Terms of Engagement These Terms confirm the basis on which Ray Levy Law Offices (“we”, “us” or the “firm”) will provide legal services to you.
The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority obliges solicitors to provide clients with certain information about the way that their professional business is undertaken. Please find detailed below our standard terms and conditions, which set out the basis upon which we will carry out the work on your behalf. Whilst that does mean writing at some length, we hope the information will be useful.
The firm’s registered office address is 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX.
1. Advice and action
We will undertake the work which we have agreed with you either verbally, and/or in writing or by email.
2. People responsible for your work
The details you need to know are as follows: (1) Once we are instructed your matter shall be assigned to Ray Levy. He may be assisted by one or more colleagues depending on the nature of your matter and the amount of work involved. We will always strive to ensure that you have consistency of contact with us.
(2) Once your matter is underway we will keep in touch with you as regularly as is necessary to provide a high standard of service, usually by email or telephone as your matter progresses.
(3) We will endeavor to answer your telephone calls and respond to your e-mails promptly at all times, however, because of work commitments, both in and out of the office during the day, your call may be dealt with by another member of the firm, as that will allow your inquiry to be dealt with as promptly as possible.
(4) We try to avoid changing the people you are dealing with, but if it should seem appropriate at any stage for the matter to be referred, for all purposes, to another member of the firm, we will explain why that is suggested and arrange for an introduction.
(5) To help us keep in touch, please let us know as soon as possible if you change your address, telephone number or e-mail so that we can keep our records up to date. We would welcome hearing from you with any change of contact details, even when the matter is finished, as that will ensure we can continue to maintain contact in the future.
We hope this is all the information you need to ensure we are able to keep in touch with each other during this matter and in the future.
3. Further help
Whilst your matter progresses it may be helpful to get some assistance from others outside the firm. In particular:
(1) it may be helpful to involve experts who can advise on, and help deal with, certain aspects of your matter; and
(2) it may become appropriate to instruct counsel (a barrister) to advise or to represent you.
We will let you know if it seems appropriate to seek this further assistance and let you have details of who is involved. Usually, any advice from these sources will be given in writing, though a meeting may be arranged if appropriate.
4. Charges and expenses
It is important to let you have details, at the outset, of how costs are incurred; and any liability that might arise if you do not pay these costs.
We will inform you in writing or by email of the fee which has been agreed for your work.
Where fees have not been agreed in advance between us, any work required by you will be charged at our standard hourly rates of £200 per hour. We are always happy to discuss alternative billing arrangements and in the event that we agree a fixed fee or a retainer, we will discuss with you before carrying out work outside the agreed fee structure.
We shall invoice you on a monthly basis or where appropriate periodically in reference to completion of pieces of work.
We time record the work that we do at hourly rates with accurate descriptions so you will always be informed about what we have done and how long it took. Our hourly fees are reviewed from time to time. We will let you know if there are any changes that affect you.
As referred to herein, we are able, by agreement with you, to work on a fixed fee basis or monthly retainer basis. We have found these arrangements to be beneficial for many clients as they make it easier to allocate a fixed budget to legal fees. Please notify us if these options are of interest to you.
The cost of any disbursements incurred by us whilst acting for you will be charged to you without mark-up, plus VAT where applicable. We shall always notify you before incurring disbursements on your behalf.
In the event that your instruction came to us by way of a referral, we may be obliged to pay a referral fee to the individual or organization who made the referral. We will notify you in the event that this applies.
Payment of our invoices must be made within 14 days of our invoice being sent to you. We reserve the right to claim statutory interest at the rate of 8% above the Bank of England reference rate in force on the date the debt becomes overdue and at any subsequent rate where the reference rate changes and the debt remains unpaid in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 as amended and supplemented by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002.
In the event that we undertake work for you (such as preparing an agreement, or indeed any other document) and the transaction or event for which you required that work is then canceled, if we have completed and delivered the first draft of the documentation, then you will be liable to pay the amount of our fees in full.
