Costs & Terms of Business

Costs Guide

This costs guide is to provide you with an idea of the services and costs for those services.

The prices in this guide are for simple, straight forward standard matters; whilst these are suitable for many of our clients there are many matters when these are not appropriate.

Where your matter is out of the ordinary there may well be additional costs and these cannot be covered in this simplified guide.

We suggest that to be clear about the costs of our services you should call us and we can give you a clearer firmer indication of the costs of your matter with no obligation.

Accident Claims

We offer an initial no obligation discussion for free thereafter we generally offer a conditional fee agreement (no win – no fee) subject to agreeing about the level of our success fee.

Debt Recovery:

We do not undertake high volume debt recovery but can assist clients in small volume debt recovery and will send a “seven-day letter” should you wish us to do so.

We appreciate that the fees involved in debt recovery are important to you. We review our fees on a regular basis, considering client’s feedback, to ensure we continue to offer a cost-effective debt recovery service.

If during the debt recovery process, the matter becomes disputed or enforcement action is required (where you need to appoint a bailiff), we will discuss the change in fees with you and agree a way forward.

When claiming costs from the debtor, it is important to note that the VAT element of any fees cannot be claimed.

You can claim interest and compensation and we will advise you of the applicable rates.

Our costs are:

Letter before action “seven-day letter”                                          £20.00 plus VAT

On issue and conduct of proceedings through the Court Centre we will include in the claim the court fixed costs in accordance with those set out in Part 45 of the Civil Procedure Rules for all proceedings and methods of enforcement undertaken and relevant court fees or disbursements. These will be payable by you to us if not collected from the debtor.

We will advise you about costs of issuing proceedings and enforcement together with Court fees and disbursements likely to be incurred before undertaking work and incurring any disbursements.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

We offer an initial no obligation discussion for free thereafter we usually suggest using our fixed fee service for drafting and registering the Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) at a cost of £285.00 for a single LPA.  Where we are preparing both Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare LPAs our charges are £400.00 for the two.

Wills

We offer an initial no obligation discussion for free thereafter clients usually use our fixed price service for standard wills.  Our costs for a standard Will are £125.00 but where we are drafting a second Will in the same terms as the first Will (often for a husband and wife or couple) our charges are £225.00 for the two.

Probate

We offer an initial no obligation discussion for free thereafter we will discuss the likely costs with you individually because every estate is slightly different but we do offer a fixed fee service in cases where you only require us to obtain a Grant of Probate.

PROBATE COSTS AND SERVICES

What is probate?

The probate process covers the steps needed to sort out someone’s estate after they have died. A Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will) is the document issued by the Probate Registry which confirms those named people (or person) – the executor or executors – have are legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s estate.

The Grant of Probate allows the executors to close bank and building society accounts, to sell or transfer shares, to sell property and to deal with all the assets in the estate.

The executors of a Will can deal with the initial steps of administration before obtaining probate. If there is no will, however, then no action should be taken other than preserving assets until formal Letters of Administration have been issued by the High Court.

Is probate always necessary?

It isn’t always necessary to take formal legal steps to deal with an estate. If the estate is a small, mainly cash, or one where the assets are jointly held, it may not be necessary for a Grant of Probate or any formal reporting to HMRC; the executors may be able to close accounts and deal with the sale of personal effects relatively easily.

Assets which are owned jointly with the deceased pass to the survivor automatically, without need for any other transfer. Where property owned by the deceased with others as tenants in common, will form part of the deceased’s estate and the deceased’s share will pass in accordance with their Will.

What is needed to obtain probate?

The executors may have to complete an Inheritance Tax Return or provide an Inheritance Tax calculation. The information required for this will depend on the value of the estate. We give more details about this below.
The executors also have to complete a statement of truth giving their details and confirming the details of the will and the value of the estate.

In an estate which has to pay Inheritance Tax will have to have paid the tax before the Grant of Probate can be issued.

In straightforward cases there may be no need to instruct a solicitor.

