Have you recently lost a loved one & need help with the reading of the will? Looking for honest advice when it comes to looking for a house for sale? Not to worry, our team has the experience to help with the full scope of legal services.
Whilst we are based in Dingwall, our services are used by clients from throughout Scotland & England. We remain devoted to providing you with legal advice you can trust to help you in your time of need.
J.C. BARTLETT & Co - TERMS OF BUSINESS
We are setting out below the terms and conditions which apply to any work which we do on your behalf. In this way we should have a better idea of what is expected of each-other to promote a successful working relationship. By asking us to carry out any work, or by instructing us to continue with work we have already started, you will be deemed to have accepted these terms of engagement. They can only be altered by the agreement of us both, in writing. If you have any doubt as to the meaning or effect of any of these terms or otherwise find something to be confusing then please feel free to discuss it with us. Indeed it may be that you can assist us to create a clearer and more straightforward agreement.
QUALITY OF WORK
Quality Service. Our aim is to understand your business and your legal requirements and to provide you with a high quality service while maintaining a friendly, personal approach. The nature of legal work, especially litigation, is that we cannot necessarily guarantee an outcome. We endeavour to work quickly and efficiently, and we hope you find us friendly and approachable. If you are happy with the way in which we have assisted you then please tell us and others. If you would like to discuss with us how our service could be improved or have any complaint regarding our services then you should feel free to discuss this with either the person responsible for the day to day conduct of your business or with John Bartlett, our client care partner. If any dissatisfaction cannot be resolved then you are always entitled to raise the matter with the Secretary of The Law Society of Scotland at 26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7YR.
COMMUNICATION WITH EACH-OTHER
Hours of business. Our normal opening hours are 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although we may be able to meet with you at other times by prior appointment. Due to court and other commitments our office may be closed during normal office hours
Who will do your work. Our John Bartlett will have overall responsibility for your work, although other people may help from time to time where they have more appropriate experience or it is felt that this would be more efficient.
Keeping each other informed. We will keep you informed about work undertaken on your behalf, such as what we are doing for you, why we are doing it and how long it is likely to take. Due to the nature of legal work it may sometimes be difficult to estimate precisely how long something will take to complete. Please remember that the speed at which we can progress matters is quite often affected by the co-operation (or lack of it) we receive from people outwith our control. Although we shall advise you of all significant developments, if you are ever uncertain about what is happening then please ask.
To enable us to best help you, you must provide us with all the information and documents which we reasonably request as speedily as possible. As we can only act on the information and instructions provided, you should inform us of all relevant details, including any personal time limits or targets which you might have. If you are in any doubt about what is likely to be relevant then feel free to discuss this with us. It would be better for us to have too much information instead of too little. Similarly, if you change your mind about anything we are doing for you then you must let us know as soon as possible. Finally, if you are to be away on holiday or otherwise difficult to contact for even a few days then you should alert us to this in case something critical arises whilst you are away.
Communicating with each other. Instructions may be given to us in writing or verbally, although we may ask you to confirm verbal instructions in writing. We shall endeavour to respond to all incoming mail, emails, faxes and telephone calls promptly. You should be aware, however, that e-mail and other methods of electronic and/or internet communication are not yet secure or error free; information communicated in these ways could be intercepted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete or otherwise be adversely affected or unsafe to use. Similarly, communications on a mobile phone are capable of being intercepted. While we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that confidentiality is maintained in all such communications with you - and will take all reasonable procedures to check for the then most commonly known viruses before sending information electronically - you agree that we shall not be liable for any loss or damage which you may suffer or incur as a result of our proper use of such communication channels. In particular, if emailed instructions are not acknowledged within 48 hours you must contact us by telephone to ensure we have your up-to-date instructions.
Joint Clients. 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 others to do so. For example: (i) if our client is a partnership, we can take instructions from any partner; and (ii) if there are joint clients (e.g. husband and wife or more than one individual shareholder) we can take instructions from either or any of them. 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.
