask you to pay our charges up to that point or a proportion of the fixed fee as set out in your client care letter.
Instructions Received from Outside of the Office
In the event that your instructions to us have not been given at a face to face meeting, you would generally have the right to cancel those instructions without any cost to you within 14 days of your instructions being received by us. However, by signing and returning to us the final page of these terms of business, 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.
If you have requested us to perform services during the cancellation period and then subsequently exercise your cancellation rights, we will then send you an invoice for the work carried out up to the date of cancellation at our hourly rate or at a proportion of the agreed fixed fee.
We are committed to delivering high quality legal advice and client care. However, sometimes things do not go as expected so if you are unhappy about our service or about an invoice, in the first instance please contact the Solicitor who is handling your matter so that they may do their best to resolve the problem promptly and fairly for you.
The next step should agreement not be reached is to contact the appropriate supervising solicitor who will investigate your complaint.
Work carried out by Jolyon Bland supervised by Mounia Le Gaufey
Work carried out by Michael Bottomley supervised by Jolyon Bland
Work carried out by Graham Tooze supervised by Jolyon Bland
Work carried out by Rachael Marshall supervised by Michael Bottomley
Work carried out by Mounia Le Gaufey supervised by Jolyon Bland
Work carried out by Francine Ross supervised by Jolyon Bland
Work carried out by Tom Bottomley supervised by Jolyon Bland
Work carried out by Lauren Jarmain-Chew supervised by Jolyon Bland
Work carried out by Claire Clegg supervised by Francine Ross & Mounia Le Gaufey
Work carried out by Rebecca Wells supervised by Jolyon Bland
If it should remain unresolved, please contact Mounia Le Gaufey, our Client Care Partner, who will advise you of our complaint’s procedure. Our complaints policy is also available at https://www.ewartprice.com/complaints-policy/.
Should your issue remain unresolved after following the escalation process, you may have your complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. You will need to contact the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. You can find out more about this service by visiting www.legalombudsman.org.uk or by contacting them on 0300 555 0333.
You also have the right to challenge or complain about our bill and apply to the court for it be assessed under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. There are strict time limits applicable and you may wish to seek independent legal advice. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the bill if you have already applied to the court for an assessment.
The Law Society of England and Wales is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA), number 00060455. The SAR rules that are applicable to solicitors can be accessed at https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/standards-regulations.
Ewart Price is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority of England. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can undertake insurance mediation activities, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This register can be accessed at https://register.fca.org.uk/.
PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE
We maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance in accordance with the requirements of the SRA. Our liability is limited under a scheme provided by Great Lakes Insurance SE.
Our liability to you shall be limited to £3 million. This limit applies irrespective of the value of your transaction. For further information concerning our Professional Indemnity please contact us at email@example.com.
We do not advise clients upon the taxation aspects of their transactions and we recommend that you seek the advice of your accountant.
If the work undertaken for you involves the completion and submission to HM Revenue and Customs of a tax return, you acknowledge that we are completing this form at your request and with the information that you have provided. We accept no responsibility for any loss or disadvantage that may arise from the tax consequences of your matter.
FILES AND DOCUMENTS
After completing work for you, the paper file will be archived with a third-party organisation. Where services are provided by a third-party, we shall take all reasonable steps to ensure your information is kept confidential and only processed in accordance with our instructions.
Your paper file will be retained for a minimum of 6 years on the understanding that after that period of time, we have your authority to destroy the file.
However, we will not destroy documents such as Wills or title deeds which you ask for us to store in safe custody.
We also use cloud storage for our electronic client files, our cloud software provider is LEAP. LEAP uses secure data transmission and storage and all data is stored on Amazon Web Services servers using best practice for data security. Electronic files may be retained for a longer period than paper files.
We will bring closed files out of storage or reopen files to assist with your queries and charge £21.60 for this service. We will not charge to retrieve your file if the reason for retrieval is that you want us to undertake more work on your behalf.
Ownership of Work
We retain the copyright and all other rights in all documents and other work, whether in writing or not, provided to you. You are granted a non-exclusive licence to use such documents for the purpose for which they are provided but not otherwise.
We comply with all applicable data protection legislation (Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679) when processing personal data. We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis to help manage our practice, statutory returns and legal and regulatory compliance.
We are required to hold verification of your identity and address to comply with this legislation (The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019). You will be requested to provide this information before we are able to commence with your work and we reserve the right to refuse or cease acting for you if we cannot satisfy our legal duties.
When verifying your identity, we will use electronic reference agencies to search sources of information relating to you if you have instructed us to deal with a matter involving property or money. There is a fee payable for this service of £20 plus VAT, and it will be clearly noted on your Client Care letter.
Information and evidence may also be required as to the source of any funding. We reserve the right to refuse cash deposits and are unable to accept cash payments in excess of £500.
In certain circumstances, without notifying you, we are required to inform the appropriate authorities of any suspicions we may have of money laundering or other illegal activities.
CRIMINAL FINANCES ACT 2017
We are committed to promoting compliance with the requirements set out in this legislation. The firm does not tolerate tax evasion or the facilitation thereof in any circumstances.
ANTI-CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY
It is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner. We comply with the Bribery Act 2010 and are committed to acting professionally and with integrity in all our business relationships.
MEETING YOUR NEEDS
We understand that our clients have different needs and are committed to promoting equality and diversity in our workplace. Please let us know if you would like this letter produced in a larger font or if you wish to discuss the contents by telephone. Unfortunately, our offices are not wheelchair accessible so please let us know if you require a home visit to be arranged.
PAYMENTS TO THE FIRM
Always telephone us to verify the bank details before making a payment to us for the first time.
Our bank details for the purpose of transfers are:
Lloyds Bank PLC. 49 Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City
Sort Code: 30 99 31
Client Account Number : 00378094
Reference: your reference will be noted on the front of this document
Our bank details will not change, should you receive an email stating that you are to pay funds into a different account please inform us immediately.
We accept the following methods of payment from you or a person who is a party to the same matter after all relevant identification checks have been passed:
1. Bank transfer from a UK account or from an overseas account only with prior agreement.
2. Personal cheque drawn on a UK bank account. Cheques take up to seven working days to clear so are not suitable for paying a deposit or balance on a property transaction.
3. Cash up to a maximum of £500
4. BACS or other electronic transfer
5. Credit card payment up to £1000 and debit cards. We are unable to accept AMEX. These payments may still take up to three days to reach our account therefore they are not suitable for deposit or balance payments in relation to a property transaction.
Payments from third parties
We will only accept payment from a third party if we have received evidence of their identity and address and reserve the right to seek information about the source of any funding. We will not accept funds from another bank account without approving this in advance.
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms 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 Client Care letter forming a contract between us, shall be interpreted in accordance with English Law. The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any dispute arising out of our acting on your behalf.
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