Stephen Moore & Co
Terms and Conditions of Business
1. Scope of our Services
The scope of the services we have agreed to provide for you in any matter will be agreed between us and confirmed in our Client Care letter.
You agree that you do not require us to provide you with advice on further services in relation to any aspect outside of the scope of the services so agreed.
2. Conducting Solicitor
All Solicitors in this firm, with the exception of William Heywood, have over 10 years qualification as a Criminal Law Solicitor. They are:-
You will be told in our opening letter to you which Solicitor has conduct of your case and who is the supervising Solicitor.
3. Our Charges
The hourly rate for all solicitors is £150 per hour.
You may find some of the work done for you is carried out by non-solicitor fee earner member of staff. If so, you can be assured that they have the requisite experience to deal with the task assigned. Their charge out rates are :-
Susan Coverdale £90 accredited police station representative
In addition each letter, e-mail and telephone call will be charged at £15 per item.
All of the above amounts will be subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
4. Payment to others
If we incur travelling expenses they will be charged out to you at the rate of 45p per mile and any car park or train costs will be charged at the incurred rate.
It may be that your case will require the services of an expert to give an opinion on some aspect of your case. If so, their charges will be payable by you in addition to our own costs.
5. Indication of costs – Private Client Cases
We will give you an indication of the likely total cost of your case at the outset and update that at least every six months and sooner if there should be any significant events that affect the indication first given.
6. Indication of costs – Legal Aid Cases
We will give you an estimate at the outset of the case of the likely costs of defending your case on a trial and the costs of a guilty plea. We will only revise that initial estimate if anything significant during the duration of your case that will affect our original costs estimate.
7. Interim Bills and monies on account of future costs
In order to protect our own cash flow and to avoid presenting you with one large bill at the end of the case we will issue you with interim bills for payment and we will require to receive interim payments from you of those bills as your case progresses. We will also require from you money on account of costs to be incurred both at the outset and as the case goes along.
If you do not pay us when we ask for payment of an interim bill or monies on account of future costs then we reserve the right not to carry out any further work for you and to regard our instructions as terminated even if this means you will be unrepresented at court.
8. Court assessment of bills
You have the right to object to any Bill delivered to you by this firm and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part 3 of the Solicitors Act 1974. Your rights are set out more fully in Sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
9. Payment of interest
The Solicitors Accounts Rules require that we account to you for any interest earned on client monies. This applies to any money received on your behalf which will be held in our client account. Interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate set by the Royal Bank of Scotland deposit-account. That of course may change. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from the date when the funds are received by us until the date of the cheque issued to you for it. The payment of interest is subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time which is set out in the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011.
10. Terminating the retainer
You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us.
We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, e.g. if you do not pay an interim bill or there is a conflict of interest. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. If you or we decided we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated at the rates set out in these terms and conditions.
11.Hours of business
Our normal office hours Monday to Friday are between 9 00am and 5:30pm. We do attend on clients at police stations and in court outside of those hours in emergency situations and if you should find yourself under arrest for any particular matter you should always ask the police to contact Stephen Moore & Co.
We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter on at least a monthly basis and in any event following each court hearing.
We will endeavour to communicate with you in plain language.
We will explain to you the legal work we are required to undertake as your matter progresses.
We will update you on the cost of your matter at six monthly intervals.
We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstance.
We will update you on the likely timescales as each stage as your case progresses and if there are any significant changes to those estimates.
13.Our responsibilities to you include:
- Regularly reviewing your case;
- Advising you of any changes in the law that might affect your case;
- Advise you of any circumstances or risk which we know of or which we anticipate that could affect the outcome of your matter.
14. Your responsibilities to us include:
- Providing us with clear accurate and timely instructions;
- Providing all documentation required by us to deal with your case in a proper and diligent manner.
- Advising us of any changes or variations in your instructions or circumstances that might be relevant to the work we are undertaking.
Stephen Moore & Co is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about any Bill please contact the person named as having conduct of your case or the supervisor in the letter attached to these terms and conditions either in writing or initially on the phone number appearing at the top of the first page. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints from clients and this is available on request from our office.
