You have been given or directed to this copy of our standard terms and conditions of business because it contains important information about the firm of Parker Arrenberg, Solicitors and the terms on which it provides services, including:

  • • that it is a limited company registered at Companies House
  • • how you will be charged
  • • limitations on the liability of the firm

 

You are advised to spend some time reading these terms and conditions since they form the basis of the agreement the firm has with you as its client. If you do not understand anything please ask for an explanation.

By using the solicitor services of the firm you will be taken to have agreed to these terms.

These terms and conditions will be revised from time to time and posted on our website and the revised terms and conditions will apply from the date that this occurs or you are sent a copy (if earlier).  You are of course free to terminate the arrangement between us if you do not accept the revised terms and conditions. No other variation will apply unless agreed in writing and signed by a director of the Company.

 

Contents

1.Who we are
2.Place and hours of business
3. Financial services
4. Insurance mediation
5. Charges and expenses
6. Payment on account
7. Bills
8. Orders for costs
9. Interest
10. Storage of papers and deeds
11. Confidentiality
12. Publicity
13. Copyright
14. Termination
15. Acting for more than one client
16. Email
17. Limitations on our liability
18. Money laundering
19. Data protection
20. Complaints
21. Acceptance of terms

 

1. Who we are

In these terms and conditions “we” “our” “us” “Company” mean Parker Arrenberg Limited trading as Parker Arrenberg, Solicitors. We are a limited liability company incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 05647659 and our registered office is at 37 Rushey Green, Catford, London SE6 4AS.

Because the business of Parker Arrenberg was previously conducted through a partnership, individual directors are often described as partners but they are directors of the Company and not in partnership with the Company.  Parker Arrenberg is no longer a partnership nor in partnership with any of its directors.

Parker Arrenberg Limited has assumed liability for and is fully responsible for the legal services provided by Parker Arrenberg and by any director (whether described as such or described as partner) consultant or employee. No individual assumes any personal obligation towards you or any client in respect of our services and it is a fundamental provision of these terms and conditions, and of your continuing instructions, that you agree that no individual has or will have any personal responsibility to you for the legal services provided on behalf of the Company and you agree not to bring a claim against such individuals in respect of those services. Each director, employee and consultant of the Company shall be entitled to the benefit of this provision under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 but the Company’s contract with you may be varied from time to time or terminated without their consent.

 

2. Place and hours of business

Our offices are located at 37 Rushey Green, Catford, London SE6 4AS and normal hours of opening are between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.  Appointments may be arranged outside these hours when necessary for the interests of the client.

 

3. Financial services

We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice.  However, we may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are members of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.  The Solicitors Regulations Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.

 

4. Insurance mediation

We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we may carry on insurance mediation activity, 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 website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register

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. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.

 

5. Charges and expenses

(a) Rates
Our charges are calculated mainly by reference to the time spent by our staff in dealing with your affairs in six-minute units.  This includes advising, meeting with you and others, dealing with papers, correspondence, telephone calls, travelling and waiting time.  The hourly charging rates for the lawyer(s) who will be dealing with your case will be set out separately.  Routine letters sent and received and routine telephone calls are charged at a standard rate of one-tenth of the hourly rate.  Other letters and calls will be charged on a time basis. We also make a charge for arranging bank transfers (see (e) below) and for payments by credit card.  If your instructions mean we have to work outside normal office hours, we reserve the right to increase the level of the hourly rate.  In addition to the time spent, we take into account a number of factors that include the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge that the case requires and, if appropriate, the value of the property or subject matter involved.  The hourly rates notified to you allow for these factors.  The rates may increase if, for example, the matter becomes more complex than expected.  In some instances we also charge an additional element to reflect the value of the work we are dealing with.  If this applies (usually in probate and high value matters) you will be advised of this separately.

(b) Review
Fee rates will generally be reviewed annually and will apply from the date that you are notified of the new rates.