There may be many complications, however; for example, if there are foreign assets involved or Inheritance Tax to pay. Therefore it is often worth considering employing a professional, such as a solicitor, to help. Solicitors are regulated and must hold professional indemnity insurance. You also have the right to be fully informed about the costs before the work starts; and a solicitor must have a complaints procedure in place.

What do we need to enable us to apply for the Grant of Probate?

It is usually necessary to obtain the following information in order to be able to apply for the Grant of Probate:

  • A copy of the Death Certificate.
  • The deceased’s date of birth, date of death and National Insurance Number.
  • Details of the surviving spouse and descendants.
  • Details of any gifts involving more than £3,000 in any one year in the seven years before the deceased passed away.
  • Whether the deceased had any assets outside the UK.
  • Did the deceased benefit from any trusts, if so, we will need details.
  • Did the deceased benefit from any pension other than the State Pension.
  • Details of all bank or building society account, including: the name of the bank or building society, the account name, the account number and the balance at the date of death. If the estate is not going to be taxable, then details as close to the date of death as possible are needed. If the estate is going to be taxable, details of the specific date-of-death balances are required to go in the Inheritance Tax Return.
  • Details of shareholdings, with the name of the company, the type of shareholding and the number of shares. We will need to contact the company to establish the full shareholding and to obtain probate values.
  • Details of, and a valuation of, any property owned by the deceased in their sole name or jointly. If the estate is not taxable, then this does not need to be a formal probate valuation, but the executors have to provide a value that they believe can be supported by appropriate evidence. This may be a search on Rightmove for example. If the estate is taxable, then we will advise you to obtain a formal valuation.
  • Details of any other assets that the deceased held, including joint bank and building society accounts.
  • Details are also required of any liabilities, such as the funeral account, credit card debts, and utility bills.

Once you have obtained this information (or we have obtained it from the relevant organisations on your behalf), we will complete an Inheritance Tax Return. If Inheritance Tax is payable, this needs to be paid before we can apply for the Grant of Probate. If no tax is payable then the application for probate with a tax calculation and the accompanying statement of truth needs to be sent to the Probate Registry.

Fees And Prices

The fees for probate often vary and will depend on the individual circumstances.

We offer both fixed fees and an hourly rate charging rate. On an hourly rate you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken.

Fixed Fees for Grant of Probate where no Inheritance Tax is payable

We offer a fixed fee to enable you to obtain a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration). This “Grant Only” option will enable the Executors or Administrators to deal with the administration after we have obtained the Grant of Probate.

Our fixed fee will depend on the nature of the assets contained within the estate, whether the “full” inheritance tax account is required and whether Inheritance Tax exemptions need to be considered.

  • If the simplified Return of Estate Information Form can be used our fee would be £600.00 plus VAT at current rates
  • If the simplified Return of Information Form can be used and the transferable nil rate band needs to be claimed our fee would be£750.00 plus VAT at current rates  
  • If the “full” Inheritance Tax account (IHT400) is required, our fee would be £1,500.00 plus VAT at current rates.

In addition there will be:-

  • Probate Court fees of £273
  • Copy Probate fees of £1.50 per copy

These figures are only available when:-

  • There is a valid Will and it is not disputed
  • If there is no Will then all those entitled to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration are in agreement
  • Those entitled to apply for a Grant all have Mental Capacity
  • No claims are made against the estate
  • All information required to make the application is provided without delay when requested.
  • You will provide us with the Probate Grant Application fee when requested.
  • No Inheritance Tax is payable

What we will do :

  • Identify the Executors or Administrators
  • Complete the relevant Probate Application and HMRC forms
  • Make the application
  • Obtain Probate and send you an agreed number of copies.

How long will it take?

On average 3 to 6 months to obtain the Grant once you have provided all the financial information and other information required.

Fixed Fee for Grant of Probate and Estate Administration where no Inheritance Tax is payable

We can offer a fixed fees service for a fill Probate and Administration service. We review the estate including the number of assets and beneficiaries. We agree the work to be done with the Executors of the Will or (if there is no Will) the Administrators and provide a fixed cost for that work.

