How we work with and for you
1.1 These terms and the terms contained in your Retainer form the contract governing the work we do for you. They also contain information which we are required by the Law Society to give to you. Your instructing the firm will be taken to be your acceptance of these terms.
1.2 In the event of any conflict between these terms of engagement and the Retainer letter, the terms of the engagement letter shall apply.
In these terms:
|“the firm” and “we”||means Rayden Limited, a limited company registered in England and Wales under number 7534263, carrying on business under the trading style Rayden Solicitors|
|“you”||means the client|
|“engagement letter”||means our letter or other communication to you setting out the basis on which this firm will represent you|
|“Money Laundering Regulations 2007”||means the law from time to time in force in relation to the identity of clients and the disclosure of certain transactions to National Crime Agency.|
3. Identification and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
3.1 In order to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations we are required to obtain certain identification for new clients.
3.2 You must provide us with original evidence of your current address and your identity. You cannot use the same document as evidence for both. Your passport or photo driving licence and a recent utility bill in your name at your current address or a bank statement are ideal. We must see these documents before we are able to begin work for you. In addition, we may carry out independent enquiries to satisfy the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations.
3.3 Please note that the Money Laundering Regulations may require us to disclose information about you to National Crime Agency in defined circumstances without reference to you. You acknowledge and accept our legal obligation in this regard. Our duty of confidentiality is subject to this obligation.
4. Fees and Disbursements
4.1 Our usual policy is to charge by reference to the time spent on your matter and the standard hourly rate applicable to the work at the time that the work is done.
4.2 We record time in six-minute units and if time recorded on any occasion is less than six or a multiple of six minutes then it is rounded up to six or a multiple of six minutes. Please note that we record our time spent on preparing the engagement letter, the preparation of narratives for the firm’s bills, providing a detailed breakdowns of bills, time spent complying with the Money Laundering Rules and other administrative tasks relevant to your matter. We do not usually charge separately for the work of secretarial or administrative staff other than in exceptional circumstances.
4.3 The hourly rate is an “all-in” figure which includes the profit element.
4.4 In certain types of work it may be appropriate to agree a fixed fee in advance, or a fee which relates to the value or the outcome of the matter.
4.5 In many matters we are likely to incur certain expenses (referred to as “disbursements”) in addition to our fees. These disbursements may include incidental costs such as company search fees, registry search fees, travelling, photocopying, fax, courier and telephone charges. These disbursements will be invoiced to you in conjunction with the fees for our work. Any disbursements of a significant amount which are specific to your matter (such as the fees for your barrister) may be charged separately. We will not expect to meet these specific items without first being placed in funds.
5. Payment of Invoices and Payments on account
5.1 We shall deliver invoices to you as work on the matter progresses in accordance with a schedule that we shall agree with you. In the absence of an agreement, you may expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis. We may additionally invoice for significant disbursements incurred on your behalf. You should be aware that unless we have specifically agreed to the contrary we will not pay any significant disbursements on your behalf and we may request you to provide funds in advance of such disbursements being incurred. You should also be aware that failure to provide the required funds in time could prejudice your interests.
5.2 Invoices are due for settlement when presented. We reserve the right to charge interest on any balance which is unpaid after 28 days. The rate of interest will be that prevailing in the courts on unpaid judgments (currently 8% per annum). If interest is charged, a daily rate of interest will be calculated. The interest element of any payments received will be deducted before reducing any principal sum due.
5.3 We also reserve the right to suspend further work on the matter until any outstanding balance is cleared and to terminate our retainer and withdraw in the appropriate circumstances. You should note that we regard time as being of the essence in relation to the 28 day period. That is to say that you are not entitled to any period of grace after it has expired.
5.4 Details of the firm’s Client Account into which payment in settlement of our invoices should be made are as follows:
Name: Rayden Solicitors Client Account
Account No: 17336198
Bank: NatWest Bank plc
Address: 10 St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Herts. AL1 3LY
Sort Code 60-18-11
5.5 We shall usually require a payment or payments on account of our fees at the outset of your matter. These funds will be held in our Client Account until the presentation of our last invoice.
5.6 In some cases where a third party is to be responsible for payment of some or all of our fees and/or disbursements, we only accept your instructions on the basis that you will on demand meet any liability for any such fees and/or isbursements that have not been paid by the due date for payment.
