Terms & Conditions


The purpose of this document is to confirm that arrangements between us.  Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business, we ask that you sign, date and return one copy for our file.

Table of contents

  • Business hours
  • Our responsibilities
  • Your responsibilities
  • Service levels and frequency of communication
  • Limit of liability
  • Banking
  • Regulated services
  • Unregulated services
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Storage and retrieval of files
  • Outsourcing
  • External auditing and due diligence
  • Terminating your instructions
  • Data protection (GDPR)
  • Promotional communications
  • Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
  • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
  • Confidentiality
  • Receiving and paying funds
  • Complaints
  • Our bill
  • Payment of interest
  • Investment advice services
  • Insurance mediation activity
  • Equality and diversity
  • Applicable law
  • Future instructions

Our Hours of business
We are normally open between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Messages can be left by voicemail or email outside those hours and appointments can be arranged at other times when necessary.  We are closed on all bank holidays.

Responsibilities
Our responsibilities

We will:

  • treat you fairly and with respect;
  • communicate with you in plain language;
  • review your matter regularly;
  • advise you of any changes in the law that affect your matter; and
  • advise you of any reasonably foreseeable circumstances and risks that could affect the outcome of your matter

Your responsibilities

You will:

  • provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions
  • provide all documentation and information that we reasonably request in a timely manner, and
  • safeguard any documents that may be required for your matter, including documents that you may have to disclose to another party

Service levels and frequency of communication
We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter regularly.

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

We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates. Whenever there is a material change in circumstances associated with your matter, we will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks.

We will update you on the cost of your matter at the intervals set out in our letter confirming your instructions. If appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.

Limit of liability
We will not be liable for:

  • losses that were not foreseeable to you and us when this contract was formed
  • losses not caused by any breach on the part of the firm, and
  • business losses, including losses sustained by any individual not acting for purposes of their trade, business, craft or profession

Barker Booth & Eastwood is a limited company. This means that the firm's directors are not personally liable for any acts or omissions by the firm, unless the law requires otherwise. This does not limit or exclude liability of the firm for the acts or omissions of its directors.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot and do not limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence.
We limit our liability to you for claims for breach of contract, breach of duty, negligence and for claims otherwise arising out of or in connection with our engagement or the services we provide, in the ways described below.

Our liability to you shall be limited to £3 million or such higher amount as is set out in the letter accompanying these Terms of Business.

This liability cap will apply to our aggregate liability to you together with any associated party for whom you are acting as agent in relation to the relevant matter on any basis.

Proportional liability
In addition to the other limitations in this document, where we and/or third parties are responsible for any loss suffered by you, our liability for that loss will be limited to a fair proportion of your total loss calculated by reference to the extent of our responsibility.  If you have engaged others to represent or advise you on a matter in which we are involved and you agree with any of them that their liability to you will be limited, in order that our position is not adversely affected by any such limitation of their liability, you agree that our liability to you will not exceed the amount which would have applied in the absence of that limitation.

Third party liability
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.

No claim against individual employees/members
We have an interest in limiting the personal liability of employees, consultants and members. Accordingly, you agree that you will not bring any claim against any individual employee, consultant or member in respect of losses which you suffer or incur, arising out of or in connection with our engagement or the services we provide.  The provisions of this paragraph will not limit or exclude the firm’s liability for the acts or omissions of our employees, consultants or members.

The provisions of the above paragraph are intended for the benefit of our employees, consultants and members but the terms of our engagement may be varied without the consent of all or any of those persons.

Limitation on exclusions
The above exclusions and limitations will not operate to exclude or limit any liability which cannot lawfully be limited or excluded. In particular they do not limit liability for fraud, nor for causing death or personal injury by negligence, nor for negligence in contentious business, insofar as the Solicitors Act 1974 s 60(5) precludes the exclusion of such liability.

Monies Held in Our Client Account/Banking
We hold all client money in Barclays Bank Plc and The Bank of Scotland plc which are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Your money will be held in one or more of these banking institutions. We are not liable for any losses you suffer as a result of any such banking institution being unable to repay depositors in full. You may, however, be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The FSCS is the UK's statutory fund of last resort for customers of banking institutions. The FSCS can pay compensation up to £85,000 if a banking institution is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it.

The limit is £85,000 per banking institution. If you hold other personal money in the same banking institution as our client accounts, the limit remains £85,000 in total.

Some banking institutions have several brands. The compensation limit is £85,000 per institution, not per brand. You should check with your banking institution, the FCA or a financial advisor for more information.
The FSCS also provides up to £1m of short-term protection for certain high balances, eg relating to property transactions, inheritance, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, unfair dismissal, redundancy, and personal injury compensation (there is no financial limit on protection for personal injury compensation). This is called the temporary high balance scheme and, if it applies, protection lasts for a maximum of six months.

