Terms of Business

Our Engagement

These Standard Terms of Business, along with your Engagement Letter, govern our engagement. Where there is a conflict between these Standard Terms of Business, and the Engagement Letter, the latter will prevail.

Your continuing instructions constitute acceptance of these terms.

You may terminate the engagement at any time, and so may we. If the engagement is terminated whilst you are involved in court proceedings we will seek to be removed from the record as your solicitors.

Our advice may be used by you only.

Communications

We may correspond, and send confidential information, by e-mail and we will assume that e-mails will be opened only by the addressee. We may use information held about you for administration, communication and marketing purposes.  We will not, however, pass information to third parties unless obliged to do so.

Fees

Unless otherwise agreed, our fees are a product of time spent by us on the engagement and the charging rate of the fee-earner concerned. You will be advised of prevailing charging rates, which are reviewed annually.  Fees are exclusive of VAT.

We will also charge for expenses which we incur on your behalf. These may include stamp duty, stamp duty land tax, travelling costs, search fees, courier fees, and registration fees.  If we instruct other advisers in relation to the engagement, we will do so as your agent and you will be responsible for their fees and expenses too.

Payment on Account

We may from time to time ask you to make a payment on account of fees or expenses which we expect to be incurred, or to discharge an unpaid invoice, or to reimburse a payment made by us on your behalf.

Any money received on your behalf may be used to discharge any money due to us without further reference to you. Invoices may be delivered electronically.

Payment of Interest

We will pay you the interest that we earn on money we hold on your behalf, unless the amount held is less than £50.

Invoices and Payment

Our invoices are payable on the date you receive them. We may from time to time submit interim invoices.

If all or part of the invoice remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest and we reserve the right to retain your file of papers and any other documents in our possession until we have received payment in full.

Where we have entered into a contentious or non-contentious business agreement with you, your rights to challenge our fees (or in certain cases, the rate(s) at which they are charged), are restricted.

Payment by Credit Card or Debit Card

We accept payment of invoiced fees by credit or debit card, without a handling charge.

Limitation of liability

Our aggregate liability (including the liability of our partners and employees) to you in respect of all claims relating to a particular matter, whether on the basis of contract, negligence or other tort, breach of duty, misrepresentation or otherwise, is limited to £5,000,000 inclusive of our liability for legal and other fees, costs and disbursements.

Our liability is not limited in the case of fraud, reckless disregard of professional obligations, or (in respect of contentious business only) for our negligence. We maintain professional indemnity cover in accordance with the compulsory requirements of the Solicitors’ Indemnity Insurance Rules.

Cancellation

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 may apply to this engagement. Whether they apply will depend upon the nature of the business relationship between us and the circumstances in which the engagement is entered into.

We will inform you whether we consider the Regulations have application. If they do then:

you have the right to cancel the engagement at any time within 14 days of entering into it;

if you decide to do so, then notice should be given in the form of, or in a similar form to the Notice of Cancellation available on request or by any other clear statement of that intention;

if you request us to start work during the 14 day cancellation period, you may still cancel within that period (until such time as the engagement is concluded unless the contract relates to digital content and the delivery of that content has already commenced);

the effect of cancellation is:

  • Your obligations and our obligations come to an end.
  • Unless you expressly requested us to start work during the cancellation period, we will reimburse all payments received from you without undue delay, and, in any event, not later than 14 days after the day on which we were informed of your decision to cancel.
  • Reimbursement will be by the same means the payment was received, unless you expressly agree otherwise, and without any fee for reimbursement.
  • If you cancel the engagement within the 14 day period, but have expressed that work should start, then the firm is entitled to charge pro rata for the work that it has done (or the full amount where the delivery of digital content has begun.

Our engagement letter and these terms of business are sent in compliance with the requirement to provide a copy, or confirmation, of the circumstances in which the Regulations apply (Regulation 12).

Complaints

We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, and you cannot resolve the issue with the fee-earner dealing with you matter, then please contact Philip Humphrys on 01604 609560, or e-mail philip.humphrys@dfalaw.co.uk.

We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available from Philip.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can call the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333, e-mail enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or in writing to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, to consider the complaint.

There are time limits for submitting a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman; if you are dissatisfied with our response to your complaint you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of our final written response. We will also supply you with information concerning Alternative Dispute Resolution.

In respect of a bill you may be able to apply to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Financial Services

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), although we are included on the register maintained by the FCA 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 of business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the FCA website www.fsa.org.uk.

We are able in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services, provided they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to supply.

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; and complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman.

Retention of Files

We will retain our file (or a copy of it) relating to the engagement for not less than 12 months following its conclusion, after which we may choose to destroy it.

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