5. Documents & Confidentiality
It is important that you keep all documents, which relate in any way to your matter safe.
After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all papers and documents while there is money owing for charges and expenses.
We keep papers (except for any papers you ask to be returned to you) for no more than 6 years and keep the file on the understanding that we have the authority to destroy it (automatically and without further recourse to you) after 6 years from the date of the final bill, although documents you ask to deposit in safe custody will not, of course, be destroyed.
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 – see sections 6 and 7 below.
6. Money laundering
Following the introduction of the Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended), the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 we are now obliged to request evidence of your identity and undertake certain other procedures to establish your credentials and the legitimacy of your instructions before acting upon them. We will in every case strive to keep this administration to a minimum to avoid delay and inconvenience. However, such is the strength of the obligation placed upon us that if satisfactory documentary evidence is not produced we may have to refuse to accept your instructions or decline to continue acting for you.
We may also have a legal obligation to report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) any information that comes to our attention concerning any matters covered by the money laundering legislation. If so, we may not be permitted to inform you or anyone else that we have done this. We may also be ordered by SOCA to stop the work you have instructed us to carry out. If so we would not be able to inform you or anyone else why we have stopped work.
In addition to the above our files may be subject to quality control and inspection audits for compliance from an accountant or auditor duly appointed by us, the Law Society, the Solicitors Regulation Authority or other law enforcement/ government authority.
Apart from the above, it is and remains our policy to keep all information about the personal and business affairs of our clients confidential and to complete your instructions with all due diligence and speed. Nevertheless, we cannot accept any liability or responsibility whatsoever for any losses, expenses, liabilities, or another detriment that you might suffer or incur as a result of our compliance with these obligations. This exclusion of our liability to you is fundamental to our retainer.
7. Client identification
We are required to check the identity of clients that we act for and where a party exists that has a beneficial interest in the transaction, the identity of that beneficiary. An example of a situation where we need to establish the identity of someone who has a beneficial interest in a transaction would be where a company instructs us to undertake some work for it through its director. The person who would have a beneficial interest in this matter would be a shareholder who has 25% or more shares in that company. In such circumstances, we will require personal documentation to identify you that can include a current signed passport, photo-card driving license, birth certificate or a recent utility bill and where you cannot produce the originals we require certified copies to be sent to us.
8. Termination and Cancellation
Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (‘the Regulations’), you have the right to cancel this contract if you wish to do so within 14 days without giving any reason.
If you do ask us to begin work during the initial 14 day cancellation period and wish to cancel during this period, you will be liable to pay us an amount which is in proportion to the work that has been performed.
You may, otherwise, terminate your instructions in writing at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing for charges and expenses.
We may only decide to stop acting for you with good reason, for example, if we do not receive instructions from you or otherwise we do not have the assistance we need to progress your matter properly or if costs are not paid on time to us. We will, however, always give reasonable notice before ceasing to act so that, if possible, any problems can be dealt with and we can continue to act on your behalf.
9. Communication, suggestions, and complaints
We are confident of providing a high-quality service.
We do, of course, welcome any suggestions you might wish to make which you think could help to improve our service.
If, at any time, you are not happy with the service you are receiving from us, do please let us know. You are valued by us and we should like the opportunity to put matters right if any problems do arise. In the first instance, please contact the fee earner dealing with your matter and we will do what we can to resolve the problem promptly. If, however, we are not able to resolve the problem to your satisfaction you are also entitled to contact the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.
We do hope that these Terms usefully deal with any immediate queries about the day-to-day handling of your matter and the firm’s terms of business. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Law and Jurisdiction
These Terms are governed by English law. The parties agree to submit any dispute or claim arising from these Terms or any work carried out by us, to the jurisdiction of the English courts or, at our discretion, to any other jurisdiction being the jurisdiction of the insurer whose insurance may apply to the dispute.