Private Limited Companies: If we are asked to act on behalf of a private limited company or a limited liability partnership then we will accept instructions from any of its company officers or employees unless you limit and identify to us the people who are authorised to instruct us. In any case the Directors or members (as appropriate) are jointly and severally liable, along with Company itself and the individuals instructing us, for the instructions given to us and for payment of our fees and outlays in connection with that matter.
Instructions from another. If you wish anyone other than yourself to give us instructions or information you should confirm this in writing. Your instructions should be clear and not misleading, and we reserve the right to decline any instructions we consider improper or unreasonable.
FINANCES AND COSTS
Fees. Our fee for the work we do for you will depend on how much time has been spent on it. The hourly charge-out rates applicable to the personnel involved are available to you on request and are revised by the Firm from time to time. In assessing the fees we may also take into account a number of other factors, such as the value of the transaction (where a risk factor of 0.5% of the value of the property involved may be charged in addition), the complexity and difficulty of the matter, the skill, knowledge and responsibility involved, the urgency of the matter and the place where we have to carry out the work (which may result in the fee being increased by a factor of up to 50%). VAT may also be payable by you on all fees.
Outlays. Outlays and expenses incurred by us on your behalf will be added to our charges. Unless you tell us otherwise in writing, we will assume that we have your authority to incur those expenses it would be reasonable to incur in the proper performance of your work. These can include, but are not restricted to, registration dues, stamp duty, counsel's fees, expert witness fees, travelling, accommodation or subsistence costs, courier charges, bank and other administration charges.
Estimates. From our experience of handling similar work in the past we may be able to give you an indication of likely costs. As no two matters are ever completely the same, it might become necessary for us to revise any estimate given. We will aim to tell you as soon as we become aware that the work is more complicated or time consuming than we originally thought.
Quotes. With some types of work, such as domestic conveyancing, we may be able to quote a fixed fee. In such a case our fee will not exceed the figure given unless the work turns out to be significantly more complex or time consuming than a normal transaction. We must point out, however, that it is possible for a fee fixed in advance to be higher than a fee charged on the basis of the actual work carried out.
Independent review of costs. If you feel that the level of any account is higher than it should be then you are perfectly entitled to have it reviewed by the auditor of Court. If the Auditor reduces the amount of our original fee we will only charge that reduced amount and will pay the Auditor’s costs. If he confirms that our fee is correct or less than it could have been then you will be responsible for the fees as set by the Auditor and the Auditor’s costs. If a written quotation has been given then we can choose not to submit our account to the Auditor for determination of the fee.
Payment of accounts. We may require payment in advance before we can settle outlays on your behalf (e.g. court fees, search fees, agents fees, etc). Sometimes we will need confirmation of your ability to fund a transaction, and a deposit may be requested. We will issue an account for our own work either at the end of a matter or at regular intervals. If payment is not made on time (outlays reimbursed within 7 days or fees paid within 28 days) then we reserve the right to: (a) stop working for you; (b) charge interest on the amount outstanding from the date of the account until payment at the rate of 4% over The Bank of Scotland Base Rate; and (c) charge you for the full amount of work we have done for you. By instructing us in this matter you also agree to reimburse us for any work or time spent in pursuing payment of late accounts.
Expenses in Court Actions. If we act on your behalf in connection with a court action in which you are partly or totally successful, it may be possible to recover expenses from your opponent. In practice only a proportion of your expenses are likely to be recoverable. You are liable for our fees and for outlays incurred on your behalf whether or not you are successful in an action but credit will be given for all expenses recovered from your opponent.
Deduction of Fees and Outlays at Source: Where we receive sums which belong to you (e.g. from selling a property) we shall be entitled to deduct from those sums all outstanding fees and outlays before sending you the balance.
