Road Traffic Accident Claim Terms and Conditions (BTE)

Before the Event Insurance (BTE)

Introduction

Thank-you for instructing us to deal with your case. You should already have received our Welcome Pack. We are solicitors and are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). We need to set out certain information about our services, which we do below.

Person Handling your Case / Meet the Team

The covering letter sent with your Welcome Pack sets out the name and status of the person responsible for handling the initial stages of your case and the name and status of the person responsible for overall supervision. We operate on a team basis with certain members of the team working on different stages of your case so we can deliver the best and most cost-effective service to you.

Client Care Standards and Our Obligations

Our normal office hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. We operate a flexible system of working which allows our staff to start work between 8.30 & 9.30 am and finish between 4.30 & 5.00pm.

It is important that you quote the reference in all correspondence and have it available when contacting us.

Our Obligations - We must:

  • Treat you fairly
  • We will contact you to update you with progress on your matter when there are material developments in your case
  • Act in your best interests
  • Take account of your needs and circumstances
  • Explain to you the risks and benefits of taking legal action
  • Give you our best advice about whether to accept any offer of settlement
  • Comply with our professional obligations as solicitors

The main steps we will take and the likely timescales are set out under the section “Steps in a typical case” below.

Our Service Standards – We will:

  • Return all calls on the same date if possible
  • Respond to your correspondence and emails within 5 working days of receipt unless we advise you otherwise
  • Acknowledge your emails within 1 working day
  • Provide appointments to see us (where requested and necessary) without any undue delay
  • Contact you within 10 working days of receipt of your completed questionnaire to confirm our initial assessment of the prospects of success of recovering damages/obtaining a remedy for you. We will advise the next steps that will be taken to further investigate/pursue your case together with approximate timescales
  • Following the expiry of the Personal Injury Protocol period and/or receipt of the medical evidence we will provide an early assessment of your case which will include the likely prospects of success, the duration and the approximate level of damages recoverable
  • Update you at regular intervals

If your case is likely to be subject to fixed costs (see under “Proportionality, fixed costs and co-operating with us” below) the service standards set out in this section do not apply. We will limit our communications with you only to those, which are necessary to progress your claim as quickly and cost effectively as possible, and will only contact you when there are material developments.

Our obligations are subject to our duty to the court and our professional duties.

Your Obligations

You must:

  • Give us instructions that allow us to do our work properly
  • Not ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way
  • Not mislead us
  • Co-operate with us
  • Go to any appointment, meeting, mediation, court hearing or other appointment we ask you to attend
  • Give us any documents, information or other evidence that we ask for when we ask for them
  • Preserve all documents (including electronic documents) which might be needed for the proceedings (this includes documents which might help your case and documents which might help your opponent’s case)
  • Make sure that we can always contact you and that you provide us with up to date contact details for you if these change
  • Not try to reach any settlement or agreement directly with your opponent or contact them whilst we are instructed
  • Not to anything which would prejudice your claim (including making a settlement in any related proceedings) without our authority
  • Permit us to issue Court proceedings if we believe that issuing Court proceedings is necessary to resolve your case
  • Not exaggerate your case or instruct us to claim sums which cannot be justified by clear evidence
  • Not put any information or material into the public domain (particularly on social networking sites) which may affect your case
  • At all times act proportionately and in accordance with the section on “Proportionality, fixed costs and co-operating with us” below

Your Objective

Your objective, as we understand it, is to recover the best level of compensation for you and to secure funding for appropriate treatment or rehabilitation that you may require for your injuries. If you have other objectives please inform us.

Steps in a Typical Case

It is not possible to give an accurate estimate of how long your case will take to reach a satisfactory conclusion. The main factors which determine the length of your case are: the nature of your injuries and how long it takes you to recover from your injuries (we cannot advise on settlement until we are certain enough of your prognosis) the approach taken by your opponent and their insurers whether or not liability (fault for the accident) is seriously in disputed the particular medical expert disciplines required whether you need any treatment. The timescales set out below and estimates are indicative only:

Pre-action Stage

This can include:

