Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions

Terms of Engagement

1. Introduction

Our intention is to provide all our clients with the highest quality of service, handling your instructions with professional skill, care and attention.

2. Our Service

2.1 Hours of business

The normal hours of opening at all our offices are between 9.00am and 5.00pm on weekdays. Appointments may be arranged outside office hours if this is essential.

2.2 Our Responsibilities and Service Standards

In all our work for you and in our dealings with other people on your behalf we will pursue the outcome you are seeking to achieve, advise you as to the course of action we recommend and then follow your instructions to try and achieve that outcome. At all times we will act in your best interests.

2.3 Exclusions and Limitations

  • 2.3.1 We shall not be responsible for any failure to advise or comment on any matter which falls outside the scope of your instructions.
  • 2.3.2 Advice given by us is provided for the purpose of the instructions to which it relates and for your benefit alone. It may not be disclosed, used or relied on for any other purpose, or by any other person, without our prior written agreement (other than your other professional advisers who may rely upon such advice). Only you as our client and not any third party may enforce the terms of any agreement between us by virtue of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
  • 2.3.3 We may need to procure the services of experts and agents from both within the United Kingdom and overseas to act on your behalf. Where we do so, all such appointments will be as independent experts and as your agents and we will not be responsible for any negligent advice or other default on their part. Your cause of action will be direct against the expert or your agent.
  • 2.3.4 We shall not be liable to you for any failure or delay or for the consequences of any failure and delay, in the performance of your instructions if it is due to any event beyond our reasonable control including without limitation, acts of God, War, Industrial Disputes, Protests, Fire, Flood, Storm, Tempest, Explosion, acts of Terrorism and National Emergencies.
  • 2.3.5 We shall not be liable to you for any failure or delay, or for the consequences of any failure or delay, in the performance of your instructions, or for any loss or cost to you which arises as a result of the risks associated with communication by e-mail, fax or SMS referred to in Paragraph 10 below.
  • 2.3.6 Our total liability to you in respect of our engagement for any loss, liability, damage howsoever caused, whether in contract (by way of indemnity or otherwise) tort including negligence, misrepresentation, restitution or otherwise (in each case whether caused by negligence or not) and whether related to any act, omission or service provided to you, or not provided to you, or failure to act, or delay in acting by Brown Turner Ross will be limited to an amount recorded in writing (the “liability cap”). The Liability Cap in respect of all loss or damage is £3,000,000.

The extent to which any loss or damage will be recoverable by you from us will also be limited so as to be in proportion to our contribution to the overall fault for such loss or damage: taking into account any contributory negligence by you, your advisers and/or any other third party responsible to you and/or liable in respect of such loss. We shall not be liable to you for any indirect or consequential loss or damage whatsoever.

2.3.7 Banking.

Money held by us for you for what ever reason will be placed in our Client Account at the Royal Bank of Scotland or with such other bank as we shall in our discretion choose, unless agreed otherwise with you. We shall not be liable to you for any loss whether in contract (by way of indemnity or otherwise), tort (including negligence), restitution or otherwise where that loss arises as a result of a banking failure of any bank at which your money is held by us for you.

In the event of such failure and, if appropriate, we will make a claim under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in respect of client money held on your behalf. If a claim is made, we will, subject to your consent, provide the FSCS with information required to enable them to identify clients and the amounts to which clients are entitled in any client account held by us. Losses covered by the FSCS are limited to deposits held by individuals and small businesses up to a limit set by government (per client per authorised deposit taking institution). This limit includes any other monies which you may be holding in the same bank or institution, irrespective of whether it is trading under several different brands or names.

If you do not consent to disclosure of your information to the FSCS you are unlikely to receive compensation from the FSCS under any claim we make and we will not be liable for any losses arising from your failure to consent.

