Terms and Conditions of Business
Thank you for instructing GGP LAW in this matter. We aim to provide an excellent quality of service to all our clients. As part of that service, this document sets out the terms and conditions of our relationship with you. We would be grateful if you would read through it carefully.
GGP LAW is the trading name of GGP LAW LTD, (Company No. 08230946).
A list of Directors and the addresses of all offices are available at our offices, on our website, www.ggplaw.co.uk and on our letterheads.
It is important that you are fully informed about how your matter will be handled. This page sets out the firm’s Terms and Conditions of Business. Please read all of this document carefully, together with the client care letter you will be sent upon instruction. Please keep these safe for your future reference as together they set out the terms under which the firm and your Fee Earner will be acting for you and they also form the basis of our retainer with you. It covers the various ways in which our fees are calculated for different types of work. It also covers other important financial related information and conditions. The fees charged by solicitors are subject to the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009.
Our aim is to ensure that at all times our services provided to you are of a high quality and that our fees are fair and reasonable. These Terms also contain details of your right to challenge our fees and what steps you should take if you have a complaint.
The use of the singular in these Terms and Conditions may include the plural and vice versa. In the context of these Terms and Conditions of Business (the ‘Terms’, ‘Terms of Business’ or ‘document’), the terms ‘we’ or ‘us’ or ‘our’ or ‘the/this firm’ refer to GGP LAW The term ‘client care letter’ includes the covering letter sent to you once you have instructed us plus these Terms and any enclosures attached thereto. The term ‘(your) Fee Earner’ refers to the person with the day to day conduct of your matter unless otherwise advised. The term ‘costs’ refers to the firm’s charges plus Value Added Tax (VAT). The term ‘disbursements’ refers to any expenses that are subject to VAT which the firm incurs on your behalf, including any third party fees. The term ‘expenses’ refers to any non-VAT chargeable expenses the firm incurs on your behalf.
We reserve the right to make amendments to these Terms of Business. We shall of course let you know of any changes should they affect your current matter. Copies of the firm’s amended Terms and Conditions of Business will be available upon request but we refer you in the first instance to the copy available at www.ggplaw.co.uk
- Business Hours
Our offices are open between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). Special arrangements may apply over the Christmas period but notice of any office closure will be given in advance. The offices are closed for lunch between 1.00 and 2.00 p.m. We do offer clients appointments during lunchtimes and after hours, including weekends by prior arrangement with the relevant Fee Earner.
- Service Standards
We will endeavour to update you with the progress of your matter and will explain to you the legal work required as your matter progresses. At the outset we will confirm to you in writing your instructions and our advice about what steps should be taken and explain to you the issues involved. Where applicable and reasonably practicable, we shall update you on the likely costs of your matter as it progresses, which shall include updates on the likely timescales involved for your matter and any important changes to those estimates. We aim to communicate with you in plain language. We are of course happy to receive calls and encourage communication by e-mail wherever possible. Within reason, our aim is for calls and e-mails to be dealt with within 24 hours. We hope you understand that this enables us to manage our caseloads in the most efficient way. Occasionally however, due to work commitments, it may not always be possible to revert to you within the desired timescale. In such circumstances, we need to know that you are trying to contact us and request that you e-mail and leave a telephone message for your Fee Earner confirming your name and telephone number. It is important to understand that we will usually only contact you where it is necessary for us to do so, for example, when we need to update you on your matter. We shall therefore not normally contact you where there is nothing to report.
In turn, we require you throughout your matter to provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions, together with all required documentation to complete your matter in a timely manner. We shall also require you to safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for disclosing and also to keep us updated with any key information that may be required by us, for example your home address and/or telephone contact numbers.
Please note that it will not usually be possible to have a personal attendance with your Fee Earner without an appointment.
- Acceptance of Terms and Conditions of Business
Whilst your continuing instructions constitute acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, the accompanied client care letter should be signed where indicated and returned to our offices at your earliest convenience. It is the firm’s policy that we are unable to commence work on your matter until these Terms and Conditions of Business have been accepted. By signing the client care letter you are deemed to have read, understood and accepted the terms of both these Terms of Business and the client care letter in their entirety except where they have been varied in writing with our agreement.