  • Taking instructions from you, collating evidence and identifying insurers
  • Submitting a Claims Notification Form or formal protocol letter of claim (depending on type of case)
  • Seeking documents from the Defendant by pre-action disclosure (in appropriate cases)
  • Considering the Defendant’s response (or lack of response) and gathering evidence to deal with any issues raised
  • Instructing medical experts and obtaining medical evidence
  • Advising you about whether to make an offer to settle
  • Considering any Part 36 offers to settle made by the opponent
  • Usually 3-6 months (assuming only 1 medical report required)
  • Estimate of basic charges (£3-8,000)

Court Proceedings Stage

This can include:

  • Advising you on merits of issuing of proceedings
  • Drafting the proceedings for issue
  • Considering the Opponent’s Defence (the formal response to proceedings) if filed
  • Setting the directions required to resolve your case with the Court (Directions Questionnaire)
  • Attending any Case Management Conferences which may be necessary
  • Disclosing documents and considering the Opponent’s Disclosure
  • Drafting witness statements of any witnesses of fact
  • Obtaining expert witness evidence, putting questions to experts, considering the Opponent’s expert witness evidence (if any) and arranging joint discussions between experts (if necessary)
  • Complying with any specific directions given by the Court
  • Considering and advising on offers made or received (Part 36 or otherwise)
  • Preparing for trial
  • Instructing a barrister
  • The trial itself
  • Settlement can take place (if both parties can reach an agreement) at any time before or after proceedings and up to the start of the trial itself
  • Usually 6-24 months from date of issue of proceedings
  • Estimate of basic charges £5-20,000 (from date of issue of proceedings)

Indicative Overall Timescales

Where the other party’s insurer is known from the date of the accident, liability is known from the date of the accident and is not in dispute and your injury is relatively minor: 6–8 months from the date we are instructed.

Where the other party’s insurer is known from the date of the accident, liability is not in dispute and your injury is more serious: 15 months - 2 years but more serious injuries can take even longer to resolve.

Where the other party’s insurer is known from the date of the accident, liability is in dispute but the injury is minor: 12-14 months.

Where the other party’s insurer is not known at the outset it can take a considerable time to ascertain this information. It will assist if you make your own investigations and provide us with the information as soon as possible.

The guidelines require your commitment in promptly responding to our letters and providing requested evidence in support of your claim without delay.

Estimates of basic costs are indicative only and exclude VAT and disbursements. If Court proceedings are required we will then know your Opponent’s position and give a more accurate estimate. If the case is allocated to the multi-track we will set a budget for your case.

If your case involves personal injury in England and Wales, Legal Proceedings must be issued within 3 years of the accident date if your case has not settled by that stage. Failure to do so will result in your case being statute barred (ie. you cannot pursue it unless the Court gives permission in very limited circumstances).

If you are in receipt of State Benefits (Means Tested)

If you are in receipt of means-tested benefits or may become entitled in the future, these benefits may be affected by the damages you receive. If you think you will be affected, please either contact your benefits advisor or contact us so that we can put you in touch with someone to give you advice on this.

Before the Event Insurance

You have told us that you have the benefit of a policy of Before the Event insurance. This will cover the costs of the claim subject to the terms of the policy.

Basic Charges

These are for work done from the date of our first contact with you until this agreement ends, and are subject to review. They are calculated for each hour engaged on your matter. Routine letters and telephone calls will be charged as units of one tenth of an hour. Other letters and telephone calls will be charged on a time basis. The hourly rates are:

Partners

  • £400 per hour
    Grade A or 1 (Solicitors and Legal Executives with over 8 years' experience after qualification)
  • £300 per hour
    Grade B or 2 (Solicitors and Legal Executives with over four years' experience after qualification)
  • £250 per hour
    Grade C or 3 (Other solicitors, Legal Executives and staff of equivalent experience)
  • £200 per hour
    Grade D or 4 (Trainee Solicitors, Trainee Legal Executives and other staff of equivalent experience)
  • £175 per hour
    We review the hourly rates in January each year and we will notify you of any changes in writing

If the case is one to which fixed costs applies, our basic costs will be the greater of the fixed costs or the costs calculated on the basis set out above.

Disbursements

Disbursements are the payments we make on your behalf such as Court fees, Barrister fees (the barrister may enter into a CFA), Experts’ fees, Accident report fees or Travel expenses.