The FSCS (including the temporary high balance scheme) will apply to qualifying balances held in our client account. In the unlikely event of a deposit-taking institution failure, we will presume (unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary) we have your consent to disclose necessary client details to the FSCS.

Regulated Services
Barker Booth & Eastwood Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN (the SRA).
This means that we are governed by a Code of Conduct and other professional rules, which you can access on the SRA’s website (www.sra.org.uk) or by calling 0370 606 2555

Professional Indemnity Insurance
We have professional indemnity insurance giving cover for claims against the firm. Details of this insurance, including contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy, can be inspected at our office or made available on request.

To comply with our regulatory obligations and the terms of our professional indemnity insurance, we may disclose relevant documents and information to insurers, brokers and insurance advisers on a confidential basis. This could include details of any circumstances arising from our work for you that might give rise to a claim against us. Unless you notify us to the contrary, you consent to such disclosure by us even if the documents and information in question are confidential and/or subject to legal professional privilege

Storage and Retrieval of Files
After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep your file and all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. Thereafter, we will keep your file for up to six years, except those papers you ask to be returned to you.
We will not charge for this storage but reserve the right to charge an annual fee for storing original documents in safe custody, eg wills and title deeds. We will notify you of our storage rates at the appropriate time.
We store files on the understanding that we can destroy them six years after the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
If we retrieve your file from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, or If we retrieve your file from storage for another reason, we may charge you £25 plus vat for:

  • time spent retrieving the file and producing it to you
  • reading, correspondence, or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved file
  • providing additional copies of any documents

For information on how long we will hold your personal data, see the attached Privacy policy.

Outsourcing
Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do photocopying and other work on our files to ensure this is done promptly and in the most cost-effective manner.  We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers.  For information on outsourcing in relation to your personal data, see the attached Privacy policy.

External auditing and due diligence
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit or quality checks your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited or quality checked.

Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible

For information on external auditing and due diligence in relation to your personal data, see the attached Privacy Policy

Terminating your instructions
You may end your instructions at any time by giving us notice in writing. We can keep all your papers and documents while our charges or disbursements are outstanding.
We can only decide to stop acting for you with good reason and we must give you reasonable notice.
If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you are liable to pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on the basis set out in our letter confirming your instructions.
Data protection (GDPR)
We use your personal data primarily to provide legal services to you, but also for related purposes as described in the attached Privacy policy, which includes:

  • conducting checks to identify you, verify your identity and screen for financial or other sanctions
  • gathering and providing information required by or relating to audits, enquiries and investigations by regulatory bodies
  • complying with professional, legal and regulatory obligations that apply to our business
  • ensuring business policies are adhered to, eg policies covering security and internet use
  • operational reasons, such as improving efficiency, training and quality control
  • ensuring the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information
  • statistical analysis to help us manage our practice, eg in relation to our financial performance, client base, work type or other efficiency measures
  • updating and enhancingclient records
  • preventing unauthorised access and modifications to systems
  • preparing and filing statutory returns
  • ensuring safe working practices, and monitoring and managing staff absences and staff access to systems and facilities
  • staff administration and assessments, monitoring staff conduct, and disciplinary matters
  • marketing our services and those of selected third parties
  • credit reference checks via external credit reference agencies
  • external audits and quality checks, eg for Lexcel, CQS

Our use of your personal data is subject to your instructions, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), other relevant UK and EU legislation and our professional duty of confidentiality.
Barker Booth & Eastwood Limited is a data controller for the purpose of the GDPR and other relevant data protection legislation.
We take your privacy very seriously. Please read the attached Privacy policy carefully as it contains important information on:

  • what personal data we collect about you and how that data is collected
  • how, why and on what grounds we use your personal data
  • who we share your personal data with
  • where your personal data is held and how long it will be kept
  • whether your personal data may be transferred out of the European Economic area and, if so, the measures taken to protect that data
  • your rights in relation to the personal data we hold or use
  • the steps we take to secure your personal data
  • how to make a complaint in relation to our use of your personal data
  • how to contact us with any queries or concerns in relation to your personal data

Promotional communications
We may use your personal data to send you updates (by email, text, telephone or post) about legal developments that might be of interest to you and/or information about our services, including exclusive offers, promotions or new services or products. You have the right to opt out of receiving promotional communications at any time, by:

  • contacting us in writing addressed to the firm’s Practice Manager, Miss Tracy Kirkland
  • using the ‘unsubscribe’ link in emails or ‘STOP’ number in texts

Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

We are required by law to confirm satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients and, sometimes, people related to them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.

