The purpose of this document is to confirm the arrangements between us. These terms are supplemented by our engagement letter to you; your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of the terms in that letter or in these terms.
Table of contents
- Business hours
- Our responsibilities
- Your responsibilities
- Service levels and frequency of communication
- Limit of liability
- Regulated services
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Storage and retrieval of files
- External auditing and due diligence
- Terminating your instructions
- Data protection
- Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
- Criminal Finances Act 2017
- Politically Exposed Persons
- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
- Receiving and paying funds
- Legal aid
- Our bill
- Payment of interest
- Residual Balances and Payment to charity
- Equality and diversity
- Applicable law
- Future instructions
- Updates to Terms of Business
We are normally open between 9.00am and 5.30pm from Monday to Friday. We may be able to arrange appointments outside of these hours, in cases of emergency. We are closed on all bank holidays.
- 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; and
- advise you of any reasonably foreseeable circumstances and risks that could affect the outcome of your matter
- provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions
- provide all documentation and information that we reasonably request in a timely manner, and
- 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 update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter regularly and following any agreed events.
We will explain to you by telephone or in writing 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 as set out in our engagement letter. If appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
Limit of liability
Our maximum aggregate liability to you in this matter will be £3,000,000 (three million pounds sterling) including interest and costs unless we expressly agree a different figure in our letter confirming your instructions and this letter is signed by a Director. 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.
Rayden Solicitors is a trading name of Raydens Limited, a limited company. This means that the firm’s members and directors are not personally liable for any acts or omissions by the firm, unless the law requires otherwise. This does not limit or exclude liability of the firm 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 and do not limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence.
The firm shall only be liable to you and to third parties to whom advice is expressly addressed. The firm shall have no liability to any other third parties, or for advice given or documents prepared in respect of one matter if they are used or relied upon in any other matter. In particular none of these terms of business is intended to be enforceable pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 by any person who is not a party to this agreement.
Where any loss is suffered by you and any other person who is jointly and severally liable, the loss recoverable by you from the firm shall be limited so as to be in proportion, on a just and equitable basis, to the firm’s relative contribution to the overall fault of the firm, you and any other person in respect of the loss in question.
The firm will not be responsible for any failure to advise or comment on any matter which falls outside the scope of its instructions, including, without limitation, the matters referred to in the engagement letter nor to update any advice to take account of events or changes in the law that take place after any advice given was issued.
In circumstances where the firm is required to recommend and instruct other professionals on your behalf such as experts, Counsel and other third parties, your approval will be sought before any such persons are instructed. No responsibility is accepted for any act, omission, breach or defect of any third parties so instructed on your behalf.
If the firm is affected by any circumstances beyond its reasonable control that prevent us from carrying out the work we have undertaken to perform for you, we will immediately notify you of the nature and extent of such circumstances. If, as a result of those circumstances, we are unable to meet any deadline or complete the work we have agreed to do for you by any estimated date of completion or at all:-
(i) any such failure on the part of the firm will not constitute a breach of this agreement;
(ii) the firm will not be otherwise liable to you for any such failure to the extent that it is attributable to any such circumstances notified to you; and
(iii) any estimated date for completion of the work will be extended accordingly.
Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
We hold all client money in Barclays Bank PLC which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We are not liable for any losses you suffer as a result of any banking institution being unable to repay depositors in full. You may, however, be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The FSCS is the UK’s statutory fund of last resort for customers of banking institutions. The FSCS can pay compensation up to £85,000 if a banking institution is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it.
The limit is £85,000 per banking institution. If you hold other personal money in the same banking institution as our client accounts, the limit remains £85,000 in total.
Some banking institutions have several brands. The compensation limit is £85,000 per institution, not per brand. You should check with your banking institution, the FCA or a financial advisor for more information.
The FSCS also provides up to £1m of short-term protection for certain high balances, including relating to property transactions, inheritance, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. This is called the temporary high balance scheme and, if it applies, protection lasts for a maximum of six months.
The FSCS (including the temporary high balance scheme) will apply to qualifying balances held in our client account. In the unlikely event of a deposit-taking institution failure, we will presume (unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary) that we have your consent to disclose necessary client details to the FSCS.
Rayden Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN (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 0370 606 2555.
Professional indemnity insurance
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.
To comply with our regulatory obligations and the terms of our professional indemnity insurance, we may disclose relevant documents and information to insurers, brokers and insurance advisers on a confidential basis. This could include details of any circumstances arising from our work for you that might give rise to a claim against us. You agree to such disclosure by us even if the documents and information in question are confidential and/or subject to legal professional privilege.
Storage and retrieval of files
After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep your file, any papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. Thereafter, we will keep these for up to 7 years (except for prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, which are held indefinitely), other than those papers you ask to be returned to you. Original documents will be returned to you prior to us storing your file. We will not charge for this storage. We will notify you of our storage rates at the appropriate time, if applicable.