Estimates of disbursements in a typical personal injury case where damages are under £15,000 are:

  • General practitioner and Hospital Records £50 per set
  • Medical report from a General Practitioner £280 - £400
  • Medical report from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon £465 - £600

If Court proceedings are required Court fees will be payable.

Please note that the above are estimates only. The figures exclude VAT

Procedure on Settlement

You agree to pay into a designated account any cheque received by you or by us from your opponent and made payable to you. Out of the money, you agree to let us take the sums due to us. You take the rest. We are allowed to keep any interest to your opponent pays on costs and disbursements.

Gross Settlements

If your claim includes claims for future losses and your Opponent makes an offer of settlement but refuses to break down the offer, we will set out our best analysis of the breakdown of the settlement between Past and Future Loss so that we can calculate the success fee. We will do so by reference to the other documents prepared in the case and explain our calculation.

It is not possible to be completely accurate in this assessment (for example because there is a range of possible values for general damages and other risk factors may apply to specific parts of your claim). We have a professional duty to treat you fairly and this will apply to our assessment. If you think our analysis of the breakdown is wrong you can ask us to look at it again. If you still think it is wrong you can ask us to instruct an independent barrister to advise on the breakdown. You pay the cost of the barrister as a disbursement. This may be recoverable from the Opponent depending on the type of case and the circumstances of the settlement.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is payable on our charges at 20% or such other rate as may be in force at the relevant time. Our VAT Number is 823 8367 14.

Interim Damages, Interim Hearings, Provisional Damages and Interest

If you receive interim damages, we may require you to pay part of the Success Fee on account. We may also require you to pay our disbursements at that point as well as a reasonable amount for our future disbursements.

If on the way to winning or losing you are awarded any costs, by agreement or by court order, then we are entitled to payment of those costs and to retain these costs whether or not you go on to win your claim. We are allowed to keep any interest your opponent pays on the costs or disbursements.

If you receive provisional damages, we are entitled to payment of our basic charges and disbursements at that point. We are also entitled to payment of the success fee at that point in respect of the provisional damages.

Proportionality, Fixed Costs and Co-operating with Us

The costs, which we can recover from your opponent, are limited by the Court rules to costs, which are and proportionate or, in some cases the costs we can recover from your opponent are fixed.

This means that it is very important that:

  • You give us information promptly when we ask you for information
  • You respond promptly to any correspondence from us
  • You limit your communications with us to those, which are necessary for us to progress your case. There will be times during the case when we have to wait for things to happen which are outside our control and you must be patient. We will tell you when there are material developments
  • You do not ask us to investigate issues or pursue parts of a case which have no reasonable prospect of success or are not supported by clear evidence
  • You agree to let us disclose expert evidence, which has been obtained if we recommend that an expert’s report is disclosed. Experts are independent from us and their duty is to the Court. They have to form their own objective opinion, which you may not always agree with. We cannot tell experts what opinions they should give
  • You give us Authority to deal with the main issues which arise
  • You follow our advice about settling your case
  • You follow our advice about whether to pursue particular parts of your case
  • You follow our advice about tactics to adopt

In turn we will try to limit the Basic Charges to the amount we can recover from your Opponent. If you do not keep to your obligations as set out above we reserve the right to charge the full costs we have incurred even if these exceed the costs recoverable from your Opponent.

Fixed costs cases are generally those cases where the damages are likely to be less than £25,000. In all cases we need to act proportionately.

Qualified One Way Costs Shifting – When might I be liable to pay the Opponent’s Costs

Qualified One Way Costs Shifting (which we refer to as “QOCS”) applies to personal injury cases only. It is designed to limit the circumstances when you might be liable to pay your opponents costs.

The rules themselves are detailed and are set out in the Civil Procedure Rules. They need to be considered in 3 stages

Stage 1 – Has a Costs Order been made Against You?

The circumstances in which you can be ordered to pay your opponents costs are if:

  • You lose your case
  • Your opponent has made a Part 36 offer to settle your claim. If you do not “beat” the offer (ie. recover more than the sum offered) or if you accept it after 21 days has passed you can be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs from the last day the offer was made. We will give you advice if a Part 36 offer is made on what to do
  • You decide to discontinue your case (stop it after Court proceedings have been commenced). If you stop it before Court Proceedings are commenced this does not apply
  • The Court makes an order for costs (the Court has a wide discretion but examples include: where the Court decides that you have won on some issues but not others or that you have unreasonably pursued a particular issue or because of your conduct in the proceedings or at hearing before trial (an interlocutory hearing)

QOCS only needs to be considered if the Court makes an order that you pay your opponents costs.

