1. Location & Hours of Business
Our office location is clearly stated on all correspondence from us. The office is open from Monday to Friday, 8.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m. The office has an answering machine facility up on which messages can be left outside office hours. Alternatively, you can email the person who has care and conduct of your matter directly and they will respond during office hours.
Should you wish to visit the office, please contact us and someone will arrange an appointment for you at a mutually convenient time.
3. Standard of Service
We endeavour to provide you with a friendly and efficient service and aim to ensure that we meet your expectations in terms of the service to be provided with the right level and area of expertise. In particular;
- We will always act in your best interests and give you our best advice;
- We will update you with progress on your matter regularly, and keep you informed of any changes in the law, circumstances or risk which may have an effect on the matter;
- We will explain to you the legal work that is required as your matter progresses and the likely timescale and costs involved.
- We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and abide by the Solicitors Code of Conduct. Details of the Solicitors Code of Conduct can be accessed at: http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/code-of-conduct.page
4. Our Responsibilities
We are confident that we will provide you with a friendly and efficient service. The person dealing with your work is set out in the accompanying letter and we will work hard to avoid changing the people that you deal with. If this cannot be avoided we will notify you as soon as practicable of the name and status of that person.
5. Your Responsibilities
To assist us in providing an efficient and effective service, we ask that you:
- Provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions;
- Provide all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner;
- Safeguard any documents that are likely to have an effect on the work being carried out;
- Not ask us to carry out unrealistic instructions or to work in an improper or unreasonable way;
- Not deliberately mislead us;
- Cooperate with us as much as possible.
We hold professional indemnity insurance in the best interests of our clients. Details of our insurer are as follows:
Zurich Insurance Plc
London Underwriting Centre
3 Minster Court
Full details of our insurance policy can be found at our registered office.
Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £50,000 unless we expressly state a higher amount in our Engagement Letter. 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, whether by post, fax or email, being misdirected or intercepted by third parties.
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.
7. Charges and Expenses
We offer sensible and realistic fees which you are responsible for paying. Wherever possible, we will calculate our charges on a fixed fee basis which are detailed in the attached Engagement Letter. The charges that we have provided to you in relation to your matter cover the work that we have been instructed to carry out. However such charges may increase depending on the type of case that we are carrying out, its importance and the complexity involved in carrying out the work. Additionally, if we are instructed to carry out further work by you then we will provide you with an estimate of what the revised charges will be.
You are expected to pay for the full cost of the matter regardless of whether we have been successful or not.
If your instructions mean that we have to work outside normal working hours then we reserve the right to increase our charges. You will be notified in writing of any such increase.
Should we incur any additional expenses (disbursements) we reserve the right to only pay them when we have received confirmation from you that you will refund such additional costs or agree to pay such costs in advance of them being incurred.
8. Invoices & Payment Terms
Invoices provided by us will clearly show the work that is being charged for.
We will provide you with regular invoices to help you to keep on top of the charges we incur on your behalf. Where disbursements are incurred, we reserve the right to send you an invoice immediate upon those disbursements being paid or falling due.
We will provide invoices to you at timely intervals during the matter. However, where we have agreed a fixed fee for a matter, we reserve the right to submit our invoice at the outset of the matter.
All our invoices require immediate payment and we reserve the right to obtain money on account of some or all of our charges in advance (“payment on account”). We may also require payment of disbursements before they are incurred.
VAT will be charged on all our invoices and our VAT registration number is 165 4734 91.
9. Communication, Data Protection & Client Confidentiality
We will communicate with you by the most appropriate means, be it by telephone, email, via the Brookson Connect Portal, Brooksonor post.
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 us manage our practice
- statutory returns
- legal and regulatory risk analysis and compliance
Our use of the information you provide is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as your accountants, expert witnesses and other professional advisers which may be working for you. By providing us with your instructions you agree to information being disclosed as appropriate. We will notify you in the event that we need to share information with a third party. You may withdraw your consent at anytime by notifying us by post, fax, telephone call or email and this will not affect the quality of the service you receive from us. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.
Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception: recent legislation on money launder and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure.
If, whilst we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or the reasons for it.
10. Conflicts of Interest
We try our best to avoid conflicts of interest, but they are inevitable in some transactions. In the event of a conflict of interest arising at any point during the transaction, we will notify you of the conflict of interest and may be required to cease to act on your behalf for the remainder of the transaction. We will co-operate with you insofar as we are permitted to do so by the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007 to minimise any disruption caused by the conflict of interest.
In the event of a conflict of interest between you and Brookson Limited, Brookson Solutions Limited, Brookson Insurance Services, Brookson Financial Services Limited, or Brookson CIS Limited or any other part of the Brookson Group, we will decline to act for both parties.
Any advice that we give to you will be independent of any Brookson company and will be tailored to your circumstances. You are free to raise questions on all aspects of the transaction.