We store paper files on the understanding that you agree we can destroy them 7 years from date of formal closure of your matter. Digital information will be securely retained on our case management system and anonymised/redacted where possible.
If we retrieve your file from storage (including electronic storage) in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for the retrieval.
If we retrieve your file from storage for another reason, we may charge you for:
- time spent retrieving the file and producing it to you
- reading, correspondence, or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved file
- providing additional copies of any documents
We will often produce only an electronic copy of the file unless it is impractical to do so.
External auditing and due diligence
External firms or organisations may conduct audits or quality checks on our practice. This may include our accountants, the SRA, The Law Society, our Professional Indemnity Insurers and their lawyers, our Lexcel Assessor and other individuals or bodies of a similar professional nature. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. If you have any objection to your file being viewed by them, would you please confirm this in writing, in which case we would remove your files from those offered for audit and quality checks.
Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business. If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.
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.
Our use of your personal data is subject to your instructions, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), other relevant UK and EU legislation and our professional duty of confidentiality.
Raydens Solicitors is a data controller for the purpose of the GDPR and other relevant data protection legislation. We have nominated Loschinee Reddy as the firm’s representative for the purpose of the GDPR and Data Protection.
- what personal data we collect about you and how that data is collected
- how, why and on what grounds we use your personal data
- who we share your personal data with
- where your personal data is held and how long it will be kept
- whether your personal data may be transferred out of the European Economic area and, if so, the measures taken to protect that data
- your rights in relation to the personal data we hold or use
- the steps we take to secure your personal data
- how to make a complaint in relation to our use of your personal data
- how to contact us with any queries or concerns in relation to your personal data
Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
We are required by law to confirm 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 evidence of your identity as soon as possible. This is explained in our engagement letter. Any personal data we receive from you for the purpose of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing will be used only for that purpose or:
- with your consent, or
- as permitted by or under another enactment
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency (NCA) where we 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.
Subject to section ‘Limit of liability’ above, we shall not be liable for any loss arising from or connected with our compliance with any statutory obligation which we may have, or reasonable belief we may have, to report matters to the relevant authorities under the provisions of the money laundering and/or terrorist financing legislation.
Criminal Finances Act 2017
- The firm is committed to promoting compliance with the requirements of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 within its practices as well as in those areas in which it has influence.
- The firm does not tolerate tax evasion, or the facilitation thereof in any circumstances, whether committed by or facilitated by a client, personnel or associated persons/companies.
Politically Exposed Persons
The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 include provisions which in practice require us to establish whether an individual for whom we are asked to act is a Politically Exposed Person (“PEP”).
For the purposes of this firm’s Terms of Business, a PEP is a person who is or has been within 12 months of the date of instruction of a specific matter, any of the following: a person who has been entrusted with one of the following prominent public functions in the UK or by the UK government or in or by a state other than the UK or by a European Community institution or an international body: heads of state, heads of government, ministers and deputy or assistant ministers members of parliament members of supreme courts, of constitutional courts, or of other high-level judicial bodies whose decisions are not generally subject to further appeal, except in exceptional circumstances members of courts of auditors or of the boards of central banks ambassadors, chargés d’affairs and high-ranking officers in the armed forces members of the administrative, management or supervisory bodies of state-owned enterprises.
In addition to the primary PEPs listed above, a PEP also includes: family members of a PEP – spouse, partner, children and their spouses or partners, and parents known close associates of a PEP – persons with whom joint beneficial ownership of a legal entity or legal arrangement is held, with whom there are close business relationships, or who is a sole beneficial owner of a legal entity or arrangement set up by the primary PEP.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a piece of US legislation which has effect in the UK as a result of an agreement between the UK and US governments. The intention behind the legislation is to ensure US citizens disclose their worldwide income to the US tax authority (the Internal Revenue Service).
The FATCA regime requires certain financial institutions to identify and report (to HMRC) payments made to a:
- specified US person, or
- non-US entity with one or more controlling person who is a specified US person
To comply with the law, we may have to share some of your information, including your FATCA status and, if applicable, your Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) with financial institutions.
It is vital that we keep your information current at all times. You are responsible for communicating to us any changes in circumstances that may alter your FATCA status.
The information and documentation you provide to us is confidential and subject to legal professional privilege unless:
- we advise you otherwise during the course of your matter
- we are required by our duties to the court or any other statutory body such as the NCA
- we are working with others on your matter (such as experts and Counsel) and have to share that information on a confidential basis.
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.
In order to protect your confidentiality, please ensure that you notify us immediately of any change in your postal address, email address or telephone number.
This firm shall retain all copyright and any other intellectual property rights in relation to material (including correspondence) provided to you in the course of any work that the firm carries out on your behalf. You shall have a non-exclusive licence to use material created by the firm and provided to you for the purpose for which such material was prepared. From time to time, the firm may also provide you with copies of other material prepared by third parties. The firm does not authorise you to copy or otherwise use this third-party material in any manner which might amount to an infringement of the copyright and/or other intellectual property rights of any third party.
