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.
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, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (information on the payer) Regulations 2017”||means the law from time to time in force in relation to the identity of clients and the disclosure of certain transactions to Serious Organised Crime Agency.|
3. Identification and the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (information on the payer) Regulations 2017
In order to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations we are required to obtain certain identification for new clients.
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.
Please note that the Money Laundering Regulations may require us to disclose information about you to Serious Organised 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
Our costs are usually calculated on the basis of time taken in a particular matter. Accordingly, the outcome of your matter will make no difference to your invoice. However, other matters may also be relevant, for example, complexity, value, importance to the client, time and place the work is carried out and urgency. We reserve the right to make a charge for the use of the firm’s own precedents.
Time spent will include meeting with you (and others as instructed), any time spent travelling, considering and acting on your instructions, preparing and working on documents, reviewing your papers/files and producing and reviewing costs estimates. There are standard charges for short letters or emails received or written. These are charged as a tenth of the fee earner’s hourly rate. Short telephone calls are charged in the same way. Longer letters, emails or telephone calls which take longer than 6 minutes to be dealt with are charged in accordance with the time taken to deal with them. Please note that we will charge for time spent on preparing the engagement letter, the preparation of narratives for the firm’s invoices, providing a detailed breakdowns of invoices, 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.
The charge-out rates of this firm will be reviewed on 1 April each year. You will be informed of any change to our rates in writing shortly after that date.
Charges may also be made for the Partner overview of your matter and will appear on your invoice as ‘Partner Strategic Review’.
In many matters we will incur certain expenses or “disbursements” in addition to our fees. The most common of these are the costs of Counsel instructed on your behalf and court fees. On occasion other third parties may be instructed to assist on your case such as accountants, chartered surveyors, process servers or private investigators. Disbursements may also include such incidental costs as company search fees, registry search fees, travelling, photocopying, fax, courier and telephone charges. Any extraordinary photocopying will be charged at 20p a sheet. These charges will be itemised on your invoice separately.
Acceptance of this agreement will be deemed as your authority to incur individual expenses or disbursements to the value of £750 (exclusive of VAT) without your express authority. We will not incur expenses in excess of £750 (exclusive of VAT) without your express authority. We will expect to be placed in funds by you for the full amount prior to payment of the expense falling due.
Disbursements are not included on the invoice unless they are actually incurred, and are thus our responsibility. For this reason, they must be settled by return.
The firm is registered for VAT with registration number 886425582.
A simple divorce will take between four to six months to conclude, but any divorce is typically not concluded until the financial claims are resolved.
Financial claims can be resolved by agreement and negotiation very quickly if there is a broad agreement between the parties and it is sometimes possible to conclude all matters within six months. If matters are fully contested, then, subject to the court’s lists, this matter could take some 18 months.
The more contentious a matter is, the longer it will take to conclude.
If it seems that you are in broad agreement about the division of finances (and also matters concerning the children) then contested applications to court will not be necessary. If it is not possible to reach an agreement, then applications to the Court may be required.
Our aim is to progress your work as quickly as circumstances allow and we will review progress with you as an ongoing part of our service. Often the pace of a matter will depend on timely instructions from you as well as the degree of co-operation of third parties involved. We do not accept any liability arising from failure to meet deadlines unless the failure is directly and exclusively caused by unreasonable delay on our part in providing our services.
6. Litigation Costs
It is always hoped everything will be settled by consent but, if contested litigation does ensue, you should be aware that you will still be responsible for our fees in the first instance and will need to settle them upon presentation of an invoice. This is the case even if the firm obtains a costs order against a party to the litigation, albeit that you may be entitled to reimbursement of a proportion of those costs by virtue of the order.
In children’s matters, costs orders are extremely rare and you should expect that you will need to settle your own costs absolutely. In financial matters, the court’s starting position is ‘no order as to costs’, meaning that each party is responsible for their own legal fees, although there are circumstances in which costs orders are made. However, the criteria that a court needs to apply when making a costs order is both narrow and extremely discretionary. In practice, costs orders are rarely made unless one party has behaved unreasonably in the litigation.
The Courts have wide discretionary powers in relation to costs so you should not expect that your costs will be paid even if you are successful in obtaining the solution sought in your application. Indeed, if your application to court is unsuccessful there is a risk that you may be ordered to pay towards the other party’s costs.
In divorce proceedings, costs, if claimed by the petitioner, are normally awarded irrespective of your circumstances. These costs vary depending on the legal firms involved. The range is from £1,000 to £3,000 plus VAT, but inclusive of court fees. Divorce costs can be subject to negotiation between the parties.
7. Legal Aid
This firm does not deal with legal aid cases. From 1st April 2013, legal aid is not available for almost all types of family law advice and services.