2.4 Your Responsibilities

To help us provide you with the best service possible and keep your costs to a minimum, we need you to:

  • Be as clear as possible from the outset about what work you want us to undertake for you.
  • Provide us with information and/or documents when we ask for them.
  • Safeguard any documents which may be relevant to your matter or may need to be disclosed in any proceedings.
  • Tell us of any time limits you are aware of and within which we need to work.
  • Tell us immediately if your objectives or expectations change.
  • Tell is if you do not understand any of the information or advice you have been given.
  • Tell us if your circumstances change in any way which could affect your matter.
  • Tell us if you change your address or telephone number.
  • Tell us immediately if you have any concerns about how your work is being carried out.

2.5 People responsible for your work

Brown Turner Ross operates a departmental system. To ensure that your work is carried out at an appropriate level and that you are provided with an efficient and economic service, your work may be undertaken by a Director, a Consultant, an Associate, an Assistant Solicitor, a Trainee Solicitor, a Legal Executive, or Paralegal or a combination of these within the department.

The name and status of the person primarily responsible for handling your work is given in the engagement letter accompanying these terms of engagement. Details are also given of any other person within the department who may assist with your work from time to time. The head of department will have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that your requirements are met.

We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will inform you promptly who will be handling your work and why the change was necessary.

2.6 Complaints

We are confident that we will give you a high quality service in all respects but if you have any concerns about the services we provide, or if you wish to discuss the way in which your work is being handled or our charges and you do not wish to raise this with the individual Lawyer involved then please speak to David Bushell, the firm’s Managing Director he can be contacted on 01704 542002 or david.bushell@brownturnerross.com.

All complaints are dealt with in accordance with our complaints procedure. In the event that we are not able to resolve your complaint you can refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can be contacted by post at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, by phone on 0300 555 0333 or by email at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Disputes about our charges for work which did not include Court proceedings may also be referred to the Legal Ombudsman and/or you may be entitled to apply to the Court for assessment of our bill. Charges for work involving Court proceedings must be dealt with by the Court by assessment and cannot be considered by the Legal Ombudsman.

3. Our Charges

3.1 Our Legal Costs.

Our fees are based upon various criteria laid down by statute. These state that charges are to be fair and reasonable having regard to the circumstances. As our time and expertise are the core elements of our service, our charges are normally calculated by reference to the hourly rates of the persons who have carried out the work and the time spent by them.

A further charge may be added to the time spent to take account of other factors which justify an overall higher fee. These include where a matter is particularly complex, exceptionally urgent, or of high value or requiring particular expertise or work outside office hours. In property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving substantial financial value or benefit to the client, a charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property, the size of the estate, the complex tax issues involved or the value of the financial benefit to be added. This charge reflects the importance of the transaction and responsibility placed on the firm. It is not always possible to indicate at the outset how these aspects may arise, but where a value element may be added we will explain this to you.

Hourly Rates vary accordingly to seniority of each Lawyer or Executive and the expertise required for the work. Your work will be carried out at a level appropriate to providing an efficient and economic service. Hourly charging rates are reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overall costs and inflation and will be increased automatically at that time. We will notify you in writing of any increased rates applicable to your work before it takes effect. The current hourly rates for the Lawyers who will be working on your case are set out in the engagement letter.

Time Spent on your matter will include meetings with you and other people involved in your case: reading, preparing and working on papers, making and receiving telephone calls, e-mails, letters, faxes and text messages: preparation of detailed cost estimates, schedules and bills, attending at Court: and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office.

Standard length letters, e-mails and texts that we send and consideration of those we received will be charged at one tenth of an hour, standard length calls made and received will also be charged at one tenth of an hour. Lengthy letters, e-mails, texts and calls made and received will be charged on a time spent basis.

It is often difficult at the outset of a matter to know exactly how much time will be spent, what expenses you will need to pay and therefore what the final fees will be. At the outset of your matter, where it is possible to do so we will give you an estimate of what your fees will be and the expenses of which we are aware. An estimate is given to assist you in budgeting and should not be regarded as a firm quotation unless agreed as such in writing.

We will review this estimate at least every six months and will inform you if any additional charges become necessary or are anticipated. If you require, we will tell you when fees reach a certain level and place a limit on the level of charges that may be incurred without further reference to you.

