Terms and conditions
1. Terms of Business
We have specific terms of business. As a Solicitors practice, there are regulations that affect us, to which the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Courts require them to be explained particularly with regard to our costs. It is important that you do consider them with care, and should you have any enquiries in respect of them, do please discuss them prior to our commencing work for you. We shall provide you, as our client, with legal services which are explained to you below, and shall provide all proper professional skill, care and attention to you as our client.
2. Client Care
This is very important to us, and to which we take great satisfaction in. Whenever you would like to discuss or make a comment on any part of the service that we provide to you, or indeed, you are not content with the way your affairs are conducted, please do not hesitate to make contact with either Mr Anthony Mitchell or Darren Flick, the Directors of the firm.
3. Responsibility for Instructions
Anthony Mitchell and Darren Flick, the directors of Darton Law Ltd, have ultimate responsibility for your case. There may be times that some non-solicitor staff may work on your case. Please contact Anthony Mitchell or Darren Flick if you would like to discuss your case. If at any time they are not available when you telephone or call into the office, please do leave a message. All messages will be dealt with promptly. We will continually update and inform you as to all developments in your case promptly.
Please be aware that Darton Law ltd does not accept ‘retainers’. By this we mean that, in accepting your initial instructions and agreeing to act for you, we have not been retained for the duration of your case regardless of cost. We retain the right to withdraw from your case at a time of our choosing and particularly should your instructions to us cause a conflict or should you fail to pay our reasonable costs in an appropriate manner when invoiced. Where any initial advice is given during a ‘pro bono’ or free interview, Darton Law Ltd accepts no liability as to the accuracy of that advice or the consequences of the client following that advice. Also be aware that should your case involve transfer of real property then Darton Law Ltd does not assist with conveyancing matters.
5. Our Charges
Our charges are based on the period of time that we spend on dealing with your case as our client. Our charges are based on hourly rates that are set out in the client care letter, which are based on the time taken working on your case. The hourly rates are based on the work that is carried out on your case during the normal office hours. However, where the case may be of an extremely urgent matter, or does require work to be carried out beyond normal working hours, then Darton Law Ltd do reserves the right to charge a premium on the rates normally charged to you. All our hourly rates are revised annually, being on the 1st January each year, whereupon our new rates will be advised to you in writing should there be any changes.
All letters and telephone calls are charged on a Time Spent Basis, except for short or standard letters which will be charged per item. We will not spend more time than is reasonably required, but in some instances, some cases are time intensive. In order to help you keep the costs to a minimum, you can do so by keeping your conversations and any meetings short and concise.
In general and unless superseded in our client care letter, or by agreement as to a fixed fee, our charges will be:
£200 per hour with mileage at .45p per mile and parking as incurred.
Standard letters (including e-mails) and telephones calls (less than 6 minutes) whether in or out £20 each
All of our rates are exclusive of VAT or expenses that need to be paid in relation to your case, for example Court fees or Barrister’s fees, or indeed any other payments that we make on your behalf. All such charges and expenses are described as “Legal fees”.
Please note that the charge out rates apply for meetings, correspondence, legal research, drafting documents, reading and working on papers, consideration of all issues and strategy relating to the case, travelling and waiting time, in fact all relevant factors in time that are spent on your case.
6. Estimate of Legal Fees
It is not possible to provide an exact amount or an accurate estimate of the overall legal fees. The estimate is based entirely on a reasonable assessment of the case reviewed at the time. As the case proceeds, we will revise any estimate that has previously been given to you.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing these terms of business apply to any similar future instructions so given by you to this firm.
7. Investment services
Although we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to conduct investment business, we are licensed by the SRA to provide certain limited investment services where these are complementary to, or arise out of, the professional services we are providing to you.
In particular, we may:
advise you on investments generally, but not recommend a particular investment or type of investment;
refer you to a Permitted Third Party (PTP), that is, an independent firm authorised by the FCA, assist you and the PTP during the course of any advice given by that party and comment on, or explain, the advice received (but not make alternative recommendations). The PTP will issue you with his own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for his services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;
advise you in connection with the disposal of an investment, other than your rights in a pension policy or scheme;
advise and assist you in transactions concerning shares or other securities not quoted on a recognised exchange;
assist you in making arrangements for transactions in investments in certain circumstances; and
manage investments or act as trustee (or donee of a power of attorney) where decisions to invest are taken on the advice of an authorised person.
8. Client monies
We may, from time to time, hold money on your behalf. Such money will be held in trust in a client bank account, which is segregated from the firm’s funds. The account will be operated, and all funds dealt with, in accordance with the SRA Regulations.
In order to avoid an excessive amount of administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount of interest that would be earned on the balances held on your behalf in any calendar year exceeds £25. Any such interest would be calculated using the prevailing rate applied by National Westminster Bank plc for small deposits subject to the minimum period of notice for withdrawals. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
If the total sum of money held on your behalf is enough to give rise to a significant amount of interest or is likely to do so, then the money will be placed in a separate interest-bearing client bank account designated to you. All interest earned on such money will be paid to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
We will return monies held on your behalf promptly as soon as there is no longer any reason to retain those funds. In the unlikely event of us holding any unclaimed monies we reserve the right to pay such monies to a registered charity in line with the guidelines set out in the Clients’ Money Regulations referred to above. We will not do this unless we have been unable to contact you for at least five years and we have taken reasonable steps to trace you and return the monies.
9. Retention of and access to records
During the course of our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following the preparation. You should retain these records for at least six years from the end of the accounting year to which they relate.
Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, unless you tell us not to, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that we store which are more than six years old, other than documents which we consider to be of continuing significance. If you require retention of any document you must notify us of that fact in writing.
Unless informed otherwise, tape recordings, DVD’s and CD’s will be destroyed when appropriate and at the conclusion of your case. These will not be retained with case papers.
10. Quality control
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically subject to an independent regulatory or quality review. Our reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and are, of course, bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as our principals and staff.
11. Internet communication
Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties via email or by other electronic means. However, internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their despatch. It may therefore be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an e-mail without obtaining written confirmation of it. We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information relating to your business are borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify us in writing that e-mail is not an acceptable means of communication.
It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.
12. Online website www.dartonmotoringlaw.co.uk – Telephone Advice
If you purchase Telephone Advice only through our website, you agree that all communication will be limited to email, unless the case progresses and you instruct us to attend court to represent you. Our advice will be based on any information that you supply.
13. Trading Name
“Darton Motoring Law” is a trading name of Darton Law Ltd. Darton Law is a company registered in England no 07111457.
14. Data Protection Act 1998
We may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you in order that we may discharge the services agreed under this engagement letter, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance. You have a right of access, under data protection legislation, to the personal data that we hold about you. We confirm that when processing data on your behalf we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
15. Limitation of Liability
We will provide our professional services with reasonable care and skill. However, we will not be held responsible for any losses arising from the supply by you or others of incorrect or incomplete information, or your or others’ failure to supply any appropriate information or your failure to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or other relevant authorities.
You agree to hold harmless and indemnify us against any misrepresentation, whether intentional or unintentional, supplied to us orally or in writing in connection with this agreement. You have agreed that you will not bring any claim in connection with services provided to you by the firm against any of our employees on a personal basis.
You also agree that you will not bring any claim of a kind that is included within the subject of the limit against any of the firm’s directors or employees on a personal basis
16. Use of our name in statements or documents issued by you
You are not permitted to use our name in any statement or document that you may issue unless our prior written consent has been obtained. The only exception to this restriction would be statements or documents that in accordance with applicable law are to be made public.