We have 8 weeks to consider your complaint and if for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us within that time frame then you make ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman may be contacted at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your having received a final written response from us about your complaint and within 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or within three years of you becoming aware of it). For further information you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
If someone thinks a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their ethics or integrity, they have the right to notify our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). There are no time limits for making a report but there are limits on what the SRA will consider. Please note that the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service (complaints of this nature should instead be referred to the Legal Ombudsman). For further information about the SRA’s role, please contact the SRA or visit: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page#report
16. Money laundering
The Money Laundering Regulations require us to obtain information about the clients identity and to verify the information. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf the clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money. To comply with the law we need to get evidence of your identity at the start of your case. Our practice is to require you to provide us with your passport or a driving licence with photograph as evidence of your identity together with at least one household bill or other demand addressed to you at your home address.
We cannot carry out any work for you until we have been provided with this documentation and nor can we accept any funds from you. It’s essential therefore that you provide us with this information immediately to avoid any delay in us being able to assist you with your case.
We are generally obliged to keep your affairs confidential however, we may be required by statute, namely the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and other relevant legislation including the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Terrorism Act 2000, to make a disclosure to the \national Crime Agency where we know or suspect that the 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.
In order to minimise the risk of money-laundering this firm will not receive cash from clients in excess of £500 for any one matter. 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. Where we have to pay money to you it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
17.Equality and diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients third parties and their employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
18.Professional Indemnity Insurance
We maintain compulsory professional indemnity insurance and if you require the details of this insurance it may be obtained from our offices on request.
19.General Data Protection Regulations & Confidentiality
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 terms legal and regulatory compliance. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the General Data Protection Regulations and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to Third Parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under the 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.
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality and protection of your data in relation to the information we hold about you.
If you are instructing us on a private fee paying basis we will ask you to provide formal consent to the sharing of your information in these circumstances at the outset of your retainer.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However solicitors may be required by statute to make disclosure to police, government, financial agencies where they 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. If we know or suspect that you have given false information in relation to an application for legal aid we are obliged to disclose that fact to the Legal Aid Agency.
If you wish any other person to be given access to your information or details of your case (for example a relative) then please contact us and we can discuss the implications of this and advise you further.
The lawful basis for processing the data that we hold upon you is to enable us to fulfil our contract to you providing you with representation and advice in respect of the matter upon which you have sought our help and instructed us to represent you. Furthermore, the processing of that data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims against you.
We will only hold your personal data stored for a period of 6 years as we are required to do so by the Legal Aid Agency and our professional regulatory body. After 6 years your personal data will be deleted from all of our case management systems. You have the right to request access to and rectification or erasure of data subject to the above time limits, to object to and request the restriction of processing and to data portability.
You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time to the process of your personal data. This will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. Please be aware that withdrawal of consent means we may not be able to provide services to you.
If you believe you have a complaint with regard to any data issues including the processing of your data, the data retention periods mentioned above you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Tel No: 0303 123 1113 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you think there is a problem with the way we are handling your data.
In the first instance in any event you should contact our own Data Protection Officer, Catherine Brockway, who is a Partner in the firm and whose details can be found in the heading of this letter and she may be contacted at the address at the heading of this letter or by telephone or email as set out in the header of this letter.
20.The files and confidentiality
External firms and organisations such as the Legal Aid Agency and the Solicitors Regulation Authority may conduct audits and quality checks on our practice. These external firms and organisations are required to exercise confidentiality in relation to your files and we have no option but to allow them access to them.
22.Storage and documents
After completing the work on your case we will be entitled to and indeed required to keep your papers and documents for at least six years. We are happy to provide you with copies of any information/documentation that you require from those files. We do so however on the strict understanding that we will be able to destroy them six years after the date of the conclusion of your case. If you require copies of any papers stored once your case has been completed then we reserve the right to charge you a fee for the retrieval of those documents and a charge for photocopying and sending them to you.
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms and conditions of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.