Terms & Cookies
General Terms of Business:
1. Quality Service: In all our dealings with our clients we aim to provide a high quality service, to find out what our clients want, and achieve it. We try to work quickly and efficiently, and we hope you find us friendly and approachable. At the end of the transaction we hope you will think our fee represents good value for money.
2. Contacting Us: We are open from 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Our telephones are answered from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. If the person concerned is unable to take your call, or if we are closed for a local or statutory holiday, you can leave a message on our Answering Machine service. It may not always be possible to return telephone messages on the day they are left but they will certainly be returned the following day. Our FAX line is open at all times and we can also be contacted on our E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also available for meetings outwith normal hours by prior appointment.
3. Initial Meeting: We will be happy to have an initial telephone discussion or meeting with you to decide whether we can be of assistance to you. Please advise us if you think you may qualify for Legal Aid under the Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme.
4. Instructions: Instructions may be given to us in writing or verbally. We may well ask you to confirm in writing the terms of verbal instructions given to us. If there is any change in your instructions you must notify us immediately. If you wish anyone other than yourself to give us instructions or information, we will require confirmation in writing. Please note that instructions sent by e-mail cannot be guaranteed to arrive and further cannot be guaranteed to be dealt with immediately on receipt.
5. Conflict of Interest: In general, we cannot act for two or more parties if they have conflicting interests. Please advise us at the outset if you are aware of potential conflicts which may arise. If we decide that we can still act (i.e. if you are one of the exceptions to the general rule) we will confirm this to you in writing.
6. Liability: Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we shall assume that where we act for more than one person but only one of them tells us what to do, that person has the authority of the other(s) to do so. Where we do act for more than one person, each person for whom we do work is equally responsible for the instructions given to us and for payment of our fees and outlays in connection with that matter.
We will not provide any specific advice on any aspect of Taxation except in the event that Taxation is the principal reason for contacting us or it has been made clear, in writing, by us that advice concerning tax issues will be offered.
Where clients require to provide funds in connection with any legal work we are carrying out on their behalf then payment should be made timeously either by cheque or by bank transfer. Any cheque should be made out to “Graham & Finlayson”. Any transfer of funds should be made to Graham & Finlayson’s Clients Account (details of which will have been included in the Terms of Business Letter issued to the client at the outset of any work instructed by them). Should a client subsequently receive any correspondence requesting that funds be directed to any alternative account then the client should verify this is genuine by contacting the Solicitor acting on their behalf in person or by telephone before instructing any transfer of funds.
7. Private Limited Companies: If we are given instructions by a private limited company then, unless otherwise agreed with you in writing in advance, it is a condition of our accepting these instructions that the Directors are jointly and severally liable along with the Company for payment of our fees and costs and any interest thereon.
8. Confidentiality: Information passed to us is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties unless authorised by you or required by law.
9. Copyright and Third Parties: All copyright in documents we produce is reserved to us. Advice given and documents prepared are for your use only and may not be copied or used by any third party without our express written consent.
10. Custody and Destruction of Papers:Every reasonable endeavour will be made to retain files and related papers for as long as access to them remains desirable. The firm’s general policy is to destroy files on the expiry of ten years from the date on which the file was archived and for longer than that period in appropriate circumstances. The destruction of files will be carried out in a secure manner using professional contractors.
11. Law Society of Scotland: Like all Scottish Solicitors, we are members of the Law Society of Scotland and subject to its professional rules at all times.
12. How Long Will it Take: The nature of legal work, perhaps particularly Court work, often makes it difficult to estimate precisely how long something will take to complete. When we discuss your requirements at the outset we will also discuss time scales. We do attempt to meet these – even to beat them – and always to deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible. Please remember that quite often the speed at which work can be completed is affected by the co-operation (or lack of it) we receive from other people outwith our control.
13. Cost: The basis on which we shall charge you fees for a particular matter will be a lump sum, or will depend on the time spent carrying out the work or on some particular scale of charges appropriate to the type of work. In assessing the fees we take into account a number of important factors, including: the value of the transaction, the complexity and difficulty of the matter, the skill, knowledge and responsibility involved, the urgency of the matter and the place where we are required to carry out the work. We are happy to tell you at any time what the fees are to date. VAT is payable by you on all fees. The attached Schedule records current cost levels for most activities.
14. Estimates: Any estimates that may be given will be a probable fee based on our experience of the work you have asked us to do. If the work turns out to be more complicated or takes longer than we anticipated then we may require to increase our estimate to take account of this. We will inform you as soon as possible about this. Sometimes we will need confirmation of your ability to fund a transaction and a deposit may be requested.
15. Accounts: We will issue our account either at the end of a matter or at regular intervals. Payment is due within thirty days of the date of account. If not paid within this time we reserve the right to charge interest on the amount overdue at 4% over the Bank of Scotland plc Base Rate. If you do not pay our account on time, we reserve the right to stop working for you and to charge you fully for the amount of work we have done for you.
16. Legal Aid: We do not undertake any work under the Legal Aid Scheme but will be happy to introduce you to a firm which does if you consider that you may be eligible.