6. Remission of Funds and Interest
6.1 Please notify us in advance whenever you send funds to us and make sure that the funds are clearly identifiable as having been sent by you and that you make clear the purpose for which the funds are being sent. If 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 payable by you.
6.2 All sums of money held in the firm’s Client Account will accrue interest at the rate prescribed by NatWest Bank plc for the value of money held. In accordance with the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules, if the interest earned is less than £20 over a period of up to six months, it will not be credited to the client’s account. Details of the current rate of interest will be provided on request.
7. Rights in relation to our Invoices
7.1 The Legal Ombudsman can deal with any costs issues that may arise. You may also apply to have our fee reviewed by the Court, whether it is for contentious or non-contentious work. This process is called assessment of costs. The Court will not, except in special circumstances, order an assessment of costs of an invoice once twelve months have expired since the delivery of the invoice or one month has expired since payment of the invoice.
8. Use of email
8.1 Email has become an established form of communication and, unless you request us not to do so, you agree that we may communicate with you and others in connection with your work by email. In doing so you acknowledge and accept the risks inherent in this form of communication, particularly of its unauthorised interception and of its not reaching the intended recipient. Please notify us in writing if you do not consent to the use of email.
8.2 We endeavour to retain on disk or other electronic storage or in hard copy format copies of all emails which contain or refer to significant information, although others may often be deleted or destroyed. However it is sometimes impractical or unjustifiably time consuming to retain all such materials and therefore your file may not necessarily contain a copy of every email sent or received.
8.3 We intend to send brief emails on a regular basis that will confirm your current legal position, the amount of costs incurred to date and the amount due, together with an estimate of the total costs. If you would prefer to receive this information by letter please notify us beforehand.
9.1 Our aim is to progress your work as quickly as circumstances allow and we expect to review progress with you as an ongoing part of our services.
9.2 It is frequently the case that meeting target dates will be outside our control. Often the pace of a matter will depend not only upon timely instructions from you and a prompt response from ourselves but also upon the degree of co-operation we receive from persons with whom you are dealing, those persons’ advisers and/or other parties involved. Accordingly, unless we have specifically agreed to the contrary we do not accept any liability arising from failure to meet any target date(s) or to complete any part of your work within a proposed timescale, unless the failure is directly and exclusively caused by unreasonable delay on our part in providing our services.
10. Third Parties
10.1 We shall work with your other advisers where appropriate and your request or agreement that we do so shall be taken as your consent to disclosing relevant confidential information to them as we think appropriate on the basis that it is reasonable to expect that they shall maintain appropriate confidentiality in respect of what is disclosed to them. You will be kept fully informed of any such communications.
10.2 If we instruct other advisers you shall be responsible for their fees and disbursements.
11. Data Protection and Copyright
11.1 The firm has notified the Information Commissioner of the extent of its processing of personal data, as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 (“the 1998 Act”). The firm is committed to responsible data processing in accordance with its legal obligations and it shall comply with the 1998 Act insofar as your instructions involve the firm in the processing of personal data of any sort.
11.2 The firm shall retain all copyright, database right and other intellectual property rights in original 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 all original material created by the firm and provided to you for the purpose or purposes for which such material was prepared. From time to time, the firm may also provide you with copies of other material, the copyright and/or other intellectual property rights in which may belong to 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.
12.1 The firm’s practice is to retain client files for 16 years from the conclusion of the matter in question. After that time, client files will be destroyed in accordance with our archiving policy. Please let us know in writing if you have any objection to this.
12.2 Storage of client files may be provided by third-party contractors. You consent to this arrangement. You also agree to meet the reasonable costs of accessing your files in off-site storage for reasons which do not relate to on-going work.
13. Conflicts of Interest
13.1 Although it is unlikely to arise in a small firm such as this, conflicts of interest sometimes cannot be avoided. The firm’s policy in relation to conflicts is:
13.1.1 the professional rules of conduct for solicitors prevent any firm acting for both sides in relation to a matter where there is a conflict or significant risk of conflict between those clients;
13.1.2 those professional rules prevent us acting for one client against the interests of another where we have acquired relevant confidential information about that other client in the course of acting for that client;
13.1.3 we cannot act where the interests of this firm conflict with those of a client;
13.1.4 we support and adhere to these professional rules.
13.2 As to the firm’s policy in relation to potential clients:
13.2.1 if it were obvious that a conflict were likely to arise between the potential new client and an existing client, we would decline to work for the potential client;
13.2.2 generally, merely because a client and a potential client operate within the same field, we would not decline to seek work from the potential client as we believe that our clients prefer us to have relevant industry knowledge.
