Harrison Morgan Solicitors Terms and Conditions of Business
Harrison Morgan Solicitors is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) whose code of conduct can be found on www.sra.org.uk/code-of-conduct.page. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the governing body of Solicitors. Professional rules laid by the SRA require that clients of Solicitors be informed of certain terms of business. Accordingly this formal statement indicates the basis upon which we will carry out our professional services on your behalf.
- Hours of business
We are located at 7 Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8 4RP and normally open our offices between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm on weekdays. Appointments can be arranged outside these hours if essential. We are closed on all Bank Holidays and some religious days.
- Responsibility of work
2.1 The solicitor responsible for the conduct of your transaction or case is Mr Sam Okeke-Ewo. Our reception staff may be able to deal with your queries and will be pleased to take any messages for you. If we are to change the person dealing with your matter, we will notify you of the change.
2.2 Our Service
Harrison Morgan Solicitors is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive, or about the bill, please contact the person dealing with your case in the first instance. If after discussing the matter with the case worker, the difficulty remains unsolved, you should write to our Client Care Supervisor, Mr Sam Okeke-Ewo who can be contacted at the above mentioned address. If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) AT PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ to consider the complaint. You may obtain a copy of our firm’s Complaints Procedure from our office.
We trust that we would be able to resolve all issues you are unhappy with between ourselves. Indeed we pride ourselves on the quality of service we offer and in the many clients we have. We would hope you would be another.
2.3 You are reminded that you will be bound by the contents of all signed documents and you are strongly advised to read all documents thoroughly and to raise any queries before signature. Under no circumstances should a document be signed unless thoroughly understand it and are satisfied with its contents in all respects. We are here to help you – please ask questions whenever you wish.
2.4 No staff at this practice will be required to do anything which may amount to a breach of the Law Society’s Practice or Account Rules of those of the SRA.
2.5 Level of Services Agreement
We will notify you as soon as we send the defence or admission to the court or the other party.
The decision of the court concerning your case will be a refusal or a grant. As soon as we receive a decision of the court regarding the proceeding, we have completed and discharged this retainer. After such decision any further work like appeal against the decision will attract additional fees. We will discuss that if the need arises.
We shall endeavour to keep you informed about the progress of the case and also seek your instruction on any issues or developments, which may arise as this matter progresses. We are able to deal with such matter after you have provided the instruction sought. In that case your delay in providing instruction will delay the action we need to take and slow the progress of the case.
In this retainer we agreed that you will call us at any time during office hours. We will endeavour to respond to your call within 48 hours of receiving it. You can also make your inquiries in writing.
The exact time scale in this matter given current trend cannot be estimated as delay may arise due to the high number of cases pending in court. If we feel that a case is being delayed, we will inquire from the court and advise you of the progress.
2.6 Success Guarantee
We cannot give a guarantee that your claim shall have a successful outcome because it depends on the evidence that you have given to support your claim and whether you have provided satisfactory evidence is for the court to decide. We will advise further on the merit of your case when we receive further information and document requested.
As Solicitors, we are under a professional and legal obligation to keep our clients’ affairs confidential. This means that we cannot disclose your information to a third party without your consent. External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality check on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. This obligation, however, is subject to statutory exception: recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National 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 money laundering disclosure. If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.
- How can we help each other
3.1 Please let us have clear instructions and make sure that we have understood each other correctly. We will, within our opening letter usually, relate your instruction as we understand them to be in a client care letter. If you are unsure about anything; please ask us to explain.
3.2 Keep in regular contact. Inform us if you move or change phone numbers. If you are worried about anything or do not hear from us when expected, you are welcome to ask for a progress report.
3.3 Deal promptly with any correspondence or questions and we shall endeavour to do the same.
3.4 Tell us of any important time limits or if you are going to be unavailable for a period of time
3.5 Help us to plan our working day. Unless it is urgent or you need to discuss matters, write to us rather than telephoning. If you wish to see someone, please make an appointment.
- Fees (relating to all matters)
4.1 Our changes are based on agreed fees. This is based upon the standard transaction and is designed to cover a reasonable number of telephone calls, letters, faxes, e-mails and/or documents.
