TERMS & CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
ONELAW Limited practises as ONELAW Chambers (ONELAW) and is a company registered in England & Wales number 10964559 whose registered office address is 5 Chancery Lane, London, EC4A 1BL.
This Agreement sets out the Terms of Business between us ONELAW (“we”, “the Agent”) and you (“you”, “the Client”). Please read this document carefully, it contains important information which you will find useful both now and whilst we are carrying out work for you. We recommend that you refer to this document at regular intervals and at key points as your matter progresses. These Terms and Conditions of Business, unless varied in writing or updated on our website at onelawchambers.com, indicate the basis on which ONELAW will carry out professional services on your behalf. The Agreement should be read in conjunction with our email confirmation which will be sent to you separately.
1. PLACE AND HOURS OF BUSINESS
Our trading office is at Hamilton House, 1 Temple Avenue, Temple, London, EC4Y 0HA and our telephone number is +44 (0)207 489 2044. Parking may be available in Inner Temple via the Tudor Gate, Tudor Street, EC4Y 7HL.
Normal hours of opening are 9.00am to 5.00pm on weekdays. However it may be possible to arrange appointments outside these hours when it is both in the interest of the client and practical. Outside of these hours email messages can be sent or telephone messages can be left on our answering service.
2. SERVICE REMIT AND STANDARDS
We operate systems throughout our business, insisting that all our staff meet certain standards with regard to Client care. These standards include:
- Responding to you promptly within two clear business days, wherever possible;
- Giving appointments to you without any undue delay;
- Dealing with you and all persons with the same attention, courtesy and consideration regardless of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, creed, disability or sexual orientation.
There are other standards, but these are the main ones that affect your dealings with us. Please let us know if you feel we are not keeping to these standards.
In order to assist us in providing an efficient and effective service we ask that you:
- Leave clear telephone messages with your Legal Representative’s secretary, or reception;
- Notify us immediately of any change of your address, telephone number or other material information;
- Notify us immediately if you are delayed or cannot attend an appointment in respect of which we reserve the right to charge;
- Respond to our requests promptly; and
- Pay fees, bills and disbursements without delay.
If you have any queries, or are unclear about procedures, or simply want information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
3. RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WORK
We have a number of specialists within our office and the person to whom you give your first instructions may not be the most appropriate person to conduct the work. In this event the person to whom you gave your first instructions will pass your details to the appropriate person and they will contact you. Work will be carried out by your Legal Representative personally. Their name and title will appear in the letters sent to you and on your behalf.
There may be times when your Legal Representative is not in the Office or is unable to take your call. Instead, you can speak to the Legal Representative’s Assistant or Secretary, who may be familiar with your file. If the Assistant or Secretary is unable to help, they would be pleased to take a message, and your Legal Representative will contact you as soon as possible.
We are 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 first raise the matter with the person responsible for your case and if your complaint remains unresolved please contact the Director. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available upon request. If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. 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.
Unless and until an alternative fee arrangement has been agreed and confirmed in writing by us the basis for calculation of our fees is as follows.
Our charges for consultations are fixed at prices as confirmed below. If following the consultation, you would instruct us further to facilitate legal representation on your behalf, we will do so as your Legal Representative and will be paid an agreed fee or such fee as is calculated mainly by reference to the time spent by us as your Legal Representative, which may comprise of Solicitors or Barristers or both. We reserve the right to use external Legal Representatives (solicitors or barristers) for any work required and inform you of the cost of instructing external Legal Representatives, which you will be responsible to pay. This may include advising, attending on you and others, dealing with incoming and outgoing papers, letters and emails, researching, correspondence, telephone calls, travelling and waiting time. In the event of your case involving exceptional circumstances (for instance, but not exclusively, exceptional complexity, out of hours work or particular requirements as to speed) ONELAW reserves the right to increase the fee for that particular work.
We charge a fixed fee of £150 plus VAT for consultations booked within office hours between 9am and 5pm. Subject to availability we can offer consultations outside office hours on evenings and weekends at a higher fee.