13.3 It is not always possible for us to identify a conflict or a potential conflict of interest. Please notify us of any conflicts or potential conflicts of which you are or become aware.
14. Financial Services
14.1 Sometimes family work involves financial investments. We are able to provide a limited range of advice and arrangements for which we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. For more complicated matters, we may refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, as we are not so authorised.
14.2 If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman.
14.3 The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.
15.1 We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to maintain and improve our standards. Indeed, even if you do not have a complaint, your suggestions as to how the firm’s services might be improved will be welcome.
15.2 Should you have cause for concern about any aspect of the service you receive you are entitled to complain and you should direct any concerns you might have to . Your concerns may include matters relating to this firm’s bill and should you feel the matter has not been satisfied you may object to the Legal Ombudsman or apply to the Court for an assessment of your bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. Click here for the firm’s Complaints Handling Policy and full details for the Legal Ombudsman.
16.1 In respect of information disclosed to us relating to you which is confidential (“Confidential Information”), we undertake to you that we shall not at any time and without your written consent:
16.1.1 disclose any of the Confidential Information to any third party;
16.1.2 use any of the Confidential Information except for the purpose of advising you;
16.2 No information shall be subject to any restrictions against disclosure or use under this undertaking which:
16.2.1 is or becomes public knowledge otherwise than through our default; or
16.2.2 We can demonstrate is already lawfully in our possession prior to its disclosure to us by you; or
16.2.3 We are required to disclose by order of a court or regulator of competent jurisdiction.
16.3 We may wish to include documents created or received in the course of providing our services in relation to your matter in databases that we maintain and use them for the purposes of the firm’s business. Those databases may comprise hard copy documents stored and retrieved manually or documents stored and retrieved electronically on disk or other electronic medium. We shall, unless you notify us in writing to the contrary, regard your acceptance of these terms as your agreement that we may include such documents in our databases and use them for the purposes of the Firm’s business. However in no such case will we disclose outside the Firm any information specifically concerning, identifying or referring to you or to your particular matter.
16.4 Our duty of confidentiality is subject to the limitations set out in paragraphs 3 (Identification and Money Laundering Regulations 2007), 10 (Third Parties) and 12 (Storage).
17.1 We will use appropriate skill and care in providing our services in this matter in accordance with applicable professional standards.
17.2 Subject to any limitation of liability set out in our Retainer, our liability for any loss or damage suffered by you as a result of a breach by us of our terms of engagement or of negligence in the course of providing our services shall be limited to a just and equitable proportion of the total loss or damage after taking into account contributory negligence and the legal responsibility of any other person (regardless of the ability of any such person to make payment). Where providing our services involves working with others, including other professional firms, who limit their liability in a way, our own liability shall be limited to an amount which would have applied had the other not so limited its liability.
17.3 We will accept liability without limit for:
17.3.1 death or personal injury caused by our negligence or the negligence of our employees acting in the course of their employment
17.3.2 any fraudulent misrepresentation made by us on which you have relied
17.3.3 any other liability which by law we cannot exclude.
17.4 Claims whether in contract, tort, under statute or otherwise shall be brought only against Rayden Solicitors and no claim shall be made against any partner or director or employee of, or consultant to, Rayden Solicitors. Each such partner, director, employee and consultant shall be entitled to enforce and to have the benefit of this provision under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
18. Litigation and the Recovery of Costs
18.1 On financial applications on divorce made after 3 April 2006, the court will not generally make an order requiring one party to pay the costs of the other party. However, the court may make an order for costs against a party to the litigation at any stage in the proceedings if the court considers the conduct of that party to warrant it. This relates to the litigation process and not marital conduct. In considering what costs order to make the court will take the following into account:
18.1.1 failure by a party to comply with procedural rules, court orders and/or practice directions;
18.1.2 any open offer to settle made by a party;
18.1.3 whether it was reasonable to pursue or contest a particular issue or allegation;
18.1.4 the way in which a party has pursued or responded to the application or a particular issue or allegation;
18.1.5 the possible financial effect on either party if a costs order were made; and
18.1.6 any other conduct in relation to the proceedings which the court considers relevant.
18.2 Where proceedings commenced before 3 April 2006 a party may recover a proportion of their costs if the outcome of the litigation is favourable to them.