To comply with the law, we need evidence of your identity as soon as possible. This is explained in our letter confirming your instructions. Any personal data we receive from you for the purpose of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing will be used only for that purpose or:

  • with your consent, or
  • as permitted by or under another enactment

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

Subject to section ‘Limit of liability’ above, we shall not be liable for any loss arising from or connected with our compliance with any statutory obligation which we may have, or reasonable belief we may have, to report matters to the relevant authorities under the provisions of the money laundering and/or terrorist financing legislation.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a piece of US legislation which has effect in the UK as a result of an agreement between the UK and US governments. The intention behind the legislation is to ensure US citizens disclose their worldwide income to the US tax authority (the Internal Revenue Service).

The FATCA regime requires certain financial institutions to identify and report (to HMRC) payments made to a:

  • specified US person, or
  • non-US entity with one or more controlling person who is a specified US person

To comply with the law, we may have to share some of your information, including your FATCA status and, if applicable, your Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) with financial institutions.

We also have to establish whether you are a specified US person or an entity controlled by a specified US person. If so, it may be necessary for us to report payments to HMRC. This is explained further in our letter confirming your instructions.

It is vital that we keep your information current at all times. You are responsible for communicating to us any changes in circumstances that may alter your FATCA status.

Confidentiality
The information and documentation you provide us is confidential and subject to legal professional privilege unless:

  • stated otherwise in this document, our letter confirming your instructions or the attached Privacy policy, eg in relation to prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, or
  • we advise you otherwise during the course of your matter

We cannot absolutely guarantee the security of information communicated by email or mobile phone. Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we will assume that you consent for us to use these methods of communication.

Social Networking Sites
In relation to the matter we are dealing with on your behalf you should not at any time make any entries or discuss it on any social networking sites for example such as “Facebook” or “Twitter”.  If you do so the entries or discussions will not be confidential and may be used as evidence against you by the otherside involved in the matter or third parties

Email
Unless you tell us otherwise, you agree to us communicating with you, including sending bills and other confidential information, by normal, unencrypted email, using the email address(es) you have given us from time to time.  You should be aware that there is a risk that emails (in particular when unencrypted) may be intercepted, delayed or corrupted or may fail to be delivered.

We make reasonable attempts to exclude from our emails any virus or other defect that might harm a computer or IT system.  You undertake to act likewise with any electronic communications you send to us.  Neither you nor we shall have any liability to each other in respect of any claim or loss arising in connection with such a virus or defect in an electronic communication other than where such claim or loss arises from bad faith or wilful default.

Receiving and paying funds
Our policy is to only accept cash up to £500.    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.
Please be aware that we do not notify changes to important business information, such as bank account details, by email.
If it is necessary for us to pay monies direct into a bank account to clients who are not resident in the UK, they must inform us as to the currency in which they wish payments to be made before any monies are paid out

Complaints
We are committed to providing high-quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive or about the bill, please contact Tracy Kirkland by email on info@bbelaw.co.uk or by post to 346 Lytham Road, Blackpool, FY4 1DW. We have a written procedure that sets out how we handle complaints. It is available upon request.

We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time, you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman. If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman's contact details are:

PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
0300 555 0333—from 8.30am to 5.30pm
enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
www.legalombudsman.org.uk

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, or within six years of the occurrence of the act or omission about which you are complaining (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). Generally, the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints relating to acts or omissions that happened after 5 October 2010.

The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints by consumers and very small businesses. This means some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, eg charities or clubs with an annual income of more than £1m, trustees of trusts with asset value of more than £1m and most businesses (unless they are defined as micro-enterprises). This does not prevent you from making a complaint directly to us about the service you have received or about the bill.

If we are unable to resolve your complaint, and it relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may also be able to submit your complaint to a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider in the UK via the EU ODR platform.

The ODR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ODR platform is available to consumer clients only, ie where you have instructed us for purposes outside your trade, business, craft or profession.

The website address for the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr.

Our Bill
You are liable to pay legal costs as set out in our letter confirming your instructions. We will also usually discuss this at our initial meeting with you.

Bills should be paid within 14 of days. We may charge interest on overdue bills at 8% over the base rate of Bank of England.

We may cease acting for you if an interim bill remains unpaid after 60 days or if our reasonable request of a payment on account of costs is not met.

You have the right to challenge or complain about our bill. Please see the ‘Complaints’ section above for details of how to complain about our bill.

You have the right to challenge our bill by applying to the court to assess the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The usual time limit for making such an application is one month from the date of delivery of the bill. If the application is made after one month but before twelve months from delivery of the bill, the court's permission is required for the bill to be assessed.