We anticipate our fees will be in the range of £1,500 to £3,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements) but we would need to discuss those costs with you in more detail as the costs need to be tailored to the individual estate. Where the estate is more complex than above, for example inheritance tax is payable, we can provide a specific quote after discussing your needs.

The costs for this work assume:

  • There is a valid Will and there is full agreement between the Executor.
  • If there is no Will there is full agreement between all those entitled to deal with the estate.
  • There is only one freehold property and no mortgage
  • That the Executors or administrators provide all the details to prepare the Application and provide full estate information details on a prompt basis .
  • There are no more than 8 bank or building society accounts and no other assets
  • There are no more than 5 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the distribution of the estate. Disputes will increase the costs.
  • There is no Inheritance Tax payable.
  • There are no claims against the estate
  • That all the Executors or Administrators and beneficiaries have capacity to act under the Mental Capacity Act.
  • There are no Trusts
  • There are no missing Beneficiaries
  • There is no requirement to complete a full Inheritance Tax Account

Potential Additional costs will be incurred if the above details are exceeded and:

  • If the estate consists of other assets, e.g. stocks and shares or overseas assets there are likely to be additional costs.
  • We can give a more accurate estimate when we have more details.
  • The costs of dealing with a property are not included

We anticipate our fees will be in the range of £2,000 to £3,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements).

In addition the following payments may need to be made. This depends on the nature of the assets and number of beneficiaries.

Purpose Potential Payments
Probate Court fee £273.00
Copies of Probate or Administration £1.50 per copy
Land Charges Bankruptcy Search £2.40 (VAT Included)  per beneficiary
Land Registry search fee £3.60 (VAT Included)
Statutory Adverts in London Gazette and local press for creditors £150 to £200*

*Although these vary dependant on the particular publication and we would provide details before incurring such costs 

How long will it take?

It usually takes up to four months to complete the administration. Typically obtaining the grant will take 2 to 4 months and then collecting in the assets will take a further 1 to 2 months and preparing Estate Accounts and distributing the assets 3 to 4 weeks after the Grant is obtained.

What we will do

  • Provide direct access to Simon Blakeley who will work on your matter with approximate support
  • Identify those who need to apply for the Grant and the beneficiaries of the estate.
  • Identify the Probate Application you require
  • Complete the Probate Application and Return of Estate Information Form for you to sign
  • Obtain Probate and an agreed number of copies
  • Collect in and distribute all the assets in the estate

The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in this price. If you require this service please let us know and we will obtain an estimate in that regard.

Exclusions

Our fees are fixed and include items, detailed above, however there may be factors which would typically increase the cost of the fees involved. Where there is likely to be any additional cost, we will make sure you are informed of this at the earliest opportunity and a clear estimate of those extra costs will be provided.

Additional services that will require the assistance of a third party at additional cost include:

  • Tax advice
  • Valuations for property, savings, investments or other assets

Your next move

We have published fixed fees for certain aspects of the process, but only after we know exactly what is required can we offer the certainty of a fixed fee for all aspects.

Call Us Now on 01274 831141

Other Services

We offer an initial no obligation discussion for free and would then be able to confirm whether we are able to assist you further with your matter or refer you to someone who is better able to deal with your individual matter.

Note

All prices mentioned are for guidance and exclude VAT.  There are additional charges which apply for out of pocket expenses where services and fees are charged by third parties for example search fees at the Land Registry, Land Registry fees, Probate Registry fees and these will all be advised to you on an individual basis as these change from time to time and are outside our control.

All our services are provided on the basis of our terms of business which will be provided to you prior to our undertaking work on your behalf although our standard terms are set out below but excluding our costs and estimate for a particular set of instructions.

Blakeley Solicitors – Standard Terms of Business

This explains the basis on which all necessary work will be carried out. You will receive a set of our Terms of Business when we agree to undertake work for you which relate specifically to your particular piece of work that we are to undertake on your behalf.

This is to provide details of the arrangements for costs that will apply if you would like to proceed on a private basis.

So, dealing with a number of important matters in turn:

1.   Advice and action

When you instruct us to act for you we will send you our detailed Terms of Business specific to the work you engage us to undertake.  In those Terms of Business we will summarised the legal action we believe is appropriate concerning your matter.

