Thank you for instructing us to act for you.This document sets out our standard terms of business.These terms will apply unless otherwise agreed in writing.
We usually supplement these terms of business with a letter of engagement (“the engagement letter”) which sets out the specific terms of our engagement.The engagement letter will override these terms of business in the event of any inconsistency.
Barlow Robbins LLP
Barlow Robbins LLP provides legal services in England and Wales, is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and is subject to the SRA Code of Conduct which can be viewed at www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code.
We maintain professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the SRA.Details of the insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy are available for inspection at our offices.
In these terms of business ‘we’ or ‘our’ or ‘us’ or ‘the firm’ refers to Barlow Robbins LLP (’the LLP’) a limited liability partnership incorporated under OC319529, registered office at The Oriel, Sydenham Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3SR.Any business conducted with us is solely with the LLP and the LLP has sole legal liability for the work done for you and for any act or omission in the course of that work. No member, partner, principal, employee, associate or consultant of the LLP will have any personal liability for work undertaken for you. If a member, partner, principal, employee, associate or consultant signs in his or her own name any letter or other document in the course of carrying out that work it does not mean he or she is assuming any personal legal liability for that letter or document.
We use the term ‘partner’ or “partners” to refer to a member or members of the LLP.A list of the members of the LLP is available on request.
Responsibility for Work
The letter that accompanies this document tells you who will carry out most of the work in this matter (“the professional adviser”).It also tells you the name of the partner who is ultimately responsible for the work.We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work, but if this cannot be avoided, we will inform you promptly who will be handling the matter and why the change was necessary.
Scope of our services
The services that we are to provide will be agreed with you and described in the engagement letter or as otherwise agreed between you and us.
Save as agreed between us, we are not required to provide other advice or services.Any work that we carry out for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. We do not provide tax advice unless specifically stated.
The services provided by us are for your benefit only and are solely for the purpose of the matter to which they relate.They may not be used or relied upon for any other purpose or by any third party.
It is often necessary for us to instruct other professional advisers, including specialist barristers outside of the firm to give advice.If you have any preference for a particular third party then please tell us.
Whilst we take care in the appointment of third parties, we cannot be held responsible for the advice given or the work undertaken by them.
Instructions and Communication
We will assume that whoever gives us instructions to provide legal services has actual authority to do so and we will be entitled to rely on any information provided to us by that individual.
Where we are jointly instructed by you and another client or clients, we will assume that any one of you is authorised to provide us with instructions unless you advise us otherwise.
To enable us to work effectively, you will need to provide us with all information that may be relevant as quickly as practicable. Please tell us about any changes to the information provided and ensure that any information supplied is complete, accurate and up to date.
Please let us know if you have a preferred method of communication.Unless you advise us otherwise, we will use whatever method of communication appears appropriate in the circumstances.This will include sending communications by email.
We routinely monitor all incoming and outgoing emails. If you ask us to communicate with you or third parties by email we shall not be responsible for any misdirection or non-delivery of communications sent in this way.Emails are by their very nature neither completely secure nor reliable and all email communication is therefore sent at your own risk.
Bank Fraud and Cyber-crime
As a result of the increased risk posed by cyber-crime especially in relation to bank account details, please note that Barlow Robbins bank account details will not change during the course of a transaction.
If you do send funds to us using details that we have provided to you by email then please telephone us first before sending the funds.Where you request us to send funds to you electronically we will ask you to verify account details with us by letter or by phone using a phone number which you have given to us and on which we have spoken to you previously.
Please be vigilant when opening emails, attachments or links and when responding to any requests for your bank details.
Barlow Robbins will not accept responsibility if you transfer money into an incorrect bank account.
If a third party requests access to documents that we hold about you or asks to interview us in connection with legal services that we have provided to you then we may be required, as a matter of law, to comply with this request. You will be responsible for our fees, disbursements and expenses if we have to deal with such a request.
Our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers.In order to maintain our specialist knowledge, we may copy and store legal advice given by us and any third party instructed by us, documents or other legal knowledge.Where we do this, we will ensure that any confidential information remains confidential.