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
In the few types of case where legal aid is available, it will be necessary to meet certain other eligibility criteria relating to your financial position and your case. You can find out more from www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid.
If you are eligible for legal aid then you should consider seeking advice from a firm that is able to provide advice on this basis. You may decide to continue with this firm in any event.
8. Exposure Limit
The firm considers it appropriate for there to be an agreement as to the limit on the exposure that this firm should have to you. This will be the aggregate of our outstanding bills, unpaid disbursements (i.e. expenses paid on your behalf) and unbilled work-in-progress, less any money held by me on account of costs. In the event that the exposure limit is reached, the firm shall not be obliged to continue to work for you until steps are taken to reduce the exposure. The firm considers that an appropriate exposure limit would be £5,000.
You should also be aware that the Firm is entitled to exercise a lien in respect of your papers, documents and correspondence if there are any outstanding costs due to this firm in relation to any matter where monies are due to us (including expenses and interest). This means that your file of papers will not be released to you until any outstanding invoices are paid in full.
Normally the firm will invoice you monthly. The firm’s invoice will set out the costs and a short summary of the work covered by each invoice. An itemised account will also be provided. If you require a more detailed narrative I will provide you with one at my normal charge-out rate. You should be aware that the firm’s invoices are due for settlement on presentation. Invoices will not be signed but will have been checked and approved by a partner at the point of being created.
It is a requirement of the firm that every client provide monies on account of future costs. These monies may be used for the remittance of outstanding invoices. If necessary, you will then be required to provide further monies on account. It is the policy of the firm not to instruct Counsel or other third party on behalf of a client without monies on account to pay their charges. This money is held in our Client Account until your matter has concluded.
Payments should be made by cheque or directly into our client account, the details of which are as follows:
Name of Bank: Barclays Bank
Branch: St Albans Branch
Account Name: Raydens Limited Client Account
Sort Code: 20 74 09
Account Number: 33808831
Please let us know whenever you send funds to us in this way and ensure that the payment is clearly identifiable as having been sent by you.
If an invoice is presented and not paid in full within 28 days, a daily rate of interest may be charged from the date of the invoice to the date of payment in full of all outstanding amounts. The rate of interest will be the court rate for unpaid debts which is currently 8%. The interest element of any payments received will be deducted before your payment reduces the principal sum due. We also reserve the right to suspend further work on the matter until the balance is cleared and (in appropriate cases) to terminate our retainer and withdraw.
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.
If the matter does not proceed to a conclusion or the firm’s instructions to act for you are terminated, you will be charged for work done and expenses incurred in accordance with paragraph 3.
In the event that you are unhappy with an invoice and this is not resolved informally with the Partner supervising your matter, you have the right to apply for our charges to be reviewed by the court. This procedure is set out in sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
We will not accept cash payments in excess of £350 for invoices rendered.
Please be aware that solicitors and their clients are being targeted by those seeking to carry out cyber fraud, with particular emphasis on email accounts and bank account details. Please note that our bank details will not change during the course of a transaction and that we will not change our bank details via email. Please be careful to check account details with the solicitor that you are dealing with in person if you are in any doubt. We will not accept responsibility if you transfer money into an incorrect account.
Please also be aware that we have a house style for our emails, letters and documents as follows:
- Letters sent by us use Arial 11;
- Emails sent by us use Calibri 11;
- Court documents prepared by us use Times New Roman 12
If you receive any letters, emails or documents which purport to emanate from us and which do not follow these font types and sizes, this could be an indicator to help discern criminal correspondence. Please contact us by telephone to double check the position before taking any further steps.
11. Client Account
Any money held or received by us on your account is placed in our instant access Client Account in accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules. Unless otherwise agreed with you directly and only in circumstances where the sum held is in excess of £25,000 (and known in advance that it will be held by us for at least one month), will consideration be given to transferring funds into a separate designated account. We will account to you for interest at the standard instant access rate on smaller sums save where interest due is £20 or less.
Unless you request us not to do so we will communicate with you and others in connection with your matter by email. Email communication is used on the basis that you accept the risks (including, but not limited to, the security risk of interception of or unauthorised access to such communications and the risk of viruses), except in the case of our wilful default or dishonesty.
If at any time you choose to provide instructions by email, please telephone us to check that the email has been received if you have not had a response within a reasonable period of time.
In the case of e-mails and faxes you authorise us to act upon them as if they are original signed instructions where it appears to us (acting reasonably) that the e-mail or fax is from the person it purports to be from.
