Terms of Business

Our commitment to you

  • We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter at agreed intervals.
  • We will communicate with you in plain language.
  • We will explain to you the legal work required as your matter progresses.
  • We will update you on the cost of your matter at agreed intervals.
  • We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances
  • We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates
  • We will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.

Your commitment to us

  • You will provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions.
  • You will provide all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner.
  • You will safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for discovery.
  • You will pay all invoices within 28 days of their delivery (unless agreed otherwise)

Limit of liability

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.

Our maximum aggregate liability to you in this matter will be £3 million including interest and costs unless we expressly state a different figure in our letter confirming your instructions. 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.

Carter Vincent LLP is a limited liability partnership. This means that the firm’s members 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.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence.

Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.

Business hours

We are normally open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Thursday and from 9:00 am and 4:30 pm on Friday. Our Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan offices close for lunch between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm. We may be able to arrange appointments outside of these hours, in cases of emergency. We are closed on all bank holidays.

Banking

We hold all client money in Lloyds Bank Plc which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are not liable for any losses you suffer as a result of Lloyds Bank Plc being unable to repay depositors in full.

If you are an individual or considered to be a small company by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), you may be eligible for compensation of up to £85,000. A small company for the purpose of the FSCS is determined by reference to sections 382 to 385 of the Companies Act 2006. If you are a corporate entity (ie not an individual or small company), you will not be eligible for compensation.

The limit is £85,000 per deposit-taking institution. If you hold other personal money in the same deposit-taking institution as our client account, the limit remains £85,000 in total.

Some deposit-taking institutions have several brands. The compensation limit is £85,000 per institution, not per brand. You should check with your deposit-taking institution, the Financial Conduct Authority or a financial advisor for more information.

In the unlikely event of a deposit-taking institution failure, we will presume (unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary) we have your consent to disclose necessary client details to the FSCS.

Receiving and paying funds

Our policy is only accept cash up to £500. 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.

Cybercrime and email fraud

Cybercrime and email related fraud is on the rise. We will only provide our account details in a letter with our letter heading or a document enclosed with such a letter, or by email. All our emails will be from the @cartervincent.co.uk domain address. Our website will only be www.cartervincent.co.uk. If you receive an email which purports to be from us but which does not match the above or are directed to a website which does not match the above please contact us immediately. Before sending funds to our account, we ask that you contact your usual contact at the firm or our accounts department to verify our account details.

Regulated services

Carter Vincent LLP 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 or by calling 0370 606 2555.

Our bill

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 should be paid within 30 days. We may charge interest on overdue bills at 4% above the base lending rate of Lloyds Bank Plc.

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 below 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 12 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.

Data Protection

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:

  • updating and enhancing client records
  • analysis to help us manage our practice
  • statutory returns
  • legal and regulatory compliance

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

Our Privacy and Data Protection Policy can be viewed on our website or we will provide a hard copy if requested.

Storage and retrieval of documents

After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

We will keep our file of your papers for up to 7 years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them 7 years after the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval.

However we may charge you both for:

  • time spent producing stored papers that are requested
  • reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers

Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing

We are required by law to get 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 to get evidence of your identity as soon as possible. We require one item of photo ID such as a driving licence, passport or shotgun licence; and one item as proof of address such as a recent utility bill, bank statement or other official item, not more than 3 months old. If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.

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 where they 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.

Outsourcing

Sometimes we ask other companies or people to carry out work on our files to ensure work is done promptly and in the most cost-effective manner. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

External auditing

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice, eg our regulator (the SRA), our accountants or assessment bodies for quality accreditations. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Please contact Iestyn Harris if you do not wish your files to be disclosed to external auditors.

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.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a US piece of 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.

Insurance mediation activity

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we may carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register.

The Law Society of England and Wales is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with the SRA or Legal Ombudsman.

Complaints

Carter Vincent LLP is 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, please contact Iestyn Harris on 01248 362551 or iestyn.harris@cartervincent.co.uk or by post to our Bangor office. We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. 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
0300 555 0333—from 8.30am to 5.30pm
enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
www.legalombudsman.org.uk

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 act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (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, eg charities or clubs with an annual income of more than £1m, trustees of trusts with asset value of more than £1m and most businesses (unless they are defined as micro-enterprises). This does not prevent you from making a complaint directly to us about the service you have received or about the bill.

Right to cancel

You have the right to cancel the contract between us within 14 days without giving any reason.

The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of our initial meeting or the day on which you instructed us, if different.

To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel the contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail).

To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.

Effects of cancellation

We will make any reimbursement of money paid by you without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel the contract

If you requested us to begin acting on your instructions during the cancellation period, you will be deemed to have agreed to pay us a proportionate amount in respect of the work carried out until you have communicated to us your desire to cancel the contract.

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.

Applicable law

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.

Future instructions

Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter.

Carter Vincent LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (number OC367337). The registered office is at The Port House, Porth Penrhyn, Bangor. Gwynedd LL57 4HN. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No. 566521). A list of members may be inspected at our registered office.

Any reference to ‘the firm’ means Carter Vincent LLP and references to ‘partners’ means partners, members or directors of the firm.

VAT number: 559 8898 47

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