Terms and Conditions of Business
The legal services provided by Duncan Rann Associates Limited are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our registration number with the Solicitors Regulation Authority is 618706. The words 'we' and 'us' are used in these terms and conditions mean Duncan Rann Associates Limited. These terms and conditions and our engagement letter contain the terms and conditions on which we contract with you. These terms and conditions do not affect statutory and common law rules that govern solicitors' business. However, if there is a conflict between these terms and conditions and such rules, these terms and conditions will prevail so far as it is possible for them to do so.
Responsibility for work carried out on your behalf
The person(s) who will carry out the work on your matter is or are shown in the engagement letter.
In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate for some work to be carried out by other members of staff. This allows us to provide a more efficient and cost effective service to you. All work is performed under the supervision of a solicitor.
How we will handle your work
We will use all reasonable endeavours to carry out your work so as to achieve completion of the work by any date stipulated by you and agreed by us. We will update you as to the progress of your matter and on the likely timescale for completion of your matter at appropriate intervals. We will explain to you the legal work required. Unless a fixed fee has been agreed, we will update you on the cost of your matter. We will advise you if we consider that the likely outcomes do not justify the likely costs and the risks associated with your matter.
You must provide to us throughout the conduct of your matter in a timely manner with proper and adequate instructions and with any information and documents to enable us to carry out work on your matter. You must ensure that your instructions and the information and documents provided are correct, accurate and complete. You must make payment of any money requested in a timely manner.
We add VAT to our charges at the rate that applies when we carry out the work. Our VAT registration number is 180 0354 40.
You must also pay for the expenses that we incur on your behalf. VAT is normally payable on these items.
How we calculate our charges
Our fees are based on the amount of time we spend dealing with your matter. The time we spend will include (but will not be limited to) the following types of activities: meetings with you and others, preparing and working on various documents, research, correspondence; and making and receiving telephone calls. Our current hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. Time worked on a matter is recorded and charged in units of 1/10th of the hourly rate. Routine letters or emails that we write and routine telephone calls that we make and receive are charged as units of 1/10th of an hour. Other letters, emails and telephone calls are charged depending on the length of time that they take. We review our hourly rates annually. We will inform you in writing if our rates change. In addition to the time that we spend, we take into account various other factors including the complexity of the issues involved in the matter, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge that the matter requires and the value of the property or subject matter involved. We may seek your agreement to adjust our charges upwards to take account of these factors.
Matter not concluded
If your matter is not concluded, we will still charge and you must pay for the time that we have spent and the expenses that we have incurred on your behalf.
Money on account
We may ask you to pay certain sums before carrying out work and incurring expenses on your behalf and we may request further sums during the course of your matter. We will offset payments made in advance against the invoices that we send but total charges and expenses are likely to exceed the advance payments that you make to us.
We may send you invoices for our charges and expenses during the course of the matter and we will send a final invoice on completing the work. This will assist you to budget your costs. You should pay our invoices within 28 days of receipt. We may charge you interest at 4% above the base lending rate of Barclays Bank plc from time to time in force from 28 days of the date of the invoice. Interest is charged on a daily basis.
You can pay us by cheque or bank transfer. We will accept cash payments only up to a limit of £500. In order to comply with our legal obligations we may have to ask you for evidence of the source of your funds. If you fail to provide satisfactory evidence, we may be unable to accept or make payments using your funds. You should not make any payment into our bank account unless we have requested the payment.
Your rights with regard to our invoices
If you do not agree with the amount of any of our invoices, you have the right to apply to the High Court. The court will assess the amount charged in an invoice. This process is subject to certain limitations. For further details of your rights, please consult the Solicitors Act 1974 Sections 70 to 72. If you use the procedure under the Solicitors Act 1974 and any part of an invoice remains unpaid, we have the right to charge interest on it. You have the right to complain about the amount of any of our invoices under our complaints procedure (please see Complaints below).