An e-mail, letter or telephone call from you to your Fee Earner confirming you wish us to proceed on your instructions following receipt of these Terms shall be treated as sufficient acceptance for work to commence on your matter. The letter should still however be signed and returned as soon as possible. Please also note the provisions relating to cancellation of contracts in this document.
If you pay money on account in respect of any costs, disbursements or expenses relating to your matter, after we have sent to you a copy of these Terms, it shall be deemed that such terms have been accepted in their entirety.
If you have any queries or questions relating to these Terms, please raise them immediately with your Fee Earner before agreeing.
- Terrorism Act 2000, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulations 2017.
5.1. Our Obligations;
5.1.1. By virtue of the legislation and regulations we are required to:
* Verify your identity on the basis of documents, data or information from a reliable and independent source.
* Identify any person who is classified by the regulations as a “beneficial owner” and take reasonable measures to verify any beneficial owner’s identity, to include taking reasonable measures to understand the ownership and control structure of any individual, trust, company, foundation, charity or similar arrangement;
* Obtain information on the proposed and intended nature of the retainer and business relationship and so far as is reasonable satisfy ourselves that the funds which relate to the matter upon which we are instructed are legitimate;
* Continue to monitor the transaction and keep identity information up to date;
* Report to the relevant authority if we have any knowledge or suspicion that an offence under the above legislation or regulations may be or has been committed.
5.1.2. Failure by us to comply with these obligations may result in a criminal prosecution against us. To enable us to comply with our duties we may ask for evidence of identity and we may ask you detailed questions concerning the source of any relevant funds.
5.2. Electronic Due Diligence.
We may make use of internet based searches of Extant Data Bases to ascertain your identity and any money laundering risks. Personal information and identification documents that you provide may be disclosed to credit reference agencies which may keep a record of that information and documentation. Unless you contact us after being advised how to access these terms to inform us that you object to the use of such searches it will be deemed that you will consent to their use.
5.3. Reporting Obligations
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 a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we have any concerns about the legitimacy of the funds or the legitimacy of the matter, we are obliged to either terminate the retainer or make a notification to the authorities. Such a disclosure is required under legislation and is an exception to our normal duty of confidentiality. Accordingly, we shall not be liable for any loss that you may suffer as a result of our complying with any statutory or regulatory provisions, even if it ultimately transpires that no offences were being committed.
5.4. Pooled Client Account
5.4.1. The Anti Money Laundering Guidance which UK banks and other financial services firms must adhere to issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG). The JMSLG considers all clients with funds deposited in law firms’ pooled client accounts to be beneficial owners of that account.
5.4.2. The JSLSG does not require banks to routinely identify the beneficial owners of law firms’ pooled client accounts as they do with most other accounts they issue. Pooled client accounts are granted this exemption on the proviso that this information is available on request. This firm uses a pooled client account facility. To that extent we are required to advise you that we may need to pass on this information to our bank if it is requested by them. If you have any objection to us providing such information when requested then please let us know. If you do not specifically object we will assume you have no objection.
5.5. Payments into and out of client account
5.5.1. Please also note that in accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules we must not accept funds into our client unless we are acting for you on an underlying transaction and where there is reason to do so.
5.5.2. Where we are due to receive funds from you we will not provide details of our client account to enable you to do so until such time as we have concluded our money laundering enquiries. Those enquiries may involve asking you to let us know the source of those funds and provide details of the account from which they are being transferred. If there is some urgency to your matter it is essential that you assist us to complete those enquiries as quickly as possible.
5.5.3. With regard to making payment generally it is this firm’s policy not to accept cash in excess of £500.00 for any purpose.
5.5.4. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank or transferring funds from a source other than that expected we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of funds. This may in turn delay your matter and could prevent exchange or completion of your matter.
5.5.5. We also ask you to note that any funds due to be paid to you will be paid by cheque or bank transfer at our discretion. We will not under any circumstances make payment in cash or to unconnected third parties.
