Terms of Business
We are not authorised by the Financial Services and Markets Act nor are we regulated by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included in 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. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society's representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.
We can provide investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide. If we consider you need investment advice but we are unable to provide it, we can refer you to an expert who is authorized by the FSA to provide you with that advice. You are, however, entirely free to obtain advice from any other party if you prefer not to consult the party to whom we refer you.
If you ask us to dispose of shares or other investments then we will act in accordance with those instructions but we are unable to provide any advice whatsoever as to whether or not you should dispose of any such investments and you must seek advice from an expert who is authorised by the FSA.
However remote, there is a risk that any of the UK banks with whom we lodge clients' money (Lloyds TSB Bank Plc, National Westminster Bank Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc) could experience liquidity problems or fail.
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme ("FSCS") covers deposits belonging to clients who are individuals or small businesses up to £85,000 per client, per authorised deposit-taking institution. If besides moneys lodged through us, you have other funds deposited with such an institution, the limit of £85,000 will apply to the aggregate of the moneys lodged through us and your other funds. You should bear in mind that some deposit-taking institutions have several brands under which they trade. You should check with your bank, the Financial Services Authority or an Independent Financial Adviser for more information.
- We will not be liable to you in the event of your suffering loss through the failure of a UK Clearing Bank with which we have deposited funds on your behalf.
- In the event of the failure of a bank and a claim being made under the FSCS, then, subject to your prior written consent, we will provide certain client information to FSCS to help them identify you as a client and the amount in our client account to which you are entitled. If you do not authorise us to identify you to the FSCS as a client, you will not be able to receive compensation from FSCS.
- We may need to seek additional funds from you, according to the proportion of the total funds held in a failed bank, if we are to complete transactions for you before you receive compensation from FSCS.
In the course of our services it will be necessary to hold and process clients' personal data in paper form and electronically. We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of 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
We confirm that the data will be held and processed in accordance with the requirements of The Data Protection Act 1998 and our duties under The Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007. You may view a copy of the Code of Conduct on the SRA website at www.sra.org.uk. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data we hold about you.
STORAGE OF DOCUMENTS & VETTING OF FILES AND CONFIDENTIALITY
After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
We will keep our file of your papers for the period set out in the form of engagement, except those papers that you asked to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them upon the expiry of such period following the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you both for:
- Time spent producing stored papers that are requested.
- Reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.
The volume of papers and files we hold necessitates our outsourcing the storage of older files. In order to minimise any possible risk to client confidentiality we use only reputable well established archiving companies with whom we have a confidentiality agreement. If you do not want your file archived in this way please tell us as soon as possible. All deeds are archived in the firm's strong room on site.
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. However you have the right to opt out of having your files vetted by external firms or organisations and if you wish to exercise the right please let us know.
We occasionally have third parties carrying out work for us (such as our IT Consultants, Software Consultants and our contract temps). We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers.
DISTANCE SELLING REGULATIONS
Where your instructions are given to us other than by face to face contact, the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 (DSR) apply. The information we are required to give you by the DSR is contained in these terms of business and in our letter confirming to you the scope of our instructions. In addition, please note the following:
- Where the DSR apply you have the right to cancel your contract with us within 7 working days, counting from the day after we receive your signed form of engagement. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by post or by fax to our office 01722 411822.
- The DSR provide that where you agree to the service starting before the expiry of the cancellation period, your cancellation rights cease once performance of the service has begun. Our standard form of engagement includes a statement that you agree to the service starting at once.
- Paragraph 19 of the DSR provides that a contract for services must be carried out within 30 days unless the parties otherwise agree. In many cases, the nature of legal services makes such a time limit unrealistic. For this reason, you agree that paragraph 19 of the DSR is expressly excluded.
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the Law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh Courts.
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