1. Rita Sen Solicitors
Rita Sen Solicitors (“the Firm”) is a trading name of Rita Sen, a Recognised Sole Practitioner authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 572652
References to ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’ are to the Firm. References to ‘you’ and ‘your’ are to the client or clients referred to in the Engagement Letter.
2. These terms
These Terms of Business together with our Engagement Letter form the contract between you and us for the purposes of the legal services detailed in our Engagement Letter (“the Retainer”). If and to the extent that these Terms of Business conflict with the Engagement Letter, the Engagement Letter shall prevail.
We may vary these Terms of Business by giving you notice of the proposed changes and the new Terms of Business will come into effect from the end of 14 days from such Notice.
3. Conflicts of Interest
Before accepting any Retainer, we will determine whether we are able to advise you having regard to any legal or professional regulations relating to conflicts of interest.
Should an actual or anticipated conflict of interest arise during the Retainer, we may be obliged to terminate the Retainer with you. We will not be liable to you for any losses arising from a termination of the Engagement in such circumstances.
4. Confidentiality, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
We are under a professional duty to keep your documents and information acquired during the Retainer confidential and will not disclose them to any third party without your consent. You agree that we may disclose your information where we are subject to a legal or professional obligation (including to any Mortgage Lender) to do so, including to our professional indemnity insurers. The Firm is accredited or may seek accreditation under relevant Quality Assurance Schemes which require the auditing of files by external auditors. You agree that your file may be disclosed to such auditors for this purpose.
The law requires solicitors, banks, building societies and others to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their client and, at times, people related to the client or their case. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.
In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as practicable, and in any event before we can proceed with your matter. To collect this evidence, our practice is to take a photocopy of your original passport and a copy of a utility bill.
If you are unable to provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact our office as soon as possible so that we can discuss alternative ways to verify your identity.
This duty of confidentiality, however, is subject to a statutory exception, which may require a solicitor who knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client may involve money laundering or terrorist financing to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency.
If we are required to make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made. We may also have to cease acting in your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you the reasons for it.
5. Our Services
We will perform the Retainer with reasonable skill and care. Our services will not include advice on tax related issues or matters of law in any jurisdiction outside of England and Wales arising out of the Retainer unless requested by you and agreed by us in writing.
6. Our Advice
Our advice is prepared solely for use by you and for the intended purposes associated with the Retainer. Our advice should not be disclosed to any third party without our prior written agreement.
7. Instructions and Information
In order to carry out the Retainer effectively we require your co-operation. You will provide us on a timely basis with any documents and information that we may need to complete the Retainer and ensure that, to the best of your knowledge, those documents and information are complete and accurate. Unless you instruct us otherwise in writing, you agree that we may rely on the information that you provide.
Where we act for two or more individuals jointly you agree that we may accept instructions from any one of such individuals and unless instructed otherwise in writing that we may act on oral instructions.
We may correspond with you and third parties by e-mail or other electronic means. We cannot, however, guarantee that transmissions will be delivered or received reliably, securely, free of error or virus and will not be intercepted. You accept these risks of electronic communications and agree that we will have no liability for any loss or damage caused by the use of electronic communications.
You consent to our intercepting and monitoring communications between you and individuals within the Firm, in order to ensure compliance with our internal requirements.
You agree to pay our fees and disbursements as set out in our bills. We will charge fees for all of our time spent on the Retainer, including, but not limited to, time spent attending meetings, travelling, reviewing and preparing papers, carrying out legal research, corresponding with you and with third parties and making and receiving telephone calls. Unless otherwise agreed, our time is recorded and charged in six minute units.
Disbursements and expenses are recharged to you in addition to our fees. These include, but are not limited to, third party expenses incurred by us on your behalf such as Court fees, fees of experts and barristers, courier costs, search fees, stamp duty and Land Registry fees. We will also recharge travel costs.
Information relating to likely fees and disbursements is an estimate and is liable to variation. Such estimates are stated exclusive of VAT. Where we are obliged to charge VAT we will add the relevant tax to our fees and disbursements, at the rate from time to time in force. Our VAT registration number is 811 9912 29. We may request that money is paid to us on account of our costs and/or disbursements before we incur them. We will not undertake any work until such request is complied with and if such request is not complied with within 14 days the Retainer will stand suspended until the requested funds are received.
We will render our bills to you on the basis set out in the Engagement Letter. These will constitute final bills for work done during the relevant period and are payable within 14 days of issue of the bill. If you wish to query any element of the bill you must do so immediately with Rita Sen. That part of our bill which is not subject to query should be paid within 14 days of issue of the bill.
It is our policy not to accept cash from clients in excess of £500.00. If you wish to circumvent this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we reserve the right to charge you for any checks we deem necessary regarding the source of funds and any additional actions undertaken by us or cost incurred in dealing with such cash. Our bank account details are confidential and must not be shared with any third party.
If our bill remains unpaid after 14 days you agree that we shall be entitled:
to charge interest on overdue amounts at the legal rate for late payments where there is one, or 2% above the base rate from time to time of Barclays Bank Plc where there is no legal rate;
to apply any of your funds in our client account (which are not held by us for a specific purpose) towards the payment of any unpaid bills in respect of this Retainer or any other Retainer between you and us at our discretion;
to suspend the Retainer forthwith;
to terminate the Retainer.
In the event of suspension or termination of the Retainer for whatever reason, you will pay our outstanding fees and incurred disbursements, including those not yet billed as at the date of suspension or termination, together with any additional fees and disbursements reasonably incurred arising from the suspension or termination of the Retainer.
We will account to you for interest earned on funds held on your behalf during the Retainer save as set out below. The rate at which interest is paid will be that payable by Barclays Bank Plc on an instant access account holding the amount of your funds. If it is likely that funds will be held by us for a lengthy period please discuss alternative arrangements with us.