Client money held. Money received from, or on behalf of, a client shall be lodged in a general client bank account at the earliest opportunity. Where client funds on a particular file exceed £500, or are to be held for a long period, then we may at our discretion place the balance on deposit in the name of the client. In any case, the client will be entitled to interest on funds held at the same rate as is paid to us by our bank, subject to a possible deduction of 0.5%. We make no other charge for the collection of interest on clients' deposits but we are entitled to retain interest or commission paid to us by our banks. Any funds held by us will only be returned to the person or other legal entity for whom we act unless they give written instructions to the contrary
Liability for Costs. Where you and other(s) are joint clients, you will each be jointly and severally liable for our charges – ie we may recover the full amount of our charges from any of you, unless otherwise agreed in writing with you. You are also responsible for payment of our charges whether or not the matter proceeds to completion. Finally, you are responsible for our charges even if we have agreed to send the bill to a third party, you are insured, or someone else has agreed to pay your expenses.
You are perfectly entitled to seek assistance from another solicitor at any time. We too are free to cease acting for you by giving you written notice to that effect. We will not normally terminate our professional relationship with you, whether in its entirety or with respect to a particular matter, without good reason (eg the creation of a conflict of interest, you instructing us to act in an unprofessional manner or a breakdown in the relationship of trust between us).
If either of us choose to terminate our professional relationship you will remain responsible for payment of all fees and expenses incurred up to that time. We are entitled to hold onto any title deeds, files or other papers until payment of all outstanding invoices is made in full – including any further fees, outlays and expenses reasonably incurred by us in connection with the transfer of such title deeds, files or other papers to you or to such other person as is nominated by you.
We would point out that if you are receiving financial assistance from the Scottish Legal Aid Board, they may be reluctant to pay a new solicitor to act without very good reason.
Jurisdiction / Applicable Law. Our whole relationship with you is covered by the Law of Scotland and any dispute arising out of the provision of services by us to you is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts. We shall, however, be entitled to raise proceedings in any jurisdiction we deem appropriate.
Conflict of Interest. In general, we cannot act for two or more parties if there is a conflict of interests. Please advise us at the outset if you are aware of any potential conflicts which may arise. We in turn will notify you immediately if we become aware that your interests conflict with ours or with the interests of another of our clients. Should this happen we may have to cease acting for either or both clients and recommend that they consult with other solicitors.
Confidentiality. Information about you is important to us as it enables us to understand your business. Please feel free, therefore, to speak to us about the details we have, especially if you think they might be inaccurate in any way. We may employ others to carry out work for us on your behalf. If we do then we shall let them have such information about you as is necessary for them to carry out their work properly. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and other legislation we have a duty to report certain activities. In such circumstances we may have no choice but to disclose confidential information and to keep such disclosure secret.
Proceeds of Crime Act, Money Laundering etc. We are required by anti money-laundering regulations to obtain proof of identity from clients for whom we act in certain matters. You may therefore be asked to supply us with appropriate information and documentation.
Copyright and Third Parties. All work products, whether or not in writing, and all intellectual property rights and documentation (including working papers), developed by us during the course of the work carried out for you will be, and will remain, our sole and absolute property. We may adapt, develop or use such work products for other clients and in other engagements. We may destroy or retain them without reference to you. We will store title deeds and original signed documents for you by prior agreement, but we may charge you for such a service. If we do propose to make a charge you will be notified in advance.
Use and Purpose of Advice and Reports. Any advice given or report issued by us is provided solely for your use and benefit and only in connection with the matter on which we are advising you and for any purpose specified when giving the advice. You shall not disclose such report or details of our advice to any third party without our prior written consent. Even where we do give such consent we shall not be responsible to any third party to whom any advice or report is disclosed or otherwise made available, unless and to the extent otherwise expressly agreed in writing between us and such third party.
Files and Papers. Our policy is to retain files and other papers for a limited period after the work to which they relate has been completed. How long they are kept will depend on the nature of the work carried out. If there are any papers which you would like to be kept then you should let is know as soon as possible so that steps can be taken to prevent their destruction.
