TERMS OF BUSINESS

TERMS OF BUSINESS

TERMS OF BUSINESS

In cases involving financial and real property MB Lawyers is required by law under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 amongst others to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of client(s) and sometimes of people related to them and of third parties.

TERMS OF BUSINESS

TERMS OF BUSINESS

Client Identification
In cases involving financial and real property MB Lawyers is required by law under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 amongst others to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of client(s) and sometimes of people related to them and of third parties.

Where the client is a partnership MB Lawyers will need evidence of this and where it is a company MB Lawyers will need evidence of incorporation.

Although these regulations do not strictly apply to every matter it is considered best practice to get evidence of verification and identity.

MB Lawyers therefore need from you at the start of your matter evidence and verification of your identity and address in the original as follows:

  • Passport or
  • Photo card Drivers Licence
  • Utility bill /bank statement/council tax demand/pension documents confirming your name and address which is not more than 3 months old x2
  • Companies need to provide Certificate of Incorporation together with details of the company officers i.e. the Directors, Company Secretary and the shareholders and Memorandum and Articles of Association.

MB Lawyers’ appreciate that not everyone has access to some of the forms of ID requested. If that is the case please let MB Lawyers know immediately as we may not always be able to act as it may be contrary to the above legislation.

MB Lawyers will need to check the originals and take copies.

MB Lawyers, of course, have a professional and legal duty to keep your affairs confidential. However, if MB Lawyers suspect that something during your matter may involve money laundering or terrorist funding MB Lawyers may have to tell the Serious Organised Crime Agency and MB Lawyers may be unable to tell you of this disclosure. MB Lawyers may also have to stop work on your matter and or terminate your retainer and may not be able to notify you as to the reason why.

Mental Capacity
You must be able to understand and be able to make specific decisions at the time they need to be made. This is what is called mental capacity as defined under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The aim and presumption is that you do have mental capacity until it is shown otherwise.

If you have any knowledge or concerns about this you must let MB Lawyers know immediately.

If a person does not have mental capacity then MB Lawyers may not be able to act for them or alliteratively MB Lawyers may only be able to act in certain circumstances usually with the permission of the court.

In some cases to ensure MB Lawyers is acting in your best interests and to comply with client care obligations under the vulnerable persons guidelines issued by the Law Society, it may be sensible and or necessary write to your GP or a medical professional on this matter.

Again acting in your best interests MB Lawyers must be satisfied you understand what you are doing in connection with your matter.

Who will be responsible for the work on your matter?
Maria Boulter will be responsible for the work on your matter. Maria Boulter is a Solicitor and the Sole Owner /Practitioner of M B Lawyers. With over 25 years’ experience, Maria Boulter will use all reasonable skill and care and will keep you updated on progress using plain language.

You must advise immediately of any new /relevant matters which come to light about your case and any change in your personal circumstances and personal details.

Please also refer to my Privacy Notice

Click here to see the MB Lawyers GDPR Regulations

Contact -When How and Whom?
Maria Boulter working hours are 9.30-5.30 Monday to Friday. Maria Boulter can be contacted by post only at 3 Chipping Hall Barns Chipping Hertfordshire SG9 0DP / on telephone number 01763 449128 /by email at mboulter@mblawyers.co.uk. If not immediately available Maria Boulter will try to contact you by the end of that working day or the next working day. Maria Boulter will aim to reply to letters within 3 working days. Please note meetings are STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. You will be contacted by email telephone or post unless otherwise agreed.

What is the time frame for your matter to be concluded?
The aim is to progress and conclude your matter as quickly as possible and MB Lawyers will try and give you a realistic time estimate where possible. MB Lawyers will also do what’s reasonably possible to assist you in meeting any timeframes you have but timing may often depend on factors which are not within MB Lawyers control. Cases involving litigation are also often complex and lengthy.

How much will MB Lawyers charge?
Costs can mean various things but usually covers fees, disbursements and VAT where applicable.

Litigation costs especially can be a complex matter. It is often difficult to know in advance how much work needs to be done in a case and exactly what the costs will be. There are often many unknown factors and each case is different. MB Lawyers will do its best to give you an accurate estimate of costs where possible, but this is not fixed unless specified. MB Lawyers will of course keep you advised of costs throughout the case at regular intervals and at least twice yearly.