- Responsibility for Work
You will be informed of the identity of the person with overall responsibility for your matter in the attached client care letter. You will also be advised of the name and status of the person responsible for the day to day conduct of your matter. That person may change from time to time, although we shall endeavour to keep changes to a minimum and will inform you of any changes at the earliest known opportunity.
- Who can provide us with Instructions?
Save in exceptional circumstances we may only accept instructions from our clients. Where we are instructed by more than one person or legal entity or any other company or partnership, the Fee Earner with conduct of your matter may accept instructions from any party who has signed the client care letter, without consultation and/or approval from the other(s). We may require a signed guarantee from all constituent members to allow an individual client to provide us with instructions on behalf of the legal entity, company or partnership. Should the letter be signed by only one party, we shall not be able to accept instructions by any other party, irrespective of whether the said party is a constituent member and shall require authorisation from the signatory to act upon such instructions. In order for the firm to accept instructions on your matter from a third party, we shall require written authority from our client(s) confirming the same.
- Data Protection and Confidentiality
Generally speaking, all information supplied to us by you shall be treated as confidential at all times, unless we are required to disclose and/or discuss your information upon your instructions (implicit or actual), by an Order of the Court, under current legislation, updated legal and/or regulatory compliance or by way of any other statutory exceptions. Your personal information is stored by us in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and GGP Law Data Protection Policy,
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and other related purposes, including analysis to help us manage our practice and for updating and enhancing client records. Our use of such information is subject to your instructions, the GDPR and our duty of confidentiality. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the information we hold about you.
It may be necessary for the successful and efficient conclusion of your matter for us to disclose your personal information that you have provided us to third parties, for example, to mortgage lenders, experts or our IT company. Our firm may be subject to audit or quality checks from time to time by outside organisations and your information may also be passed to Authorities in the event of any disclosures. Before sharing your data with third parties we must have your specific authority. You are required to sign the authority set out at the end of this document authorising us to disclose your information to third parties. This authority will be limited to disclosing your data only to those third parties whom we consider essential to the advancement of your matter. All external organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Should you require the names of those to whom we have disclosed your data we shall be happy to provide this.
If we hold any sensitive personal data (as defined in the GDPR) such as medical records, criminal convictions and drug testing outcomes you must provide your permission before we may disclose it to third parties.
Sometimes we ask other companies or people to carry out work such as typing and photocopying on our files to ensure that this work is done promptly. We would always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers, ensure they are willing to comply with our Data Protection Policy and have a similarly robust policy of their own. If you do not want, data to be disclosed please let us know. We shall then discuss with you the implications of your decision as it may affect our ability to properly represent you.
We encourage communications by way of e-mail and therefore we shall correspond with you by such means where you are happy for us to do so and as such we should be grateful if you would complete the section at the bottom of the attached client care letter, confirming your authority for us to correspond with you via e-mail. However, please note communications by e-mail can be insecure and e-mails may contain viruses. Whilst the firm uses anti-virus software for all e-mail communications, we cannot be held responsible for any potential risks that may arise from any e-mails that we send, which may contain viruses and which shall also include any circumstances where e-mails have been misdirected or not received by you. Our firm and all members of staff are registered users of the Government’s CJSM and Egress secure e-mail systems. If you are a registered user and wish us to communicate with you via these systems please let us know.
Please refer to our Data Protection Policy for full details of the way in which we comply with our obligations under GDPR. This policy will also provide you with an explanation of your rights. A copy of our Policy can be collected from any of our offices, upon written, e-mail or telephone request by contacting the fee earner responsible for the conduct of your matter or by visiting our website: www.ggplaw.co.uk
- Changes in the Law and Critical Dates
Unless we have current and/or specific instructions from you in writing to review the law and report to you from time to time or to deal with the matters in question immediately prior to a critical date, we will not remind you of changes in the law which might affect you or future critical dates. For example, we cannot accept on-going responsibility to write to you on such matters as rent review dates, lease renewals, the exercise of options, the service of notices and counter-notices within time limits reminding you of the expiry of limitation periods and the like.
We will charge you on a time basis for any research which may be necessary to obtain an up to date position of the legal position as it relates to your matter.