2.   People responsible for your work

We will provide you with the details you need to know about who will undertake work on your behalf.

(1)           Usually Simon Blakeley will have principal responsibility for dealing with this matter for you, on a day-to-day basis. He is a partner. If anyone needs to know who is dealing with the matter on your behalf you can tell them that it is Simon Blakeley.

(2)           Simon Blakeley may be assisted by Stephen Fleming who is a partner and solicitor and also by Jane Blakeley who is a legal clerk in the firm.

(3)           Once the matter is under way we will keep in touch with you, usually by letter, as it progresses.

(4)           The address for any letters you wish to send us is Blakeley Solicitors 506 Thornton Road, Thornton, Bradford, BD13 3JD and the reference will be provided when we write to you with our Terms of Business. It is helpful if you can quote this reference when writing or calling.

(5)           The office telephone number is 01274 831141.

(6)           Our e-mail address is sblakeley@blakeleysolicitors.co.uk . However, we would not propose to use e-mail for routine correspondence, unless you tell us you would prefer this, and any e-mails that are sent will not be encrypted.

(7)           At various stages we will suggest we meet to review the case. If, at other times, you would like to arrange an appointment please contact us. We will always try to fix meetings for the most convenient times.

We try to avoid changing the people you are dealing with, but if it should seem appropriate at any stage for the matter to be referred, for all purposes, to another member of the team, we will explain why that is suggested and arrange for an introduction.

To help us keep in touch, please let me know as soon as possible if you change your address or telephone number so that we can keep our records up to date. We would welcome hearing from you, with any change of address, even when the matter is finished, as that will ensure we can continue to send you information about the firm in the future which we hope will continue to be of interest.

We will update you in writing with progress on your matter regularly and following agreed events, dependent upon the type of matter it is likely that contact will not be required more than every three months.

We will try to communicate with you in plain language.

We will explain to you by telephone or in writing the legal work required as your matter progresses.

We will update you on the cost of your matter at agreed events – this will occur at least every six months.

We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances.

We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates.

We hope this is all the information you need to ensure we are able to keep in touch with each other during this matter and in the future.

3.   Further help

During the case it may be helpful to get some assistance from others outside the firm. In particular:

(1)           it is usually helpful to involve experts who can advise on, and help deal with, certain aspects of the case; and

(2)           it may become appropriate to instruct Counsel (a barrister) to advise or to represent you.

We will let you know if it seems appropriate to seek this further assistance and let you have details of who is involved. Usually, any advice from these sources will be given in writing, though a meeting may be arranged if appropriate.

4.   Charges, expenses and funding

It is important to let you have details of how costs are incurred; how those costs may be funded; any liability that might arise to pay the costs of any other party.

We hope this will allow us to agree the best way of funding your instructions. To do this, we need to mention a number of matters.

Where we are instructed on a private basis, we will always explain the basis, and calculation, of charges for which, if you instruct us, you would become responsible.

The firm’s charges are based on the time spent dealing with most matters save where we are instructed on a fixed fee basis.

Our charges are based on hourly scales divided into six-minute units, routine letters that we write, and routine telephone calls that we make and receive will be charged as six-minute units.  Other letters and calls made or received are charged on a time basis. In order to detail that amount we have a computerised time recording system based on 6-minute time units.

Simon Blakeley’s basic rate is £23.70 per unit, plus VAT as is that for Stephen Fleming. As and when necessary and appropriate, other members of the firm may be involved in the matter and their time may be charged out on different scales.   The basic rates for my colleagues vary from a minimum of £11.10 per unit.   Our charge rates are periodically reviewed (currently on 01 January each year) and therefore if your matter has not been concluded before the next review takes place, they are likely to rise. We will inform you of any review of the charge rate at that time.