ESTIMATES: It may be difficult to estimate how many hours of work will be necessary to spend on your matter as your Agent partly because so much depends upon the way in which others react. Where appropriate, an estimate of charges is set out in the attached letter based on information presently known and is given on the basis that your matter does not prove to be substantially more urgent, complex or time consuming than currently anticipated. You may, at any stage, wish to set a limit on the costs and disbursements that can be incurred by us on your behalf without further reference to you. Any limit must be notified to us in writing by signed letter sent by recorded signed for post and are not effective until we communicate our acknowledgment of notification of such limit in writing to you. Estimates may change as the matter proceeds and it becomes clearer how much time is likely to be needed. Wherever possible we will let you know as soon as we can, if it becomes apparent that your matter has become more urgent, complex or time consuming than presently estimated. We will try and give you an indication of the anticipated future costs. However, this is sometimes difficult and figures given are only estimates.
FIXED FEES: Where we undertake to work for a fixed fee please refer to the letter delivered at the start of the matter in which we will confirm the agreed rate. The charges that we will be making in your matter cover the work that we have been instructed to undertake. If we are instructed to undertake further work we would need to make additional charges and we will either provide you with an estimate of what they would be or in default revert to our hourly time spent rate. Should a matter not proceed fully we reserve the right to retain the full fixed fee or charge for our time at applicable hourly rates.
DISBURSEMENTS: There will be certain additional expenses (known as disbursements) for example for items such as Legal Representative’s fees, Court fees, Counsel’s fees, HM Land Registry fees, copying fees, local search fees, Probate Registry fees. These expenses are all your responsibility and you must pay them to the intended recipients directly. In the event that we make such a payment we reserve the right to charge interest on the outstanding amount at the rate applicable to outstanding bills until reimbursement is received. VAT is payable on certain disbursements.
The charging rate(s) quoted are generally reviewed annually to take account of changes in salary and other overhead costs. If your matter is not concluded before the next review, we will confirm any new rates which apply for work done from then as soon as they have been set.
In certain matters our charges may also contain an element based on the value of the matter or claim which is known as “care and control”. This is because the value is a reflection of the importance of the matter and, consequently, the responsibility of the Agent.
Unless otherwise specifically agreed with you in writing, if for any reason, the Agent does not complete the work you have instructed us to do, then a charge will be made in respect of the work that has already been completed. VAT will normally be payable on that amount and you will also be billed for any "disbursements" (expenses and payments to third parties) incurred on your behalf.
Bills, whether interim or final must be settled within 14 days of it being delivered to you.
It is normal practice amongst solicitors to ask clients to make payments on account of anticipated fees and disbursements. Where appropriate, the person with responsibility for your matter will discuss this with you. It is helpful if you can meet requests promptly; if there is any difficulty, please let us know as soon as possible.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, you will be personally responsible for payment of our fees and VAT and for reimbursing any expenses we incur on your behalf.
In the event of any fees, expenses or VAT (whether in respect of fees and expenses already incurred or in respect of fees and expenses to be incurred) not being paid we reserve the right to decline to act any further in relation to any or all matters we are dealing with until payment is made. If there are any funds held on our client account we may set off as against said mentioned fees, expenses or VAT.
It we are asked to give a legal undertaking on your behalf, we are entitled to require you to make a deposit of funds with us or give other security.
CREDIT/DEBIT CARD FEES: There are costs involved in us accepting payments by card. Please note that (a) we charge a credit/debit card processing contribution fee of 1.4% plus 20p of the amount paid for European cards and (b) we charge 2.9% plus 20p for of the amount paid for non-European cards. There are no charges for bank transfers.
ADMINISTRATIVE FEES: From time to time we may be required to charge administrative fees in connection with your matter. Administrative fees may be incurred where we are need for example to send original documents by post, where a paid consultation/meeting has been cancelled and we have agreed not to apply the full charges, where we are required to retrieve a file from archive or where additional photocopying needs to be carried out, and those fees are not covered by any of fees as stated above. Please note that these examples for administrative fees are not exhaustive nor are we able to specify the exact fees in advance. We shall inform you if an administrative fee arises and the amount.
PHOTOCOPYING CHARGES: Whilst we are actively instructed, we charge for copying all documents in your case at a cost which is less than or equivalent to the charges of external copying agencies (such agencies fees if incurred will be treated as a chargeable disbursement). The cost per A4 copy is 5p per page for black and white A4 copies and 10p per page for colour copying. Once your matter is closed the cost per A4 copy is 25p per page. These charges are subject to VAT and will be set out on any invoice as our photocopying charge.
PERSONAL CONTRACT OF GUARANTEE (BY DIRECTORS OR PARTNERS): Directors of a Company or Partners in a Partnership which instructs us are personally responsible for the payment of our bills. This is to ensure that our bills are paid either by your Company or Partnership and in the event they are not, by you personally (as an individual). This ensures that we are able to advise at all stages notwithstanding that the Company or Partnership is in financial difficulties or we do not have monies on account.
5. INTERIM BILLS
We shall deliver bills to you at regular intervals for the work carried out during the conduct of your matter. This assists our cash flow and enables you to budget for costs. We are sure that you will understand that in the event of a payment not being made, we must reserve the right to decline to act any further and that the full amount of the work done up to that stage will be charged to you.
6. INTEREST CHARGED
Unless otherwise agreed, payment of each of our bills, including interim bills, is due within 14 days of its date. If the bill is not paid in full within that time it is agreed that we the Agent may charge you the client interest from the date of the bill on the amount unpaid at the rate of 4% over the Bank of England’s Official Bank Rate from time to time in force.
7. RETENTION OF DOCUMENTS (LIEN)
It is agreed that the Agent may retain any deeds, documents or other materials belonging to you the client until payment of outstanding bills have been made and that we may apply money held on your behalf towards payment of outstanding bills.
8. INTEREST RECOVERED
In the event that you are successful in your claim and the costs of the matter fall to be paid by the other party (either in whole or in part) then, where interest is also recovered on your costs as payable by the other party, it is agreed that we are entitled to retain the whole of that interest. Any interest recovered on costs and disbursements after judgment is pronounced but before a Costs Assessment is made, which has not in fact been paid prior to the Assessment, shall as to the interest on costs belong to the Agent and as to the interest on disbursements, be held by the Agent for or on behalf of the person or persons to whom the disbursements are ultimately paid.
9. INTEREST EARNED
We may apply interest towards settlement of any bill delivered to you or hold it on account of work in progress, and will retain it when it amounts, in total, to £50 or less.
10. COSTS INFORMATION
Particularly at the conclusion of your matter, and if you are successful, you may succeed in getting your costs paid by someone else. However, it is rare for the system of “Assessment” of costs, as it is known, to result in you recovering the full amount of the costs that have been incurred on your behalf. It may also be the case, for example, that the other person may not be capable of paying what they have been ordered to pay. For this reason, responsibility for the payment of our costs remains with you; it will not be possible to postpone payment of our bills in the hope that they will be or should be met by someone else.
In the event of such an assessment taking place we usually employ the services of a specialist Costs Lawyers to prepare bills of costs that require the approval of the Court or the Legal Services Commission. You will be responsible for the fees charged by any Costs Lawyer (unless and until they are paid by your opponent, or you have a Public Funding Certificate) but those fees
will not exceed the charging rate we would levy for the work being done by a solicitor.
If you are successful and the costs of the matter fall to be paid by the other party, we may be able to claim interest on those costs to be paid as from the date on which the Order for costs was made. We will retain this interest insofar as it relates to our charges which have not been asked for and paid on account.
You should also bear in mind that you may be ordered to pay the costs of another party, especially if you are unsuccessful.
Withdrawal from Proceedings - If following the institution of Court proceedings, you decide to discontinue your action you must be aware that unless your withdrawal is acceptable to the other party or parties without costs consequences you may be required to pay all or part of the other party or parties’ legal costs and disbursements.
If the other party is in receipt of Public Funding costs may not be recovered. If you are publicly funded and unsuccessful in your claim an order that you pay the other party’s costs can be made against you even though our own costs will be covered by Public Funding.
Clients must be aware that the primary liability for costs incurred with us is that of the client even in a case where it is expected that an order for costs will be obtained against another party. Further, the costs of seeking to enforce any such order for costs against another party have to be met by the client.
Enforcement Proceedings – If, following successful litigation, the party charged with paying damages and/or costs fails to pay either in full or in part then the costs of all necessary enforcement proceedings are a separate issue and are to be funded appropriately. You may not recover all of the ordered damages or costs or the costs of enforcement.
Part 36 Offer – If, in the course of proceedings, a Defendant makes an offer to settle or a payment in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules the Claimant must be aware that to continue the action beyond that point in the hope of succeeding in a greater sum may have adverse costs consequences if the eventual order is for a smaller sum or the same sum as set out in the offer or paid into Court.