- Responsibility for Costs, Disbursements and Expenses
If you are instructing us as an individual, it shall be your responsibility to settle all the legal costs, disbursements and expenses that we incur throughout your matter. Where we are instructed by more than one person or legal entity to represent their joint interests, those instructions are considered to be joint and several and thus we reserve the right to look to either party for settlement of any outstanding costs, disbursement and expenses.
If you are instructing us as an owner/director/partner on behalf of a partnership or company, it is a condition of our instructions that you must provide, upon request, a signed personal guarantee at the outset of the matter confirming personal liability for all the costs, disbursements and expenses that the firm incurs throughout your matter, should we be unable to retrieve such costs, disbursements and/or expenses from the partnership or company. If you are providing instructions as a representative on behalf of a partnership or company, we shall require, upon request a signed personal guarantee from at least one partner/director/owner confirming his/her personal liability to settle any costs, disbursements or expenses owed to the firm which cannot otherwise be recovered.
We shall accept undertakings from separate parties where such costs, disbursements and expenses are to be settled by that party. However, notwithstanding any written agreements (e.g. undertakings or guarantees) in place on your matter, it is a condition of our instructions that should any circumstance arise whereby the said third party dishonours its agreement, it shall be the personal responsibility of the firm’s client(s) to settle any outstanding costs owed, which we have not otherwise been successful in recovering from the third party.
- Third Party Payments
If we receive payments from any third party on your behalf, the person dealing with your matter will need to follow certain procedures to ensure that we comply with anti-money laundering regulations. The Fee Earner with conduct of your matter will need to obtain evidence of the third party’s identity as explained in paragraph 5. The source of any third party funds will also need to be verified and we shall also require the reason as to why the third party is paying on your behalf. We reserve the right to refuse payments which are not from you personally and the firm cannot accept any liability for any problems (e.g. time delays) that subsequently arise from us doing so. We appreciate your kind cooperation should it be necessary to make enquiries with you. Please note, where we refuse a third party payment, we may be bound by the regulations not to return the payment to the sender.
- Interest on Client Monies
We hold monies belonging to or relating to our clients’ matters in a separate client account. The term ‘monies’ in this sense refers to all monies which may be accountable to interest in accordance with the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) Accounts Rules 2011 and shall include monies received in respect of deposits in conveyancing matters. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the SRA Accounts Rules, monies held by us on your behalf may earn interest. We shall account to you any interest when it is fair and reasonable to do so, however, please note that we may levy a charge for the administrational costs of calculating the interest, which can often be a complicated procedure and the cost of such may often exceed any interest sum due. The retention of interest by this firm will usually be treated as a full discharge of the safekeeping of holding such monies.
In any circumstance where interest is payable to you, it shall be calculated from the date the (cleared) monies were received to our client account until the date the monies were/are released.
It is often very difficult to predict the costs, disbursements and expenses involved to the conclusion of a matter. However, for matters where we have not already agreed with you a fixed price, where it is appropriate and practicably reasonable, we will provide you with an initial estimate. Given the difficultly in calculating the estimate, it is often the case that such estimate relates to completion of work up until a certain stage of the matter. Further estimates will be provided as the matter progresses and when your Fee Earner has more of an idea as to the likely costs, disbursements and expenses to be incurred. Please note, such estimates shall be exclusive of any applicable VAT and there may be occasions, where, due to factors beyond our control, such estimates may have to be revised. If any factors affect your estimate, for example if the matter becomes more involved than initially set out, then your Fee Earner will endeavour to write to you with an updated estimate.
It is important to understand that an estimate is exactly that and can be very hard to predict. The actual costs incurred will always replace any estimate provided, unless otherwise advised.