If we agree an alternative charging arrangement, we will confirm the terms of our agreement with you in writing separately. If this firm does not complete the work for you, we will charge you for the work done by us. Abortive costs in fixed fee transactions will be charged up to the quoted rate for the completed work, depending on the work carried out.

3.2 Our Administrative Charges

Separate charges may also be made for:

  • Arranging telegraphic transfers;
  • Setting up a designated deposit account on your behalf;
  • Electronic ID checks;
  • Storage charges;
  • Arranging telephone Conferences.

4. Expenses and Payments out (“disbursements”)

In appointing us to act on your behalf, you are also authorising us, unless you tell us otherwise, to incur such expenses and payments out as we consider necessary and which you will be required to repay to us. We will consult you about such expenses as they arise. We will normally ask you to make a payment in advance to cover these expenses.

Examples of expenses and payments which we may have to pay on your behalf include Court Fees, Barrister’s Fees, other experts, search and registration fees, Stamp Duty and special bank transaction costs. We reserve the right to charge expenses for travel, accommodation and meals while travelling away from the office. We may also charge for postal, fax, telephone and photocopying costs incurred on your behalf, where those costs are of an exceptional nature either because of the length of the call, the number or volume of the documents involved, or because they are international in nature.

5. Value Added Tax

Any estimates or quotations given by us are net of VAT unless otherwise stated. VAT will be charged as applicable on our fees and on those expenses and payments out that are liable for VAT.

Our VAT registration number is 428 8994 86.

6. Disputing our charges

You are entitled to complain if you are unhappy with our charges. Details of our complaints procedure are set out in Paragraph 2.6 above.

7. Payment Arrangements

7.1 Interim Bills

We reserve the right to submit invoices to you at regular intervals (usually monthly) or at appropriate stages on account of our final fees and payments out in relation to your matter (an “interim bill”). The billing procedures will be discussed with you and will be confirmed in writing in the enclosed engagement letter. We reserve the right to refuse to act for you further unless we have received any payment on account requested.

7.2 Invoice Payments

Payment is due upon presentation of an invoice unless we have told you in writing that a different payment arrangement will apply. If, at any time we submit an invoice to you (whether a final invoice or an interim bill) and we are holding money on your behalf in our client account that is not held for another designated purpose, we may discharge (or partially discharge) our invoice from the money held, whether the invoices are overdue or not. We also reserve the right to use such money to discharge an invoice submitted on any separate matter we have for you or your associates.

If a final invoice is not paid on the date due, in accordance with Article 5 of the Solicitors (Non Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009 we shall be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding (including any expenses and VAT) at the rate payable on judgement debts from time to time. Interest may be charged one month from the date of delivery of the invoice. In addition you will be responsible for any costs and expenses incurred in recovering sums due from you.

When an account is overdue for payment, we reserve the right to suspend work and retain documents, papers and other property belonging to you and your associates, irrespective of the matter to which they relate, until all sums outstanding are paid. We are not entitled to sell property held under the lien but we are entitled to hold property other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs.

If we are conducting litigation for you, we have additional rights in any property recovered or preserved for you, whether it is in our possession or not and in respect of all costs incurred, whether billed or unbilled. We also have a right to ask the Court to make a Charging Order in our favour for any assessed costs.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the client we are working for is responsible for payment of our fees, VAT and disbursements. When we receive instructions from, or on behalf of more than one person or company for whom we are acting, each of you will separately be responsible for payment of the full amount of our fees, payments out and any VAT due on them.

Under certain circumstances we may be prepared to accept payment of our fees by regular direct debit or standing order payments into our bank account. Payment by this method will be agreed with the lawyer dealing with your matter. You may be asked to increase payment if fees cannot be discharged within a reasonable time. Interest will be claimed on any outstanding balances.

Payment of expenses, costs or administrative charges may also be made by Credit Card or Debit Card. Administration charges and expenses paid by credit card may incur a fee the amount of which will be advised to you.