If the Court doesn’t make a costs order against you then you cannot be liable for the Opponents Costs.

Stage 2 – Have you been Awarded any Damages or Interest?

If you have lost your case (ie. awarded no damages) then unless one of the exceptions at Stage 3 applies then you cannot be ordered to pay any costs to your opponent.

If you have recovered some damages but there is also a costs order made against you (for example where you have failed to beat a Part 36 offer), the maximum you can be ordered to repay is the amount of damages and interest received.

Example 1 – you are awarded £10,000 in damages but fail to beat a Part 36 offer. Your opponent is awarded £3000 costs for the period after the Part 36 offer. Your opponent deducts £3,000 from the damages you have been awarded and pays £7,000 net.

Example 2 - you are awarded £10,000 in damages but fail to beat a Part 36 offer. Your opponent is awarded £15,000 costs for the period after the Part 36 offer. Your opponent does not have to pay you anything (because the £15,000 costs exceed the £10,000 damages) but you do not have to pay any balance to your opponent.

Stage 3 – The Exceptions

Where an exception applies you can be ordered to pay the full costs. The Court will normally hold a hearing to determine whether an exception applies.

The exceptions are:

  • Where the Court finds (on the balance of probabilities) that you have been fundamentally dishonest
  • Where the Court strikes out your claim because it discloses no reasonable cause of action, it is an abuse of process or because your conduct (or that of someone authorised on your behalf and with your knowledge) is likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings
  • Where the claim is made on behalf someone other than you or it includes non-personal injury claims (eg. hire costs)

It may be possible to obtain insurance against these risks (apart from the risk that you are found to be dishonest).

Qualified one-way costs shifting does not apply to claims where there is no element of personal injury. In mixed claims (claims which include damages for personal injury but which also include some other elements, it is open to the Court to make an order that QOCS does not apply. Pre-action disclosure applications are not covered by QOCS.

If Your Opponent Fails To Pay

If your opponent does not pay any damages or charges owed to you, we have the right to take recovery action in your name to enforce a judgment, order or agreement. The charges of this action become part of the basic charges.

Payment for Advocacy

The cost of advocacy and any other work by us, or by any solicitor agent on our behalf, forms part of our basic charges. We may, if we consider it appropriate, instruct a barrister to provide advocacy services. We will advise you about the arrangements for payment of the barristers fees if we instruct a barrister.

Barristers who have a conditional fee agreement with us

If you win, you are normally entitled to recover the Barrister’s basic fee (but not success fee if any) from your opponent. If the barrister seeks a success fee we will advise you. If you lose, you pay the barrister nothing.

Barristers who do not have a conditional fee agreement with us

If you win, then you will normally be entitled to recover all or part of their fee from your opponent. If you lose, then these are treated as a disbursement.

Other Ways of Funding your Case

We have offered to deal with your case under a conditional fee agreement. There are other ways of funding your case, which include:

  • Privately paying – you pay our Basic Charges whether you win or lose the case. You also pay disbursements when we ask you to pay them. If you wish to pay privately please let us know
  • Damages based Agreements (sometimes called Contingency Fee Agreements) - These are different type of agreement where you give up a percentage of your damages. We are not prepared to offer damages based agreement in your type of case
  • After the Event Legal Expense Insurance Policies – these are policies of legal expenses insurance which may cover the disbursements and opponents costs
  • Funding From Trade Unions Or Other Sources - If you are a member of a trade union you may be able to obtain funding from your union. Please let us know
  • Community Legal Service Funding (formerly known as Legal Aid) - this is not available for limited companies and is only available for individuals in very limited circumstances.
  • Third Party Funding – there may be commercial funders who are prepared to fund your case in return for a share of the damages (an indicative figure would be 40%). Third Party Funding is only usually applicable to very high value cases

If you require further advice or information on any of these methods of funding please contact us. We have set out general information only about these methods of funding. They may not be appropriate to your case. There may be other solicitors who are prepared to act on different terms than we are prepared to act.