- Calculation of Fees, Charges and Expenses, Annual Hourly Charging Rates and Time Records
For matters where we have not already agreed with you a fixed price such as in residential conveyancing, our fees are generally calculated principally on the basis of all the time spent dealing with your matter. Our fees will be charged in accordance with the hourly rate(s) of the Fee Earner(s) working on your matter. We charge time in six minute units. Minutes are rounded up to the subsequent unit; by way of example to help you understand, time spent up to six minutes amounts to one unit. The fees calculated include attending you and others, time spent on the telephone (including telephone calls made and received), preparing and reading or considering documents (including letters in from an opponent and/or third parties), travelling and waiting time, correspondence, research, preparatory work, retrieval of papers and obtaining information from a stored file, preparation of invoices, statements and other accounting work, typing, word processing and other secretarial/clerical work and generally supervising, perusing, reviewing and administering your file. We shall notify you of any other fees calculated that are not mentioned in these Terms as and when appropriate to your matter.
It is often the case that there are disbursements and expenses that the firm is required to incur on your behalf, which shall be payable by you in addition to our costs in advance of incurring such expenditure. Certain disbursements and expenses may be charged for separately; by way of example, these may include postage and packaging costs where they exceed the price of a first class stamp, telephone calls (especially long distance calls), photocopying and/or any travelling charges (such as courier fees or taxi charges to and from court), search and court fees. Such charges will not exceed a reasonable amount to reflect our own costs in this regard.
The hourly charging rate of the Fee Earner with conduct your matter will be specified in the attached letter. The rate is reviewed annually and may be increased with effect from the 1st January every year. We shall notify you in advance of any increase in rate. If at any time any other Fee Earner is required to undertake work on your matter, you will be advised of their hourly rate.
All time spent working on your matter is recorded save for certain matters where the fee is agreed in advance. Copies of our records are available on request.
- Other Factors taken into Account in Fees
In accordance with the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009, we may also take into account other factors in calculating the charge made to you and an additional charge may be made where a case is complex, urgent, of special importance to you or where your Fee Earner is required to work on your matter outside office hours. In matters not involving Court proceedings, we may in addition to the hourly charging rate charge a value element which will be based on the value of the transaction as a whole. We will have previously agreed this with you in writing. The addition of a value element will not apply where a fixed fee quotation has been given for residential conveyancing. In such a case a reasonable charge may be made in the case of abortive transactions.
In the event of emergency work, such as work on emergency injunctions, or where there are tight deadlines to comply with, we may charge an uplift to the applicable hourly rate. We will notify you of this in writing beforehand.
- Payments on Account
Often at the outset of a matter, we are required to incur expenditure on your behalf; by way of example search fees and other disbursements and expenses. Therefore, unless advised to the contrary, we shall require from you at the outset of a matter, an interim payment on account to authorise the firm to incur such expenditure on your behalf. For matters that we have not already agreed a fixed price with you, we shall require from you monies on account in respect of our on-going costs. In such cases, disbursements and expenses may be requested separately. The amount required may vary between departments and the individual circumstances of each case but will be specified in the client care letter.
Where we require one-off payments to cover expenses on your behalf, these shall be requested from you separately where there are insufficient funds on account to reimburse the firm. We are prepared to consider regular payments on account provided these are made by Direct Debit.
It is important to understand that our requests for monies on account (including requests for disbursements and/or expenses) are exactly that and therefore, unless otherwise advised, do not constitute any form of estimate.
We may retain any funds held on account upon conclusion of your matter to contribute towards settlement of any costs, disbursements or expenses owed on any other file(s) belonging to you and your acceptance of these Terms shall authorise us to debit such monies.
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
All quotations, estimates and hourly charging rates are exclusive of VAT. If you or the organisation you represent is exempt from VAT, we shall require written evidence to support the same within 7 days from the date of delivery of any bill. Any failure in this regard may result in the bill(s) including VAT. The Administration Director shall be the person responsible for approving such documentation.
Please note that VAT is chargeable on disbursements, such as photocopying, postage and telephone and travel expenses. Third party fees, such as barristers’ fees are also subject to VAT, although the figure we require from you may include the applicable VAT. This is a requirement under the SRA Accounts Rules and the VAT treatment of solicitors’ overheads by HM Revenue & Customs. We will not charge VAT for expenses such as Court or Land Registry fees. If you have any queries in this regard (including your residency in the UK) please raise this with the Fee Earner with conduct of your matter as soon as possible.
Please note that we do not have expertise to offer any financial or tax planning advice. We suggest that you speak to your financial advisor/accountant for further information in this regard.