The time spent, for which a charge will be made, includes:

(i)            time spent seeing you or others involved in the case (including travelling if necessary);

(ii)           time spent writing letters to you and others (with routine letters being charged at 1/10 of an hour, and other letters on a time basis);

(iii)          time spent making or receiving telephone calls (with routine calls being charged at 1/10 of an hour, and other calls on a time basis);

(iv)          time spent drafting statements and other documents;

(v)           time spent considering and reviewing documents and/or the matter generally; and

(vi)          time spent travelling to and being at court.

In addition to the time spent the firm may take into account a number of factors including the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge that the case requires and, if appropriate, the value of the property or subject matter involved. On the basis of the information currently available it is expected that these factors will be adequately covered by the hourly rate already referred to. However, the rate may be higher if the matter becomes more complex than expected or if your instructions mean we have to work outside normal office hours. You will be notified if this should happen. If you were to have any query about the level of any revised rates I would ask you to contact me immediately.

If your instructions mean we have to work outside normal office hours, we reserve the right to increase the level of the hourly rates.  Your will be notified in writing of any increased rate.

If the matter is not completed within a reasonable time or the matter is unduly complex and time consuming, we will send out interim bills which are based on the up-to-date time record for the work carried out in that period.   This assists our cash-flow (enabling us to maintain reasonable charge out rates!) and enables you to budget for costs.   If you prefer we can account to you for our charges on a value basis, for example, when we have carried out £500 worth of work thus enabling you at all times to monitor the costs. You can, if you want, set an upper limit to the level of costs. You must tell us at the outset if you wish to do so.

The firm will also be entitled to claim for the cost of payments made to other people involved in the case, such as experts and Counsel, as well as any court fees paid.

We reserve the right to deliver bills, which relate only to disbursements and expenses, which we have incurred or will incur on your behalf.

If you are instructing us as a director of a Limited Company then, by signing our letter of engagement, you warrant your authority to instruct us on the Company’s behalf.   If for any reason the Limited Company is unable to pay our fees then you agree to guarantee the payment of our fees on the Company’s behalf.

If we hold money on your behalf in our Client Account interest may accrue on that money. If the sum of interest accrued exceeds £10 we will pay that interest to you, if the sum accrued is below £10 we would not intend to pay that interest to you as the costs we would be entitled to charge for this would exceed the sums to be paid.

We advise you that in the event of a payment not being made within one month we reserve the right to decline to act any further and the full cost of the work done up to that date charged.   Pursuant to the Solicitor Remuneration Order 2009, we are entitled to charge interest at the rate from time to time authorised by that Order.  Payment is due to us within one month of our sending you our invoice.  Interest charged will be on a daily rate and we charge interest at 4% per annum above the base rate of Santander PLC on accounts that are not settled within that timescale.

If you have any query about your bill, you should contact us straight away in writing to either me, Stephen Fleming or Jane Blakeley.

5. Estimate of Costs

We will provide an estimate of costs for any work we are instructed to undertake on your behalf at the outset of the matter and as soon as it becomes clear what the likely costs for your matter will be.

The costs are, of course, subject to VAT at the appropriate rate where chargeable.

We will inform you if any unforeseen additional work becomes necessary, for example, due to unexpected difficulties or your requirements or the circumstances change significantly during the course of the matter.

Further estimates of likely charges and expenses will be given as the matter progresses, and at least every six months or as the estimate changes. You will be informed if it appears that the estimate above will be exceeded.

You would be informed if any unforeseen additional work became necessary (for example, due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances change significantly during the course of the matter). If that should happen you would be informed in writing of the estimated costs of that additional work before any extra charges and expenses were incurred.

If, for any reason, the matter did not proceed to completion, you would be charged for the work done and expenses incurred.

Sometimes we will be working on staged payments and will have agreed a payment for each stage of the work undertaken; once the first stage of the work has been dealt with, you will be advised further so that you can decide, given the likely costs but taking account of the potential benefit, whether to proceed.

When proceeding on a private basis it is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. This helps to avoid delay in the progress of the case. The amount of any payment on account will be discussed with you at the outset and during the course of your matter. It may be necessary to request further payments on account for charges and expenses to be incurred as the matter progresses. When these payments are put towards bills you will be sent a receipted bill. Such payments will be offset against the final bill, but it is important that you understand that the total charges and expenses may be greater than any advance payments.