Fees and Expenses
Unless a fixed fee is agreed in advance, our fees are based on the time spent dealing with your matter.Where applicable, our hourly rates are set out in your engagement letter and vary according to the level of experience and expertise of each professional adviser.Hourly rates are varied from time to time (usually to take effect from 1 June in any year) and we will notify you in writing of any changes in the rates.
Time spent on your affairs is likely to include discussions/meetings with you and with other people involved on your file, attending Court when necessary, considering and working on documents, drafting papers, dealing with correspondence, making and receiving telephone calls and time spent travelling away from the office when this is required. Our time is charged in minimum six minute units.
In addition to the time spent we may base our charges on a number of other factors such as any work which is undertaken at your request outside normal business hours, the complexity of the issues, the expertise or specialist knowledge required, the speed at which action must be taken and, if appropriate, the value of the property or subject matter involved.
You will be notified separately if we are going to add an uplift to our hourly rates or if the value element applies.
At the outset it may be very difficult to provide you with a fixed fee or even a reliable estimate of our fees as this is often dependent upon circumstances outside our control.If you prefer to set a financial limit to which we must work we will not go beyond this without your authority.If we have not agreed a fixed fee arrangement, we cannot guarantee that the work will be completed within the financial limit which you have set and we may have to stop doing further work until a further fee limit has been agreed.
Any expenses incurred by us on your behalf (“disbursements”) such as court fees, search fees, barrister’s fees, travel costs etc. will be charged in addition to the hourly rate or fixed fee. We will usually ask you to provide funds to us on account of any expected disbursements before we incur them.
We will add VAT to our fees. Some disbursements also attract VAT.
We submit invoices on a regular basis or as agreed in the engagement letter.In relation to property transactions, where there are sufficient funds available on completion and we have sent you a bill, we will usually deduct our charges from the funds and your acceptance of these terms constitutes our authority to do so.In all cases, you remain responsible for payment of our charges.Bills are payable on delivery. Interest will be charged on any bills that remain unpaid for 30 days at the rate of 8% per annum (or the rate on judgment debts if higher) on a daily basis on the amount unpaid from the date of delivery of the bill to the date we receive payment. All costs and expenses incurred by us to recover any unpaid sums will also be due from you.
If you wish to settle your bill or make payments to us on account of costs by credit card we reserve the right to charge you a handling fee calculated at the rate of 2% on the total invoice value or amount paid. Such amount will be debited from your card at the same time as your payment is processed.
In accordance with rules laid down by the SRA we are obliged to transfer funds from any monies we hold on your behalf (including monies collected during the administration of an estate) in settlement of a bill that has been raised, within 14 days of the date the bill is given or posted to you unless that money is held for another purpose.
If you have any query about your bill please contact the professional adviser responsible for your file straight away.You are entitled to complain about your bill (see “Raising Queries and Concerns with Us”) and may also have the right to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and/or to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors’ Act 1974. Please note that if you apply to the court, the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the bill.
We may suspend or stop work altogether on your matter if our costs remain unpaid.
Payments on Account
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money at the outset of a transaction and to make further payments from time to time on account of anticipated fees and disbursements. We have no obligation to make any payments on your behalf unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose.
The engagement letter sets out the sum required from you (if any) before we start work on your file. We will offset any such payments against your final bill but it is important that you understand that your total charges and disbursements may be greater than any advance payments.
We may also require guarantees from directors or controlling shareholders of corporate clients. If such a request is refused we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our fees and disbursements on an hourly basis.
If you fail to provide us with monies on account of fees or disbursements when required we may decline to undertake any further work for you until the necessary payments have been made. You will remain liable for all fees and disbursements incurred to that date.
Our policy is only to accept cash up to £2,000 from clients.If you circumvent this policy by depositing cash direct with our bank we reserve the right to charge for any additional check we deem necessary to verify the source of the funds.
Subject to the SRA Accounts Rules, we are not responsible for loss arising from the insolvency of any bank where client funds are held. If we make a claim for compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in respect of money which we hold for you, you agree that we may give certain information about you to the FSCS to help them identify amounts to which you are entitled in our client account.