Cases on the Small Claims Track

If the claim includes an element of personal injury, which is valued at £1000 or less (or if the Small Claims track limit is changed such higher limit) it is likely, if Court proceedings are issued and defended, that the case will be allocated to the Small Claims Track. This means that only limited fixed costs will be recoverable from the opponent if you are the Claimant and that no costs will be recovered if you are the Defendant unless the Court believes that your opponent has proceeded in an unreasonable manner. This is a hard test to satisfy and it is rare that the Court makes an unreasonable costs order in the small claims track. This means that the costs incurred by us in dealing with the claim will outweigh the costs, which can be recovered from your opponent. You need to consider with us whether it is economic to pursue the claim in these circumstances. The same applies if your case does not include a claim for personal injury and the value of the claim is likely to be less than £10,000.

Cost / Benefit

You need to consider in the light of the potential value of the case and the risks involved in litigation (including the risk of having to pay your opponents’ costs) whether to pursue your case. If you require any further specific information on this please contact us.

Alternatives to Litigation

Whilst it may be that your desired outcome can only be achieved by pursuing your claim to a Court hearing, this can sometimes be an expensive and confrontational process.

There are forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, which can, in the right case, prove effective in achieving the outcome you want and in saving costs.

If you do wish to resolve your case at an early stage, you may wish to consider making proposals to settle the claim. There is a device called a Part 36 offer, which we can use to make a formal offer to your opponents and which will have consequences for your opponents if they do not accept the Part 36 offer. We will advise you about making a Part 36 offer when we have enough information to be sufficiently certain about the value of your case to recommend a settlement. If you make a Part 36 offer and it is accepted that creates a binding settlement and you cannot claim any further sums from your opponent.

If you wish to discuss this further then please contact us.

Complaints Procedure

We are committed to providing high-quality legal advice and client care to all our clients. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about a bill for our fees please refer in the first instance to the person dealing with your file. At that stage we will send you a copy of our Complaints Procedure. Alternatively, you may request a copy of our Complaints Procedure at any time. If you are not satisfied with the way we handle your complaint you can contact the:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Tel 0300 555 0333
Enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.

The Legal Ombudsman can deal with individuals or certain charities, clubs or microbusinesses. 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. The Legal Ombudsman may also consider complaints within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).

Authority

You give us authority to:

  • Incur routine disbursements on your behalf including experts fees, court fees and barristers fees
  • Make an application for pre-action disclosure if your Opponent does not provide documents requested and we believe this is necessary to progress your case
  • Disclose medical evidence (or other expert evidence) if we believe it should be disclosed to support and progress your case. When we receive the experts report we will send it to you and we will assume that you do not object to it being disclosed unless you have told us in writing or by email not to disclose a particular report within 7 days starting with the date we send the report to you
  • Disclose documents you have provided to us (or we have obtained) to your opponent if they support your case or they are likely to be documents which are discloseable under a duty of disclosure
  • Disclose details of any Past and Future Losses to your opponent. When we reach the appropriate stage of your case, we will calculate your Past Losses and any Future Losses based on the information you give to us and send details of our calculation to you. If we do not hear from you in writing or by email within 7 days starting on the date we send the calculation to you we will assume that you agree the calculation
  • Once we have enough information to value your case we will let you have our opinion on the value of your case and we may advise you to make an offer to settle your case. If you agree with our advice to make an offer to settle we will have your authority negotiate with the opponent to settle the case at the amount you agreed or any higher amount. If we settle at a higher amount then the Damages you receive will, of course, be based on that higher amount. We are simply trying to save time in having to contact you at each stage of the negotiation. The negotiation process may include make a Part 36 offer (or more than one Part 36 offer) if we think it is your best interests to do so providing that the amount of the Part 36 offer. Once a settlement is concluded then your case will be at an end and you will not be able to claim any further damages
  • Issue any interlocutory applications we believe are necessary to progress your case (for example where your opponent has failed to comply with Court directions)
  • Enforce any judgment or order if we believe enforcement proceedings are necessary
  • Commence detailed assessment or take any other step to recover Basic Costs or disbursements from your Opponent
  • Conclude a settlement of the basic costs and/or disbursements with your Opponent in such sum as we believe is appropriate

Challenging our Costs

You have the right to challenge our bill. You can do this by raising a complaint about the bill with us initially. You may also have the right to apply to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors’ Act 1974 and/or Part 46.10 of the Civil Procedure Rules, if you case involves contentious business (predominantly litigation cases where court proceedings have been issued). You may also have a right (this applies to individuals or certain microbusinesses, charities or clubs) to object to the bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the court for an assessment of that bill. If you require further information on any of the above matters or about costs generally please speak to us.