We will not account for interest of £20 or less as the cost of so accounting would exceed any benefit to you.
The interest paid to you is paid without deduction of tax and it is your duty to notify H M Revenue and Customs of its receipt.
11. File Destruction Policy
We keep files relevant to the Retainer for not less than six years from the date of our final bill. We reserve the right to store files related to your Retainer with a third party whose security arrangements are in our view appropriate or in electronic form. If you would like the files relevant to the Retainer to be delivered to you please let us know. If we do not receive a request from you for the return of your files within six years from conclusion of the Retainer, we reserve the right to destroy your digital records, documents and property without further reference to you.
If we receive a request from you within six years from the date of our final bill, we shall return to you any retained documents to which you are entitled, subject to any legal obligations which require us to retain those documents. You agree that we will be entitled to charge you any reasonable costs incurred identifying and selecting any documents and from your files as requested by you together with the cost of delivering your documents and property to you or a third party.
12. Rights of action
You agree that in relation to the Retainer, your relationship in contract and tort is solely and exclusively with the Firm. Where any individual acts for you, they do so as a representative of the Firm and no such individual assumes, or will assume, personal liability for the conduct of the Retainer or will have any personal liability for any matter arising out of, or in connection with, the Retainer whether in contract, tort, negligence, breach of statutory duty or otherwise and you waive any such claim. Further, you agree not to bring any claim of any nature against any of our employees in respect of legal services provided by them in connection with the Retainer. It is agreed that our employees shall have the right to enforce this clause.
13. If you are Unhappy
The Firm is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive, or about your bill, please contact Rita Sen on 01243 263658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 4 Nyetimber Lane Rose Green Bognor Regis West Sussex PO21 3HG. We have a procedure in place which sets out details of how we handle complaints, available on request from Rita Sen who is the Firm’s Complaints Officer. If you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider your complaint. Normally, you will need to bring your complaint to the attention of the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or call 0300 555 0333. His website is at http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk. You also have the right to object to the bill and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the Court for an assessment of the bill.
14. Limitation of liability
The total liability of the Firm to you for Loss shall be limited to £2 million. For the purposes of this clause Loss means the total of all losses, damages or costs suffered or incurred, directly or indirectly, in connection with the Retainer, including as a result of breach of contract, negligence, fault or other act or omission by the Firm, but excluding any Loss arising from death or personal injury, fraud, wilful misconduct or dishonesty of the Firm.
15. Liability for information relied on by us
We will not be liable if any Loss (as defined in clause 14 above) is due to the provision of false, misleading or incomplete information or documents (save where we should reasonably have discovered the false, misleading or incomplete information or documents) or due to the acts or omissions of any person other than the Firm.
16. Other parties
We do not accept any liability for the advice or other services provided by experts or service providers instructed by us on your behalf in connection with the Retainer and we neither owe nor accept any duty to any person other than you.
17. Intellectual Property Rights
We will own copyright in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the Retainer. We grant you a non-exclusive royalty-free licence to use any document within your matter for the purpose for which it is provided, subject to any confidentiality restrictions indicated.
18. Data Protection Laws
During and after the Retainer we may process on your behalf any personal data you have provided to us. Subject as provided below, any such processing shall be in accordance with, and subject to, your instructions. We will ensure that all appropriate technical and organisational measures are taken to protect any personal data supplied by you to us against unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction or damage, including when we sub-contract any processing (for example, in the case of external storage of data). Your instructions are taken to include the use by us, where appropriate, of independent contractors appointed by us for functions such as data and file storage, back-up, destruction, billing, debt collection, legal processing and the like. We may share personal data with other legal or professional advisers used by us to provide you with legal services.
We may process as a data controller and use the contact details you have provided to us to send invitations, marketing materials, legal updates or other publications that we feel may be of interest. Such contact details may include any information you have made available to us. Should you not wish to receive marketing communications, please notify your contact at Rita Sen Solicitors.
We may also process as a data controller personal data concerning our clients and contacts in other ways for our own business purposes (for example, but not limited to, billing, client management, archives, conflict checks and know-how).
By accepting these Terms of Business you give positive consent for us to obtain, store and process information about you as described in the preceding paragraphs. You agree that where necessary you will have obtained any appropriate consents from individuals, in connection with the above-described categories of processing, before providing us with personal data.
It is also a term of the Retainer that any personal data supplied by us to you about our any third parties may only be used for the express purposes for which that information is provided to you.
You may terminate the Retainer by giving us notice in writing at any time. In addition to the circumstances set out above, we may cease acting for you and terminate the Retainer, but only when entitled to do so under our professional rules and after reasonable notice has been given to you in writing.
Whether the termination of the Retainer is by you or by us, we shall be entitled to retain your documents relating to the Retainer until all our fees and disbursements relating to the Retainer have been paid.
Rita Sen Solicitors maintains professional indemnity insurance cover in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements. Such Professional Indemnity Insurance is held with Zurich Insurance Plc under Policy Number 8006056. Details of such professional indemnity insurance may be obtained from our offices.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are, however, 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 and 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. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.gov.uk/register.
The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling body who will investigate any complaints made against Solicitors (contact details are shown above).
21. Force Majeure
We shall not be liable to you if we are unable to perform our services in relation to the Retainer as a result of any cause beyond our reasonable control. In the event of any such occurrence affecting us we shall notify you as soon as possible.
Each clause and sub-clause of these Terms of Business shall be independently interpreted and enforceable. If any clause or sub-clause of the Terms of Business or provision in the Engagement Letter is declared void, illegal or otherwise unenforceable, the remainder shall survive unaffected.