1 People Responsible For Your Work
1.1 You will be informed of the fee earners who will be in conduct of your matter and who their supervisor is .it is likely that whoever is in conduct of the matter will be assisted by others in the team as the matter progresses . We will tell you their names and status as necessary
1.2 The Member of this firm with ultimate responsibility for our work for you is Victor Aigbogun
1.3 If for any reason the person in conduct of your matter is not available, Please ask for his/her assistant who will be happy to take any message for you.
1.4 We try hard to avoid changing the people who are handling your work, but if this cannot be avoided, we will notify you promptly who will be handling your matter and why the change was necessary.
2 Charges, Estimate and Expenses
2.1 Our charges are based on the time we spend in dealing with a case depending on the kind of work we carry out but in some cases agree to cap our fees depending on the circumstances of each case .Generally capping of fees will only be applied if we agree to do so in writing with you.it however important to note that in litigious or contentious matters Capping of fees is generally not applicable especially if it involves complex issues requiring the perusal of high volume of evidence and level of counsel required . Often in cases like this we instruct Barristers. In instances like this we charge essentially on hourly rate of the fee Earner assigned to the matter. Time spent on your affairs will include meetings with you and perhaps others; any time spent travelling; considering, preparing and working on papers; correspondence; and making and receiving telephone calls.
2.2 The hourly rate of our solicitors are dependent on their post qualification experience :
Over 15 years PQE £250.00 per hour
Over 10 years s £200.00 per hour
Over 3 years £150.00
One year £100.00
2.3 Routine letters that we write, and routine calls that we make and receive will be charged as units of 1/10th of an hour. Routine letters received will be charged as units of 1/20th of an hour. Other letters and calls will be charged on a time basis.
2.4 If your instructions mean we have to work outside normal office hours, we reserve the right to increase the level of the hourly rates. You will be notified in writing of any increased rate.
2.5 On 1 January of each year we review our hourly rate/s to take account of changes in our overhead costs and notify you in writing of any increased rate. Further annual reviews (if appropriate) will take place on 1 January in each succeeding year.
2.6 In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors which include the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge which the case requires and, if appropriate, the value of the property or subject matter involved. On the basis of the information currently available, we expect these factors to be adequately covered by the hourly rates set out above. The rates may be higher if, for example, the matter becomes more complex than expected; we will notify you of this.
2.7 If you have a query about the level of any revised rates notified to you, please contact Our Practice Manager or the fee earner assigned to you promptly
2.8 The amount of our costs which you will have to pay may be greater than the amount you can recover from another party to the case in the event that you are successful.
2.9 We will add VAT to our charge at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present, VAT is 20%.
2.10 There may be certain other expenses, including payments we make on your behalf, such as court fees, fees for reports obtained from third parties, reports and barrister's fees, which you will have to pay. VAT is payable on certain expenses.
2.11 We will inform you if any unforeseen additional work becomes necessary (for example, due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances significantly change during the course of the matter). We will also inform you of its estimated cost in writing before any extra charges and expenses are incurred.
2.12 As required by the Solicitors Code of Conduct, we are obliged to account to you for a sum in lieu of interest earned on monies held generally on your account unless an agreement has been made to contract out of these provisions.
2.13 If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
2.14 You may set a limit on the charges and expenses to be incurred. This means that you must pay those incurred up to the agreed limit without our needing to refer back to you. We will inform you as soon as it appears that the limit may be exceeded and will not exceed the limit without first obtaining your consent.
2.15 It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. This helps to avoid delay in the progress of their case. Depending on the nature of the case the initial deposit varies between £200 and £1,000. We may request further payments on account for charges and expenses from time to time while the work is in progress. When we put these payments towards your bill/s, we will send you a receipted bill. We will offset any such payments against your final bill, but it is important that you understand that your total charges and expenses may be greater than any advance payments. Estate & Corporate Solicitors will operate its client and office accounts with a UK Clearing Bank. In the unlikely event of a failure of such Bank, Estate & Corporate Solicitors will not be liable to its client for any financial Loss
2.16 If you want to pay in advance by equal monthly payments we can arrange for this from your debit or credit card. Please contact us and we will provide you with the correct forms.
