Our contract with you
Each time you instruct us on a new matter we will send you a letter confirming your instructions and setting out the scope of the work we will carry out for you, our fees and individual contact details. This is called the letter of engagement. These Terms of Business should be read together with the letter of engagement—together they form the contract between us.
If there is any inconsistency between our Terms of Business and the letter of engagement, the letter of engagement will take priority.
Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of the letter of engagement and the Terms of Business.
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter. These Terms of Business are subject to change from time to time and the latest version date is noted at the bottom of the page.
This contract and any dispute or claim arising out of, or in connection with, it, its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of England and Wales.
You can find details of the postal address, telephone number and email address of each office on our contact us page.
Robertsons Legal Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN. The SRA is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society of England and Wales, our professional body. Robertsons Legal Ltd, our solicitors, Registered European Lawyers and Registered Foreign lawyers are governed by Codes of Conduct and other professional rules, which you can access on the SRA’s website (www.sra.org.uk) or by calling 0370 606 2555. Our SRA authorisation number is 625915. All services provided by Robertsons Legal Ltd are regulated by the SRA.
Where we say ‘you’ or ‘your’ in these Terms of Business, we mean the client identified in the letter of engagement and anyone authorised to give instructions on that client’s behalf.
Our responsibilities and your responsibilities
|What you can expect of us||What we expect of you|
|Treat you fairly and with respect Communicate with you in plain language Review your matter regularly Advise you of any changes in the law that affect your matter Advise you of any reasonably foreseeable circumstances and risks that could affect the outcome of your matter||Provide documents when we ask for them and respond promptly when we ask for instructions or information Notify us if your contact details change Tell us immediately if your expectations change or if you are not sure you understand what we have discussed Inform us of any time limits or objectives that might not be obvious to us Notify us immediately if you receive any email or other communication purporting to be from the firm stating that we have changed our bank details or payment arrangements. Let us know about any other changes that may affect the way we deal with your matter|
Scope of our legal services
We will not advise on surveying, valuation, commercial viability, trading, or marketability issues. We only advise on tax when we have expressly agreed in writing to do so. Except as described at the financial services section, we do not provide financial services or advice.
- are for use only in connection with the specific matter on which we are instructed, can only be relied on by you; and
- reflect the law in force at the relevant time.
We are normally open between 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday
We will update you at appropriate intervals on the likely timescale for each stage of your matter and any important changes in those estimates. Whenever there is a material change in circumstances associated with your matter, we will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks.
We will update you on the cost of your matter at the intervals set out in the letter of engagement. If appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
We are committed to acting in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
Our liability to you
Your contract is solely with Robertsons Legal Ltd which has sole legal liability for the work done for you and for any act or omission in the course of that work. No representative, director, officer, employee, agent or consultant of Robertsons Legal Ltd, will have any personal legal liability for any loss or claim.
- we do not owe, nor do we accept, any duty to any person other than you; and
- we do not accept any liability or responsibility for any consequences arising from reliance upon our advice by any person other than you.
- We are not responsible for any failure to advise or comment on matters falling outside the scope of our instructions, as set out in these Terms of Business and the letter of engagement.
- Our maximum liability to you (or any other party we have agreed may rely on our services) in relation to any single matter or any group of connected matters which may be aggregated by our insurers will be £5million including interest and costs unless we expressly state a different figure in the letter of engagement.
- losses that were not foreseeable to you and us when this contract was formed;
- losses not caused by any breach on the part of the firm; and
- business losses, including losses sustained by any individual not acting for purposes of their trade, business, craft or profession.
- death or personal injury caused by our negligence;
- fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation;
- any losses caused by wilful misconduct or dishonesty
- any other losses which cannot be excluded or limited by applicable law;
Our charges and billing
Our bills become due for payment within 14 days. We may charge interest on overdue bills at 4% above the base rate of Barclays Bank from time to time. A fee of £35 will be payable if a cheque is returned by the bank as “unpaid” or “refer to drawer”.
Please inform us if you would like a third party to be responsible for paying our bills or any part of them. We must approve this in advance, and we will need the party’s name, contact details and any other information or identification documents we request. It is your responsibility to pay our bills even if someone else has agreed to pay some or all of them and our bills will still be addressed to you. If someone else does pay some of our bills, you are responsible for paying the rest.
We may cease acting for you if an interim bill remains unpaid after 1 month of it becoming due or if our reasonable request of a payment on account of costs is not met.
You have the right to challenge or complain about our bill. Please see the Complaints section for details of how to complain about our bill.
You have the right to challenge our bill by applying to the court to assess the bill under the Solicitors Act 1974. The usual time limit for applying to the court for an assessment is one month from the date of delivery of the bill.