Costs Orders are a complex subject that we will be able to explain to you in greater detail if you wish.
Criminal Cases: If all of the allegations against you are successfully defended, the court has a discretion to order that your costs are paid from central funds. This may mean that some of your legal costs would be reimbursed by the court. Please note that if you are unsuccessful, the court has a power to order that you pay some of all of the costs incurred by the Crown in bringing the prosecution.
11. HOURS OF BUSINESS
The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9am and 5pm on weekdays. Appointments can be arranged at other times (Evenings and Weekends) by mutual appointment.
In this Agreement the term “working day” excludes Bank Holidays or other statutory holidays.
12. CREDIT CARD AND DEBIT CARD PAYMENTS
Where you make payment by credit card this results in payment processing charges which are levied by our payment processing bank. The costs associated with credit/debit cards is in the range 1.4% plus 20p to 2.9% plus 20p dependant on the type of credit card you pay with. We will charge a fee on top of any monies taken by credit/debit card as your contribution to the costs of credit card payment processing fees. There are no charges for bank transfers.
13. YOUR DOCUMENTS AND DATA
For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1988 we can assure all clients and prospective clients that any information held within ONELAW is for the personal use of ONELAW in carrying out instructions on behalf of the client.
At the end of your case, upon request, we can send your original documents in our file on your matter to you so you can retain them. We can also provide to you or make available for you to collect any copies that are legally yours. Our file of working papers is retained by us following completion of your case, on this basis:
- Our file of working papers and notes, including Court Orders, may be retained by us as a "hardcopy" paper document, or at our sole option converted to and retained in an electronic format only;
- Unless you object to our retaining your personal data and request it be destroyed, we shall retain on our file, free of charge, for a minimum period of 6 years following completion of your case or matter. After the 6 year period our entire file on your matter will be confidentially destroyed;
- We are released from all responsibility for any loss, damage or other injury suffered or claimed as a result of such destruction; and
- That a reasonable charge based on time spent plus VAT will be made in the respect of retrieval, checking correspondence, copying (including if for ourselves) and delivery in the event that you request your file while stored with us.
We aim to give a high quality efficient service. We may need to demonstrate our maintenance of standards to professional bodies and authorities and to other organisations. It is agreed between us that we have your authority to produce your file and other documents and to give information as an exception to our obligations as to confidentiality. It is agreed between us that we may ask other companies or people to do administrative or storage work on our files. Moreover, the Terrorism Act 2000, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulations may require us to report matters to the appropriate authorities as an exception to the normal rules of client confidentiality.
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. For example, you may decide that you cannot give us clear or proper instructions on how to proceed, or you may lose confidence in our work. We may be entitled to keep all your papers and documents whilst monies are owing to us.
16. FUTURE INSTRUCTIONS
Unless otherwise agreed and subject to the application of current hourly rates, or revised Terms & Conditions, these terms and conditions of business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to us.
17. GOVERNING LAW
These Terms and Conditions are governed by and shall be construed in accordance with the Laws of England. Disputes arising hereunder shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the English Courts to which you submit.
The terms of this document are not intended to form the basis of either a “Contentious Business Agreement” or a “Non-Contentious Business Agreement” within the meaning of the Solicitors Act, 1974 or the Solicitors Remuneration Order; 1994 (if they did so, it would restrict your right to challenge the fees charged by us) - although we may separately reach such an agreement with you.
Distance Selling Regulations 2000; It is agreed that you give us your permission to start work on your behalf immediately and agree that by so doing you lose the right to cancel that would otherwise apply. It is agreed and understood that work which we may be instructed to carry out on your behalf will not necessarily be completed within the 30 day period referred to in these regulations.
It is agreed that where we act for two or more clients we may (unless written instructions are given to the contrary) accept instructions from one of you on behalf of all of you.
This Agreement supersedes any previous agreement between the parties and is made between you the client(s) and us ONELAW, for the time being and/or their successor and until otherwise agreed, shall apply to any future instructions given by you the client(s) to ONELAW.
Your continuing instructions amounts to acceptance of these Terms & Conditions of Business.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service, then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure in our client care letter which was sent to you. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behavior. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If we have not, then you may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