We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. When we accepted your instructions we sent you a letter in which we set out the nature of your instructions and the rates that we will charge in respect of your case. These terms and conditions set out the standard basis upon which our business relationship is based and should be read in conjunction with the client care document we will send to you which will set out the exact limits of our agreement with you.
Parry Welch Lacey LLP
We are a limited liability partnership registered with Companies House no: OC349299. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no: 521369. Our practice management standards are LEXCEL accredited.
Our hours of business
The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on weekdays. We will normally respond to e mail, enquiries within those hours. We can arrange to see clients outside those hours where it is necessary to do so with advance notice. We operate a 24 hour emergency out of hours service to those who are I n imminent danger of arrest or who have been detained in custody. In an emergency please telephone 0151 480 4061 and your call will be redirected to the on call fee earner. Our duty lawyers do not have access to case files outside office hours and are unlikely to be able to assist you with any routine enquiries that you might have about your case. For that reason we ask that all routine enquiries are made within office hours.
People responsible for your work
The person who has responsibility for undertaking your case will be named in the client care letter we sent to you. Although the named person will have the day to day conduct of your case other members of our team may carry out work on your case from time to time to ensure the smooth running of your case.
Charges and expenses
Fixed Fee Cases
In some cases we may agree to do work for you for a fixed fee. If we have agreed to undertake work for you under a fixed fee agreement we will say so when we acknowledge your instructions and set out the limits of the work we will do as part of that fixed fee. If we have agreed a fixed fee, the amount you pay us for the work we have agreed to do will be limited to the fee quoted and VAT but you will still be required to pay any court or application fees that you instruct us to pay and you may be required to pay the costs of other parties if your action does not succeed.
If we have not agreed a fixed fee with you 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 may include meetings with you and perhaps others; reading, preparing and working on papers; making and receiving telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and text messages; preparation of any detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills; attending at court; and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office. From time to time we may arrange for some of this work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by us; such work will be charged to you at the hourly rate which would be charged if we had done the work ourselves.
Routine letters, e-mails and texts that we send and routine telephone calls that we make and receive are charged at one-tenth of the hourly rate. Routine letters, e-mails and texts received are charged at one-twentieth of the hourly rate. Other letters, e-mails and calls are charged on a time spent basis.
The current standard hourly rates are set out below. If we have agreed to carry out work for you at a different rate we will have set out the level of those rates in the client care letter we sent you. We will add VAT to these at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present, VAT is 20%.
These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1 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 our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand. An increase in the rates may be applied to reflect such factors. Where an increase in the rates or 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 ranging from court fees, experts' fees, and so on. 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'.
If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay interim bills and 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 28 days of our sending you a bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at 4% over Nat West’s base rate from time to time from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made within 28 days of delivery by us of the bill.
The common law entitles us to retain any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly come into our possession pending payment of our costs, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred. This is known as a ‘general lien’. We are not entitled to sell property held under a 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.
We do not accept payments to us in cash in excess of £1000. 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.
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 amounts 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.
Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 2011, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable Nat West’s Designated Client Accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account.
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. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which may be specified in that notice. We do not offer a facility for holding wills, deeds or other valuable securities but we can advise you about arranging such safe 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 charge of £20.00 for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your 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, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a 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.
Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. 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, please raise them with us immediately. If we can undertake the research necessary 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 for you.
Identity, disclosure and confidentiality requirements
We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent. We may arrange to carry out an electronic verification of your identity if we consider that a saving of time and cost will be achieved by doing so. The cost of any such search will be charged to you. If the amount is in excess of £10 including VAT, we will seek your prior agreement.
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: legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious and 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 disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make such a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or of the reasons for it, because the law prohibits ‘tipping-off’. Where the law permits us, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take.
Our firm may be subject to audit or quality checks by external firms or organisations. We may also outsource work. This might be for example typing or photocopying or costings, or research and preparation to assist with your matter. Information from your file may therefore be made available in such circumstances. We will always aim to obtain a confidentiality agreement with the third party.
In order to comply with court and tribunal rules, all documentation relevant to any issues in litigation, however potentially damaging to your case, have to be preserved and may be required to be made available to the other side. This aspect of proceedings is known as ‘disclosure’. Subject to this, we will not reveal confidential information about your case except as provided by these terms of business and where, for example, your opponent is ordered to pay your costs, we have to meet obligations to reveal details of the case to them and to the court.
Communication between you and us
We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. We use software and suppliers who ensure that all electronic communications are scanned fro virus on dispatch and when received, although we cannot guarantee any electronic communication or data sent by us is virus free when it is received by you and if you allow us to communicate with you electronically you agree to do so at your own risk and to undertake your own anti-virus checks. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by e-mail or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.
The Data Protection Act requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you unless you indicate to us you do not wish us to do so.
Where we act for two or more clients jointly it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions from either, both or any of them.
Terms and conditions of business
Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.
Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been signed and returned to us for us to keep on our file.