Generally MB Lawyers will either charge a fee either according to a fixed fee which will be agreed at the start of your matter.

Alternatively MB Lawyers will charge according to the time actually spend dealing with your matter using an hourly rate.

MB Lawyers will confirm how you will be charged in an initial engagement letter.

In calculating time MB Lawyers will include meetings with you and others, reading and working on papers, drafting and preparing documents, instructing experts and travelling/waiting time.

In addition to the time spent MB Lawyers may take into account a number of other factors such as work outside normal office hours , the complexity of a case, any specialist requirements and the speed at which things need to be done.

The basic hourly rate starts at £250.00 per hour. This is increased or discounted depending on the nature of the case and the above factors. This rate will be reviewed periodically every April. If a review is carried before the end of your matter MB Lawyers will of course let you know of any changes.

Any standard letters, emails or calls not timed will be charged at 1/10 of the hourly rate. Any required copying is charged at 25p per copy.

As well as fees. MB Lawyers may have to pay out expenses on your behalf to third parties. These expenses are called disbursements. These are your responsibility and must be paid by you. Some disbursements are fixed for example for searches and documents. Others for example to experts may vary, be substantial and not known in advance. MB Lawyers will give you as much information on the disbursements applicable to you as possible.

Where VAT is payable on fees, disbursements or any other amounts you will be charged and will pay this in addition. Please note at present MB Lawyers is not registered for VAT and this is not payable on fees. This gives you a saving. MB Lawyers will let you know when if becomes VAT registered.

You are legally bound to pay the costs in your case. The general rule is that with litigation once court proceedings have started it may be possible to get a costs order against your opponent. The courts are however increasingly keen to discourage litigation and promote early resolution of cases through mediation and dispute resolution where costs are not recoverable.

Defended litigation cases are also allocated to one of three procedures by the court which decides how the case is handled and the costs recoverable. Cases worth less than £10,000 are invariably allocated to small claims which means no costs are recoverable.

If your case is successful and the court does make your opponent responsible for payment of your costs theses still need to be agreed or assessed and then your opponent may still not have the money to pay. If any amount is recovered from your opponent for costs this is credited to you. Please note even if this does happen there is often a significant shortfall between the money recovered and your costs which is your responsibility.

Should your litigation case be unsuccessful or if the court orders it then you will be responsible for your opponents costs as well as your own costs .It is possible you have or you may take out legal expense insurance to cover this.

Throughout your matter MB Lawyers will look at and assess the likely risks of continuing with it compared to the likely benefit to be achieved particularly bearing costs in mind.

Payments on account
You may need to make a payment on account of the disbursements in your matter at the start. The payment if it applies will be detailed in an initial letter to you.

The payment will be credited to your individual ledger and will of course be accounted for on your final bill. To make the payment my bank details are:

Bank Name: NAT WEST
Bank Account Name: MB Lawyers Client Account
Sort Code: 602232
Account No: 71127895

Please include MB Lawyers reference and your full name when making the payment.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY MONEY BE SENT TO MB LAWYERS OR MARIA BOULTER FROM ANYONE WHO IS NOT THE PERSON OR PERSONS INSTRUCTING ME. ANY SUCH MONEY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AND WILL RESULT IN DELAY

When will you have to pay?
Unless otherwise agreed MB Lawyers will send interim bills where applicable and as advised as your matter proceeds. You have 7 days from receipt to pay these. A final bill will be sent at the end of the matter again due and payable within 7 days of receipt. If the bills are not paid within time interest will be charged at 8% pa from the date when the payment was due until payment is made. If you are having difficulty paying a bill please contact Maria Boulter.

Conflict of Interest
An actual or potential conflict of interest between you and another MB Lawyer client may arise during the course of your matter. If this happens MB Lawyers will discuss this with you to decide on the right course of action. To protect your interests it may be necessary to have to stop acting for you. If you are aware or become aware of any conflict please let MB Lawyers know straight away.

Joint Instructions
When instructing MB Lawyers jointly with others the instructions of any one of you are the instructions of all of you. Each one of you instructs MB Lawyers as agent for the others. MB Lawyers act for you all jointly and not individually. If at some point in the matter your instructions differ from the other person or people you must let MB Lawyers know straight away to see if we can resolve this. MB Lawyers must disclose all information to everyone. If some ones instructions or interests differ from the others at any time they may need to seek independent legal advice.