- Financial Information
We accept the following methods of payment; for ease of reference the clearance time of each payment method is indicated in brackets:-
– Cash (immediate) maximum of £500.00 accepted on any one matter.
– Cheque / Banker’s Draft (10 working days)
– Debit Card (up to 3 working days including the day payment is received) incurs a £0.50 charge per transaction
– Credit Card (up to 3 working days including the day payment is received) incurs a 2.5% charge of the transaction total for UK credit cards and
3.5% for international credit cards
– Telegraphic Transfer (TT) (immediate)
– BACS (1 working day)
We require cleared funds on account in order to begin work on your matter. Please speak with your Fee Earner if you have any questions relating to payment methods.
In common with most other solicitors, we charge a fee for transferring funds through the banking system. A charge will also be made where a charge credited to your account with us is dishonoured.
We accept cash payments of up to £500.00 throughout the duration of a matter. Cash payments include any payment made by depositing cash directly into our bank account and where this rule is broken we reserve the right to charge you for any checks we consider appropriate to verify the source of such funds.
Where we are required 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. We shall only ever pay money to our client(s) (or other person(s) on whose behalf the money is held).
Where it is necessary, or we are requested to transmit monies by way of TT, a separate charge in connection with arranging such transfer, inclusive of any bank charges, will be made for each transfer. TTs sent within the United Kingdom incur a charge of £35.00 plus VAT and international TTs incur a charge of £50.00 plus VAT.
Please note that rarely, but on occasions and without fault on our part, funds may not arrive from their source in time for an appointed day. This can lead to contractual liabilities for you, however, the firm cannot accept any responsibility for any problems that may consequently arise thereof. Where we can anticipate such problems we will let you know as soon as possible.
In accordance with our normal practice, where we are in possession of any monies due to you, we would expect to deduct any costs, disbursements and expenses owed in respect of the relevant matter or any other matter belonging to you from such funds and your acceptance of these Terms shall be treated as sufficient authority for us to do so.
- Terms of Payment, Recovering our Fees, Interest and Your Right to Challenge Our Fees
Invoices we render are due 14 days from the date of delivery. All other costs, disbursements and expenses are due 14 days from the date of delivery or request, whichever is the earliest, save for any third party fees and expenses which are required in advance unless otherwise agreed.
Apparent failure to comply with the above timeframes may result in the firm ceasing to act for you and if, after 30 days from the date of delivery or request, any costs, disbursements or expenses remain outstanding, the firm reserves the right and may begin to issue formal legal proceedings against you in order to recover any sums due. We also reserve the right to accrue daily interest on the outstanding sum at a rate of 8% per annum after 30 days. We would urge you to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss with us any difficulty you may have in making payment.
If at any time you are unhappy with the level of our fees, you should in the first instance contact the person responsible for the day to day conduct of your matter. Please refer to paragraph 25 for further guidance in respect of any complaint you may want to bring against the firm.
You may also be entitled to challenge any outstanding sum on an invoice by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill(s) under Part III, Sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974 provided the application is made within one month from the date of delivery of the bill(s).
- Instructing Third Parties and their Charges
Where we consider it appropriate to obtain specialist advice and/or services from third parties such as barristers, expert witnesses, process servers, bailiffs, costs draftsman etc. we will let you know and seek your instructions. Your acceptance of these Terms shall be treated as sufficient authority for us to incur such expenditure and we also reserve the right to terminate the retainer in the event that you unreasonably refuse to authorise us to incur such fees.
In the event that you instruct us to obtain such third party services, it shall be your responsibility to settle all of their costs, plus any applicable VAT, prior to formal instruction of the expert. We shall notify you of the third party’s estimate where appropriate and as a general rule will require the estimated costs to be paid to us on account (in addition to any monies held on client account at such time) as a pre-condition to instructing that third party. Where no estimate can been provided for practical or any other reasons, such as due to shortness of time or the urgency of the situation, we shall request an amount we deem appropriate or a contribution thereof. Please note however, in circumstances where it is not possible to obtain an agreed fee quote with the third party, the actual costs may exceed any previous request and/or estimate and you shall remain liable to reimburse us for the balance of such fees.