Payment of interest on your money
We will pay you interest on any funds held by us on your behalf in compliance with our interest policy as follows. We shall only pay interest which, when calculated, exceeds £20. In relation to money held in our general client account, we shall pay interest at half the rate of interest paid to us by the bank. We consider this to be reasonable in the light of current interest rates and the cost of keeping and administering the account. Please note that we do not seek to obtain the best rates of interest available. If you wish to invest your funds at a better rate on interest, then please let us know; we will provide reasonable co-operation in relation to this subject to our ability properly to discharge our duties. In relation to money held in a designated deposit account, we shall pay interest at the rate of interest paid to us but we reserve the right to pass on any charges that we incur in relation to such account. No interest will be payable by us in connection with funds held on account of fees and expenses, nor where the funds are held for payment to a third party. When payable, interest will be calculated from the date of receipt by us of cleared funds and the date we draw a cheque or otherwise transfer the funds. Interest will be paid at the end of a transaction or, at our discretion, at more regular intervals.
Electronic mail (and other forms of electronic communication)
We may use electronic mail and other forms of electronic communication (such as texting and voicemail) to communicate with you unless you make a request in writing for us not to do so.
Proof of identity
We are required by law to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity. If you are unable to supply satisfactory evidence, then we may not be able to act for you and we may decline to do any further work.
In order for us to provide you with legal services we will ask you to provide us with information about yourself. While we are performing legal services for you, we may obtain information about you from third parties. How we use this information depends on the instructions you provide, the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998, other legal obligations binding upon us and the duty of confidentiality that we owe to you. In particular circumstances, we may disclose the information that we have about you to other persons and organisations. For example, this information may be disclosed to suppliers of professional services such as other lawyers and accountants, the courts and governmental and regulatory authorities and organisations that regulate the legal profession. You have the right to access any personal data that we hold about you. Further details about how to do this can be found on the Information Commissioner's Office website at www.ico.gov.uk.
We would like to send you information that is not connected with the matter for which you instructed us. If you would prefer us not to contact you with such information, please let us know in writing.
We have both a professional and a legal obligation to keep your affairs confidential. These obligations of confidentiality are not absolute and are subject to the instructions you provide and the requirements of legal obligations binding upon us. You agree that we can share information that you provide to us to a third party who is helping us with your matter, such as an accountant or estate agent unless you instruct us otherwise. You also permit us to disclose information about matters on which you instruct us to our insurers, auditors and the regulatory bodies governing our work.
If you and another person jointly instruct us on a matter, you agree that there will be no confidentiality between you and the other joint client and that information you disclose to us can be shared with the other joint client
Conflicts of interest
If a conflict of interest occurs (for example, where your interests conflict with those of another joint client on the same matter or another client), we may have to stop acting for you. We will inform you if this happens.
Financial Services Rules
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, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
Insurance and liability
You acknowledge and agree that, if you wish to make a claim relating to or in connection with the services provided by us, the claim can only be brought against Duncan Rann Associates Limited and not against any individual employee(s). We believe that this is reasonable as it corresponds to modern business practice and Duncan Rann Associates Limited has in place indemnity insurance of at least the minimum cover required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for work undertaken by us in England and Wales. The indemnity insurer is Travellers Insurance Company Limited of Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Avenue, London, EC3A 8AG.
Our maximum liability for loss or damage, breach of contract, breach of trust, negligence or otherwise (with the exception of fraud) is limited to the amount paid in respect of it by our insurers under the policy providing the compulsory layer of professional indemnity insurance cover required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and which is currently a maximum of £3 million for any one transaction/matter or series of connected transactions/matters, unless you request a higher amount or different cover and we agree this with you in writing. We will not be liable for loss arising from our compliance with any legal obligation binding upon us. We will not be liable for any loss, damage, costs or expenses of an indirect or consequential, special or exemplary nature, including without limitation any economic loss or other loss of turnover, profits, opportunities, business or goodwill. We limit our liability as far as the law permits. We do not limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.
