Terms & Conditions of Business

1. PARTNERS

1.1 The term “Partner”, if used, denotes a member of Levi Solicitors or an employee or consultant of Levi Solicitors with equivalent standing and qualifications.  

2. CHARGES

2.1  Our costs are calculated by reference to the rates of the legal personnel who deal with the matter. Hourly rates vary according to the seniority and experience of the legal personnel. Other factors may also be taken into account, including the complexity, urgency and value of the matter, and an additional sum may be added. Time spent on your affairs will include meetings with you and perhaps others; preparing and working on papers; research; correspondence (including emails); making and receiving telephone calls; and travelling.

2.2  Routine letters that we write and receive, routine telephone calls that we make and receive and routine emails that we send and receive will be charged as units of 1/10th of an hour i.e. 6 minutes. Other letters, calls and emails will be charged on a time spent basis.

2.3  Our rates are reviewed annually to take into account changes in our overhead costs and we will notify you of such changes. We will also notify you of any change in the status of legal personnel which affects their hourly rate. VAT will be added at the rate which applies when the work is done. All estimates or quotations given by us are exclusive of VAT.

2.4  If we have provided to you a written estimate of the total charges, it is given only as a guide to assist you in budgeting and should not be regarded as a fixed quotation unless otherwise agreed in writing. We will update any such estimate from time to time, and at least every six months. We will also inform you if any unforeseen but significant additional work becomes necessary (for example, due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances significantly change during the course of the matter). We will inform you in writing before any significant extra costs or expenses are incurred.

2.5  You may set a limit on the costs to be incurred. This means that you must pay those incurred up to the agreed limit without our needing to refer back

to you. We will inform you as soon as it appears that the limit may be exceeded and we will not exceed the limit without first obtaining your consent. If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will charge you for the work done and expenses incurred.

2.6 It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the costs which are expected in the following weeks or months. This helps to avoid delay in the progress of the case. Full details of the payments required on account of charges will be incorporated in the letter sent with the terms of business. We may request further payments on account for costs to be incurred as the matter progresses. When we put these payments towards your bills, we will send you a receipted bill. We will also utilise any monies recovered on your behalf against our outstanding costs. For Example, if we recover any damages or compensation for your this will be used to discharge any fees owing to us. For further information, please refer to our costs information sheet. We will offset any such payment against your final bill, but it is important that you understand that your total costs may be greater than any advance payment.

2.7 As a part of our obligations under Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime legislation, we must undertake due diligence in establishing the identity of our clients at an early stage. We are now able to conduct address identification checks by electronic methods and in order to ensure compliance with these obligations it is now our firm- wide policy to carry out all address ID checks in this manner.

2.8 These searches may be made with a credit reference or Fraud Prevention Agency, including information from the Electoral Roll. The agencies will record the details of the search whether or not your application proceeds. Other lenders may share these searches in order to prevent fraud. Scoring methods may be used as part of this process.

2.9 The cost of this procedure is £10.00 plus VAT per person.

3. MONEY RECEIVED FROM YOU

3.1 Our client engagement letter will provide our bank details. These will not change. Be alert for fraudsters pretending to be Levi Solicitors LLP and providing false bank details. Always refer to the Version April 2019 original client engagement letter for the correct bank details and telephone a verified number if in doubt. We will not be liable if you send monies to an account which is not ours.

4. COMMUNICATIONS

4.1 We will communicate with you at the postal and email addresses and using the telephone and fax numbers which we are aware of unless you ask us to use other addresses and numbers.

4.2  You will notify us if you regard any communications from us as particularly confidential, and the means by which you require us to make such communications, and we will have no liability to you arising from your failure so to notify us.

4.3  All communications will be sent in a sufficiently secure manner and we will take all reasonable steps to ensure confidential information is handled securely. We shall not be responsible for any loss or damage arising from the unauthorised interception, redirection, copying or reading of any email, including any attachment.

5. EXPENSES

5.1  By appointing us to act on your behalf you also authorise us to incur such expenses and disbursements as we consider necessary.

5.2  These will be provided to you at cost. VAT will be added to those expenses and disbursements which are liable to VAT. We will consult with you before incurring any significant expenses and disbursements.