8. Money held by us and Interest Payments

Money held by us for you, whether on account of our fees, payment or otherwise, will be placed in our client account and you will be entitled to interest which would have been earned had that money been held in a separate designated deposit account at the Royal Bank of Scotland plc, unless the amount of such interest is less than £20.00 or unless we are otherwise not required to pay it to you under the solicitors’ accounts rules. Where a separate designated deposit account is held for you interest will be credited to your account by the bank and we will account to you for that interest.

Monies due to you from us will be paid by cheque or bank transfer but not in cash, and will not be made payable to a third party.

We will not, except in exceptional circumstances, accept payments in cash. In some circumstances we may refuse to accept payment of monies from sources other than UK clearing banks or building societies. If monies are deposited by you or on your behalf directly into our bank without our prior knowledge and consent we may charge you for such additional checks we consider necessary to prove the source of those funds.

9. Commissions

We may receive commissions if we arrange insurance policies for you, or deal with annual renewal of those policies, or if we are involved in investment activities complimentary to the professional services we undertake on your behalf. Unless otherwise agreed any commission received is held on your behalf.

10. Communications – Fax, E-mail and SMS

If you have the necessary facilities we will sometimes use fax, non encrypted e-mail or SMS to communicate with you unless you tell us not to. There are some specific points of which you should be aware:

  • faxes, e-mail and SMS communications are not completely secure and there is a risk of confidential information sent by these means being intercepted, arriving late, being incomplete, lost or destroyed. Therefore, we do not guarantee that every e-mail sent and received, will reach the end user, nor will we be responsible for the security of correspondence sent by e-mail, fax or SMS. You must inform us if there is any particular information or documentation which you do not wish to be sent by these means.
  • viruses or other harmful devices may be spread over the internet. Whilst we take reasonable precautions to prevent these problems by use of a Firewall and virus checking software, we do not guarantee that our e-mail correspondence or attachments will be free from viruses. If we communicate by e-mail, it is on the basis that you will also take reasonable precautions to prevent such viruses or other harmful devices. We also reserve the right not to receive an e-mail until checked for viruses and provision may be made for e-mails and attachments to be quarantined.
  • we monitor e-mails to investigate or detect unauthorised use of our e-mail system, and for other purpose permitted by Law. As a result, we may collect personal data about the people sending and/or receiving e-mails or contained in e-mails. Any personal data collected will be held and processed in accordance in Paragraph 14 of these terms.

11. Obligations imposed on us – Anti Money Laundering (AML), Proceeds of

Crime (POC), Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Rules and Regulations

In common with all other professional practices and financial institutions we are required to hold a verification of your identify and address to comply with AML, POC and CTF regulations. In some circumstances we may also require proof of identify of others involved in your matter or for any principal whom you represent. Unless you have been informed otherwise, verification of identify is a mandatory requirement and you will be requested to provide this information before we are able to proceed with your matter. A list of the forms of identity which we can accept is attached to the letter which will be sent at the out set. On occasions further evidence may be required during the course of your transaction.

Information and evidence may also be required as to the source of any funding and we are entitled to refuse to act for you further if you fail to supply the information requested.

As part of the process we may carry out an electronic identify check. A charge is made for the electronic identify check which will be shown as an administrative charge in your bill.

AML, POC, CTF and HMRC rules mean that in some circumstances we are obliged to disclose certain information to authorised government bodies. We are prevented by Law from telling you of such disclosure. We may also have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.

12. Confidentiality and Disclosure

12.1 Generally

All information regarding your business and affairs will be regarded as and kept confidential at all times unless you ask us to disclose information or we are compelled to disclose it by Law. (see Paragraph 11 of these terms). In the event that work is undertaken for you in conjunction with other advisers or persons instructed or consulted by you or on your behalf, including the Legal Services Commission or any third party funding your matter (such as insurers), we will be required to share confidential information with them and to provide them with personal data and relevant documentation. By agreeing these terms you are providing us with authority to disclose information in such circumstances. If you object to us providing information to third parties you must specifically so state.

