Terms & Conditions


Terms of business

The purpose of this document is to confirm the arrangements between us. Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business, we ask that you sign, date and return one copy for our file.

Table of contents

• Business hours
• Our responsibilities
• Your responsibilities
• Service levels and frequency of communication
• Email
• Confidentiality and Social Networking Sites
• People responsible for your work
• Limit of liability
• Regulated services
• Data protection
• Storage and retrieval of files
• Outsourcing
• External auditing
• Terminating your instructions
• Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
• Confidentiality
• Receiving and paying funds
• Complaints
• Our bill and costs
• Payment of interest
• Investment advice services
• Insurance mediation activity
• Distance Selling Regulations
• Governing Law and Jurisdiction
• Termination of Services
• Monies held in Our Client Account
• Money Laundering
• Equality and diversity
• Mortgage Fraud
• Applicable law
• Future instructions

Our Hours of business

The normal hours of opening of our offices are between 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays. Messages can be left by voicemail or email outside those hours and appointments can be arranged at other times when necessary.

Our responsibilities

We will:
• treat you fairly and with respect
• communicate with you in plain language
• review your matter regularly
• advise you of any changes in the law that affect your matter
• advise you of any reasonably foreseeable circumstances and risks that
could affect the outcome of your matter

Your responsibilities

You will:
• provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions
• provide all documentation and information that we reasonably request in a timely manner
• safeguard any documents that may be required for your matter, including documents that you may have to disclose to another party

Service levels and frequency of communication

We will regularly update you by email, letter or telephone with progress on your matter

We will explain to you by email, letter or telephone the legal work required as your matter progresses.

We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates. Whenever there is a material change in circumstances associated with your matter, we will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks.

We will update you on the cost of your matter at the intervals set out in our letter confirming your instructions. If appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.

Email

Unless you tell us otherwise, you agree to us communicating with you, including sending bills and other confidential information, by normal, unencrypted email, using the email address(es) you have given us from time to time. You should be aware that there is a risk that emails (in particular when unencrypted) may be intercepted, delayed or corrupted or may fail to be delivered.

We make reasonable attempts to exclude from our emails any virus or other defect that might harm a computer or IT system. You undertake to act likewise with any electronic communications you send to us. Neither you nor we shall have any liability to each other in respect of any claim or loss arising in connection with such a virus or defect in an electronic communication other than where such claim or loss arises from bad faith or wilful default.

Confidentiality and Social Networking Sites

In relation to the matter we are dealing with on your behalf you should not at any time make any entries or discuss it on any social networking sites for example such as “Facebook” or “Twitter”. If you do so the entries or discussions will not be confidential and may be used as evidence against you by the otherside involved in the matter or third parties


People responsible for your work

• The person responsible for dealing with your work will be * * Their assistant/secretary who may be able to deal with your queries and who will be pleased to take any message for you is * * We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will tell you promptly of any change and why it may be necessary.
• The Director of this firm with final responsibility for work done in this department is * *

Limit of liability

We have professional indemnity insurance giving cover for claims against the firm. Details of this insurance, including contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy, can be inspected at our office or made available on request.

Our maximum aggregate liability to you in this matter will be £3million including interest unless we expressly state a different figure in our letter confirming your instructions. If you wish to discuss a variation of this limit, please contact the person dealing with your matter. Agreeing a higher limit on our liability may result in us seeking an increase in our charges for handling your matter.

We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profit or opportunity.

Barker Booth & Eastwood is a Limited Company. This means that the Company's members and directors are not personally liable for any acts or omissions by the Company, unless the law requires otherwise. This does not limit or exclude liability of the Company for the acts or omissions of its members and directors.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence.

Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.

Regulated services

Barker Booth & Eastwood is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Ipsley Court, Berrington Close, Redditch, B98 0TD (the SRA).

This means that we are governed by a Code of Conduct and other professional rules, which you can access on the SRA’s website www.sra.org.uk or by calling 0870 606 2555.

Data protection

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:

• updating and enhancing client records
• analysis to help us manage our practice
• statutory returns
• legal and regulatory 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. Under data protection legislation you have a right of access to the personal data that we hold about you.

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

Storage and retrieval of files

After the end of the relevant matter please let us know if you would like us to send your file of papers to you. Otherwise we will keep our file of your papers in storage. We will normally destroy it six years after the date of the final bill we send to you for the matter without further reference to you, and by agreeing to these terms you authorise us so to do. We will not destroy documents you ask us to hold in safe custody, such as deeds, wills and other important original documents.

We will take care of your deeds, documents and other papers as long as they remain in our possession. However should any of them be lost or damaged as a result of events beyond our reasonable control we will not be liable for their replacement or for any resultant loss.

