Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the Solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed costs, calculations and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary.
The firm’s currently hourly rate is £220.00 plus VAT. Routine letters that we write and routine telephone calls that we make and receive will be charged at one tenth of the hourly rate. We will add VAT to our charges at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present VAT is 20%. Our VAT registration number is 257 6364 33.
These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally they are reviewed with effect on 1st January each year. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.
In addition to the time spent we 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 must be taken, the expertise of specialist knowledge that the case requires and, if appropriate, the value of the property or subject matter involved. In particular, in property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a Client, a charge reflecting, e.g. the price of the property, the size of the estate or the value of the financial benefit, may be considered. It is not always possible to indicate how these aspects may arise but on present information, we would expect them to be sufficiently taken into account in the rates which we have quoted. Where a charge reflecting any value element is to be added, we will explain this to you.
Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of Clients e.g. Land or Probate Registry fees, Court fees, Experts fees and so on. These services are effectively commissioned by you, through us, and you are liable to pay such directly to the agency or supplier involved but as a matter of convenience for you we collect funds from you to meet those payments on your behalf. This is particularly true of search fees in conveyancing transactions where the VAT upon such search fees is effectively charged to you and these searches do not constitute a service by us on your behalf for which additional VAT should be payable. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses. We refer to such payments generally as “disbursements”.
For detailed information regarding our charges for probate, intestacy and estate administration and the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold properties, please follow each of the links below or telephone us to discuss further.
Property Transactions:- We will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts and payment is required on a purchase prior to completion, and at completion, on a sale. If sufficient funds are available on completion, and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct your charges and expenses from the funds.
Administration of Estates:- We will normally submit an interim bill at regular stages during the administration, starting with the obtaining of a Grant. The final account will be prepared when the Estate Accounts are ready for approval.
Other Cases of Transactions:- It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. We find that this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of a case may result. In the unlikely event of any bill or request for payment not being met, this firm must reserve the right to stop acting for you further.
Payment is due to us within 7 days of our sending you a bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at 4% over National Westminster Bank Plc’s base rate from time to time from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made within 7 days of delivery by us of the bill.
Banking Matters, Commission and Interest
During the course of our acting on your behalf we may receive monies from yourself or others which belong to you. In a conveyancing transaction this could include deposits, payments from you, mortgage monies paid to us by a lender or monies received from a buyer. In a Probate matter monies may be received by us on the realisation of assets. These monies will be held in our general client account at National Westminster Bank. We must inform you that we will not be liable for any loss suffered by you as a result of banking failure which results in a loss or any or all of the monies held by us on your behalf, at any time, in our general client account.
This firm does not have a policy of seeking to retain commissions paid in respect of a particular client or transaction. We will notify you in the event of any commission is payable in your transaction or matter and any commission received will be paid to you.
Interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate set by National Westminster Bank from time to time. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from the date the funds are cleared into our client account until the date the cheque is issued to you or money transferred to your bank account.
The payment of interest will be governed by the following provisions:
- If the interest is less than £20 it will not be credited to you.
- Interest will not be credited for sums exceeding £20,000 held for less than one week.
- Additional terms may apply and will be set out in our full terms and conditions.
Other Parties Charges and Expenses
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 us. You have to pay our charges and expenses in the first place and any amount which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them. If the other party is in receipt of Legal Aid no costs are likely to be recovered.
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. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest.
You will also be responsible for paying our 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 our charges and expenses. Arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for such legal expenses. Please discuss this with us if you are interested in this possibility.
We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but we are able, in certain circumstances (under Part 20 of that Act), to offer a limited range of services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in this regard.
This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The advice and assistance that we are able to offer is strictly limited to your case or transaction. Unless we have confirmed at the outset that we are able to do so, we are NOT able to advise you in relation to tax implications arising in or as a consequence of your case or transaction.
We therefore cannot stress strongly enough that it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that you have obtained all necessary tax advice relating to your case or transaction from an appropriately qualified person such as your Accountant or Financial Advisor. However if, during the course of your case or transaction, you feel that advice relating to tax consequences is required, you should let us know immediately and, if we are able to do so, we will refer you to a suitable expert.
Storage of Papers and Documents
After completing the work we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than one year and in the case of conveyancing transactions they will be kept for a minimum of 6 years. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody such as Wills, Deeds and other Securities. No charge will be made to you for such storage. If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charged based on time spent producing storage papers or documents to you or another at your request.
Termination of Instructions
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.
If we decide to stop acting for you, e.g. if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a Director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.
The Limit of Our Liability to You
All firms and companies of Solicitors in England and Wales are required to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance in accordance with the regulations imposed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The regulations set out the minimum level of cover which must be in place and this can vary from time to time. The current minimum cover is £2,000,000.
Professional Indemnity Insurance provides cover for Solicitors acting in their professional capacity against mistakes made which result in loss to their clients.
Our liability to you in the event of any loss suffered by you due to mistakes by us is strictly limited to the minimum insurance cover required at that time of us by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This means that under the current minimum cover requirements, we are not required to pay compensation in excess of £2,000,000 to a client for mistakes made whether or not the amount of loss suffered exceeds this amount.
A copy of our current policy schedule is available on request from our office.
Anti Money Laundering Requirements
In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible before we are even allowed to open a file to work for you.
We should be grateful if, therefore, you would provide us with documents to verify your identity and address as requested.
Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception; recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed Solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National 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 this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.
Our firms’ policy is to only accept cash from clients up to £1,000.
If clients circumvent this policy by depositing cash direct with our bank we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of funds.