General Provisions

Financial Services

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 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 Conduct Authority website at http://www.fca.org.uk.

Communication by Email

We encourage communication by e-mail. If you would like us to communicate with you by e-mail please provide us with your e-mail address. Often the information we send you will be of a confidential nature (for example details about your case or expert evidence) and you will be aware that communication by e-mail and/or the internet is not always secure. If you provide us with your e-mail address to use to communicate with you we will (unless you advise us to the contrary) assume that you are giving your authority to us to include confidential information in non-encrypted e-mails. We do not usually encrypt e-mails.

Data Protection

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

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as barristers, expert witnesses, other professional advisers or outsourcers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

Disclosure and Confidentiality

We will keep any confidential information you give to us confidential save that from time to time, we may be obliged to disclose information relating to your file to other bodies, for example The Solicitors Regulation Authority, external auditors and legal expenses insurers. This disclosure may be in written or electronic form and any information disclosed will be treated in the strictest confidence. We assume you consent to this disclosure unless we receive your express written instructions to the contrary.

We owe a duty to you to disclose all information that we are aware of which is material to your case. We also owe a duty to keep information we receive from our other clients (including former clients) confidential. It is possible that we may receive confidential information during the course of dealing with our other clients that may be considered to be relevant to your case. We cannot disclose any confidential information we have received from other clients to you without the consent of those other clients as the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct provides that our duty of confidentiality overrides our duty of disclosure. By instructing us you agree that our duty of disclosure to you does not extend to disclosure of confidential information we have received from our other clients. We also limit our duty of disclosure to our other clients in this way so that we do not have to disclose confidential information received from you to our other clients.

Interest on Unpaid Bills

Interest is charged on all, or part of, any bill, which is not paid within 28 days of delivery at 8% over the base rate of the Barclays Bank plc both before and after judgment. Interest charged under this clause will run from the date of delivery of the bill.

Interest Policy on Money held by us

Money held by us for you, whether on account of fees or disbursements or otherwise, will be placed in our general client accounts with our bankers unless you specifically request otherwise. If you require a separate designated client account, an administrative fee will be agreed with you for setting up and maintaining the account.

Our current interest policy is to pay interest on client funds at the lower of the National Westminster Bank plc Base Rate, and the interest rate obtained on our general client account calculated on the daily balance held throughout the matter. We will account to you for the interest at the conclusion of the matter, but will not pay interest if the total interest due is less than £20.

Lien

We reserve the right to keep all papers, documents and any other property held on your behalf until all money due to us is paid. This lien may be applied after our retainer ends.

Outsourcing

Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do on our files to ensure this is done promptly and cost effectively. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

Storage of Documents

After the conclusion of your case we will keep our file of papers for 7 years (or in the case of property purchase transactions 15 years) after which they will be destroyed. We may (at our election) store electronic copies of the file rather than the original paper documents. We will not destroy any documents you ask us to hold for safekeeping on your behalf. If we take papers or documents out of storage at your request, we reserve the right to charge you for the retrieval. We may also charge for the time spent producing the papers that are requested and for reading correspondence and other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.

Limitation of Liability

We expect to provide you with a service that meets your needs and to achieve the outcome we agree at the outset of the case. Whilst we do not expect this to happen, sometimes things can go wrong.

We have the benefit of Professional Indemnity Insurance. We limit our liability to you greater of to the minimum level of cover required by the SRA indemnity insurance rules, currently £3 million, or to the amount of the cover provided by our insurers, which is currently £20 million for any one claim. This limit applies to the aggregate of all claims including costs made any one party or parties arising from a transaction.