11. Anti-Money Laundering
The law requires solicitors to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and sometimes people related to them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.
To comply with the law, we will need to get evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to obtain a Certificate from your accountants to confirm that Anti-Money Laundering checks have been carried out on you and your company. We may also carry out electronic searches from information provided by leading agencies. In the even that we incur any fees in relation to these searches, we reserve the right to pass these charges on to you as a disbursement. We will of course inform you of these charges and ensure that you are happy to cover the costs before the charge is incurred.
If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.
Accordingly, unless we inform you otherwise we will obtain the required information from your accountants, Brookson Limited.
12. Equality and Diversity
Brookson Legal Services is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealing with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
13. Storage of documents
After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
We will keep a file of your papers for up to 6 years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them 7 years after the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody, but there may be additional charges for this.
If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you for:
Time spent producing stored papers that are requested;
Reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.
14. Financial Arrangements
Our practice’s policy is to only accept payments from clients in the form of a direct bank transfer or cheque. It is, therefore, essential that you provide the reference printed on all of our correspondence anytime you pay money to us.
Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
Whilst some clients are introduced to us from third parties, we can confirm that no commission payments are made or received in respect of such introductions.
We share business premises and have a financial arrangement in place with Brookson Limited for the use of equipment, secondment of staff and the use of business services (such as HR services and Information Technology). We also share common ownership with other businesses within the Brookson Group. Whilst these financial arrangements may involve us paying monies to Brookson Limited in respect of these items, it is not possible to quantify the amount paid by reference to any specific introduction as we do not pay Brookson or any other party for client referrals made to us.
Any information you disclose to us will not be disclosed to any third party (including Brookson Limited) without your prior written consent. Where our Engagement Letter provides that we will provide documentation/information to Brookson Limited, you signing and returning the Engagement Letter to us will be taken as your express written consent to such information being disclosed. Alternatively, continuing to instruct us without disputing our engagement letter will also confirm your consent to information being disclosed. You can withdraw your consent at any time by notifying us in writing or over the telephone.
The advice we provide will be independent and specific to your circumstances. You are free to raise questions at any time in relation to any aspect of the transaction.
15. Complaints handling procedure
We are confident of providing a high-quality service in all respects. However if you have any queries or concerns regarding the services that you are receiving please raise these concerns in the first instance with the person that is dealing with the everyday conduct of the matter concerned. If that does not resolve the problem then you may raise your concerns with Carl Henning who is ultimately responsible for client care. 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) to consider the complaint. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint
We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available upon request.
All correspondence relating to complaints should be sent to our registered office at Brunel House, 340 Firecrest Court, Centre Park, Warrington, WA1 1RG.
16. Distance Selling
In the event that we do not meet with you, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 may apply to this matter. This means you may have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven working days of receiving this letter. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by post to this office or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once we have started work on your file, you may be charged if you then cancel your instructions. We will start work on your file when we receive either:
- your signed Engagement Letter confirming your instructions; or
- payment from you
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, e.g. if you do fail to pay an interim bill or there is a conflict of interest. We will give you at written notice of our intention to cease to act on your behalf.
If either of us decides that Brookson Legal Services should stop acting for you, you agree to pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis as specified in the Engagement Letter but will be no less than £50 per hour plus expenses as set out in the Engagement Letter.
18. Data Protection
In the event that we share Information about you or the matters upon which you instruct us with Brookson Limited and Brookson Financial Services Limited to enable them to provide you with advice and opinion on IR35, employment status or other accountancy and financial services, you will be notified in advance. Information will be shared on the understanding that it will be used for the purposes stated within these Terms, the Engagement Letter or other correspondence from us and in accordance with the requirements set down by the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended). You can withdraw your consent at anytime by post, fax, telephone call or email.
19. Applicable Law
We provide advice based on English law, legal principles and precedents. Accordingly, we are unable to provide any advice on the law applicable to other jurisdictions including (but not limited to) Scotland and Ireland). In the event that you require advice on the law relating to jurisdictions outside of England or Wales, we recommend that you seek legal advice from a local professional.
Any dispute 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.
Your continuing instructions will amount to acceptance of these Terms and we hope that the information set out in these Terms has been of assistance to you.
Our aim is to provide you with a friendly and efficient service and we aim to ensure that we meet your expectations in terms of the service to be provided with the right level and area of expertise. In particular;
We will always act in your best interests and give you our best advice;
We will update you with progress on your matter regularly, and keep you informed of any changes in the law, circumstances or risk which may have an effect on the matter;
We will explain to you the legal work that is required as your matter progresses and the likely timescale and costs involved.
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and abide by the Solicitors Code of Conduct. Details of the Solicitors Code of Conduct can be accessed at http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/code-of-conduct.page