Legal only. It is our responsibility to advise you on the legal aspects of your business and to assist you with these. Whilst we may alert you to other possible considerations, such as tax implications, we are not experts in these fields. Where it is possible that these matters may have a bearing it is your responsibility to seek advice from suitably qualified advisers. Where we instruct professional advisers or others on your behalf (such as an advocate, overseas lawyer or expert witness), whether in the UK or abroad, we do so as your agent and will not be responsible for the advice given or for any act or omission of those parties.
Invalidity. If any of our terms and conditions, whether set out here or elsewhere, is, or becomes, invalid, illegal or unenforceable, the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions will not in any way be affected or impaired.
Legal Aid: Where some form of legal aid is available to assist with the cost of any work carried out on your behalf, we shall assess your eligibility for the appropriate cover, explain the level of cover to you and assist you in completing all of the necessary forms. In the event that you are in receipt of Legal Aid or Legal Advice and Assistance, any money recovered on your behalf may have to be paid to the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
J.C. BARTLETT & Co – FEE CHARGING
The fee we will charge for any work which we do for you will be based largely on the amount of time which has been spent on it. The charge out rate for a solicitor is £120 per hour, and this is broken down into 10 blocks of 6 minutes (or part thereof).
The time allocated to the following types of work will normally be as follows:-
|Deeds; documents intended to have contractual effect (including missives); formal writs; figured statements and accounts (except Solicitors' business accounts); inventories (other than inventories of writs) and relative schedules; memorials for opinion; Court writs, motions and associated papers - for each 250 words or part thereof||30 minutes|
|Other papers (including transfers)- for each 250 words or part thereof||15 minutes|
|Written correspondence including letters, faxes and e-mails - for each 100 words or part thereof||6 minutes|
In assessing a suitable fee we may also take into account a number of other factors, such as the value of the transaction (where a risk factor of up to 0.5% of the value of the property involved may be charged in addition), the complexity and difficulty of the matter, the skill, knowledge and responsibility involved, the urgency of the matter and the place where we have to carry out the work (all of which may result in the fee being increased by a factor of up to 50%).
VAT may also be payable by you on all fees.
Anticipated prices for standard work
Estate Agency Commission
3/4% of the first £200,000 + 1/2% thereafter (minimum £750) + VAT
Purchase of residential property: £495 + VAT and outlays
Sale of residential property: £495 + VAT and outlays
D.o. where we have done estate agency: £450 + VAT and outlays
Drawing Short Assured Tenancy Agreement: £80 + VAT
Subsequent SAT Agreement for same property: £70 + VAT
Drawing a single will: £50 + VAT
Drawing mirror wills: £80 + VAT
MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS INFORMATION SHEET FOR CLIENTS
In terms of The Money Laundering Regulations 1993 we must see identification for new clients. We may also have to see identification for existing clients before we start new work for them. We need to see two items of identification for each new client. We must see the original item of identification as we are not allowed to accept photocopies.
We have listed below acceptable items of identification. We need to see either two items for each client from Section A or, again for each client, one item from Section A and one item from Section B. One of the items of identification must have your current address on it.
METHODS OF EXHIBITING IDENTIFICATION TO US
You can send us your identification. We will return it to you immediately. If you send it by registered post or recorded delivery we will return it this way. Please remember we must see the originals.
You can call in person at the office at 6 McGregor’s Court, Dingwall, Ross-shire between 9am -1pm and 2 - 5pm Monday - Friday with your identification. You do not need to make an appointment. Our receptionist will photocopy the identification whilst you wait. Please telephone us on 01349 867100 if you are unsure about what identification to send us or if you have any other query. Please remember we may not be able to start your transaction without first seeing identification.
To find out how our legal services can help you, call J.C. Bartlett & Co on 01349 867100