5.3  Examples of expenses and disbursements which we may have to pay on your behalf include Land Registry search and registration fees, stamp duty, Counsel’s and other experts’ fees.

5.4  We reserve the right to charge expenses of travel, accommodation and meals while travelling away from the office and also for photocopying costs incurred on your behalf.

-the cleared funds exceed £20,000 and are held for more than 1 week.

Unless the amount calculated is £20 or less and/or there is a written agreement to contract out of payment of interest.

6. BILLING ARRANGEMENTS

6.1  We will be entitled to send you an interim bill for our costs on a monthly basis unless otherwise agreed with you, and while the work is in progress. We will send you a final bill after completion of the work.

6.2  Accounts when rendered and requests for payment on account generally should be settled within 7 days. If accounts or requests for payment

on account are not paid within 7 days, we reserve the right to do no further work on your behalf until payment is received and to charge interest on overdue accounts at 4% above Royal Bank of Scotland base rate for the time being in force. If you have any queries about your bill you should contact the fee earner straightaway.

6.3 Due to changes in legislation regarding credit card/debit card charges we are only able to accept credit card payments up to a maximum of £1,000.00 per file, and debit card payments of up to a maximum of £5,000.00 per file.

6.4   If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to, or accordance with, your instructions, we will not normally charge for such retrieval.

7. POLICY ON THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST

7.1 In accordance with the SRA Accounts Rules, client monies are held in an instant access account for immediate availability unless you instruct (or circumstances clearly indicate) otherwise and it is practicable to hold funds without instant access.

7.2 We account to you for gross interest (which should be declared to HMRC) when Guidance to the SRA Accounts Rules indicates that it is fair and reasonable to do so, that is: at the conclusion of the matter for interest on cleared funds held in our instant access client account if,

-the cleared funds exceed £1000 and are held for more than 8 weeks
-the cleared funds exceed £2000 and are held for more than 4 weeks

-the cleared funds exceed £10,000 and are held for more than 2 weeks
-the cleared funds exceed £20,000 and are held for more than 1 week.

unless the amount calculated is £20 or less and/or there is a written agreement to contract out of payment of interest.

8. STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS

8.1 After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all of your documents while there is still money owing on your account.

8.2 We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers created before the retainer, which you ask to be returned to you) for no more than seven years in secure storage either as a physical file or scanned and kept as PDF documents. We keep the file on the understanding that we have the authority to destroy it seven years after the final bill we send you for this matter (or 7 years from closure). We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

8.3  As a contribution to the costs associated with storage of papers relating to your matters, we make a charge of £35 plus VAT.

8.4  If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to, or accordance with, your instructions, we will not normally charge for such retrieval

9. TERMINATION

9.1  You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owing on the account.

9.2  In some circumstances we may consider we ought to stop acting for you, for example if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work. We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with our requests for a payment on account. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. If you or we decide that we will no longer act for you, you will have to pay our charges and expenses as set out earlier.

10. INDEMNITY COVER

10.1 We carry Professional Indemnity Insurance, which means we are covered for claims arising out of your matter, and you are protected by comprehensive professional indemnity arrangements to the limit of our cover, details of which can be supplied on request.

11.REGULATIONS AFFECTING YOUR CANCELLATION RIGHTS

11.1This paragraph only applies to consumers (i.e. individuals) and only to private matters (i.e. not associated with your trade of profession.

11.2 The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional charges) Regulations 2013 means that you have the right to cancel this contract if: (a) this contract is a distance contract i.e. a contract concluded under an organised distance service-provision scheme solely by distance communication and we have not met with you before the contract is concluded, or (b) this contract is an off-premises contract i.e. a contract concluded away from our offices (e.g. at your home), or, in limited circumstances, a contract concluded at our offices after meeting with you away from our offices. If our contract is an ‘on-

premises’ contract, you do not have the right to cancel.

11.3 If the right to cancel applies, you have the right to cancel this contract, without giving any reason, within 14 days of the date of the letter or email attaching this contract. To do so, you can let us know by your clear statement via post, fax or email. If you prefer, you can download, print and send us the cancellation notice from our website. To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient that you send your cancellation notice before the end of the 14-day period. If our services have concluded before the end of the cancellation period, your right to cancel will be lost.

