Nicholas Collins Ltd – Terms of Business
Our Service Standards
Nicholas Collins Ltd will
- deal with your instructions promptly
- keep you updated with progress on your transaction by telephone or email
- explain to you clearly the work required, as your transaction progresses
- update you on the cost of your transaction at least every three months unless agreed to the contrary
Nicholas Collins Ltd will
- always act in your best interests subject to our professional duties
- give you our best advice in accordance with your instructions
- give you the best information possible about the likely cost/time scales of your transaction and update you on any changes
- advise you, where appropriate, on whether the likely outcomes justify the likely costs and risks associated with your transaction
As our client, you will
- provide us with clear, full, honest, timely and accurate instructions
- provide all documents required to complete the action in a timely manner
- co-operate with us and our reasonable requests and pay our bill(s) promptly
Our hours of business
You can contact us by phone, email or post. All our contact details are given on the Engagement Letter which accompanies these Terms of Business. If we cannot respond immediately, please leave a message and we will contact you as soon as possible. In addition to normal office hours, we can be contacted out of hours and at weekends if necessary, using the same contact details.
Methods of funding
- Legal expense insurance may be included in your contracts of insurance and you should check your policies to see if you are covered. Your policy may cover your costs and/or your liability to pay the other side’s costs. If you believe you are covered, please discuss this with us so that we can assist you in notifying your insurer. If you do not have legal expense insurance, you may be able to purchase insurance to cover you in the event that you have to pay the other side’s costs.
- A conditional fee agreement is an agreement whereby we would be entitled to charge you an increased fee if you were successful, and would charge you no fee or a reduced fee if you were not successful. You might be able to take out an insurance policy to cover you in the event that you were ordered to pay the other side’s costs. You would normally be able to recover this insurance premium and any sums you paid to us from the other side if you were successful. Not all matters are suitable for this type of conditional fee arrangement. Nicholas Collins Ltd does not undertake work under conditional fee arrangements but we are happy to discuss this further with you at your request.
- Payment by another person – A third person could pay your legal costs.
Equality and Diversity
Nicholas Collins Ltd is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a copy of Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy. We strive to make our services accessible to all clients regardless of disability: if you have a specific need in terms of disability or accessibility, we would be happy to discuss this with you.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes, including updating client records, business management analysis, statutory returns and legal/regulatory compliance. Our use of that information is governed by your instructions to us, to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and to our duty of confidentiality to you as a client. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as our regulatory body, relevant authorities and our professional advisors. You have a legal right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you, although we may have to make a nominal charge for this. (Nicholas Collins Ltd is registered with the Information Commissioner’s office for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018).
Storage of Documents
After completing your work we will keep the file for a minimum of six years, after having returned to you any original deeds and those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We may store files electronically in which case the originals may be securely destroyed, in accordance with good business practice. We will not destroy original deeds or other documents you ask us to retain in safe custody. If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you for time spent reading retrieved documents where necessary for those continuing or new instructions.
Outsourcing of work
Sometimes we may ask other companies or people to do work on our files: this may be for reasons of time management or quality control, to ensure that work is done promptly or to cover absence. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with any outsourced providers, so as to protect confidentiality. If you prefer work on your file not to be outsourced, please delete this section of the Terms of Business when returning the signed copy to us.
Auditing of files and confidentiality
Our professional regulators and other external firms or organisations may conduct audits or quality checks. These bodies are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your data/files. Since we are subject to verification by external auditors, this could mean that your file is selected for checking, in which case we would need your consent for inspection to occur. All inspections are, of course, conducted confidentiality. If you prefer to withhold such consent, work on your file will not be affected in any way. We will assume that we do have your consent, unless you notify us in writing to the contrary. We will also assume, unless you indicate otherwise, that consent on this occasion will extend to all future matters which we conduct on your behalf. Please contact us if you would like further explanation. If you prefer to withhold consent please delete this section of the Terms of Business when returning the signed copy to us.
Nicholas Collins Ltd has its Registered Office at Ashfield, Whitegate, Leeds, LS17 9HB, company number 11503787. Nicholas Collins Ltd is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 651786. Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000, unless we expressly state a higher amount in the Engagement Letter accompanying these Terms of Business. We can only limit our liability to the extent that the law and our regulatory body allow. In particular, we cannot limit our liability to the extent that the law and our minimum level of cover required by the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules 2012 nor can we limit liability for death personal injury caused by our negligence. Certain work types are not regulated by the SRA and therefore do not benefit from the protections offered by the SRA Compensation Fund, for example mediation services.
Terminating the retainer
You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. We can decide to stop acting for you only with good reason: for example if there is a conflict of interest, if you do not pay an interim bill or if you do not pay money on account when we ask you to. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our changes including VAT up until that point.
The Provision of Services Regulations 2009
For these purposes: our VAT registration number is 305261146. Details of our Professional Indemnity Insurance will be provided on request and the territorial coverage of that insurance is England and Wales. As Solicitors we must comply with the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 which can be accessed via the Solicitors Regulation Authority at http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/consumers.page (0870 606 2555) and whose address is: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN. We have a Complaints Policy which is available at any time upon request, and information about our complaints procedure is set out below.
Money Laundering – Individuals and partnerships
The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients. We will need to see one document from List A and one from List B for each person for whom we act, which we will copy and return to you. We can do this at our meeting or if you bring them into our office, we can copy and return them to you immediately. We cannot accept copy documents, as the regulations state that we must see originals. If you prefer, you can take your original documents to another solicitor nearer you will copy the originals and certify that the copies are true copies. We may also, at our discretion, obtain additional of identity online by way of an electronic search. The fee is approximately £8 per name searched and will appear on your final bill under expenses.
- A valid full passport; or
- A valid UK photo-card driving licence;
- A Bank statement less than three months old showing postal address; or
- A receipted utility bill less than three months old showing postal address; or
- A council tax bill less than three months old
Money Laundering – Companies
We normally need to see the Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association, a List of Directors, a List ofShareholders with >25%, the latest filed audited accounts and individual verification of at least 2 Directors (certified copies of Passport or Driving Licence plus address verification). We may ask for other documents/information where we act for a company or other organisation, in addition to the above.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors are required by law to report to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make such a disclosure, we are not able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a time and will be unable to tell you why.
Financial arrangements with clients
- We do not accept cash payments.
- We reserve the right to charge mileage where we travel to or from meetings at your request. If this applies to your transaction, we will set out full details in our Engagement Letter.
- Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by a single bank transfer or by cheque. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party. If we pay you by bank transfer we will only make that payment on receipt of written instructions from you giving the bank destination, sort code and account number: we are unable to accept verbal details only.
- Our invoices are due after 28 days of the date of the bill with the right to charge interest after 7 days.
- In addition to the complaints procedure below, where you dispute a bill, you can apply to the court for an assessment of that bill underpart III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If all or part of our bill to you remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest. You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
Your right to Complain
We pride ourselves on excellent client service and sincerely hope that we meet your expectations. If this is not the case and you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, or about the bill, please speak immediately to Nicholas Collins, Director, who will deal personally with your complaint. Your complaint will be handled promptly, fairly and effectively in accordance with Chambers’ written Complaints Policy, a copy of which upon request will be supplied. If the person who deals with complaints changes, we will tell you.
We would hope to resolve and concerns fully by timely discussion, but in the event this does not occur, and you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (telephone 0300 5550333) to consider the complaint. There are time limits for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman: the act or omission giving rise to the complaint (or the date you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint) must be after 5th October 2010, and you must refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman no later than six years from the date of the act or omission (or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint). Some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. You can find more information on the Legal Ombudsman website http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk or by phone as above. Alternatively you can write to the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
If you ask us to instruct a barrister, we may ask for your consent to disclose your contact details to that barrister, so that you can be sent details of that barrister’s own complaints procedure.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
If we have not met with you the above regulations may apply and you have the right to cancel your instructions within 14 days of receiving this letter. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by phone, email or post at this office. If you would like us to commence work on your file within the next 14 working days, please:
- Sign and add the date below
- Return this form to this office by email or post
If you instruct us to commence work now by signing below and we start work on your file, you may be charged if you then cancel your instructions.
Any dispute arising from our Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales.
Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.