Unless otherwise advised, all third party charges must be settled through the firm. Please note, although we shall endeavour to instruct well established third parties, we cannot be held responsible for the quality of their work or advice or the level of their charges.
- File Retention and Retrieval
After completing the work, we will be entitled to retain all papers and documents relating to your matter while there is money owed to us, which shall include any outstanding disbursements or expenses and any monies owed on any other file of yours.
As a general rule, we shall store your file of papers for a minimum of six to twelve years from the date of the final invoice, depending on the matter description, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. You are entitled to any of your papers upon request. Unless we hear to the contrary, we keep files on the understanding that we are authorised to destroy them after this time. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody and shall store certain files indefinitely, subject to your agreement
In the event that you require us to retrieve a file from storage or send any of your papers to you or any third party, we shall levy a fee of £25 per request. This charge will not apply to Subject Access Requests made under the GDPR. This is done to reflect the time spent in retrieving the file and to cover any postage and/or photocopying costs that we incur. We may also levy a charge where your instructions in relation to the retrieved file of papers involve perusing, corresponding or any other such work.
Should you require us to send your file of papers to you in the post, we shall require such postage costs to be paid on account in advance of releasing the papers. We shall not release any file of papers to any third party unless we have your written consent to do so. The party collecting the file on your behalf will need to supply us with photo identification and a copy of the same will be retained for our records. We require a signed ‘form of authority’ in order to release a file to another firm of solicitors.
- Suspension of Work and Termination of the Retainer
For your statutory rights pursuant to The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 see paragraphs 33 and 34 below.
Otherwise you may end your instructions to us in writing at any time. We may decide to stop acting for you but only ever when we have good reason to do so and where we have provided you with reasonable notice.
In the event of either party suspending or terminating instructions or work on your matter, we reserve the right to retain your file of papers, together with any other documents or property we may be holding on your behalf as a lien pending settlement of any outstanding costs, disbursements or expenses.
If you notify us that you no longer wish us to act on your behalf, there may be further work that we are required to carry out on your matter even though you have requested us to cease acting for you. In such circumstances, the time spent on the matter shall be kept to a minimum and you shall personally be liable for the costs we incur.
Please note, where we have stopped acting for you, other than in accordance with paragraph 34, you shall personally be liable for any outstanding costs, disbursements or expenses owed up until the date thereof and any work in progress costs shall be billed. In fixed fee matters, we reserve the right to make a charge of up 75% of the agreed costs plus VAT, disbursements and expenses, depending on how far the matter has progressed before final collapse.
- Limitation of Liability
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 offices or made available on request.
Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £2,000,000.00 (two million pounds sterling), unless we notify you at any other time otherwise. We shall not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities. We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence. Should you have any questions in this regard, please contact the firm’s Administration Director on 01685 874629 or by e-mail: email@example.com
- Force Majeure
Neither party shall be liable for any failure or delay in performing their obligations where such failure or delay results from any cause that is beyond the reasonable control of that party.
Such causes include, but are not limited to: power failure, Internet Service Provider failure, acts of God, epidemic, pandemic, civil unrest, fire, flood, droughts, storms, earthquakes, collapse of buildings, explosion or accident, acts of terrorism, acts of war, governmental action, any law or any action taken by a government or public authority, including without limitation imposing an export or import restriction, quota or prohibition, or any other event that is beyond the control of the party in question
- Regulated Services
GGP Law is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) under SRA Number 613726. The SRA rules can be accessed by visiting the SRA rules www.sra.org.uk
- Complaints Procedure
Whilst we endeavour to ensure that you will be pleased with our service, in the unlikely event that you do have any cause for complaint, this should be made within 6 months of completion of the matter and in the first instance should be raised with the Fee Earner responsible for the day to day conduct of your matter. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available on request from your Fee Earner. Your Fee Earner will attempt to settle any dispute that you may have, however, if for whatever reason you remain dissatisfied following his/her input, you should direct your concerns to our Complaints Handler, Mr. Gwyn George, who will investigate the matter in full. If, after having exhausted our complaints procedure, you still remain dissatisfied with the outcome you should direct your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman, contactable at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or by telephone on 0300 553 0333 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (if outside of this period, within 3 years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Please note, some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman but this will be explained to you if applicable to your matter.