12.2 Quality Standard and External Audits

The firm has clear policies and standards which are monitored to ensure our clients receive not only the best technical advice, but a level of service which will encourage a long term relationship.

To ensure that standards are maintained, external firms or organisations such as ISO or the Solicitors Regulatory Authority may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. Information from your file may also be required by our accountants for the purposes of preparing our annual report to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. These external firms are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Unless you give us specific instructions to the contrary we will assume that you consent to this.

12.3 Outsourced Work

Our work for you may require us to give information to third parties. We may also outsource some work. This may be work such as typing, photocopying or costing of files, research, accountancy work or attendance at court. In such circumstances information from your file is likely to be made available to third parties. Unless you give us specific instructions to the contrary we will assume you consent to this.

12.4 Disclosure in Litigation

To comply with Court and Tribunal rules, all documentation relevant to any issues in litigation has to be preserved and may be required to be made available to other parties in the case. This is known as “disclosure” and is explained in more detail in Paragraph 15. Subject to this, we will not reveal confidential information about your case except as provided by these terms and where we have to meet obligations to reveal details of the case to your opponent and to the Court.

13. 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 purposes which they are provided but not otherwise. We may from time to time adapt, develop and use such documents or other work for other clients and in other engagements.

14. Data Protection

Brown Turner Ross is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998 on the Register of Data Controllers (http://www.ico.gov.uk/). Our registration number is Z7322264. In acting for you we will comply with our obligations under the Act.

In providing legal and associated services to you, we will record information you have given to us, including your personal information, both manually and on computer. We use the information that 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 compliance; and
  • training and other administrative purposes.

We may also use this information to contact you or appropriate persons within your organisation about our legal services that may be of interest to you or your organisation or for other purposes. If at any time you no longer wish to receive this information you should contact our Southport Office.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have the right upon payment on a fee of £10, to obtain a copy of the personal information we hold about you. If you believe that any of the information that we hold about you is incorrect or incomplete, you should contact us without delay. If any information is found to be incorrect or incomplete it will be corrected promptly. All correspondence in relation to Data Protection, including any request for a copy of your personal information, should be in writing addressed to the Data Protection Officer, Brown Turner Ross, 11 St Georges Place, Lord Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0AL.

15. Particular Work Types

15.1 Estate Administration

Where we are instructed to act on the administration of an estate we shall be advising only on the legal work involved as it concerns the personal representatives. In particular the retainer will not cover advice to beneficiaries of the estate where separate advice tailored to individual circumstances may be necessary. We may, however, instruct other professionals to act on behalf of the estate, for example, valuers. These individuals will be responsible to the estate for the work they undertake.

15.2 Tax Advice

Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. In some cases, we may not be qualified to advise you on the tax implications of a transaction that you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising. If you have any concerns in this respect, you should raise them with us immediately. If we can undertake the necessary research to resolve the issue, we will do so and advise you accordingly. If we cannot, we may be able to identify a source of assistance to you.

15.3 Litigation

There are a number of specific points that you should be aware of when involved in litigation (including arbitration and mediation):