Termination
You may end our instructions in your matter by giving reasonable notice in writing at any time.
MB Lawyers may end our instructions in your matter by giving reasonable notice in writing where a good reason exists. For example if you do not provide instructions or information requested, or there is a conflict of interest, or you do not pay an interim bill or provide any requested payment on account. MB Lawyers may also end instructions if required by law. If appropriate MB Lawyers will apply to remove my name from any court record.
If either you or MB Lawyers decide that we will no longer act you must pay MB Lawyers’ fees up to the date instructions are terminated. MB Lawyers will keep all your papers until the bill is paid. For any bill not paid MB Lawyers will claim a lien over all paperwork of whatever nature in connection with your matter.

Tax Advice
Any work MB Lawyers do may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. MB Lawyers is not authorised or qualified to give tax advice. You will need to seek expert advice in this area elsewhere. If you have any concerns about this please let MB Lawyers know immediately.

All tax dealings with HMRC remain strictly a matter between you and HMRC. No liability whatsoever attaches to Maria Boulter individually or to MB Lawyers.

In purchase transactions even if MB Lawyers fill in and lodge the SDLT form and pay Stamp Duty MB Lawyers do so on your specific instructions having offered you no tax advice and the legal liability for this remains strictly with you. Your instructions are given to MB Lawyers on the basis that you have sought the necessary independent professional tax advice and or sought the advice of HMRC before giving MB Lawyers instructions to lodge the SDLT form on your behalf.

You may also wish to refer to https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax

Money
MB Lawyers is unable to accept any cash payments or any monies from oversees or third party bank accounts. MB Lawyers can only return or send money to a UK bank account in your name (s) or by a cheque payable to you.

Professional Indemnity Insurance and General Regulation
Maria Boulter of MB Lawyers is a solicitor authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. MB Lawyers are required by the SRA to have professional indemnity insurance in place. This insurance cover will insure you for the work carried out on your behalf. MB Lawyers covered for up to £2 million. A copy of MB Lawyers insurance policy is available on request and for inspection by you.

Exclusions and Limitations on Liability
MB Lawyers liability in contract or tort or under statute or otherwise for any loss or damage suffered by you arising from or in connection with your matter and or service provided by MB Lawyers howsoever the loss or damage is caused including MB Lawyers negligence shall be limited in all circumstances to a maximum sum of £2 million. MB Lawyers shall have no liability in contract tort or under statute or otherwise for any loss of profit loss of business loss of goodwill failure to achieve anticipated savings or for any indirect or consequential loss.

IT Maintenance
This is undertaken by a third party contractor who may have access to your confidential information during the course of general IT maintenance. By instructing MB Lawyers you agree to this disclosure.

Financial Services Authority
MB Lawyers is not authorised under the Financial Services Authority or under and Financial Services Legislation.

Client Confidentiality and Auditing
All information you give to MB Lawyers is treated as confidential and will not be released to a third party without your authority unless required by law.
You consent, unless we are told in writing otherwise, to your file being externally audited on a random basis by MB Lawyers’ accountant and or other party and to MB Lawyers disclosing for purposes of publicity or otherwise to third parties that MB Lawyers have provided services to you and the general nature of the matter.

Storage Disclosure and Retention of Documents
MB Lawyers have a file retention policy. Factors considered include the risk of a claim from a particular matter type, the potential size of a claim on a particular matter, the limitation period that might apply and MB Lawyers’ obligations under the SRA Code of Conduct.
Unless otherwise notified papers are retained Files are retained for six years for litigation, 12 years for property purchases, 6 years for property sales and until the age of 21 for matters involving a minor. After your matter is finished and destroyed automatically thereafter. MB Lawyers keep the originals of the papers you give and provide copies on request, subject to an administration fee of £30 and a copying fee of 25p per document. Documents can be stored both electronically and in hard form. As a result you transfer to MB Lawyers all rights of ownership that you have in letters and documents that MB Lawyers receive. MB Lawyers retain the copyright to any document created by MB Lawyers and may use this in the future subject to law and compliance with all regulations.
MB Lawyers may use external storage facilities and or external storage providers to store the files and documents. It may therefore take some time to retrieve documents and MB Lawyers will advise you accordingly.

Data Protection Act
By instructing MB Lawyers you give consent to MB Lawyers holding and processing personal data for all lawful purposes in accordance with data protection principles.