If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you for time spent retrieving, reading, copying or working on such papers where that is to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers of £25 plus vat

Outsourcing

Sometimes we ask other companies or people to other work on our files to ensure this is done promptly/in the most cost effective manner. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

External auditing

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice eg our regulator the SRA, our accountants, or by other organisations. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Please tick this box if you do not wish your files to be disclosed to external auditors. •

Terminating your instructions

You may end your instructions at any time, by giving us notice in writing. We can keep all your papers and documents while our charges or disbursements are outstanding.

We can only decide to stop acting for you with good reason and we must give you reasonable notice.

If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you are liable to pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on the basis set out in our letter confirming your instructions.

Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing

We are required by law to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients and sometimes people related to them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.

To comply with the law, we need to get evidence of your identity as soon as possible. This is explained in our letter confirming your instructions.

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 have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.

Confidentiality

The information and documentation you provide us is confidential and subject to legal professional privilege unless:

• stated otherwise in this document or our letter confirming your instructions, eg in relation to prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
• we advise you otherwise during the course of your matter

We cannot absolutely guarantee the security of information communicated by email or mobile phone. Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we will assume that you consent for us to use these methods of communication.

Receiving and paying funds

Our policy is not to accept cash from clients. However in some circumstances we can accept cash up to £500. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds. 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.

Complaints

Barker Booth & Eastwood is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please contact Miss Tracy Kirkland on by e-mail info@bbelaw.co.uk or by post to our Blackpool office. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available from Miss Kirkland upon request.

We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.


If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ 0300 555 0333—from 8.30am to 5.30pm enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk www.legalombudsman.org.uk

to consider the complaint. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).

Our bill

Payment

It is a condition of our retainer that all bills, interim and final, are paid within one month. If a bill is not paid in full within that period we may charge you interest on any amount outstanding from the due date until the date the bill is paid at the rate of interest prescribed for judgments from time to time. In the case of commercial debts we reserve the right to claim interest and recovery costs pursuant to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.

Where an account is overdue we are entitled to retain any files and documents belonging to you which are in our possession until our account is settled. We also reserve the right to cease working on this and any other matters on which we are acting for you.

In some cases, and particularly when litigation is involved or when we may need to incur substantial expense on your behalf we may require you to provide a payment on account of the future likely costs and disbursements.

If instructions for a piece of work are given by more than one person or company, we may recover our fees, disbursements and Value Added Tax from any one or more of them. This includes situations where one person or company instructs us on behalf of another.

If arrangements are made for a third party to pay any of our fees or disbursements, or a court orders a third party to pay any part of our fees or disbursements, you remain liable to pay them to the extent that the third party does not pay them when due.

You have the right to challenge or complain about our bill. Please see the Complaints section above for details of how to complain about our bill. The procedure for challenging a bill varies depending on whether it relates to a matter involving court proceedings. When we send you a bill, we will explain the relevant procedure for challenging it.

We are entitled to pay your bill from monies received by us on your behalf and to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

Costs

Unless we have agreed otherwise, our charges will be based on the time spent on your matter, applying our hourly charging rates as applicable from time to time.
We reserve the right to charge separately for photocopying, printing, telephone calls, faxes, electronic funds transfers, catering and other support services, and travel, courier and other incidental expenses.

Where applicable, we will charge VAT on our charges and expenses (current rate is 20%).

Changes to charge-out rates

Our hourly charge-out rates are reviewed with effect from January each year. We will notify you of the rates if they change and you will then be bound by them. If you do not accept the new rates after review, we reserve the right not to continue acting for you.


Costs Estimates and Arrangements

Any costs estimate we give at any time is a guide to assist you in budgeting. It is not intended to be fixed, unless that is specifically agreed in writing.

Any fixed fee, capped fee or other fee arrangement we agree with you, or any costs estimate we give you, is based on the scope of the work anticipated and our assumptions about the matter at the time it is agreed or given. If the scope of the work changes or the assumptions change, it will no longer apply. In that case we will discuss a revised fee arrangement or estimate with you.

Billing

Unless agreed to the contrary we will normally bill every six months, if not before, for the work performed to date together with any disbursements we have incurred on your behalf.
Contentious Matters

You will be responsible to us for our fees and disbursements regardless of any order obtained for payment of your costs by another party. Our costs are likely to exceed the sum which you could recover from any other party to the proceedings. You should also bear in mind that you may be ordered to pay the costs of the other party.