  • in actions where litigation is contemplated and where you may have a potential liability for another party’s costs (in addition to your own), we are obliged to discuss Legal Expenses Insurance with you. You should consider whether you have existing policies providing such cover and, if so, let us have details at the outset. If you do not have any such insurance, it may be that it will be appropriate for you to consider taking out insurance and we will discuss this with you.
  • Brown Turner Ross may be prepared to act for you under a Conditional Fee Arrangement. If we do so you will be expected to pay all third party expenses as they arise.
  • you are responsible for paying our account even if the Court orders another party to contribute towards your legal costs. You should be aware that there are sometimes difficulties and/or delays in assessing costs and difficulties recovering these costs.
  • The Court has wide ranging discretion to determine which party/parties should bear the costs of proceedings and in what proportion. This is usually exercised to order an unsuccessful litigant to pay a proportion of the successful litigant’s costs. The Court can order you to make immediate payment of costs at any stage in the proceedings.
  • only in exceptional cases will the Court make an award which gives the successful litigant a right to the full reimbursement of the costs of the proceedings. You should therefore assume that even if your action is successful there will be additional costs payable to us.
  • In cases where another party is legally aided it is most unlikely that you will be able to recover any costs.
  • If you lose an action, you will be liable to pay our fees and payments out (disbursements). In addition, the Court is also likely to exercise its discretion to order you to pay a proportion of your opponent’s costs.
  • if you have legal fees insurance you should also be aware that insurers rarely pay bills before completion of a case, and you will remain liable to pay our bills when rendered during and at the end of the case even if you have not yet been indemnified by your insurers.
  • certain straightforward Road Traffic claims will now be dealt with within the MOJ RTA Claim System we will charge you the amount that we will recover from an insurance company being the fixed fees for that case.
  • if you withdraw an action the other party is entitled to have an Order made by the Court for you to pay the costs and you may not be covered by your ATE insurance policy.
  • in cases before Tribunals costs orders are very rarely made against unsuccessful parties and you should not expect to recover any of our fees and payments out even if you are successful.
  • in all actions you will be required to disclose documents of any description, including documents, correspondence, e-mails, notes, memoranda, computer databases, video and audio tapes, which are or have been in your control and which relate in any way to the issues in the case. This duty covers records which may be prejudicial to your case, but which, subject to certain “privileged” exceptions, you are nevertheless obliged to reveal. The obligation of disclosure is ongoing until the action is over and therefore all records must be kept in safekeeping. This obligation is onerous and you may be liable for penalties for non disclosure. If in any doubt as to whether to preserve records you should err on the side of preservation.

15.4 Property

If you instruct us on the sale or a purchase of a property, you should be aware that the price will be recorded at HM Land Registry where it can be inspected by any member of the public.

At the outset of a domestic conveyancing transaction we will provide you with an estimate as to the costs that will be incurred in carrying out the transaction. Our charges will not exceed the estimated amount unless we notify you. The reasons that the charges may increase include:

  • delays or unforeseen difficulties;
  • where administration fees of which we were not aware at the time of our giving an estimate of costs are payable by reason of the title to the property;
  • if we are requested or obliged to carry out additional searches;
  • if your mortgage lender requires us to pay off your mortgage electronically, a telegraphic transfer fee will be payable;
  • if we are to repay any additional loans or liabilities then a charge of £50 plus VAT and the telegraphic transfer fee of £30 plus VAT may be payable;
  • if after providing a quote we are informed that you are purchasing a flat then there may be an additional of £150 plus VAT;
  • If we are required to obtain title insurance we will obtain quotations from our providers which we will discuss with you. The premium payable will be added to your account and we may charge a fee based on the time spent in arranging the quote and the policy. We will not undertake an analysis of the products available on the market and you are free to obtain different quotes.

We require payment of our charges prior to completion and will not complete the transaction until payment has been received.

If you instruct us and the transaction does not complete you will be responsible for our costs up to the time the matter aborts. We will charge an abortive transaction fee of at least £150 plus VAT.

The Inland Revenue requires you to complete a Land Transaction Return which is to be submitted whether or not stamp duty is payable. When we complete the form on your behalf we will do so on the assumption that you declare that the information on it is correct and has been completed to the best of your knowledge and ability. By signing the form and returning it to us you are authorising us to submit the form electronically on your behalf. Please note that:

  • A penalty will be charged if the form is not submitted to the Revenue within 1 month of completion; increasing to £200 for a further months delay, with additional penalties for later submission. Penalties are in addition to interest and are automatic.
  • The Inland Revenue may investigate the transactions following completion;
  • If you buying more than one property form the same seller the Inland Revenue will consider these to be what they call “linked transactions”. The practical effect of this will be the purchase prices will be added together and Stamp Duty paid on the total consideration which may mean that this puts the value into a higher Stamp Duty band.
  • The Inland Revenue website contains guidance on completing the Return. www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/so/.

