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Client Care

Client Care and Terms of Retainer
We put client care as our first priority so that we endeavor to provide you a quality legal service at a fair price. All matters will be dealt with promptly and efficiently.

This guide will give you a clear understanding of how and on what basis legal services are provided.

Who is responsible for your Matter

All work will be carried out by the person who will be notified to you at the commencement of the matter. You have access to Andrew Davies the Senior Partner of the firm at anytime to discuss your matter or any aspect of our service.

Practice Standards

In order that we provide a quality service and demonstrate that we regard your matters as important to us we have set standards that we endeavor to meet at all times save when circumstances beyond our control prevent us.

We endeavor to use IT technology to expedite all matters both in the conduct of the matter and communicating with you.

You will be given either a fixed fee price together with details of disbursements (money to be paid out on your behalf), or details of our charging rates with an indication of likely cost, you will be kept informed of costs as the matter progresses, or offered a Conditional Fee Agreement

You will get a risk/benefit analysis for any matter where there is no fixed fee and the outcome is uncertain.

All calls will be returned within 1 working day

All emails replied to within 1 working day

All letters dealt with within 3 working days

We will confirm your instructions in writing and you will be given details of what action we will be taking and likely time scale of those actions

We will advise of any delay and explain the reasons.

We will account to you at the end of the matter and remit any monies due to you together with our fees account and a break down of those charges

We will encourage our clients to ask at anytime about any matter of which they are uncertain or require further explanation.

Charges, Expenses and Funding

The main factors in solicitors’ charges are laid down by law they are:

  1. Time spent
  2. Value to the client

Other factors may be relevant such as

  1. Speed if the matter is particularly urgent
  2. Complexity of the matter or the need for specialist knowledge

It is important to let you have details, at the outset, of how costs are incurred; and if applicable how costs may be funded; any liability that might arise to pay the costs of the opponent and any measures that can be taken to offer protection against liability to pay the costs of the opponent.

We hope this will allow us to agree the best way of funding the matter.

Fixed fee work is what it says you pay only the fixed fee quoted plus any disbursements and VAT

Variable fee work this is where you are quoted an hourly rate often it is not possible to give a clear indication of the likely cost as for example in litigation. Therefore these fees are based on the actual time spent on the matter plus any value to client element. We operate a computerised time recording system and details of a client’s time record will be provided to the client at anytime on request.

The current hourly charge rates are:

Senior Partner £250

Partner £200

Solicitor £150

Trainee £100

Time is recorded in 6 minute units

A letter in/out up to one page = 1 unit

A letter in/out over one page = 1 unit per half page

Telephone calls 1 unit per six minutes

Emails are charged as per letters

Preparation drafting consideration research 1 unit per six minutes

Meetings/travelling/waiting 1 unit per six minutes

Value element

This applies only to variable fee work

Litigation a percentage is added to the value of the actual time spent based on the “care and control” factors this varies from 10 to 50 percent depending on the circumstances but usually between 25 and 40 percent Costs in Litigation matters – if you are successful you may be awarded costs however they only pay party and party costs not solicitor and own client. These usually amount to about 2/3rds. You are responsible for all of our costs although we will work hard to recover any costs due from a third party.

Further help

During the matter it may be helpful to involve experts who can advise on and help deal with certain aspects of the matter for example medical experts, accountants, surveyors etc. It may become appropriate to instruct a barrister to advise or represent you.

Conditional Fee (or No Win No Fee) Agreement

You only pay the company a fee if you win the claim. You would not, provided you kept to the terms of the agreement, pay a fee unless you did win the claim.

If the claim did not succeed, you would still potentially be responsible for:-

a) The cost of reports or other outlays (disbursements) incurred by the company on your behalf. (whether or not Court proceedings were issued against the opponent) and

b) If Court proceedings had to be issued the cost of the opponent. However, where possible we will arrange for an insurance policy to be taken out which will cover any liability you may have for disbursements and also the costs of the opponent if the claim is unsuccessful. We will discuss with you the premium for the policy and how it can be funded. If you win, the premium will be sought from the opponent and if you do not win the payment of the premium will be waived.

If you win , costs become payable by you, calculated in the same way as on a private basis, but with a success fee payable in addition. The success fee represents the risk that this company will not be paid if the claim is not successful. The opponent will, however, have to pay most, although probably not all, of these costs, including the success fee. Provided you kept to the terms of the agreement we will not look to you for the shortfall.

Disbursements necessary to pursue the matter, such as experts or to the Court are, strictly, payable by you as and when incurred as the matter progresses. The cost of these disbursements should be recouped at the conclusion of the matter, either from the opponent, if the matter is successful, or under the insurance policy if the matter is not successful. Rather than having to fund these disbursements as the matter progresses or in advance, we may in certain circumstances arrange payment on your behalf. Any payments made by us on your behalf will have to be repaid when the matter is concluded:-

  1. If the matter is not successful by an insurance policy if one is taken out, if a policy is not taken out then by you.
  2. If the matter is successful, as part of the costs recovered from the opponent and
  3. If you terminate our retainer for any other reason then the disbursements will be payable by you upon termination of our retainer.
  4. We may terminate the agreement if there is any evidence of fraud or of any material change in the matter.

We enclose (if a CFA is being proposed) for your information, the conditions that would apply to a Conditional Fee Agreement entered into with us. You need to bear in mind that under a Conditional fee Agreement this company is effectively sharing the risk of the matter with you, and this of course, gives us a say in how the matter should be run. The matter will be reviewed at appropriate stages and, if we do not believe you are likely to win, we may decide to end the agreement. On a private basis, where you are alone in running the risk, then such decisions would be largely yours alone. If you consider it important to retain full control of the matter, rather than sharing this and the risk with us, then you need to take that into account when assessing the best funding option.