(c) Estimates
Where we are able to quote a fixed fee for a matter we shall be happy to do so on the basis of the information that you are able to give us.  We will abide by such quotations unless the matter becomes more complex or time consuming than could reasonably have been foreseen by us on the basis of the information we had at the time.  If unforeseen additional work becomes necessary then we will discuss with you at that stage any additional charges for the extra work.  We also reserve the right to charge more than our estimate if you require work to be carried out urgently or outside normal office hours. Our estimates, as opposed to fixed fees, are given in good faith but unless otherwise agreed may be higher or lower than the estimates given.

(d) Disbursements and re-charges
Expenses (such as travelling expenses, couriers, stamp duty land tax, court fees, registration fees, search fees etc) will be charged at cost in addition to our professional fees.  All photocopying and printing will be charged at cost if carried out by an external company or at our standard rate if provided by us. Routine photocopying is included in our normal charges but we may charge for non-routine photocopying.  If we instruct external advisors or service providers (e.g. barristers, expert witnesses and surveyors) on your behalf they will be engaged by us acting as your agent and you indemnify us against and will be responsible for their fees.

(e) Bank Transfer Fees
We make a charge for arranging bank transfers of £35 plus VAT. Of this amount we pay our bank a direct fee in the region of £10 -15 and the balance comprises our charge for this service.

(f) Payments by Third Parties
It may be that there is an expectation that a third party will pay your costs. In the event that such party does not pay the amount due when due you will remain responsible for the payment.

(g) Matter not Completed
If a matter is not completed for any reason then a charge will be made in respect of the work we have done and/or disbursements incurred.

(h) Credit Card Payments
We can accept payment by credit and debit cards.  No additional charge will be made for payment by debit cards but payment by credit card attracts an additional charge of 3% of the payment.

 

6. Payment on account

It is normal practice to ask clients to make payments on account of anticipated costs and disbursements.  It is helpful if clients can meet requests promptly, but if there is any difficulty please let us know as soon as possible. If you do not make a payment on account when asked to do so we will be entitled to stop working for you.  We may pay an invoice by deduction from money we hold on your behalf including money received from others.

 

7. Bills

(a) The Bill
We shall deliver bills to you at regular intervals. In the event of a payment not being made, we reserve the right to decline to act any further in which case the full amount of work done up to that date is charged to you.  Accounts must be settled within 14 days.  Interest will be charged to business clients on bills that are not paid within that time at the same rate of interest which the Government sets from time to time for the late payment of bills under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.  At the current time this is 8% above the Bank of England base rate as published daily in the Financial Times. The rate charged to individual clients will be 4% above that bank base rate. Interest will be charged from the day after the date that is 14 days after the date of our bill.  Exceptionally we may agree to refrain from delivering a bill until a matter is completed.  In such cases, unless we have quoted you a fixed fee basis that takes account of the delay in payment (e.g. on conveyancing transactions) we will apply an additional charge of 7% of the total bill to reflect the cost to us of foregoing interim payments.  In such circumstances this arrangement does not amount to a conditional fee arrangement (i.e. “no win no fee”) so that the full amount of our costs, together with the 7% addition, is due regardless of the outcome.

(b) Expenses
We will bill you for any payments we need to make on your behalf, e.g. Court fees or expert’s reports and we would expect you to pay these in advance.

(c) VAT
Fees, disbursements, estimates or quotations are exclusive of VAT and similar taxes.  VAT at the relevant rate is added to all of our charges. Our VAT number is 512742764.

(d) Court Assessment
If you are not satisfied with the amount of our fee for some reason please let us know as soon as possible. If you object to the amount of a bill you must let us know within one month of the delivery of the bill. You may be entitled to have our charges assess by the court under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill if you have not first applied to the court for an assessment of the bill.

 

8. Orders for costs

If Court action is involved for any reason and you win the case and your opponent is ordered to contribute to your legal expenses, it does not necessarily mean that they will have to pay you everything that you have to pay out, or that they are able to pay your costs.  You remain liable for our fees and disbursements and will have to pay them (or any shortfall).  If the other party is legally aided you may not get back any of your charges and expenses even if you win the case.  If you are successful and the Court orders the other 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 the charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the Court orders the other party to pay.  In some circumstances the Court may order you to pay the other party’s legal charges and expenses, for example if you lose the case.  This would be payable in addition to our charges.