When acting upon your behalf on a property transaction we will not provide you with any advice as to the advisability of entering into the transaction, the condition of the property or on the implications for taxation purposes save for limited advice in relation to any land tax return. You should therefore seek specialist advice from an accountant as to any tax which may fall due as a result of the transaction and advice from a surveyor and valuer as to the condition of the property and its value. Further we are not able and will not advise you on the suitability of any mortgage offer that you receive and will not recommend any mortgage to you.

16 Termination of Instructions

You may withdraw your instructions at any time by written notice to us. We may decline to act further by giving you written notice where we have reasonable grounds to do so.

If our engagement is terminated whether by you or by us, we shall be entitled to payment of our fees, including expenses and payments out made on your behalf and VAT to the date of termination.

Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, where we have not met with you, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within seven working days, of the date in which you asked us to act for you. However, if we start work with your consent within that period, you lose the right to withdraw. Similar rights arise where we have taken instructions to act for you at a place away from the office under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumers’ Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008. Your acceptance of these terms of engagement will amount to such consent.

If you seek to withdraw instructions you should give notice in writing to the person responsible for your work. Regulations require us to inform you that the work involved in finalising our involvement is likely to take more than 30 days.

A separate notice explaining your rights in detail together with a Notice of your Right to Cancel and a Cancellation Notice will accompany the Engagement Letter where relevant.

17 Conflicts

An actual or a potential conflict between your interests and the interests of the firm or another client of the firm may arise during the course of a matter. If this situation arises during our dealings with you, we will discuss the position with you and determine the appropriate course of action. In order to protect your interests, our professional rules may require us to stop acting for you on that matter. To ensure as far as possible conflict situations do not arise, we carry out a conflict search before taking on a new matter.

18 File Storage

Files and other papers relating to your matters, except for those papers that you have asked to be returned to you, will be stored for such time as we judge reasonable or for such time as we are required by Law to so do, but in any event for a period not less than 6 years after sending your final bill, after which we may destroy them without further reference to you. Such files or papers may be preserved on micro film or by other means of image process or in electronic form. This applies to all files and papers retained by us other than title deeds, wills and similar items you have asked us to keep in safe custody.

Over and above the storage charge referred to in Paragraph 3 above, 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 upon the time we spend on reading the papers, writing letters or e-mails, retrieving your file from our archive, making copies of any documents or other work necessary to help you with any queries or for the cost of providing a copy of the file or items from your file.

19 Regulation

19.1 Our Solicitors Practice

Our solicitors’ practice is conducted as a Limited Company, the names of the Directors are set out on our letterhead and on our website. The practice is regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. Our registration number is 491118.

Our solicitors and trainee solicitors are authorised to practice in the United Kingdom by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. Our legal executives and trainee legal executives are authorised to practice in the United Kingdom by the Institute of Legal Executives.

Further details of :

  • Our regulatory and authorising bodies to which we are subject; and
  • Professional bodies, institutions, organisations and accreditation schemes to which our advisers belong together with detailed of related Codes of Conduct, are available for inspection at our offices or on request by contacting David Bushell on 01704 542 002 or by writing to 11 St Georges Place, Lord Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0AL.

19.2 Professional Indemnity Insurance

Under the Solicitors Indemnity Insurance Rules, solicitors are obliged to hold professional indemnity insurance. The level of cover must meet the minimum terms and conditions required by those rules. Details of any insurance cover including territorial cover and our insurer are available on request by writing to David Bushell at 11 St Georges Place, Lord Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0AL.

19.3 Insurance Mediation Activities

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.

The Law Society is a designated body for the purposes of Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but the responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative function and is dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman. For contact details see Paragraph 2.6 above.

20 Associates

These terms of engagement shall apply to you and your associates, which for the purposes of these terms and conditions include all companies which you control, or, if you are a company forming part of a group companies in that group.

21 Variation

We may vary these terms of engagement from time to time giving you reasonable written notice.

22 Jurisdiction

These terms of engagement are covered by English Law. Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of engagement will be determined by the Law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh Courts.

23 Agreement

Your continuing instructions will amount to acceptance of these terms and conditions.