Privacy Policy/Notice
Please see Privacy Notice to comply with GDPR since May 2018

Cyber Risks
Cyber fraud and cybercrime is on the increase. Fraudsters actively target clients and firms. Using public Wi-Fi for email and social media may make you more vulnerable. To protect you MB Lawyers will not advise of new bank account details by email. MB Lawyers will ignore any email from you changing instructions without formal verification of instruction changes.
Please be advised that if you don’t provide bank details face to face then MB Lawyers will use royal mail and telephone to verify the details.
Please be aware that faster online bank payments are not as secure or as easy to recall as CHAPS payments.
Please note this risk of fraud.

Governing Law and Jurisdiction
The terms of our engagement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. Any dispute shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Equality and Diversity
Under Rule 6.03 of the SRA Code of Conduct MB Lawyers confirm it has and operates a policy of equality and diversity. MB Lawyers’ policy is available on request.

Other Documents
MB Lawyers will send out Terms of Business documents in your initial letter.

Clients’ Money and Interest
In accordance with the Solicitors Account Rules it is MB Lawyers policy to account to clients, on a fair and reasonable basis, for a sum in lieu of interest in respect of client monies held.
MB Lawyers is required by the Solicitors Account Rules to hold such client money for the purpose for which it has been provided and it is therefore necessary for it to be held in an instant access account. For this reason, any interest that will be paid on the funds held, when appropriate, is unlikely to be as high as that obtainable by a client depositing the funds themselves.

In particular:
1. Client monies will normally be held in general client bank account in which monies for different matters and clients are pooled.
2. A sum in lieu of interest will be payable on amounts held in general client bank accounts on the following basis:
2.1. Interest will be calculated from the date that the money has been cleared in my bank account and is regarded by the bank as cleared funds. Simple interest will then be paid, or credited, when the monies are paid out for the purposes for which they were required.
2.2. Interest paid will be based upon the rate of interest payable by the Nat West Bank on the relevant amount if it were to be held separately in my instant access general client account.
2.3. In normal circumstances, if the total amount of interest calculated is less than £40.00, no interest will be paid or credited to the client, as my administrative charges would exceed this amount.
3. Client monies will normally be held in an instant access bank account to facilitate transactions. However, if specific instructions are received from the client requesting that funds be placed on a term deposit, or separate designated deposit account and if this is appropriate (bearing in mind the nature and duration of the transaction) interest earned on such deposits shall be paid to the client in full, less any reasonable administration fee to be charged by me in respect of setting up, administering and terminating such deposit account.
4. If client monies are held in a separate designated deposit account (i.e. a specific bank account for a specific matter) all interest earned on that account will be credited to that bank account and paid to the client in full. Interest will normally be paid to the clients gross and it will be for the client to account for tax thereon. In designated deposit accounts and term deposit accounts, the bank may deduct tax at source and if this occurs the net sum will be paid or credited to the client.

Client Satisfaction
MB Lawyers strive to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service provided to you then you should inform Maria Boulter immediately by telephone email or post so that MB Lawyers can endeavour to solve the problem for you in the first instance.

If you would like to make a formal complaint then you can access MB Lawyers full complaints procedure here or by emailing mboulter@mblawyers.co.uk or in writing.

If the issue is not sorted as per the complaints procedure you may contact Michael Casson of Rainer Hughes Solicitors who is MB Lawyers Complaints Supervisor by post at Oak House 46 Crossways Shenfield Essex CM15 8QY and he will work with you to sort out the issues in connection with the provision of services.

If we are unable to resolve the complaint with you then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates problems about poor service from lawyers.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will usually check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with MB Lawyers first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission;
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please visit

www.legalombudsman.org .uk

Call 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.

Email enquiries@legalombudsman.org .uk

Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

Complaints about your bill
You have rights to complain about your bill and in certain claims and you may be able to object to your bill by applying to a court for an assessment of the bill under Part 111 of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Please note that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid MB Lawyers may be entitled to charge interest

What should you do with this information?
Please read this carefully. If there is anything you are unclear about please contact MB Lawyers. Please provide the information MB Lawyers have requested as soon as possible. You should keep all the documents and letters MB Lawyers send you safe for future reference.

Giving MB Lawyers instructions or further instructions will constitute your acceptance of the terms set out in the Terms of Business/or any letter of engagement.