 

9. Interest

If we hold money on your behalf, subject to the terms of this paragraph, interest will be calculated and paid to you in accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998.  Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time described by the Rules interest will be calculated (usually at the end of a matter) and paid at a rate determined from time to time in accordance with the rules.  If during the course of a transaction we are requested to hold money as a stakeholder we shall retain the first £75 interest earned on the stake in lieu of a charge for providing this service.  The period for which interest will be paid will normally be from the date(s) on which we receive cleared funds until the date(s) of issue of any cheques by us. The interest rate will be the same rate paid by Barclays Bank Plc on deposits of the sum involved in a solicitors’ designated client account.

 

10. Storage of papers and deeds

After completing a case, we are entitled to keep all papers and documents while there is money owing to us.  Following the conclusion of a case, we shall retain the file (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 scan the file to a suitable electronic storage medium immediately (and destroy the hard copies) and to destroy our records 6 years after sending you our final bill.  We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.  We provide a safe custody service to clients in respect of Wills, deeds and other securities.  No charge is made for the storage of Wills.  A small administrative charge may be made for the storage of more bulky items such as deeds.  Where we retrieve papers, Wills, deeds or securities from storage in connection with continuing or new instructions to us, we would normally make no charge for any such retrieval.  However, we reserve the right to make an administration charge based on time spent in retrieval and any perusal, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with the instructions given by or on behalf of a client when papers, Wills, deeds or securities are removed from storage.

 

11. Confidentiality

We will keep confidential all information about you and not disclose it to anyone outside the Company without your consent. You do, however, consent to disclosure in the normal course of our handling of your work; and, on a confidential basis, to our auditors and quality assessors, our professional indemnity insurers, any external provider of administrative and legal services; and where we are compelled by professional regulations. If you do not consent to this disclosure you must advise us in writing.

 

12. Publicity

We both agree not to issue any publicity material or information to the media (or on the internet) about our relationship and the work we are doing without the other’s consent save when the information is already in the public domain.

 

13. Copyright

We own the copyright in any work we create and this copyright will not be transferred to you although you have our licence to use it for the purposes for which it was created. We may wish to store counsel’s opinions or other or other documents created in the course of our work for you in our own library of precedents and you agree that we may do so unless you tell us in writing that you object.

 

14. Termination

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time.  For example, you may decide you cannot give us clear or proper instructions on how to proceed or you may not wish us to act for you any more.  We are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while money is owing to us.  We will decide to stop acting for you only with good reason and on giving you reasonable notice. If you or we decide that we will stop acting for you, you will pay our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier up to that point.

 

15. Acting for more than one client

Where we are instructed by two or more persons your acceptance of these terms amounts to confirmation that we may take instructions from either one of you, whether by letter or telephone, without reference to or checking with the other unless you advise us in writing to the contrary.

 

16. Email

We routinely use email to communicate and whilst we have normal levels of security in place, you accept the risk that email communication may not be secure.  Email and telephone communication may be monitored in accordance with our communications policy and applicable law and regulations.

 

17. Limitations on our liability

Please ask if you would like up to explain any of the following terms.

Our work is intended solely for your benefit in connection with your particular instructions. It is not to be relied upon by any other person or used for any other purpose. Any claim in respect of our work may only be brought by you, our client.   We will agree with you the scope of the work required by us. We are not responsible for matters that are outside the scope of the work agreed or that would not normally be considered part of a solicitor’s duty in relation to that work. Unless we have agreed to do so in writing we do not advise on tax and we do not advise on the commercial wisdom of a matter. 

We will not be responsible for any increased liability falling on us by reason of any limit which you may have agreed with any other person/adviser or which may otherwise have fallen upon the Company by reason of the contributory negligence of any other person against whom you do not make recovery for any reason. Our liability will be limited to such sums as we ought reasonably to pay having regard to our responsibility and on the basis that such other persons are deemed to have paid to you such sums as they ought reasonably to have paid having regard to their responsibility and disregarding any limitation which you have agreed with them; the fact that such person has ceased to exist; your claim against them lapses or becomes extinguished or is not pursued by you; or such person fails to satisfy any judgement obtained by you.