Any failure to enforce at any time one or more of these Terms of Business shall not be a waiver of them or the right at any time subsequently to enforce all applicable Terms of Business.
- Status Disclosure
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), formerly known as the Financial Services Authority (FSA). However, we are included on the Register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry out 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 regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The Register can be accessed via the FCA www.fca.org.uk.
We are not authorised under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000, but we are able, in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are members of the Law Society. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.
- Explanation of Terms
If you are unclear as to the nature and/or extent of either our or your obligations under these Terms and Conditions of Business, or you require further information, please contact the person responsible for your matter before signing the client care letter.
It should be understood that by instructing us, you accept that there is a risk that there may be occasions, where, due to matters outside yours and/or our reasonable control, your matter may not complete or in litigious matters, you may not be successful in resolving your dispute. In such circumstances, the firm cannot be held responsible for any loss that may be suffered as a result thereof.
- Jurisdiction and Law
The law of England and Wales applies to these Terms and Conditions of Business and any dispute that may arise in respect of them. The English and Welsh Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction of any matters of dispute that may arise in respect of these Terms of Business.
- Conflicts of Interests
Solicitors must endeavour to avoid situations of conflict and ensure that a client’s interests are not compromised. We will advise you if we become aware that an issue of conflict exists. If you should be concerned about such an issue then please immediately refer your concern to your Fee Earner. We assure you that we will always act independently and in your best interests as our client. Money Laundering Regulations can also give rise to matters of conflict and lead to us being unable to continue acting in some exceptional circumstances.
- Equality and Diversity
This firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. We have a written Equality and Diversity Policy, a copy of which is available upon request
- Consumer Contracts Information
34.1. If you are consumer (i.e. a person not instructing us for the purpose of your business) and if your instructions have not been given to us at a face to face meeting or have been given to us at a meeting away from our offices, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2014 apply and we ask that you sign and return a copy of our client care letter incorporating these terms and conditions and return it to us as quickly as possible. On receipt of this we will regard ourselves as acting on your behalf.
34.2. If the regulations apply, you generally have the right to cancel your instructions to us without any cost to you within 14 days of our receiving these written instructions. You can cancel the agreement in writing by either delivering a note cancelling your instructions to our office or by sending it by post, facsimile or e-mail.
34.3. You may not cancel the agreement once we have, with your permission, started work on your behalf. By signing a copy of our Client Care letter you are agreeing that, to avoid delaying the transaction, we may start work on your behalf straight away and we do not have to wait for the cancellation period to expire.
34.4. We shall carry out your instructions as efficiently as possible but the nature of the instructions may mean that we are unlikely to be able to perform the services within the maximum period of 30 days as laid down by the regulations. By signing and returning a copy of our Client Care letter you are therefore agreeing that we do not need to complete the services you have asked us to undertake within a maximum of 30 days.
34.5. In addition, if you are a consumer, nothing in these Terms and Conditions of Business will affect your statutory rights.
- Your Right to Cancel.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 Schedule 3 Regulations 10 and 13
Information about the exercise of the right to cancel
Right to cancel
You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason.
The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail). You may use the attached model cancellation form, but it is not obligatory. All notices to cancel must be sent to our head office at GGP LAW, 17-19 Cardiff Street, Aberdare, CF44 7DP Telephone: 01685 885500.
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
Effects of cancellation
If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you, including the costs of delivery (except for the supplementary costs arising if you chose a type of delivery other than the least expensive type of standard delivery offered by us).
We may make a deduction from the reimbursement for loss in value of any goods supplied, if the loss is the result of unnecessary handling by you.
We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than:
(a) 14 days after the day we receive back from you any goods supplied, or
(b) (if earlier) 14 days after the day you provide evidence that you have returned the goods, or
(c) if there were no goods supplied, 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.
We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
If you requested to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, you shall pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed until you have communicated to us your cancellation from this contract, in comparison with the full coverage of the contract.