The current compensation limit under the FSCS is £85,000.This limit applies to you as an individual client.The firm holds client funds with Lloyds Bank.If you hold monies with the same bank or another institution covered by the same banking licence, the compensation limit remains at £85,000.If you require further information, you should check with your deposit-taking institution, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or a financial adviser.
Any money which you pay us or which we receive on your behalf other than in respect of invoiced fees or disbursements will be held in a client account.We will account to you for interest on any balance we hold on your behalf where it is fair and reasonable to do so.A full version of our interest policy is available on request or can be found on our website at www.barlowrobbins.com.Please note that we do not account for interest under £20 nor for interest accruing on funds held in our client account to cover charges for work which we have undertaken.
Disputes/Matters which may involve Court Proceedings
If the work that we undertake for you involves court proceedings we will discuss with you whether your fees and disbursements might be paid by another person. Even if you are successful, the amount of our costs which you will have to pay may be greater than the amount the other party is ordered to pay to you or that you can recover from the other party to the case.If this occurs you will have to pay the balance of our fees and disbursements.If the other party is legally aided, you may not get back any of your fees and disbursements, even if you win the case. In any event, you will be responsible for payment of our bill(s) irrespective of whether our fees can be recovered from a third party.
In the event that you are successful and the court orders the other party to pay some or all of your fees and disbursements, 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 fees or disbursements on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest.
You will also be responsible for paying our fees and disbursements if you instruct us to recover any fees and disbursements that the court orders the other party to pay to you.
In some circumstances, the court may order you to pay the other party's legal fees and disbursements; for example, if you lose the case.These fees and disbursements would be payable in addition to our own costs and disbursements.It is possible to take out insurance to cover your liability for the other party's fees and disbursements.We will provide you with details if this is relevant to your case.
Other forms of funding may be available to cover our costs.We will discuss appropriate funding options with you if necessary.
Storage of Papers and Documents
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. Your personal information will be retained in accordance with our data retention policy which categorises all of the information held by Barlow Robbins and specifies the appropriate retention period for each category of data. Those periods are based on the requirements of applicable data protection laws and the purpose for which the information is collected and used, taking into account legal and regulatory requirements to retain the information for a minimum period, limitation periods for taking legal action, good practice and Barlow Robbins’ business purposes.. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, 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.
You may terminate your instructions to us at any time in writing but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our fees and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue working then you must tell us this clearly in writing.
If you or we decide that we will stop acting for you, you will pay our charges on an hourly rate basis plus expenses or as otherwise agreed in any separate correspondence between us. We will only stop acting for you with good reason and on giving you reasonable notice.
Limitation of Liability
If you are successful in bringing a claim against us (other than one for death, personal injury or fraud) arising from the provision of services to you, our maximum liability will not exceed the sum of £3m (three million pounds sterling). For the purposes of determining our maximum liability all claims arising from the same act or omission or from a series of related acts or omissions or from the same act or omission in a series of related matters or transactions will be regarded as one claim.
We shall not be liable to you for any indirect or consequential loss, damage, costs or expenses of any nature incurred or suffered by you including, without limitation, any economic loss or other loss of turnover, profits, business or goodwill.
We shall not be liable to you for loss damage costs or expenses of any nature incurred or suffered by you arising from compliance with any statutory obligations placed upon us.
We shall have no liability for any loss or damage suffered by you if we are unable to comply with your instructions due to circumstances beyond our control.
We shall not be responsible for any failure to provide services on any issue which falls outside the scope of our engagement with you.We shall have no responsibility to notify you of, or the consequences of, any event or change in the law (or its interpretation) which occurs after the date on which the relevant service is provided.
To ensure compliance with money laundering legislation, we are obliged to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients and sometimes people related to them. We may request sight of original photo-style documents, make searches of electronic data sources or public databases or obtain information from other regulated or approved bodies.
If you fail to provide us with the information that we request then this may result in a delay in dealing with your matter and we may not be able to act for you.