3 Billing Arrangements
3.1 We will send you an interim bill for our charges and expenses either on a monthly or quarterly basis while the work is in progress. This enables you to budget as the matter progresses. We will send you a final bill on completion of the work.
3.2 Payment is due to us within 14 days of our sending you a final bill. We will charge you interest on the bill at 8% per year if you do not pay our bill within this time. Interest will be charged on a daily basis. We have the facility to take payment of your bills by credit and debit cards.
3.3 If you have any query about your bill you should contact us straight away.
4 Other Party's Charges and Expenses
4.1 It is important that you understand that you will be responsible for paying our bill/s. in contentious matters where loser pays winners cost it is important to note that Even if you are successful, the other party may not be ordered to pay all your charges and expenses or these may not be recovered from them in full; if this happens, you will have to pay the balance of our charges and expenses. Even when you are successful in your case, the Court will always consider whether the costs which have been incurred by you are proportional to the sum claimed or ultimately recovered or the outcome of the case. If the other party is legally aided, you may not get back any of your charges and expenses, even if you win the case.
4.2 If you are successful and the court orders the other party to pay a proportion of your charges and expenses (it is rare to recover all of your costs), and interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account
4.3 You will also be responsible for paying the charges and expenses of seeking to recover any charges and expenses that the court orders the other party to pay.
4.4 In some circumstances, the court may order you to pay the other party's legal charges and expenses; for example, if you lose the case or any application during the course of the case or you are in default in complying with a court order. If such an order is made against you then payment must usually be made within fourteen days, failing which your case may be stayed. Any such costs order would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses. Charges and expenses and your liability for another party's charges and expenses may be covered by insurance, and, if not, whether it would be advisable for you to have insurance to meet the other party's charges and expenses.
5 Storage of Papers and Documents
5.1 After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) for no more than six years. We keep the file on the understanding that we have the authority to destroy it six years after the date of the final bill we send you for this matter. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
5.2 If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with the instructions given by you or on your behalf.
6.1 You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses.
6.2 In some circumstances you may consider we ought to stop acting for you, for example, if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work.
6.3 We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with our request for a payment on account. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
6.4 If you or we decide we will no longer act for you, you will pay our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.
7 Communication Between You and Us
7.1 We are confident of providing a high quality service in all respects. If, however, you have any queries or concerns about our work for you, please raise them in the first instance with The Practice Manager
7.2 All solicitors must attempt to resolve problems that may arise with their services. It is therefore important that you immediately raise any concerns you may have with us. We value you and would not wish to think you have reason to be unhappy with us.
8 Civil Procedure Rules
8.1 The Civil Procedure Rules are a procedural code which governs court procedures with the overriding objective of enabling the courts to deal with cases justly.
8.2 Dealing with a case justly amongst other things includes so far as is practicable ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing, saving expense and dealing with the case in ways which are proportionate to the amount of money involved, the importance of the case and complexity of the issues, and the financial position of each party and ensuring that the case is dealt with expeditiously and fairly and allotting to it an appropriate share of the courts' resources.
8.3 The parties to a case are expected to help the court to further the overriding objective and this means the parties must co-operate with the court and obey the time limits and court orders.
8.4 It is therefore imperative that you co-operate with any time limits set by the Rules and Court Orders. If such co-operation is not given then the court has powers to impose penalties, which may include the dismissal of your case.
9 Money Laundering
9.1 For the protection of all our clients we operate money laundering reporting procedure. In certain circumstances, information will be revealed by us to the appropriate authorities in relation to any suspicion of money laundering. We therefore require from the outset evidence of identity, proof of address and more information about you as part of our "know your clients" obligation . We usually will send out a questionnaire capturing our requirement and demands .
9.2 We will also perform identity checks and other searches with your details provided.
10.1 Unless otherwise agreed, these terms of business apply to any future instructions you give us.
10.2 Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business. Even so, we ask you to please sign and date the enclosed copy of these terms and return it to us immediately. We can then be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you.
10.3 This is an important document: please keep it in a safe place for future reference.