We specifically do not give Tax advice.

VAT will be added at the appropriate rate.  Our VAT registration number is 882 8391 78.

6.   Billing arrangements

To help you budget you would be sent an interim bill for charges and expenses at regular intervals while the work is in progress. You would be sent a final bill after completion of the work.

Payment is due within one month of the final bill. You would be charged interest on the bill at 4% above the base rate of Santander PLC prevailing at the time on a daily basis, from the date on which payment of the bill is due if the bill is not paid by the due date.

If you have any query about a bill please always contact us immediately.

7.   Making payment

Any payment you need to make to the firm can be accepted in cash (up to £500) or by cheque.  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.

8. Money Laundering

You may find that during the course of your transaction this firm asks you for proof of your identity and certain other personal information such as your date of birth.   The reason for this is that we are required under the Money Laundering Regulations, to obtain proof of identity for all clients.  Please do not be offended by this request but comply promptly with any request for proof of identity. Your transaction will not proceed any further unless and until such proof of identity is provided. We enclose a copy of a list of documents which are acceptable. We require one item from List A or two items from List B. The Law Society leaflet explains why this information is required.  If you can not provide us with the specific identification request, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.

We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the relevant authorities 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.

9.  Financial Advice

We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but we are able, in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.

If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Complaints Service provide complaints and redress mechanisms.

The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.

10.   Documents

It is important that you keep all documents which relate in any way to the matter we are undertaking on your behalf.

For present purposes, the term ‘documents’ includes anything recorded, whether in permanent or semi-permanent form, such as letters, contracts, receipts, diaries, computer records, photographs, videos, and anything else of that kind.

We will let you know when we need to see all of the documents relevant to your matter, such documents may have to be produced in court proceedings, and a duty is owed to the court to ensure the documents are preserved in case they should be required. Similarly, any documents you subsequently obtain which relate to the matter should also be kept. Also, if you have any other property connected with the matter in any way, you should preserve that property until the case is concluded.

Where original documents are sent to you for safe keeping, such as original Wills and Deeds, you need to ensure that these documents are stored in a safe place where they can be found; we also recommend that you inform executors and family so that they can easily be found.

11. Storage of Papers and Documents

After completing the work, the firm is entitled to keep all papers and documents while there is money owing for charges and expenses. The firm keeps papers (except for any papers you ask to be returned to you) for no more than 6 years and keeps the file on the understanding that the firm has authority to destroy it after 6 years from the date of the final bill, although documents you ask to deposit in safe custody will not, of course, be destroyed.

If it becomes necessary to retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act on your behalf the firm would not normally charge for such retrieval. However, the firm will make a charge, based on time spent producing stored papers or documents to you or to another person at your request, in other circumstances. The firm may also charge for reading correspondence or other work necessary to comply with instructions given by you or on your behalf in this connection.

Acceptance of your Will and any other documents for storage does not imply that we accept any continuing responsibility to notify you of any changes in the law which may affect the effectiveness of any of the terms in your Will including any tax planning arrangements.

Copyright in any document created by us will be and remain vested in us and will not be transferred to you.  We assert the right to be identitfied as the author of and to object to the misuse of any such document.

12.   Termination

You may terminate your instructions in writing at any time, but the firm will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing for charges and expenses.

In some circumstances, you may consider that we ought to stop acting for you, for example if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how the work has been carried out.

We may only decide to stop acting for you with good reason, for example if we do not receive instructions from you or otherwise do not have the assistance we need to progress the claim properly or if costs are not paid. We will, however, always give reasonable notice before ceasing to act so that, if possible, any problems can be dealt with and we can continue to act on your behalf.

If you or we decide that we will no longer act for you, you will pay our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.

13.   Communication and suggestions

We are confident of providing a high quality service.

We do, of course, welcome any suggestions you might wish to make which you think could help to improve our service.