11.4 If you cancel this contract we will, without charge and within 14 days of you telling us, reimburse funds received from you, but only to the extent that they have not already been paid out on your behalf as instructed. Work cannot commence on a matter to which the right to cancel applies within the cancellation period, unless you make an express request. If you requested to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, you shall pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed, until you have communicated to us your cancellation from this contract, in comparison with the full coverage of this contract.

12. DATA PROTECTION

12.1 We, as a data controller, are bound by the requirements of General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018. Our lawful bases for obtaining, using, processing and disclosing your personal data are: Performance of a contract to which the data subject is party, or steps prior to entering into a contract at the request of the data subject and Compliance with a legal obligation the controller is bound to comply with and Legitimate commercial interests. Our purpose in holding and processing your personal data include: to enable us to discharge the services which we have agreed to provide, updating client records, analysis for management purposes, legal and regulatory compliance, and marketing of our services in ways you would reasonably expect, and which have a minimal privacy impact.

12.2 You also have rights under the law, free of charge (except in limited circumstances), to

(a) Find out the personal information we hold on you by making a ‘subject access request’

(b)  Rectification of your personal data if it is inaccurate or incomplete.

(c)  Portability (transfer) of your personal data to you in machine-readable form.

(d)  Erasure; if you object to us continuing to process your personal data, and the processing can no longer be justified. We can refuse if the data is being held or processed in connection with any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings; and, in order to establish, exercise or defend the Firm’s legal rights.

Please make your request in writing, to Janet Babington, Levi Solicitors LLP, 33 St Paul’s Street, Leeds LS1 2JJ, or by
email janet@levisolicitors.co.uk.

Please refer to the Privacy Notice on our website

You have the right to object to our direct marketing at any time, by emailing: unsubscribe@levisolicitors.co.uk, or by clicking the box on the Privacy Notice on our website, or by notifying the fee earner responsible for your matter by post/telephone/in person.

13. CONFIDENTIALITY AND CONFLICTS

13.1 Subject to paragraph “Our Standards” all information regarding your business and affairs will be kept confidential at all times and not disclosed by us to any other person without your permission except as required by law. We may however make public the fact that we act on your behalf.

13.2 Please note that we may use external service providers for administrative activities such as telephone call handling. By signing and returning our engagement letter and/or continuing to instruct us, you give your consent to such providers having such access to the confidential information you provide to us to enable them to provide their services to us.

14. OUR STANDARDS

14.1 This firm is committed to best practice in providing our clients with a quality service and, as proof of this commitment the firm holds the Law Society Quality Marks in: Legal Practice Management and Client Care; Conveyancing; Immigration & Asylum;

and, Immigration Law Advanced. This means that periodic assessments of our files by external assessors are required. All such assessors are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as we are. In order for the assessors to determine that we are consistently following our quality procedures, they will need to look at a random selection of our files. Our lawful basis for allowing inspection of your file(s) by such external assessors is: Compliance with a legal obligation the controller is bound to comply with, and Legitimate Commercial interests.

 

15. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

15.1 We aim to provide an excellent service but in the event you are unhappy please contact our Complaints Partner at our Leeds office telephone 0113 244 9931. You have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of our written response (extended time limits of 3 or 6 years may apply in certain circumstances):-

Tel: 0300-555-0333;
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk;

Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

16. REFERRALS TO THIRD PARTIES

16.1 If we recommend that you use a particular firm, agency or business, we shall do so in good faith and because we believe it to be in your best interest. If were commend that you use a particular firm, agency or business that we are aware only offer products from one source, we shall notify you in writing of this limitation. If we have any financial or other interest in referring you to another person or business we will inform you of this in writing. We do not receive prohibited referral fees.

16.2 If we recommend that you use a particular firm, agency or business, we shall not be liable to you for any advice you may be given by that firm, agency or business and you are advised that if that firm, agency or business is not another firm of solicitors you will not be afforded the regulatory protection of the Solicitors Regulation Authority or of the SRA Code of Conduct and Solicitors Indemnity Insurance Rules, nor shall you be entitled to the benefit of the Solicitors’ Compensation Fund.