We will use appropriate skill and care in providing our services in this matter in accordance with applicable professional standards. It is a condition of our accepting instructions in this matter that the total liability of Rayden Solicitors, whether arising in contract, negligence or otherwise for all resulting losses, damages, expenses and liabilities (including consequential or punitive loss) shall in no circumstances (other than bad faith) exceed £3,000,000 (three million pounds sterling) or (if higher) the cover required by the Solicitors Indemnity Rules from time to time. In the firm’s view this limitation is fair and reasonable in view of the scope of the services we are to provide, and the extent of the risks we assume in providing those services compared to the fees we will receive. Your acceptance of the terms set out in this letter shall be regarded as confirming your agreement with that judgment.
This provision does not exclude liability for death or personal injury or any other liability for which an exclusion or restriction of liability is prohibited in law.
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 are 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 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 paragraph 1 of this letter nor to update any advice to take account of events or changes in the law that take place after it is issued.
In circumstances where the firm is required to recommend and instruct on your behalf other firms, 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 prevents 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.
The limitations on liability contained in this paragraph 13 shall apply to all work carried out from inception of the firm’s work on this matter.
Details of the firms Professional Indemnity Insurers are available upon request.
All claims whether in contract, tort, under statute or otherwise shall be brought only against Rayden Solicitors trading as Raydens Ltd and no claim shall be made against any employee or consultant to Rayden Solicitors.
14. Data Protection and Copyright
The firm is committed to responsible data processing in accordance with its legal obligations and it shall comply with the General Data Protection Regulation insofar as your instructions involve the firm in the processing of personal data of any sort.
If you require any further information in relation to your rights as a data subject, you can request a copy of our data protection policy from Paula Butterworth at email@example.com.
The 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.
All information disclosed to us will be treated as confidential unless:
- It is or becomes public knowledge otherwise than through our default; or
- Is already lawfully in our possession prior to its disclosure to us by you; or
- We are required to disclose it in law, by order of a court or regulator of competent jurisdiction.
- You have authorised its disclosure
- It is information disclosed further to paragraph 16 “Working with Third Parties”
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.
16. Working with Third Parties
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. This is on the basis that it is reasonable to expect that they will maintain confidentiality in respect of what is disclosed to them.
17. Auditing and vetting of files
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 main confidentiality in relation to your files. If you have any objection to your file being viewed by them, would you please confirm in writing, in which case we would remove your files from those offered for audit and quality checks.
18. Conflicts of Interest
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. These professional rules also 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. We cannot act where the interests of the firm conflict with those of a client. If we consider that a conflict is likely to arise between a potential new client and an existing client or former client, we will not accept instructions from the potential client. We will use our best endeavours to identify potential or actual conflicts of interest at the earliest opportunity.
19. Financial Services
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (or the Prudential Regulation Authority) to provide financial advice and you will need to take independent financial advice from someone who is so authorised by those agencies.
20. Storage of Papers
On conclusion of your case all original documents provided by you to us for use in the running of your case will be returned. The firm’s file (except for any papers which you ask to be returned to you) will be stored by us on your behalf. The firm’s practice is to retain client files for 7 years from the date from which your matter concludes. After that time, we have your authority to destroy your files. The storage of files is provided by third-party contractors and an administration fee will be chargeable for the retrieval of your files from our archives.
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.
Should you have cause for concern about any aspect of the service you receive or a bill, please do not hesitate to us to discuss matters. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem in this way, you should request a copy of our Complaints Policy. Click here for the firm’s Complaints Handling Policy and full details for the Legal Ombudsman.
Any concerns or complaints should be addressed to Katherine Rayden.
22. Equality and Diversity
The firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all its dealings with clients, third parties and employees, and is required to produce a written equality and diversity policy. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a copy.
We will continue to act for you until such time as we tell you that we will not act on your behalf or you inform us in writing that you no longer wish to continue to instruct us. We may terminate the agreement if you have not performed your obligations under the agreement, for example, by failing to pay any account when due, persistently failing to give us clear, consistent and substantive instructions following the receipt of advice from us, exceeding the agreed exposure limit or in other circumstances where mutual trust and confidence between us has been lost. We reserve the right to cease acting for you on this matter if you refuse to sign and return a copy of this letter to us promptly. We shall give you notice in writing of termination.
It may be that some further work is necessary before we are able to continue to cease acting for you. You will be informed if this is the case. Any necessary work will be chargeable.
On termination of instructions during court proceedings where we are on the court record as acting for you, you must provide a signed Notice of Acting in Person within seven days. Failure to do so may lead to us making an application to court to come off the record and we will seek the costs of this against you.
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 costs of reading papers in the event that we are asked to send documents to you or to other advisers (payable before despatch) and photocopying our files if we are required to send them elsewhere.
We have no ongoing duty to advise in relation to changes in law, review dates, expiry of limitation periods and the like following conclusion of the matter for which we are instructed or termination of this agreement.
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.