If, at any time, you are not happy with the service you are receiving from the firm, please let us know. You are valued by us and we should like the opportunity to put matters right if any problems do arise. In the first instance, please contact Simon Blakeley and he will do what he can to resolve the problem promptly. If, however, he is not able to resolve the problem to your satisfaction you should then contact Stephen Fleming, who is responsible for the firm’s complaints procedure. A copy of our Complaints Policy is available on request.

If you are not satisfied with the initial review of your complaint, you have the right to ask us to review the outcome using the firm’s Complaints Procedure.  In certain circumstances you may be entitled to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.  Please ask for full details of the procedure if you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of our service.

14.   Complaints Regarding Our Fees

Our invoices contain a brief summary of the work that we have undertaken for you and the Disbursements and costs that have been paid out your behalf in relation to the matters on which you have asked us to act.   A more detailed description can be provided if needed.

If you are not satisfied with the amount of our fees, you have the right to ask us to review our costs using the firm’s Complaints Procedure.  In certain circumstances you may be entitled to object to our bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.  Please ask for full details of the procedure if you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of our service.

A separate procedure, in certain cases, is to have our charges reviewed by the court, called an assessment – see sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974.

15.      Limitation of Liability

As solicitors we are permitted to put a reasonable limit on our liability to our clients provided that:

        ·      The limit on our liability is not below the minimum level of cover required by the Solicitors’ Indemnity Rules (currently £2,000,000 for partnerships and £3,000,000 for LLPs); and

        ·      We do not limit our liability for death or personal injury resulting from our negligence.

Our liability to you shall therefore be limited as follows:

Irrespective of the legal grounds on which any claim against us is made, our liability and loss to you (including any liability for negligence other than for death or personal injury) shall be limited to:

  • £2 million for all claims and losses resulting from one act error or omission, subject to aggregate limits of;
  • £2 million for all claims and losses arising from a series of related acts errors or omissions or;
  • £2 million for all claims and losses resulting from a series of acts errors or omissions arising out of or attributable to the same originating cause, source or event, or;
  • £2 million for all claims arising from the same or similar act error or omission in a series of related matters or transactions.

For the purposes of this clause, a claim against any one or more of our assistant solicitors, employed barristers and any other members of our staff (whether employees or not) or the Principal, shall be regarded as a single claim against us.  Our liability to you shall be limited accordingly.

Details of our professional indemnity insurance can be obtained from our office or by written request.

16.   Third Party Rights

Unless we specifically agree to the contrary in writing, we shall act only on your behalf in relation to the work that we do for you and the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 shall not apply.

Any legal advice that we give you is for your own use only and we shall not be liable to anyone else in relation to that advice (including anyone that you pass or transmit it to) unless we express agree to be liable to the recipient(s) in writing.

17.   Data

If you are a private individual we shall only use any personal data that we have relating to you for the following purposes:

        ·      To identify you as a client of this firm and to confirm any information you have given us;

        ·      To provide you with our products and services;

        ·      To process any payments from you;

        ·      To send you information regarding our products and services, including any products and services that we may supply in conjunction with anyone else, unless you ask us not to do so;

        ·      For our own internal purposes in connection with risk management matters and resolving disputes; and

        ·      For producing statistics and other information relating to our business, providing this shall not identify you personally.

18.  Confidentiality

Information of a confidential nature which you provide to us will be kept strictly confidential subject to our legal obligations.  However, if we are working on a matter in conjunction with your other advisers, you confirm that, unless you notify us otherwise, we may disclose any such information to and discuss it with such other advisers as appropriate.
As we owe the same duty to others who are or have been our clients, by agreeing to instruct us on these terms you accept that our provision of legal services to you does not place us under any obligation to disclose to you, or use for your benefit, any confidential information that we currently have, or may obtain, in relation to any other client or prospective client.

Unless you notify us to the contrary in writing, we shall be entitled to refer to information, which is in the public domain and/or is a matter of public record.  This would include the fact that we are acting or have acted for you in relation to any matter for our marketing purposes, including any promotional material, such as mail shots, pitch documents and on our website.

Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/other work on our files to ensure this is done promptly. 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.

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.

19.  Equality and Diversity

Blakeley Solicitors 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.