Unless there are special circumstances, the court will not usually order a bill to be assessed after:

  • 12 months from delivery of the bill
  • a judgment has been obtained for the recovery of the costs covered by the bill
  • the bill has been paid, even if this is within 12 months

We can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses

Unless agreed to the contrary we will normally bill every three months for the work performed to date together with any disbursements we have incurred on your behalf

Interest on funds we hold for you
We will normally credit you with interest on any funds we hold in our client account on your behalf. Our policy on the payment of interest is as follows.

Interest will accrue at the rate payable by our bank on instant access deposits.  This may be less than the rate at which you could have invested the money yourself.

We will credit you with interest if the amount of interest involved is more than £50

If we hold sums of money for you in relation to different matters we will normally treat the money relating to each of the different matters separately.

We will not account for interest on money held for the payment of a professional disbursement, once the intended recipient has requested a delay in settlement.  Nor will we account for interest on money held for the Legal Aid Agency.

Costs
Unless we have agreed otherwise, our charges will be based on the time spent on your matter, applying our hourly charging rates as applicable from time to time.

We reserve the right to charge separately for photocopying, printing, telephone calls, faxes, electronic funds transfers, catering and other support services, and travel, courier and other incidental expenses.

Where applicable, we will charge VAT on our charges and expenses.

Changes to Charge-Out Rates
Our hourly charge-out rates are reviewed with effect from January each year.  We will notify you of the rates if they change and you will then be bound by them.  If you do not accept the new rates after review, we reserve the right not to continue acting for you.

Costs Estimates and Arrangements
Any costs estimate we give at any time is a guide to assist you in budgeting.  It is not intended to be fixed, unless that is specifically agreed in writing.

Any fixed fee, capped fee or other fee arrangement we agree with you, or any costs estimate we give you, is based on the scope of the work anticipated and our assumptions about the matter at the time it is agreed or given.  If the scope of work changes or the assumptions change it will no longer apply. In that case we will discuss a revised fee arrangement or estimate with you.

Contentious Matters
You will be responsible to us for our fees and disbursements regardless of any order obtained for payment of your costs by another party.  Our costs are likely to exceed the sum which you could recover from any other party to the proceedings.  You should also bear in mind that you may be ordered to pay the costs of the other party.

Joint Clients
If we are instructed by joint clients then all clients are jointly and severally liable for our fees, notwithstanding any agreement between you as to how you will share the costs. This means that we will be able to look to one client only or to each of our clients to pay the whole of or any balance of any unpaid fees.

Instructions are understood to be for the purposes of all of those instructing us.  We will act on instructions from any one of those clients unless you instruct us otherwise. Liability to pay our costs is joint (all the clients together) and several (each may be liable for the whole amount).

If instructions are given on behalf of a client, we are entitled to assume that the person giving the instructions has lawful authority to instruct us.  If not, then that person will be liable to us as if they were our client.

Investment Advice Services
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice.

However, we may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are members of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with the SRA or Legal Ombudsman

Consumer Credit Services
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to consumer credit services. We may, however, provide certain limited consumer credit services where these are incidental to the professional services we provide. This is because we are members of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any consumer credit services you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with the SRA or Legal Ombudsman.

Insurance mediation Activity
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 may 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 authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at: https://register.fca.org.uk/.

The Law Society of England and Wales is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with the SRA or Legal Ombudsman

Equality and Diversity
Barker Booth & Eastwood is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

Mortgage Fraud
If we are also acting for your proposed lender in this transaction, we have a duty fully to reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. That includes any differences between the mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction and any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you.

Distance Selling Regulations
If we have not yet met you and you are an individual acting for purposes which are outside your business, the Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to our agreement with you.  This means, that you have the right to cancel our engagement without charge at any time within 14 working days of your acceptance of our engagement terms.  If you wish to do so you must inform us of your decision to cancel in writing.  Your right to cancel our engagement will not apply if you agree to us beginning work in relation to your instructions during the relevant cancellation period

Bankruptcy and arrangements with creditors by individuals
If at any time whilst we are representing you, a Bankruptcy Order is made against you or you enter in to any arrangement with your Creditors, you must inform us immediately.

Company and Limited Liability Partnerships insolvency and arrangements with Creditors
If at any time whilst we are representing a Company or Limited Liability Partnership, and a Winding Up Order or Administration Order is made against it, a Receiver is appointed, it is struck off the register at Companies House or it enters in to an arrangement with its creditors, the Directors or Company Secretary must inform us immediately.

Applicable Law
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.

Future Instructions
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter.