1.1 These terms of business are the general terms of business of the legal practice of Tony Morris-Davies (“the Practice”).
1.2 The contract between the client and the Practice will be governed by these general terms as well as the client engagement letter.
1.3 Your continuing instructions will confirm that you accept these terms and any engagement letter I send you.
1.4 These terms as read with the engagement letter will apply to any future instructions you give me.
1.5 I may review these terms from time to time, and will notify you of any changes.
2.1 I am regulated by the following bodies:
2.1.1 The Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”).
2.1.2 The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (“STEP”).
2.1.3 The Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners (“SWWEPP”).
2.2 I am a freelance solicitor authorised by the SRA to carry out reserved activities other than notarial work.
2.3 The main business of the Practice is private client work, in particular will writing, inheritance tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, trusts and non-contentious probate.
2.4.1 I carry professional indemnity insurance for the areas of work mentioned in 2.3 above with a cover limit of £2,500,000 per claim.
2.4.2 As a freelance solicitor, I am not required to meet the minimum terms and conditions of PII prescribed by the SRA. However, alternative insurance arrangements are in place as specified in 2.4.1 above.
2.4.3 My clients are not eligible to apply for a grant from the SRA Compensation Fund.
3.1 Other than for probate work, my charges are based on time spent at an hourly rate of £120 per hour, inclusive of VAT.
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3.2 In most cases, I will agree a fixed fee in advance based on the scope of the instructions which will be recorded in the client engagement letter. Alternatively, I will provide full details of my charges including hourly rates and expected disbursements which will also be recorded in the client engagement letter.
3.3 Further fee information can be found on my website:
3.4 I may request a deposit in advance to cover my expected fees for non-probate work.
3.5 As well as my fees, I may charge for disbursements and other expenses if these apply. Examples of disbursements include OPG registration fees, Probate Registry fees, counsels’ and experts’ fees, travel expenses and search fees. If you agree that I can instruct other people (for example, foreign lawyers, experts, barristers, accountants or other professionals) to help provide the service to you, I do this as your agent and you are responsible for paying their fees and expenses. You will reimburse me for any fees and expenses that I pay on your behalf.
3.6 At present I am not registered as a VAT operator. Should I be required to register then VAT will be payable in addition to my fees.
3.7 Unless otherwise agreed, payment of my invoices is due within seven days. I reserve the right to charge interest at 5% per annum on overdue accounts.
3.8 Disputed invoices – in the unlikely event of a disagreement over my charges, the options available to you include:
3.8.1 raising the matter with me;
3.8.2 making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if I are unable to settle your complaint and as long as you meet certain conditions (Please note that the Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about an invoice if you have applied to the court for an assessment); or
3.8.3 applying to the court for your invoice to be assessed under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
4.1 As a freelance solicitor, I am not authorised to hold client monies.
4.2 My clients are not eligible to apply for a grant from the SRA Compensation Fund.
4.3 I utilise third-party managed accounts (“TPMA’s”) to hold client monies when required.
4.4 The SRA permits the use of TPMA’s by freelance solicitors.
4.5 The institutions who operate TPMA’s are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and carry appropriate indemnity insurance. Their fees will be payable by the client.
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5.1 As a solicitor, I am required to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of my clients, and sometimes of people related to them. By law, I must get evidence of a client’s identity before starting work, and I must keep these records up to date.
5.2 I may carry out identity checks, including by electronic means, on databases kept by other organisations. By giving me personal information and accepting these terms, you agree to my using that information for such purposes.
5.3 While I as a solicitor am under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential, there is legislation which, in certain circumstances, places me under a legal duty to give information to the authorities. If this happens, I may not be able to tell you that I have done so or my reasons for so doing.
6.1 For disputes regarding my charges, please see 3.8 above.
6.2 If you have any concerns or complaints about any aspect of my services, please speak to me in the first instance. I will endeavour to resolve complaints.
6.3 I want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service I have provided then you should inform me immediately, so that I can do my best to resolve the problem through dialogue and mediation.
6.4 As a freelance solicitor, I do not have a formal complaints procedure. You are welcome to put your complaint to me in writing and I will do my best to resolve it.
6.5 What to do if I cannot resolve your complaint
6.5.1 The Legal Ombudsman can help you if I am unable to resolve your complaint. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how I handle your case.
6.5.2 Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with me first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman: Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
6.5.3 If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them. Their contact details are:
• Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
• Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.
• Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
• Postal: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
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6.5.4 What to do if you are unhappy with my behaviour The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about my behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/ If I am unable to settle your complaint you may refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
6.6 Alternatively, as I am also regulated by STEP and SWWEPP, you have the right to lodge a complaint with one of those organisations. For their respective complaints procedures, see either:
6.6.1 https://www.step.org/
6.6.2 https://www.willwriters.com/.
1 March 2022