Advice given or other legal services provided are for the benefit of our clients alone and should not be relied upon by anyone else. Details of the insurers and coverage of the policy are available to our clients on request.

We only give advice on the legal issues you have instructed us to deal with. We do not give advice on other issues unless you specifically instruct us to advise on these issues and we agree to advice. We do not give advice on tax or state benefits. You should take advice from an appropriate other professional on these issues.

We are a trading style of Simpson Millar, a Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”) and if you need to make a claim you bring that claim against the LLP. None of the members, staff, consultants or agents of the LLP have any liability in respect of a claim by you and you agree that you will not pursue any claim against any of those people.

The exclusions and limitations set out above do not apply to liability for death or personal injury or any other liability, which cannot lawfully be excluded or limited, or to liability arising as a result of fraud on our part.

If you start proceedings against us for loss or damage and there is another person (for example, another adviser) who is liable or potentially liable to you in respect of the same loss or damage, then you will if we so request join them into the proceedings. This is subject to any legal prohibition against your joining them in that way.

If you are unsure or in any way unclear about the effect of this section, then please contact us.

Equality and Diversity

Simpson Millar LLP is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy.

Notice of Right to Cancel – Off Premises Contracts and Distance Contracts Only

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 conclusion of the contract.

To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us [Simpson Millar, 27 St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 2JG, tel: 0345 357 9000*, fax: 0345 357 9199, email cancellation@simpsonmillar.co.uk (please quote your case reference in any correspondence)] of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail).

You may use the below model cancellation form, but it is not obligatory.

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 costs of delivery (except for the supplementary costs arising if you chose a type of delivery other than the least expensive type of standard delivery offered by us). We may make a deduction from the reimbursement for loss in value of any goods supplied, if the loss is the result of unnecessary handling by you. We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than – (a) 14 days after the day we receive back from you any goods supplied, or (b) (if earlier) 14 days after the day you provide evidence that you have returned the goods, or (c) if there were no goods supplied, 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.

We will make the reimbursement 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.

If you requested us 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 the contract.

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Model Cancellation Form – (Use only if you wish to Cancel)

To: Simpson Millar, 27 St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 2JG,

tel: 0345 357 9000*,

fax: 0345 357 9199,

email cancellation@simpsonmillar.co.uk.

I/We [*] hereby give notice that I/We [*] cancel my/our [*] contract of sale of the following goods [*]/ for the supply of the following service [*],

Ordered on [*]/ received on [*].

Name of consumer(s) ..............................................

Address of consumer(s) .............................................

Signature of consumer(s) ................... (only if this form is notified on paper)

Date: ………………………….. Ref .....................................

[*] Delete as appropriate.

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Future Instructions

Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of our then current hourly rates, the Basic Charges and other terms and conditions contained in this Client Care Information Booklet shall apply to any other cases you refer to us. If you wish us to carry out that work under a conditional fee agreement then we will consider whether (but shall not be obliged) to enter into a conditional fee agreement with you.

Miscellaneous Provisions

We are not liable to repay money lost through a banking failure. All monies are currently held in UK banks or Building Societies.

The provisions of our Agreement are severable and if any provision of these terms and conditions is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable and the remaining provisions of this agreement shall continue in full force and effect.

Our Agreement with you and any dispute arising between you and us shall be governed by English law.

Money Laundering

All solicitors' practices are required by law under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000 and Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to apply procedures to guard against the risk of money laundering. These place quite onerous requirements on us, which we have to apply even to our existing and valued clients.

There are exceptions in certain categories of cases.

The main implications are as follows:

