Terms of Business

Confidentiality

We are under a professional and legal obligation to keep your affairs confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception. Legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed us under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.


Where we know or suspect that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, we may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If while we are acting for you it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.


General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

We are governed and comply with the GDPR, Article 5 of which requires that personal data shall be:

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
  • Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible
    with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research
    purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
  • Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data
    that is inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, is erased or rectified without delay;
  • Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for
    which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data
    will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or
    statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by
    the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;
  • Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against
    unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical
    or organisational measures.

Should you have any concerns regarding the personal data that we collect from you or how it is held or used by us, you should
contact us immediately, but as a matter of course, we will only use your personal data for the specific purpose for which you
have instructed us and will not use it for marketing of other services without your express permission


Bills and Interest

We will send you a bill for our charges and expenses at regular intervals which will usually be every month. Payment is due within 7 days of the date of the invoice. Please note that we may be able to charge interest at the County Court rate of 8% on all or part of the bill if it is unpaid. If you have any query about a bill, you should contact us straight away.


With conveyancing matters we generally account for our fees at the end of the matter with a ‘Completion Statement’; deducting our charges from monies held on account associated with that matter.

In Probate matters, we generally produce an interim and a final bill.


All invoices for our legal fees will include VAT and expenses may be shown on that bill including VAT (if applicable). Our firm’s policy is not to accept more than £500 in cash for the settlement of our accounts.

We maintain a general client account for holding your money, and when fair and reasonable to do so, we shall pay you interest on that money at the same rate as we earn on our account providing that no interest is payable if the amount calculated on the balance held is £20 or less. We also reserve the right to apply any interest earned in respect of money held by us in your account towards settlement of your unpaid invoices or to hold it on account of fees and disbursements to be incurred. Interest if paid will be paid gross.


You have the right to complain about our bill which includes the right to object to the bill and the right to apply for it to be assessed (under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974). You can obtain further information from the Legal Complaints Service. We have included their contact details in the section below on complaints, together with further information about our complaints procedure.


Charges and Expenses

  • Partner: £295 per hour plus VAT.
  • Solicitor: £295 per hour plus VAT.
  • ACCA Affiliate: £295 per hour plus VAT.

Our charges are calculated mainly by reference to the time which is spent by us in dealing with your case. These charges will cover (amongst other things) personal attendances upon you and upon others (if appropriate); considering, preparing and working on correspondence (including emails of any length) attending Court and any time spent in travelling to and from court or other venues on your behalf. Incoming and outgoing routine letters (and where appropriate emails) are charged in 6 minute units and we charge for time spent on making and receiving telephone calls in 6 minute units.

As well as these charges there might be incidental expenses/disbursements such as court fees, barrister’s fees and travel expenses.

We will try to give you our best estimate of the likely costs of your case when matters become clearer, but these cannot be fixed or guaranteed. This estimate will be detailed in our initial letter of instruction accompanying these terms of business.

Our Client Care Letter will provide details of the costs applicable to your matter/transaction.


Cash Policy

As we are registered with HMRC under The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the
Payer) Regulations 2020 as amended, then should cash be deposited with us or directly with our bank, then we reserve the
right to charge for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.


Storage of Paper and Deeds

Once we have completed our work on this matter, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while any money is owing to us – this is called the Solicitor’s right of lien. We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) for no more than 6 years and on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy the file 6 years after sending you our final bill.


Raising queries or concerns with us

Should you have any queries or concerns then please raise them with the person dealing with your matter in the first instance as we are obliged to try and resolve problems that clients may have with the service provided by us.

If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction, then contact Vanessa Bull-Domican, the firm’s Director, who will discuss the matter with you and
if necessary provide you with our complaints procedure.

Should our ‘in-house’ review fail to satisfy then the complaint may then be referred to the Legal Ombudsman. Their website is
www.legalombudsman.org.uk where additional information can be found including procedures. Alternatively, you may contact them at PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, telephone 0300 555 0333 or email
enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Complaints must be raised within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.


Conflict

It may occur that a conflict of interest arises either at the time of the commencement of our retainer or at a point after you sign this letter. Wherever possible we will attempt to avoid this occurrence, but where conflicts of interest do arise, we would have to cease acting for both parties.


Financial Services

We are not authorised under the Financial Services Authority and, therefore, cannot give you financial advice. However we can refer you to FSA registered Wealth Managers, Independent Financial Advisors, Chartered Financial Planners, Chartered Pensions Advisors and Mortgage Brokers upon request.


Termination

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. Please note that we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while money is owing to us for work carried out to the date you terminate your instructions.


If we feel unable to continue to act on your behalf because, for example, of a conflict of interest arising, we would only do so on giving you reasonable notice. If you or we decide that we will stop acting for you, you will pay our charges and expenses as set out earlier.


Additional Information

In accordance with the disclosure requirements of The Provision of Services Regulations 2009, we are required to provide the following information:

  1. Blacklaw Legal Limited is VAT registered; number: 173 7651 85
  2. Professional Indemnity Insurance
    Accredited Insurance (Europe) Ltd
    3 rd Floor, Development House
    St Anne Street
    Floriana FRN9010
    Malta
    Policy Number: Inperio-034660. The territorial coverage of our policy is worldwide
  3. Professional Body – We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, No: 598467 and we
    comply with the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2019. Details can be found here: www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/code-of-
    conduct.page

Electronic Identity Checks

We will carry out electronic identity checks using, Credit Safe Ltd specialist software, for all clients who instruct us on property, probate and matrimonial matters. We reserve the right to carry out checks on other matters as required.


The sum of £10.00 plus VAT (inclusive of our admin charge) will be charged in respect of each client where a check has been
undertaken and will be added to either your interim or final invoice.


Bank Details/Cyber Crime

Please be aware that there is a significant risk posed by cyber fraud, specifically affecting email accounts and bank account details. Please note that our bank account details will not change during the course of a transaction, and we will not change our bank details via email. 

Please be careful to check account details with us in person if in any doubt. We will not accept responsibility if you transfer money into an incorrect account. If you are advised that our bank details have changed please contact our offices immediately.