- you consent to the disclosure of that information;
- disclosure of the information is required or permitted by law; or
- these Terms of Business state otherwise.
Unless you instruct us otherwise, email will be our default method of communication. We deploy a range of information security measures, but we cannot guarantee the security of information or documents sent by email. If you do not wish us to communicate information by email, please let us know.
External organisations such as the Information Commissioner’s Office or Lexcel/ISO auditors and the SRA may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit or quality checks your file and related papers for this purpose. We will require that these external organisations maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited or quality checked.
Conflicts of Interests
Before accepting any instructions, we will determine whether we are able to advise you having regard to any legal or professional regulations relating to conflicts of interest. Similarly, we will not act for another client in relation to the subject matter of the instruction, or a related matter, if this would constitute a conflict of interests, unless we are permitted by legal or professional regulations to do so.
Should an actual or anticipated conflict of interest arise during the retainer, we may be obliged to terminate the retainer with you but reserve the right to continue to advise one of the clients involved subject to any legal or professional restrictions. We will not be liable to you for any losses arising from a termination of the retainer in such circumstances.
Subject to us putting in place any arrangements which we consider necessary to protect your documents or information acquired by us and which are or may be relevant to any instructions for another client, you agree that we may act for that other client without further confirmation from you.
We are under a professional duty to keep your documents and information acquired during any retainer confidential and will not disclose them to any third party outside the company without your consent. You agree that we may disclose your information to other entities within the company and where we are subject to a legal or professional obligation to do so, including to our professional indemnity insurers. You agree that we are not under any obligation to disclose to you or use for your benefit any documents or information in respect of which we owe a duty of confidentiality to any other party.
Privacy and data protection
We use your personal data primarily to provide legal services to you, but also for related purposes such as administration, billing and record keeping and to inform you of our services and events that we think may be of interest to you.
We use third party service providers (including ‘cloud’ service providers) to help us deliver efficient, cost effective legal services. This may include document/information hosting, sharing, transfer, analysis, processing or storage. We ensure all third party service providers operate under service agreements that are consistent with our legal and professional obligations, including in relation to confidentiality, privacy and data protection. If you instruct us to use an alternative provider for storing, sharing or exchanging documents/information, we are not responsible for the security of the data or the provider’s security standards.
We may use your personal data to send you updates (by email, text, telephone or post) about legal developments that might be of interest to you and/or information about our services, promotions or new services. You have the right to opt out of receiving promotional communications at any time, by:
- contacting us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- using the ‘unsubscribe’ link in emails
Banking and related matters
Our client account
Unless agreed otherwise, we hold client money in various accounts with UK banks which are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Changes to our bank details
We will never tell you of changes to important business information, such as bank account details, by email. Please notify us immediately if you receive any email or other communication purporting to be from us stating that we have changed our bank details or payment arrangements.
Payment of interest
- on money we are instructed to hold outside a client account in a manner that does not attract interest, eg cash held in our safe;
- where the amount of interest is less than £30;
- where we agree otherwise, in writing, with the client or third party for whom the money is held
Bank failure and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
We are not liable for any losses you suffer as a result of any bank in which we hold client money being unable to repay depositors in full. You may, however, be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The FSCS is the UK’s statutory fund of last resort for customers of banking institutions. The FSCS can pay compensation up to £85,000 if a banking institution is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it.
The limit is £85,000 per banking institution. If you hold other personal money in the same banking institution as our client accounts, the limit remains £85,000 in total. Some banking institutions have several brands. The compensation limit is £85,000 per institution, not per brand.
The FSCS also provides up to £1m of short-term protection for certain high balances, eg relating to property transactions, inheritance, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, unfair dismissal, redundancy, and personal injury compensation (there is no financial limit on protection for personal injury compensation). This is called the temporary high balance scheme and, if it applies, protection lasts for a maximum of six months.
The FSCS (including the temporary high balance scheme) will apply to qualifying balances held in our client account. In the unlikely event of a deposit-taking institution failure, we will presume (unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary) we have your consent to disclose necessary client details to the FSCS.
More information about the FSCS can be found at www.fscs.org.uk.
Receiving and paying funds
Our policy is to only accept up to £500 cash in total per matter that we are instructed upon. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds and this could also cause delays.
Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
To comply with anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing requirements, we are likely to ask you for proof of your identity and may conduct searches or enquiries for this purpose. We may also be required to identify and verify the identity of other persons such as directors or beneficial owners. If you or they do not provide us with the required information promptly, your matter may be delayed.