4.2 Each Solicitor and Trainee’s time is charged out at an hourly rate (broken down into six minute units) which reflects overhead costs. Routine letters, telephone calls and faxes are charged at a single unit whereas longer telephone calls or letters are timed in six minute units, as are all other matters. Minimum charge on any matter is £70.00
4.3 Our rates are fixed.
4.4 Our fixed fee is normally reviewed annually to take effect from the 1st of April. Details of any revision of rates occurring during the continuance of a case of transaction will be supplied to you. These rates may not be appropriate in cases of exceptional complexity or urgency. Where it becomes apparent that such circumstances exist, we reserve the right to cease acting for you unless revised rates are agreed for future work.
4.5 Fees are payable whether or not a case is successfully concluded or a transaction is completed. If any case or transaction does not proceed to completion for any reason during the period in which we are instructed, then we shall be entitled to charge for work done on the basis set out above but, in our absolute discretion, we may waive part or all of such entitlement to fees.
4.6 Instructions from limited liability companies are accepted only on the basis that all sums due to Harrison Morgan Solicitors for costs and disbursements are personally and jointly and severely guaranteed by all the directors and officers of the company.
4.7 You should take careful note that instructing Harrison Morgan Solicitors to take on your matter under a No Win No Fee agreement involves Harrison Morgan Solicitors in funding your case throughout your its lifetime – obviously at some cost to Harrison Morgan Solicitors. This is done without charge or interest payable by you. Therefore Harrison Morgan Solicitors are anticipating making their profit out of their share of your costs/damages. You should therefore realise that although there is no restriction on you changing solicitors in your matter, there are financial matters to be settled. Should you wish to change solicitors and we are confident that Harrison Morgan Solicitors are providing a full and proper service, you will be invoiced the full cost of the work we have carried out to-date at our private rates according to our Terms and Conditions. Your new chosen Solicitors will also have to provide a written undertaking to discharge our No Win No Fee percentage out of any future compensation received. Both of these matters are required to be satisfied prior to your file of papers being handed over.
4.8 Other cases or transactions – it is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the disbursements which are to be incurred in the following weeks. It is helpful if you meet such requests with prompt payments to avoid any delay in the progress of your case.
4.9 Interest will be charged at 4% over Barclays Bank PLC’s base rate from time to time from the date of delivery of an account in cases where payment is not made within twenty-eight days of such delivery. Harrison Morgan Solicitors will be entitled to charge for all expenses and costs to which we are put in recovering monies due to us.
4.10 Where in any matter you are receiving assistance with payment of legal costs or disbursements from another source, for example, legal insurance, you will remain responsible to us for those costs and disbursements unless and until you payment has been received in full.
4.11 For cases funded privately, there is a charge of £100.00 for opening a file and a charge of £60.00 for dealing with Money Laundering Regulations, where relevant.
- Costs recovered
5.1 In some litigation cases a successful client may be entitled to the payment of costs by some other party to the proceedings. However, it is rare for the system of “taxation” of costs, as it is known, to result in the other party having to pay the full amount of the costs incurred by the client with their own Solicitor. If the other party is in receipt of Legal Aid, no costs are likely to be recovered. You should realise that the primary liability for the costs incurred with Harrison Morgan Solicitors is yours even in a case where it is expected that an order for costs will be obtained against another party. Further, the costs of seeking to enforce such an order for costs against another party have to be met by you.
Should your claim against your opponent fail then it is possible for the Court to order you to pay your opponent’s costs of the proceedings. However, for those who are legally aided, there is some degree of protection by virtue of Section 17 of the Legal Aid Act 1988 which provides that an order for costs against a legally aided must not exceed the amount (if any) which the Court considers reasonable for that party to pay. The Court has to take into account all of the circumstances, including the financial circumstances of both parties and their conduct in connection with the dispute. The Court will usually order costs against a losing legally aided party but the direct that these costs are not to be enforced without leave of the Court. The effect of such a direction is that the winner would have to apply to Court for leave to take enforcement action to recover their costs.
- Interest Payments
6.1 If we hold money on your behalf, subject to the terms of these paragraphs, interest will be calculated and credited to you on the quarter data and in accordance with the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules. Subject to certain minimum amounts and period of time described by the Rules, interest will be calculated and paid at the rates from time to time payable on Barclays Bank PLC’s Business Services Practice Call Deposit Accounts less a sum of £20.00 to take into account the administrative costs of calculation and payment in respect of each amount of interest as and when calculated. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which cleared funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any cheques in discharge thereof. In lengthy matters, interest is calculated on our Accounting quarter dates; end January, end April, end July and end October.