17. Clients’ Funds: Any monies we receive from you that are not required for fees or outlays will be held in a designated client account with the Royal Bank of Scotland plc or on deposit with Dunfermline Building Society. In accordance with the Law Society of Scotland Practice Rules, interest is paid on deposited clients’ money. We do not charge for the collection of interest on clients’ deposits. We are entitled to retain interest or commission paid to us by our bankers. We shall not be liable for the partial or even complete loss of your funds held in accordance with these provisions due to the failure of the bank/building society, whether in whole or in part, or as a result of nationalisation in the whole or in part, or as a result of takeover or merger. We do not hold ourselves out as offering, nor do we offer through these provisions, advice as to the appropriateness of the use of individual banks/building societies for the deposit of funds, whether for funds held by us or otherwise. Nothing said or done by us under this clause or by virtue of this clause is to be construed as such advice or recommendation. We shall not be liable for the sufficiency of or for any fall in the value of the bank(s)/building society(ies) with whom such sums are so deposited from time to time or for the intromissions of any such bank/building society.
18. Deduction of Fees and Outlays at Source: Where we receive sums which belong to you we shall be entitled to deduct from those sums all outstanding fees and outlays before sending you the balance.
19. Sales and Purchases of Property: When you are selling property, we will deduct all outstanding costs together with our fees from the sale proceeds as soon as practicable after the date on which the sale is completed. When you are buying property, fees and costs will be payable by you by agreement, but no later than fourteen days after the date on which you become the owner of the new property.
20. Costs Paid on Your Behalf: Where fees, outlays or expenses are to be paid by us on your behalf, we will endeavour to give you details of these in advance in order that you may place us in funds before payment is due. If however, we are unable to do so, we will require to be repaid by you within seven days of your receiving a request for payment of the appropriate sum.
21. Independent Fee Assessment: Specialist independent Law Accountants are available to provide an independent assessment of a fair fee for any piece of legal work carried out for a client. On occasions, to ensure that a file has been correctly charged, we may voluntarily send the file to the Law Accountant. Unless otherwise agreed with you beforehand, we will in that event be responsible for payment of the Law Accountant’s fee. Should you at any time be dis-satisfied with the amount of a fee charged by us, then you are entitled to ask us to have the Law Accountant review your file and set an appropriate level of fee for the work done. If the Law Accountant reduces the amount of our original fee we will only charge that reduced amount and we will pay the Law Accountant’s costs. If, however, the Auditor confirms that our fee is correct or undercharged, then you will be responsible for the Law Accountant’s costs.
22. Outstanding Monies: You are entitled to change Solicitors at any time but you are responsible for the fees and any other outstanding payments due to us until the time of change. We are entitled to hold any title deeds, files or other papers until payment.
23. Limitation of Liability: Unless another limit is expressly agreed in writing by us our maximum aggregate liability for any claim or series of related claims directly arising out of or in connection with services and advice supplied by us to you (whether as a result of breach of contract, negligence, or otherwise) shall not exceed the sum of Two Million Pounds (£2,000,000).
Subject to the overall limitation of liability as set out above, our liability to you shall also be limited to that proportion of the loss or damage (including interest and costs) suffered by you which is calculated after taking account of the contribution (if any) to the relevant loss or damage of you or any other person responsible and/or liable to you for such a loss or damage. In circumstances where you make a claim against us and you wish to claim contribution from a third party but that third party’s liability to you has been excluded or limited thereby reducing the contribution you can recover from them you will make an equal reduction in your claim against us. For this purpose “reduction” and “contribution” includes 100% reduction or contribution.
Although we may be liable for direct claims we shall not be liable for any indirect or consequential claims, losses or damages in connection with services and advice supplied by us including without limitation for loss of business, profits, revenue and interest on anticipated savings. Nothing in these Terms of Business shall exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury which cannot be excluded or limited by law.
Any claims from you against the firm in connection with the work carried out by us for you must be made in writing within three years of the date on which you became aware, or reasonably to have become aware, of circumstances giving rise to a potential claim against us.
24. Resolving Problems: If for any reason you are unhappy about the quality of service provided, or the amount of our fees, then you should, in the first instance, take the matter up with the Solicitor with whom you have been dealing. Alternatively, should you prefer or if you feel your initial approach has not resolved the point, we would invite you to raise the matter with Robert Bolton/David Smart who will ensure that any such complaint is fully investigated, and that you receive a detailed response within ten working days. If you are still dis-satisfied you are always entitled to take the matter up with The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (the SLCC) at The Stamp Office, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG. Telephone: 0131 201 2130. Fax: 0131 201 2131. Web:-www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk
25. Whole Agreement: These terms and conditions, together with the Engagement Letter accompanying them and any enclosed schedule of costs, will form the whole agreement between us to carry out the work referred to in that letter. If you are left if any doubt on any aspect of the arrangement, please ask us to explain.
26. Applicable Law: These terms and conditions are governed by the Law of Scotland and are subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.
INCIDENTAL FINANCIAL BUSINESS – TERMS OF BUSINESS
As we may carry out incidental financial business for you, we are required by the Law Society of Scotland to advise you of the following terms of business:-
(1) The firm is licensed by the Law of Scotland to carry on incidental financial business activities. These activities are limited in scope. For example, the investment advice provided will be obtained from a firm of Stockbrokers. Our firm will not comment on their advice.
(2) The firm is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
(3) The firm is covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance under The Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy and also the Scottish Solicitors Guarantee Fund. The current limit of indemnity on the Master Policy is £2 million. The Guarantee Fund has unlimited liability.