  • Identification checks: We may be required to obtain formal evidence of your identity. This may be necessary even though we have acted for you before, or even if you are known personally to a member of staff. We will advise you separately of the steps you need to take to prove your identity
  • Cash: We are normally only able to accept cash up to a limit of £1000. If you seek to pay more than this amount, for example by paying cash directly into another branch of our bank for the credit of our account we may not be able to use that money to complete your transaction and cannot accept any responsibility for any delay which may be caused as a consequence. If we are required to carry out further checks to verify the source of funds we reserve the right to make a charge for carrying out these checks
  • Source of funds: If you are going to be providing us with any funds, at the start of any matter we will normally ask you to tell us the source of any funds you will be using. It is simplest for us if the source is an account, in your name, in a UK bank or building society. If the source is an unusual one, such as an account in another country, or in the name or someone other than yourself, please tell us as early as possible, including the reason
  • Destination of funds: Where we are to pay money out to you, we will normally do so by cheque in your favour, or into an account in your name. If instead you want us to pay surplus money out into the name of someone other than yourself or into a bank or building society outside of the UK, please tell us as early as possible, including the reason
  • Confidentiality: We have always sought to keep our clients’ affairs confidential. However under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 if we have reasonable grounds to suspect that any assets involved in your matter were derived from a crime we have a legal obligation to report out suspicions to the National Crime Agency. This can include even small amounts of money, and covers all offences, including for example tax evasion and benefit fraud. If we have to make a report we may not be able to tell you that we have done so. A report may result in an investigation by the police, the Inland Revenue or other authorities. The law contains exceptions. If you are concerned about how this may affect you, please ask us to clarify

Explanation Of Words Used / Glossary

Advocacy : Appearing for you at court hearings.

Appeal: Where either you or your opponent seek to challenge a decision made by the Court by appealing to a higher Court. It is only possible to Appeal if the Court gives permission to Appeal.

Basic charges : Our charges for the legal work we do on your claim for damages.

Claim : Your claim as set out on the front page of the Conditional Fee Agreement.

Counterclaim: A claim that your opponent makes against you in response to your claim.

Costs : Our basic charges and success fee.

Damages : Money that you win whether by a court decision or settlement. When calculating the Success Fee, we take into account your general damages and damages for past losses only. Damages for Future Losses such as future loss of earnings or future care are not taken into account. Amounts repayable to the Compensation Recovery Unit are also excluded from our calculation.

Disbursements (or Our Disbursements) :Payments we make on your behalf such as Court fees, Barristers fees, Experts’ fees, Accident report fees or Travel expenses.

Future Loss : Claims for Future Loss are claims for losses, which have not yet been incurred at the point when a settlement is agreed or when the Court gives judgment. Examples include items such as future loss of earnings or future care needs.

General Damages : The amount of damages agreed or awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

Gross settlement : Means a settlement or award, which is not broken down into separate elements.

Interim damages: Money that a court says your opponent must pay or your opponent agrees to pay while waiting for a settlement or the court's final decision.

Interim hearing : A court hearing that is not final.

Lien : Our right to keep all papers, documents, money or other property held on your behalf until all money due to us is paid. A lien may be applied after this agreement ends.

Lose : The court has dismissed your claim or you have stopped it on our advice.

Part 36 offer : An offer to settle your claim made in accordance with Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules. This is an offer, which has consequences if you reject it. We will advise you at the time any offer is made.

Past Loss : The part of the Damages for actual losses, which have already been incurred at the point when a settlement is agreed or when the Court gives judgment. Examples include items such as past loss of earnings or past care needs.

Provisional damages : Money that a court says your opponent must pay or your opponent agrees to pay, on the basis that you will be able to go back to court at a future date for further damages if:

  • you develop a serious disease, or
  • your condition deteriorates

in a way that has been proved or admitted to be linked to your personal injury claim.

Provisional damages claims are rare.

Qualified one way costs shifting or “QOCS” : The Civil Procedure Rules dealing with Qualified One Way Costs Shifting in personal injury cases. We describe these in more detail under the heading “Qualified One Way Costs Shifting” above.

Success fee : The additional amount we charge if you win your claim for damages.

Trial: The final contested hearing or the contested hearing of any issue to be tried separately and a reference to a claim concluding at trial includes a claim settled after the trial has commenced or a judgment.

We, Us, Our, Simpson Millar : In these terms the expressions "we" "us" or "our" refer to Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors, . Simpson Millar is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales: No. OC313936. Registered Office: 21-27 St Pauls Street, Leeds, LS1 2JG. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Registration number 424940.

Win : Your claim for damages is decided in your favour whether by a court decision or an agreement to pay you damages or you recover damages or in any way that you derive benefit from pursuing the claim.

Nov2013


David Broadbent - CEO Fairpoint Group - Adlington

David Broadbent
Chief Executive Officer of Fairpoint

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