6.2 Where clients obtain borrowing from a lender, Harrison Morgan Solicitors will request the lender to arrange that the advance cheque is received by us a minimum of four working days prior to the completion date to ensure that cleared funds are available in time for completion. You should note that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of the cheque.
6.3 Where a client has taken out a loan through a third party to fund litigation, in all cases where we receive money on your behalf, which must be paid to discharge your loan, we will pay that received money into our Office Account. In such cases, the client is not entitled to receive the money from us on demand as we have a superior duty discharge/reduce your loan. Interest will not be earned on such balances.
7.1 We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. We may need to virus check discs or email. 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.
7.2 Data protection
In order to act for you we may need to hold personal data about you, including information such medical records and reports which are sensitive and personal. We will hold that data only for the purpose of acting for you in relation to your case and will not use the data for any other purposes. In the course of acting for you, we may need to disclose some data to third parties, including experts we ask to help you and other party to the claim and their advisers. If you have any questions or need further information on how we will deal with your data, please contact us at the above address. 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.
Where we act for two or more clients jointly it is on the clear understanding we are authorised to act on instructions from either, both or any of them.
- Professional Indemnity
8.1 Under the Indemnity Insurance Rules firms are required to take out and maintain qualifying insurance. Details of Harrison Morgan Solicitors’ insurance can be found at our office, or you can contact us to request this information.
- Money Laundering
9.1 There are now in force strict rules in respect of money laundering. It is now a requirement that we report to the NCA any transaction that we are involved in where there is suspicion of money laundering. This is in direct conflict with the Solicitor/Client usual confidential relationship. Where you instruct us to accept or hold or pay over money on your behalf, if the circumstances give us means that a proper disclosure ought to be made to the Authorities you hereby authorise us to make such disclosure on your behalf. In such circumstances we shall not be liable for any consequential losses following from such disclosure. If you are not content for us to make such report then we can no longer act for you.
9.2 Proof of Identity
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act we have to take full Proof of Identity from you. We usually do this at the first meeting. However, if we have not yet done so far whatever reason, we will ask you to make an appointment for this ASAP.
There are now in force strict rules in respect of money laundering. It is now a requirement that we report to the NCA any transaction that we are involved in where there is suspicion of money laundering. The proceeds of crime are any money which has arisen as a result of any crime and include, for example, money saved as a result of tax evasion or undeclared cash taken out of a business. This is in direct conflict with the Solicitor/Client usual confidential relationship. Where you instruct to accept or hold or pay over money on your behalf, if the circumstances give us means that a proper disclosure ought to be made to the Authorities you hereby authorise us to make such disclosure on your behalf. In such circumstances we shall not be liable for any consequential losses following from such disclosure. If you are not content for us to make such report then we can no longer act for you.
- Financial Services – Conduct of Business
10.1 If during the course of your instructions, you require advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, as we are not. However, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services, where these are closely linked to the Legal Work we are carrying out for you.
11.1 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 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 Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/Pages/register – EPF Search.
- Storage of papers and deeds
12.1 Following the conclusion of a transaction or case, we will retain your file(s) of papers for a minimum of 6 years on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy it after this period of time. If, however, you request for documents during the storage period we may charge you a nominated fee to cover the costs of retrieval.
- Future instructions
13.1 Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to all future instructions given by you to us.
- Termination of your Instructions
You have the right to transfer to another solicitor, and 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 the firm for our charges and expenses. Should this happen and your case is still outstanding we will be entitled to apply our hourly rate as outlined above ascertaining how much you will pay us. In that case, the agreed fee would no longer be applicable.
We may have to decline to act further for you if there is some conflict or other circumstances that puts us in a position where the solicitor/client relationship has broken down, if you fail to comply with a request for payment or disbursement, if you do not give us clear or proper instructions, if I cannot continue to act without being in breach of rules of professional conduct or if there has been an irretrievable breakdown in trust and confidence.
We would give you notice in the unlikely event that this happens.
Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it should be helpful if you would please sign and return one copy of the same for us to retain our file.