We are professionally and legally required to keep your affairs confidential.However, we may be obliged to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency (NCA) where we know or suspect that you (or another person) is involved in money laundering or is making use of the proceeds of crime.We may not be able to inform you that such a disclosure has been made.In addition, we may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and we may not be able to tell you why.
Any fees and expenses incurred by us in ensuring compliance with the money laundering legislation will be charged to you.
Weuse the information you provide to us including any sensitive personal information for the purposes of providing 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 and for administration and marketing purposes.
We may share your information (including any sensitive personal data) with third party organizations for marketing and promotional purposes or in the course of providing our services to you.This may involve sharing your personal information (including sensitive personal data) with our service providers both inside and outside the European Economic Area (EEA).Where our third party service providers process personal data outside the EEA in the course of providing services to us, our written agreement with them will include appropriate measures, such as standard contractual clauses.
We may from time to time contact you by mail, telephone or email to provide information that we think may be of interest to you, including details of the services we offer, newsletters, legal updates and invitations to events.If you do not want to receive this information then please let us know in writing.
We may from time to time provide your data to a third party for the purpose of tracing your whereabouts to recover and/or return any fees due. We may also use your information to search the files of credit reference agencies who may record credit searches on your file. .
Auditing of files
Your file may be examined by external firms or organizations for regulatory or quality assurance purposes. These external firms or organizations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
Third Party Rights
These terms do not create any right enforceable by any person who is not a party to it in accordance with the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
Cancellation of Contracts
If we enter into a contract to provide legal services following discussions away from our business premises then The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (“the Regulations”) may apply.In such cases, you will have the right to cancel the contract within 14 days of receiving a Notice of the Right to Cancel (the Notice) without giving any reason.If you want us to start work immediately and before the expiry of the cancellation period then please let us know in writing.In the event that you make such a request, you will lose the right to cancel thecontract even if this occurs during the cancellation period.
Sometimes the work we undertake for you will involve investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and so we may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you.
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 business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at: www.fsa.gov.uk/register. If you are unhappy with any investment or insurance advice you receive from us, you should contact the SRA or the Legal Ombudsman which is the independent Ombudsman scheme that resolves complaints about lawyers.
Raising Queries or Concerns with us
We are confident that our service will be efficient, effective and friendly.If any problems do arise either relating to our services or with your bill please let the person dealing with your file know as soon as possible.If the problem cannot be resolved with the individual dealing with the matter or if you would rather not speak with that person please contact the Risk, Compliance and Quality Manager, Sarah Hopkinson at our Woking office, Concord House, 165 Church Street, Woking, Surrey GU21 6HJ, Telephone (01483) 748500.
We have a complaints procedure which is available on request.We will try to deal with any complaints quickly but if we are unable to resolve the problem within 8 weeks then you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman by telephone on 0300 555 0333, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at Legal Ombudsman, P O Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. There are time limits within which you are able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Currently you must make your complaint within 6 years of the act or omission complained of or within 3 years from when you should have known there was cause for complaint. You also need to raise your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of our written response to your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman also accepts complaints about other legal professionals such as barristers.Please note that the Legal Ombudsman may decline to deal with complaints from certain types of clients.For further details, you should check the scheme rules.
As a result of European regulations on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), we are obliged to provide you with a link to the European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform at https://webgate.ec.euroopa.ou/odr. Please note however that the ODR platform only transmits disputes to ADR bodies which are approved under European law and these do not currently include the Legal Ombudsman scheme.
If you are unhappy with the way we are handling your personal information, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”). Details of how to make a complaint can be found at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ although we would ask you to raise any concerns with us directly in the first instance so that we can work to resolve your issue as soon as possible.
Whilst your continuing instructions will amount to your acceptance of these terms of business please sign and date the accompanying letter and return it to us immediately.
We hope that by sending this document we have addressed your immediate queries about the day-to-day handling of your work and our terms of business. However, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact your professional adviser.
This is an important document which we would urge you to keep in a safe place for future reference.
These terms are effective from 6 June 2018 and supersede all other conditions sent to you.
These Terms of Business will be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.
Details of our offices can be found here.