Storage of papers and documents
We are entitled to keep all the papers and documents generated by us or received from you or other persons (including original documents) if some or any sums that you owe us have not been paid at the end of our work on the matter.
We normally keep papers for no more than ten years (except for those that you ask us to return to you). We keep the papers on the understanding that at the end of ten years after the date of the final invoice we sent to you, we have your express authority to destroy the papers. However, we will not destroy any papers that you have expressly asked us to deposit in safe custody. If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions from you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may charge for time spent at our hourly rates and expenses incurred in producing papers and documents from storage and responding to your requests for information about them.
Money held in our client account
Any money held by us on your behalf will be held in a client account with our bank, which is currently Barclays Bank plc, unless we agree otherwise. We shall not be liable for any loss which arises as a result of the failure or error of the bank. If the bank fails, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”) may apply to your money in our client account if you are a private individual or small business subject to the rules of the FSCS.
Your entitlement to any compensation may be affected if you have other money deposited with the same bank. You agree that, if the bank fails, we may provide information about you to FSCS.
You can terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. However, if you have not paid all the sums owing to us, we are entitled to keep your papers and documents until you do so.
During the course of the matter, we may come to believe that we should stop acting for you. This may be the case if, for example, you cannot give us clear or proper instructions on how we should proceed, or it has become apparent that you have lost confidence in the way that we are carrying out work on your behalf. We will only stop acting for you when we have a good reason to do so. If we decide to stop acting for you, we will give you reasonable notice. The precise length of the notice will depend on the circumstances. If you terminate our instructions or we stop acting for you, you must pay us for the time that we have spent on the matter based on our hourly charges and for any expenses incurred up to the date of our ceasing to act for you.
Equality and diversity
We are committed to the principles of equality and diversity in the relationships that we have with our clients, our employees and third parties. If you would like to see our equality and diversity policy, please let us know.
If you provide us with further instructions concerning other non-contentious matters, these general terms and conditions will apply, unless we agree otherwise.
We are open on normal working days from 9am to 5pm. Outside of these opening hours you may contact us at the mobile number or e-mail address provided but please note that we do not usually provide our services and that we may not respond to your message outside the days and times stated above, except where we have made prior arrangements with you to do so.
You are entitled to complain about the services that we provide to you. Our written complaints procedure is available on written request. As a first step you should raise any concerns with the person(s) named in the engagement letter who is/are carrying out work for you. If your concerns or complaints remain unresolved or you do not wish to speak to the person(s) named, please contact us to request a copy of our complaints procedure. At the end of our complaints procedure, you have the right to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, telephone number: 0300 555 0333, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk). There are time limits for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman: you should make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than 6 years from the date when we have done or not done something which is the subject matter of your complaint or 3 years from the date when you should have reasonably known that you could complain. You also have 6 months to complain to the Legal Ombudsman from when you receive a final response from us.
Alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate www.promediate.co.uk exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and we wish to use such a scheme.
If you are unhappy with or have a complaint about the amount that we have charged you, you can use the court assessment procedure (see your rights with regard to our Invoices above) in addition to our complaints procedure.
For the purposes of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, our contract with you is not intended to and does not give any person who is not a party to it the right to enforce any of its provisions. Only the person(s) named as our client or clients in our engagement letter can rely on any advice or other work that we provide. If any information given as part of our advice or other work is revealed to a third party by you (or by us), you must inform the third party that we accept no responsibility for it.
Distance Selling Regulations
If you are a consumer, that is a private individual or individuals, and we have not met with you, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 may apply to our contract with you. If this is the case, you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven working days of receiving this letter: you can cancel your instructions by writing to us. If you request us to undertake work in this period, you may lose you right to cancel.
Law and jurisdiction
Our contract with you will be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales and you agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales in relation to it.