18.3 It is very unusual to recover any costs in relation to other areas of matrimonial work particularly litigation relating to children.
19. Community Legal Service (Legal Aid)
We do not undertake work under Community Legal Service funding.
20. Disclosure of documents
20.1 Every party to litigation is under a duty to give disclosure. Disclosure is the process whereby relevant documents which are or have been in a party’s “control” are disclosed to the other parties in the litigation.
20.2 “Relevant document” means anything in which information of any description is recorded. This therefore includes letters, memos, file notes, e-mails, maps, plans and photographs, as well as items held on disc, tape, film, microfiche or saved on a computer.
20.3 Documents must be in the “control” of a party to be disclosable. This does not just cover those documents that are or have been in your physical possession but also those over which you have or had a right to possession, inspection or to take copies (e.g. those held for safekeeping at the bank, or those in the possession of agents such as surveyors or valuers).
20.4 The court rules require you to conduct a reasonable search for documents which should be disclosed. What is reasonable will depend on the number of documents involved, the nature and complexity of the litigation, the significance of the documents and the ease and expense of their retrieval. We will advise you further on the extent of the search at the appropriate time. It is very important that you understand your duty to make this search as, when giving disclosure, you will be obliged to make a statement explaining the extent of your search and certifying that you understand your duty of disclosure and that you have complied with that duty.
20.5 Some relevant documents will not need to be disclosed, because they are protected by privilege. Privilege attaches to all communications between solicitor and client, where these are confidential, and written either by the solicitor in a professional capacity for the purpose of giving legal advice/assistance to the client, or written by the client seeking the same from the solicitor. Some communications between clients and third parties can be privileged, where the dominant purpose for their creation is their use in existing or contemplated litigation.
20.6 No documents which may be disclosable should ever be destroyed. The prior existence of a document which has been destroyed (accidentally or otherwise) is still liable to be disclosed. If any relevant documents are destroyed, the credibility of the offending party in the eyes of the court is likely to be destroyed with them. In extreme cases, the court may exercise its power to strike out that party’s case. Criminal charges for perverting the course of justice are also possible, if it can be shown that destruction of the documents was done to suppress evidence.
20.7 Until the parties’ respective Statements of Case have been served, it may not be clear which documents ought to be disclosed, and so the safest course is not to destroy any documents connected with the case at all. Any documents created after the commencement of litigation may be disclosable, including items such as internal memoranda. This does not mean that memoranda should not be written, but that all parties need to be aware of the fact that they may be seen by the other side. If you are in any doubt about creating a document please speak to us about it first.
You should be aware that the firm’s practicing address is 21 Victoria Street, St Albans, Herts. AL1 3JJ. Whilst we try to ensure that there is a member of staff at the property, this may not be possible on occasion. In order to safeguard confidentiality, your files and other information are stored in a secure site at the practicing address. The firm’s telephone lines, fax machine and email address are not shared.
22.1 You may terminate the agreement with the firm at any time by giving us notice in writing.
22.2 We may terminate the agreement where you have not performed your own obligations under the agreement, for example, by failing to pay any account when due; persistently failing to give us proper instructions, exceeding the agreed exposure limit, or in other circumstances where mutual trust and confidence between us has been lost. We shall give you notice in writing of termination.
22.3 The engagement will also end when the particular matter undertaken by the firm has been completed.
22.4 We shall also cease to act for you in a particular matter where we are required to do so by virtue of the firm’s conflicts policy (see paragraph 13).
22.5 The termination of the agreement shall not release you from your obligation to pay our charges up to the time of termination. We shall be entitled to include in these charges the cost of photocopying our files if we are required to send them elsewhere.
23. Third Parties
No term of the agreement shall be enforceable under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 by a third party, This does not affect any right or remedy of a third party which exists or is available apart from under that Act.
24.1 The agreement may be varied by:
24.1.1 an agreement in writing between us and you;
24.1.2 our issuing terms of engagement which replace these and to which you do not object within 28 days of their despatch. Your continuing to instruct us after that 28 day period will be deemed to be your acceptance of such replacement terms.
We may transfer or assign this agreement with you to any limited liability partnership which may be established or to which the practice of the firm may be transferred. Subject to this, neither of us may transfer nor assign the agreement to any third party without the consent of the other.
This agreement is subject to the laws of England and Wales and you and the firm submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales, save that the firm may choose to take proceedings in any other jurisdiction to enforce any judgment obtained.