We may ask you to confirm the source of any money you have sent us or will send us. If you do not provide us with that information promptly, your matter may be delayed or we may be unable to continue to act for you.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, we may be required by law to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where we know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
Subject to Our liability to you section, we shall not be liable for any loss arising from or connected with our compliance with any statutory obligation which we may have, or reasonable belief we may have, to report matters to the relevant authorities under the provisions of the money laundering and/or terrorist financing legislation.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance distribution 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. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to consumer credit services. However, because we are regulated by the SRA, we may be able to provide certain limited consumer credit services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are members of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
We are also not authorised by the FCA to provide investment advice services. If you need advice on investments, we may refer you to someone who is authorised by the FCA to provide the necessary advice. However, because we are regulated by the SRA, we may be able to provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.
The SRA is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any financial service you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with the SRA or Legal Ombudsman.
Professional indemnity insurance
We have professional indemnity insurance giving cover for claims against us. Details of this insurance, including contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy, are available on request.
It is a condition of our professional indemnity insurance that we notify our insurer and/or broker of any circumstances which may give rise to a claim against us. In doing so, we may disclose documents and information to our insurer, broker and insurance advisers on a confidential basis. Our insurers and brokers are contractually obliged to keep all information we pass to them strictly confidential.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided you should inform us immediately so we can do our best to resolve the problem.
We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time, you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This applies if you are an individual, a business with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding a certain threshold, a charity or trust with a net income of less than £1m, or if you fall within certain other categories (you can find out more from the Legal Ombudsman). The Legal Ombudsman will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your matter.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. 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, or within six years of the act or omission you are complaining about (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).
The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
- Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333 (between 9am and 5pm)
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. 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.
The SRA’s website (www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor) contains information raising concerns about solicitors and law firms.
Terminating your instructions
We will only decide to stop acting for you with good reason, eg where we feel that the relationship has broken down, if you do not pay a bill within one month of it becoming due, if you provide us with misleading information, or if you act in an abusive or offensive manner. We will give you reasonable notice before we stop acting for you.
If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, we will charge you for the work we have done and, where appropriate, for transferring the matter to another adviser if you so request. This will be calculated on the basis set out in the letter of engagement.
Notice of right to cancel
If our contract with you has been made:
- during a visit by us to your home or place of work (or the home of another person);
- during an excursion organised by us away from our business premises;
- after an offer made by you during such a visit or excursion;
- it is concluded on your business premises or through any means of distance communication immediately after you were personally and individually addressed in a place which is not your business premises; or
- the contract was made by one or more means of distance communication up to and including the time to which the contract is concluded
then this is an agreement to which the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 may apply. If so, you will have the right to cancel.
Right to cancel
You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason.
The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (eg a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail). You can use the Cancellation Form, but it is not obligatory.
Our contact details, to inform us of your decision to cancel, are: Robertsons Solicitors, 6 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3RS, Tel: 029 20237777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
Effects of cancellation
If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you including the unless you asked us to start work during the cancellation period (see below ‘Asking us to start work during the cancellation period’).
We will make the reimbursement:
without undue delay and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement
Asking us to start work during the cancellation period
We will not start work during the cancellation period unless you expressly request us to.
In most cases, if you ask us to start work during the cancellation period, you will not lose your right to cancel. If you subsequently cancel during the cancellation period we can charge you for the work we have done on a pro-rata basis. This will be an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed, until you told us you wished to cancel, in comparison with the full coverage of the contract.
You will, however, lose the right to cancel and will have to pay in full once the contract had been fully performed (ie. we complete the work) even if this happens within the cancellation period.
Storage and retrieval of files
We normally store client files (except any of your papers you ask to be returned to you) for six years after we send you our final bill. Unless you instruct us to the contrary, we may destroy paper documents and scan them onto our system to be stored electronically. We store the file on the understanding that we may destroy it after six years. We will not destroy original documents such as wills, deeds and other securities which we have agreed to hold in safe custody but we may, on reasonable notice, send them to you for safekeeping.
We will not charge for this storage or charge an annual fee for storing original documents in safe custody, eg wills and title deeds unless otherwise stated in the letter of engagement.
- time spent retrieving the file and producing it to you;
- reading, correspondence, or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved file; and/or
- providing additional copies of any documents.
We will provide you with an electronic copy of the file unless it is inappropriate to do so.
Where we act for two or more clients jointly, it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instruction from either, both or any of you. If we act on behalf of a company then, unless otherwise instructed, we will act on the basis that all of your employees, directors and officers who give us instructions are authorised to do so and that we may act on oral instructions.
Version 14 – Updated 01.11.2021