Receiving and paying funds
Our policy is only to accept cash up to £540. 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.
If we receive money in relation to your matter from an unexpected source, there may be a delay in your matter, and we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary.
Please be aware that we do not notify changes to important business information, such as bank account details, by email.
In the event that funds are sent in a currency other than sterling they shall be converted into sterling unless you notify us in advance that they are not to be converted. Any exchange risk and bank charges (including any levied by our bankers) will be yours.
In some cases where a third party is to meet payment of some or all of our fees and/or disbursements, you will remain liable for any such fees and/or disbursements until they are paid.
Legal aid is publicly funded legal advice. We are not a legal aid practice and do not offer legal aid. Due to government reforms the availability of legal aid is limited. You can find out more from www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid which will enable you to check your eligibility and find a firm offering such services if you wish.
However, legal aid is not available for:
- disputes about finances or
- disputes about children
except where it is proved that there has been or may be domestic violence or child abuse.
Legal aid is available for:
- proceedings involving the care, supervision and protection of children by a local authority or social services
- applications for court orders to prevent domestic violence and forced marriage
- children under 18 who are parties to family proceedings
- child abduction cases (domestic and international)
- family mediation and legal advice to support clients participating in family mediation
- enforcing certain EU and international agreements about maintenance
We are committed to providing high-quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive or about our charges, please in the first instance contact the named person who has day to day conduct of your matter, or the Supervising Partner, as stated in your Letter of Engagement. If you are still not satisfied that your concerns have been fully addressed, please set out your concerns in writing addressed to Loschinee Reddy, either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to The Limes 32-34 Upper Marlborough Road St Albans AL1 3UU. We have a written procedure that sets out how we handle complaints. It is available from the Head of Risk and Compliance – Loschinee Reddy at email@example.com.
We have eight weeks to consider your complaint and provide you with our full written response. We will aim to ensure that complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly, and free of charge. 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 to consider the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone 0300 555 0333
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 occurrence of the act or omission about which you are complaining (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). Generally, the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints relating to acts or omissions that happened after 5 October 2010.
The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints by consumers and very small businesses. This means some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This does not prevent you from making a complaint directly to us about the service you have received or about the bill.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint, and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider in the UK via the EU ODR platform.
The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, which for us is likely to be almost all clients.
The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Schemes
Alternative complaints bodies such as Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
However, we don’t currently agree to use this Alternative Dispute Resolution service in view of the availability of the independent Legal Ombudsman Service established under the Legal Services Act. We are bound by our Regulatory Code to comply with the Legal Ombudsman.
You are liable to pay legal costs as set out in our letter confirming your instructions. We will also usually discuss this at our initial meeting with you.
Bills are payable on delivery but we may charge interest on bills which remain unpaid after 30 days, at a rate of at 8%.
We may cease acting for you if an interim bill remains unpaid after 30 days or if our reasonable request of a payment on account of costs is not met.
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.
You have the right to challenge our bill by applying to the court to assess the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The usual time limit for making such an application is one month from the date of delivery of the bill. If the application is made after one month but before twelve months from delivery of the bill, the court’s permission is required for the bill to be assessed.
Unless there are special circumstances, the court will not usually order a bill to be assessed after:
- 12 months from delivery of the bill
- a judgment has been obtained for the recovery of the costs covered by the bill
- the bill has been paid, even if this is within 12 months
We can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
Payment of interest
We will not pay interest on any funds on account of our own costs or any disbursements. In the unlikely situation where we hold funds outside of those situations for more than 4 weeks we will pay interest at Barclays Bank PLC interest rates on any sums over £25,000 subject to a minimum interest level accruing of £50.
Residual balances and payment to charity
Wherever possible, we will aim to keep you updated at least every twelve months when client money continues to be retained for some legitimate purpose.
If we have reached the end of your matter or have terminated your matter, we will be in contact following closure or termination of your matter, to return any monies that we hold on your behalf, by using the available contact details we have for you. In the unlikely event that contact is lost with you and, despite reasonable attempts to contact you or to return any monies owed to you we are unable to do so, we reserve the right to withdraw monies held on account on the SRA’s prior written authorisation or in “prescribed circumstances” to pay monies to a nominated charity
Equality and diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy.
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.
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter.
Update to these Terms of Business
We may update our Terms of Business from time to time due to regulatory or other legislative requirements as well as internal policies and procedural changes/requirements. We will accordingly communicate any such updates to you in due course.
Rayden Solicitors is a trading name of Raydens Limited which is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company number 07534263). Registered office The Limes, 32-34 Upper Marlborough Road, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3U. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with SRA Number 557325. Katherine Rayden is the sole Director of the Limited Company. A list of Partners is available at our registered office or upon request. Any reference to ‘the firm’ means Rayden Solicitors which is a trading name of Raydens Limited.
VAT number: 886425582