Payment

If an account remains unpaid and we commence legal proceedings against you in order to recover the sums you owe us then we will be entitled to recover from you the legal costs that we incur in connection with those proceedings at our standard hourly rates, together with all disbursements (including fees of counsel and any other lawyers engaged by us in our attempts to recover payment from you).

Joint Clients

If we are instructed by joint clients then all clients are jointly and severally liable for our fees, notwithstanding any agreement between you as to how you will share the costs. This means that we will be able to look to one client only or to each of our clients to pay the whole of or any balance of any unpaid fees.

Instructions are understood to be for the purposes of all of those instructing us. We will act on instructions from any one of those clients unless you instruct us otherwise. Liability to pay our costs is joint (all the clients together) and several (each may be liable for the whole amount).

If instructions are given on behalf of a client, we are entitled to assume that the person giving the instructions has lawful authority to instruct us. If not, then that person will be liable to us as if they were our client.

Interest on Funds We Hold For You

We will normally credit you with interest on any funds we hold in our client account on your behalf. Our policy on the payment of interest is as follows.

• Interest will accrue at the rate payable by our bank on instant access deposits. This may be less than the rate at which you could have invested the money yourself.
• We will credit you with interest if the amount of interest involved is more than £20
• If we hold sums of money for you in relation to different matters we will normally treat the money relating to each of the different matters separately.
• We will not account for interest on money held for the payment of a professional disbursement, once the intended recipient has requested a delay in settlement. Nor will we account for interest on money held for the Legal Aid Agency.

Investment and Insurance Advice

Barker Booth & Eastwood Limited is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”). We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”), which is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society of England and Wales. If you are unhappy with any investment advice or insurance advice you receive from us you should raise your concerns with the SRA.

Financial Services and Markets Act (“FSMA”)

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 some limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are regulated by the SRA, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the FSMA.

Our role in any transaction is that of legal adviser and it is not part of our function to give advice on the merits of any transaction in investments. When providing our services we will assume that you have decided or will decide to negotiate or enter into any such transaction solely on the advice you may receive from a person authorised under the FSMA. No communication from us is intended or should be construed as an invitation or inducement to you or to anyone else to engage in investment activity.

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 authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority 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.

Distance Selling Regulations

If we have not yet met you and you are an individual acting for purposes which are outside your business, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 apply to our agreement with you. That means that you have the right to cancel our engagement without charge at any time within seven working days of your acceptance of our engagement terms. If you wish to do so you must inform us of your decision to cancel in writing. Your right to cancel our engagement will not apply if you agree to us beginning work in relation to your instructions during the relevant cancellation period.

Governing Law and Jurisdiction

This agreement and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with it or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by the law of England and Wales, and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any such dispute or claim.

Termination of Services

Our lawyer-client relationship will be considered terminated upon our completion of the specific services that you have retained us to perform, or if open-ended services are to be provided, when more than six months have elapsed from the last time we furnished any billable services to you.

The fact that we may inform you from time to time of developments in the law which may be of interest to you, by e-mail, newsletter or otherwise, should not be understood as a revival of a lawyer-client relationship. We have no obligation to inform you of such developments in the law unless we are specifically engaged to do so.

Monies Held In Our Client Account

We will not be liable to repay any money that we hold for you in our client account at Barclays Bank Plc or Halifax Bank of Scotland Plc (HBOS) which is lost as a result of a failure of the bank.

Severability

If any provision in these terms of engagement or our accompanying letter is or becomes invalid, illegal or unenforceable then it shall, to the extent required, be severed and shall be ineffective and the validity of the remaining provisions shall not be affected in any way.

Money Laundering

Legislation requires solicitors to take various steps to guard against money laundering. We may be obliged to report information about possible money laundering and terrorist financing to the authorities, notwithstanding our normal duty of confidentiality. If we have to make a report we may not be able to tell you that we have done so, because the law prohibits “tipping off”. Where the law permits, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what actions may be necessary.

Equality and Diversity

Barker Booth & Eastwood is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

Mortgage Fraud

If we are also acting for your proposed lender in this transaction, we have a duty fully to reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. That includes any differences between the mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction and any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you. You agree to us so doing.

Applicable law

Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.

Future instructions

Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter.

Agreement

Your continuing instructions will amount to your acceptance of these terms of business but please sign and date the enclosed copy of these terms and return it to us immediately. Then we can be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you.
We hope that by sending these terms to you we have addressed your immediate queries about the day-to-day handling of your work and our terms of business. However if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Barker Booth & Eastwood Limited is a Limited Company registered in England and Wales number 7253580. Registered office is 346 Lytham Road, Blackpool, FY4 1DW. Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) 559450. A list of Members and Directors may be inspected at our registered office

VAT number 113 5125 61