We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, nor for any costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.

The work we undertake is limited to the laws of England and Wales as applied by the English and Welsh Courts and is undertaken on the basis that it will be governed by and construed in accordance with English and Welsh law and that no claim will be brought in any other jurisdiction.  For the avoidance of doubt no liability will be accepted for any claim brought in either the USA or Canada.

As with all professional advisers we carry Professional Indemnity Insurance.  In accordance with Law Society requirements this provides for a minimum level of cover of £3,000,000 for limited liability companies.  Our liability to you for any claim arising as the result of our instructions is limited to this sum and for the purpose of this overall limit more than one mistake on a matter or transaction is considered as one mistake and one claim. If this limit is not sufficient for your purposes please let us know and, if appropriate, we may then consider whether we are able to provide a higher limit at extra cost.

Details of our Professional Indemnity Insurer and the territorial coverage of that insurance can be obtained from Mr D Mahony at our office.

If you think we have made a mistake we have no liability for any breach of our duties to you unless you let us know in writing about the mistake within 12 months of you becoming aware of it and start any legal proceedings about it within 12 months of giving us that written notice unless we agree a longer period in writing.

These limits apply to the extent that they are permitted by law. In particular we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence. If any of our terms which seek to limit liability is found by a court to be void or ineffective on the grounds that it is unreasonable or does not accord with any professional obligation, the remaining provisions shall continue to be effective and there shall be substituted for the liability found to be void or ineffective the closest limit thereto that would not be void or ineffective.

 

18. Money laundering

As with other professional firms we have to comply with stringent requirements to identify clients (and verify the information provided) and the source of their funds for the purpose of money laundering regulations. You will be requested to provide evidence of your identity and funds (where relevant) at an early stage in your instructions and may occasionally be requested to provide up to date evidence of your address.  Please appreciate that this is a legal requirement imposed upon us.  If you fail to provide appropriate identification within a reasonable time we may have to stop working for you and charge for work carried out to that point. Any work we have to do to identify you is part of our retainer and we will be charged for in the usual way.  We may undertake identification checks by electronic verification and you will be charged the fee charged to us for this purpose.

We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may then have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.

Our practice’s policy is not to accept cash from clients in excess of £1000 throughout a matter. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank we will charge you for any additional checks and time we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds. In those circumstances we accept no liability for any delay in dealing with your matter. 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.

 

19. Data protection

Any personal data you supply to us will be accepted on the basis that you have complied with any applicable data protection law and regulation and that our receipt of it and subsequent retention or processing will comply with such law and regulations.

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; and legal and regulatory compliance.

Our use of that information 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 expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

 

20. Complaints

We aim to offer all of our clients an efficient and effective service and we are confident that we will do so in this case.  If, however, you have any queries or concerns about our work for you, please take them up with the person who has the main responsibility for your case.  If that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction or you would prefer not to speak to that person, then please take it up with our firm’s client care director, Faye Louzado, who is responsible for our complaint procedure.  All firms of solicitors are obliged to attempt to resolve problems that clients may have with the service provided, including in relation their bills.  It is therefore important that you immediately raise your concerns with us.  We value our clients and would not wish to think you have any reason to be unhappy with us.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of a complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB ( enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or Tel 0300 555 0333) to consider a complaint. The Legal Ombudsman considers complaints from ‘consumers’ and small businesses and can advise you whether your complaint is one that it can deal with. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman with six months of receiving a final written response from us about the complaint. If your complaint is in relation to our bill please refer to sections 7(a) and (d) above.

 

21. Acceptance of terms

Unless otherwise agreed and subject to the application of our current hourly rates, these terms and conditions of business shall apply to this and any future instructions given by you to us.  Continuing instructions in this and any other matter will amount to an acceptance of these terms and conditions of business.

 

Parker Arrenberg Limited
October 2010 Edition