17. REFERRALS FROM THIRD PARTIES

17.1  If your matter has been referred to us by a non- lawyer third party, such as a claims management company we shall inform you in our Engagement Letter if we have a financial arrangement with that third party and shall disclose to you the amount of any payment we make to that third party to thank them for referring you to us. We do not pay prohibited referral fees.

17.2  If we receive a financial benefit as a result of acting for you, we will tell you of the amount in our terms of engagement letter, and will only be able to retain it if you signal consent by signing and returning our terms of engagement letter. If the third party is paying us to provide services to you, we shall disclose to you the amount the third party is paying us to provide those services to you and, if applicable, the amount you are required to pay the third party.

17.3  If you have been referred to us by a third party, we confirm that any advice we give you will be independent and that you are free to raise questions on all aspects of your claim, and we further confirm that information disclosed to us by you will not be disclosed to the introducer unless you expressly consent to any such disclosure.

17.4  If we are acting for the third party who referred you to us in the same matter and a conflict of interests arises between you and the third party, we might be obliged to cease acting for you.

18. UNDERTAKINGS

18.1 No verbal or written representation by a member of the firm shall amount to an undertaking unless it is in writing and specifically termed an undertaking.

19. FINANCIAL SERVICES

19.1 Although the firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) we are included on the register maintained by the FCA in order that we may carry out insurance mediation activity, which is advising on selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business includes arrangements for complaints and redress if something goes wrong and is regulated by The Law Society. You can access the FCA website at http://www. register.fca.org.uk/.

20. LIABILITY FOR COSTS AND EXPENSES

20.1 You are primarily responsible for paying our costs and expenses even if you have entered into an agreement for another party to pay or share them.

20.2 If our instructions in relation to a matter are received from more than one party, each party for whom we are acting will be separately responsible for payment of the whole of our costs and expenses.

21. LIABILITY

21.1 We acknowledge that we will be liable to you for losses, damages, costs and expenses including interest (“Losses”) caused by our negligence or the negligence of our employees, subject to the following provisions:

21.2 We shall have no other liability of any nature, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, for any Losses whatsoever and howsoever caused, arising from or in any way connected with the matter.

21.3 Furthermore by agreeing into these terms and conditions you agree that any such claim, negligence or breach of contract shall be against Levi Solicitors LLP and not any individual member or employee.

21.4 We shall not be liable if such Losses are due to the provision of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation or if and to the extent such Losses are due to any act or omission of any person other than us.

21.5 Unless otherwise agreed between us in writing, our aggregate liability, whether to you or any third party, of whatever nature, whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise, for any Losses whatsoever and howsoever caused arising from or in any way connected with the matter shall not exceed £3,000,000.

21.6 Nothing in these provisions shall exclude or restrict any liability arising from fraud or dishonesty or any other liability which by law cannot be excluded or restricted.

22. THIRD PARTY RIGHTS

22.1 It is agreed between us that the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 does not apply to the terms of our engagement or any subsequent amendment to it unless expressly confirmed in writing by us that the said Act does apply.

23. CONSUMER PROTECTION

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations prohibit unfair commercial practices and misleading acts and omissions. Neither you, nor we, must mislead a buyer or tenant, either by providing incorrect or ambiguous information, or by omitting to provide material information about the property you are selling. You must disclose to us any known defects and other material adverse matters relating to the property which are known to you; failure to do so may give the buyer or tenant rights of redress against you, including the right to unwind the transaction and damages.

24. GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION

24.1  The agreement between us shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law.

24.2  The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute which may arise between us. To this end you and we irrevocably agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts. Judgement in any action brought in the English courts may be enforced in the courts of any other jurisdiction.

25. AGREEMENT

25.1 Unless otherwise agreed, these terms of business apply to any future instructions you give us.

25.2Your continuing instruction in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business. Even so, you will be asked to sign and date the letter of instruction accompanying these terms and return the same to us immediately. We can then be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you.

25.3 This is an important document. Please keep it in a safe place for future reference.

25.4 Finally, your prompt help and assistance is essential during the progress of this matter by supplying instructions quickly and answering our correspondence immediately. Otherwise under the new court rules cost penalties are imposed where there is delay, or a failure to adopt the court’s over-riding objectives, including openness and co-operation between the parties.