Referral Fee Code of Practice:

You may have been introduced to this company by a third party. Under Law Society rules, we must give you information about the arrangement we have with any such introducer for the payment to them of a referral fee. Fees may vary depending on the nature of the matter. Referral fees can be between £100 and £700 more specific information in relation to your claim can be provided on request.

Payment terms

Most work is concluded in a short time frame and we will normally issue our account at the end of the matter if however the matter is going to be of a long duration we will render interim accounts. This helps clients plan and spread the cost

Disbursements save for minor disbursements we ask the client for cleared funds before they are expended.

On account costs quite often we ask clients to make a payment on account of costs at the start of a matter.

All bills are due on the date of receipt. Interest is charged on all bills not paid within 1 month. The rate charged is 5% above the base-lending rate of the Royal Bank of Scotland

If we are holding client monies then any costs due will be deducted from the amount held before remitting them to the client

After completion of the work we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents until money owed by you to us is paid. You can terminate your instructions to us at any time in writing, but we may retain the papers until you have paid all charges and expenses owing. We reserve the right to stop acting for you in certain circumstances such as where you cannot give proper instructions or you lose confidence in us or do not pay an interim bill. I will give you reasonable notice of this and you must then pay sums owing.

Client Money held by Us

If we hold client monies we are required to account to you for interest earned. The guidelines are that we are to pay you what ever we receive.

We are not required to account to you for interest on the following sums:-

£1000 unless held for more than 8 weeks

£2000 unless held for more than 4 weeks

£10000 unless held for more than 2 weeks

£20000+ unless held for more than 1 week

Save if the amount earned is under £20 then the de minimis provisions will apply and we will not account to you for any sum earned less than £20.

The overall guideline for the payment of interest is what fair and reasonable having regard to the circumstances.

The amount of interest we pay is 3.5 % below the base rate of the Royal Bank of Scotland subject to a minimum of 0.5%

Any monies placed in a designated deposit account will earn interest at the appropriate rate for such an account and we will account to you for all interest earned. Monies are only placed into such an account when it is anticipated that the monies will be held for more than the minimum periods shown above.

Limit of liability

This firm’s liability to clients is limited to UK pounds sterling £2 million for each and every claim, save for contentious business where such liability may not be limited by s60 of the Solicitors Act 1974. Nothing in this agreement shall benefit any third party and the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 shall not apply

Help with legal Costs

You may be entitled to help with your legal costs from the Community Legal Service. We will tell you if we think you qualify however this firm does not carry out work under that scheme and you would be referred to another practice.

Proceeds of Crime Act

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 we may be obliged, without reference to you, to make a disclosure to the National Criminal Intelligence Service or such other government body unless it is information received so that advice may be given about it or unless it comprises the advice itself (privileged information). I therefore reserve the right to give such NCIS notices, as I deem appropriate without notice to or discussion with you.

Office Hours

From 9 am to 5pm each weekday

Complaints

We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. If something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will also help us to maintain and improve my standards as well as seeking to resolve your problems.

We have devised a simple and quick procedure to resolve any problems.

Our Complaints Procedure

If you have a complaint, please contact Andrew Davies, our client care partner.

You can contact him at: 1 Princess Street, Albert Square, Manchester M2 4DF. If we have to change any of the timescales set out below we will let you know and explain why.

What will happen next?

1. We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain any details. If it seems appropriate we will suggest a meeting at this stage. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint.

2. We will then record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint. We will also investigate your complaint by examining the relevant file.

3. If appropriate we will then invite you to meet Andrew Davies to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. We would hope to be in a position to meet with you in this way no longer than 14 days after first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, Andrew Davies will write fully to you setting out his views on the situation and any redress that we would feel to be appropriate.

4. Within two days of any meeting we will write to you to confirm what took place and any suggestions that we have agreed with you. In appropriate cases we could offer an apology, a reduction of any bill or a repayment in relation to any payment received.

5. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, please let us know. We will then arrange to review our decision. We would generally aim to do this within 10 days. This will happen in one of the following ways.

  • Andrew Davies will review his own decision.
  • We will arrange for someone in the firm who has not been involved in your complaint to review it.
  • We will ask our local Law Society or another local firm of solicitors to review your complaint. We will let you know how long this process will take.
  • We will invite you to agree to independent mediation. We will let you know how long this process will take.

6. We will let you know the result of the review within five days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons. We will also give you the name and address of the Legal Complaints Service. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact them about your complaint. We very much hope that this will not be necessary.

Location

We are based in Manchester City Centre and our contact details can be found in the Contact Us section of our Website www.rmandco.co.uk . We are willing to meet you in your office, at an agreed location or at your home.

Data Protection Act

The law requires us in the case of individuals where we record on our files and also on our computer system certain personal details to be registered under the above act. We are registered and you are entitled at any time to ask for a copy of the information that we hold about you or your business. We will not pass on these details to any third party without your expressed consent unless it is essential to do so in the course of dealing with the matter you have instructed us upon.

We will place you name on our mailing list but if you do not wish receive information from us about our services please let us know and we will immediately remove you from our mailing list

Money Laundering

Proof of Identity

The law now requires solicitors, as well as banks, building societies, and others, to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients. We should be grateful, therefore, if you would provide us with documents to verify your identity and address as set out in the confirmation of instructions letter.

Confidentiality

Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception: recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Criminal Intelligence Service. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it because the law prohibits “tipping-off”.

Financial Services Authority

We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority 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 Law Society. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.

Jurisdiction

The agreement between us is subject to English law and the English courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any dispute.