1. Our contact with you
- These Terms of Business (as updated from time to time) apply to all work we do on your behalf. It is an important document so please read it and keep it in a safe place for future reference.
- Each time you instruct us on a new matter (unless we have a Service Level Agreement in place with you) we will send you a letter confirming and setting out the scope of the work we will carry out for you, our fees and individual contract details. This is called the Engagement Letter. These Terms of Business sholid be read together with the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement – together they form the contract between us.
- If there is any inconsistency between our Terms of Business and the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement then the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement will take priority.
- Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business.
- Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter.
- These Terms of Business are subject to change from time to time and are available on our website at http://occasio.tdrstaging.co.uk/terms.html
- This contract and any dispute or claim arising out of, or in connection with it, its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.
2. About us
- Occasio Legal Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 06523067. Its registered office is at Grampian House, 144 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EE.
- You can find all our contact details including email and telephone number on our website at http://occasio.tdrstaging.co.uk
- Occasio Legal Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN. The SRA is an independent regulatory arm of the Law Society of England and Wales, our professional body. You can find out more details by looking at the SRA’s website at www.sra.org.uk or by calling 0370 606 2555. Our SRA authorisation number is 486486. All services provided by Occasio Legal Limited are regulated by the SRA.
- Occasio Legal Limited is registered for VAT under number 930 5503 50.
3. About you
- Where we say ‘you’ or ‘your’ in these Terms of Business, we mean the client identified in the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement and anyone authorised to give instructions on that client’s behalf.
4. Our responsibilities and your responsibilities
|What you can expect of us||What we expect of you|
|Treat you fairly and with respect
Communicate with you in plain language
Review your matter regularly
Advise you of any changes in the law that affect your matter
Advise you of any reasonably foreseeable circumstances and risks that could affect the outcome of your matter
|Provide documents when we ask for them and respond promptly when we ask for instructions or information
Notify us if your contact details change
Tell us immediately if your expectations change or if you are not sure you understand what we have discussed
Inform us of any time limits of objectives that might not be obvious to us
Notify us immediately if you receive any email or other communication purporting to be from us stating that we have changed our bank details or payment arrangements
Let us know about any other changes that may affect the way we deal with your matter, including any changes that may affect your tax status in any jurisdiction
5. Scope of our legal services
- The scope of the services we will provide is set out in the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement.
- We will provide legal advice and services to you with reasonable care and skill. However, the nature of many types of legal work means that it is not possible to guarantee a particular outcome.
- We will advise only on English Law
- If you ask us to obtain advice from another law firm, that firm will be responsible for the service and advice they provide.
- Unless otherwise agreed in writing, our advice and any documents we prepare:
- are for use only in connection with the specific matter on which we are instructed, can only be relied on by you; and
- reflect the law in force at the relevant time.
6. Service Standards
- We will update you by telephone or in writing (including by email) with progress on your matter regularly and explain to you the legal work required as your matter progresses.
- We will update you at appropriate intervals on the likely timescale for each stage of your matter and any changes within those estimates. Whenever there is a material change in circumstances associated with your matter, we will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks.
- We will update you on the cost of your matter at the intervals set out in the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement. If appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods which your matter can be funded.
- We are committed to acting in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.
7. Our liability to you
- Your contract is solely with Occasio Legal Limited, which has sole legal liability for the work done for you and for any act or omission in the course of that work. No representative, director, officer, employee, agent or consultant of Occasio Legal Limited , will have any personal legal liability for any loss or claim.
- Unless explicitly agreed otherwise, in writing:
- We do not owe, how do we accept, any duty to any person other than you; and
- We do not accept any liability or responsibility for any consequences arising from reliance on our advice by any person other than you.
- We are not responsible for any failure to advise or comment on matters falling outside the scope of our instructions, as set out in these Terms of Business and the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement.
- Our maximum liability to you (or any other party we have agreed may rely on our services) in relation to any single matter or any group connected to matters which may be aggregated by our insurers will be £[ ] including interest [and costs] unless we expressly state a different figure in the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement.
- We will not be liable for any of the following (whether direct or indirect):
- Losses not caused by any breach of contract or tort on the part of the firm;
- Loss of revenue;
- Loss of profit;
- Loss of or corruption to data;
- Loss of use;
- Loss of production;
- Loss of contact;
- Loss of opportunity;
- Loss of savings, discount or rebate (whether actual or anticipated); and
- Harm to reputation or loss of goodwill.
- Nothing in these Terms of Business shall exclude or restrict our liability in respect of:
- Death or personal injury caused by our negligence;
- Fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation;
- Any losses caused by wilful misconduct or dishonesty;
- Any other losses which cannot be excluded or limited by applicable law.
8. Our charges and billing
- You are liable to pay legal costs as set out in the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement, which also states the arrangements for billing. We will usually discuss this with you at the outset of your matter (unless it is subject to a Service Level Agreement in which case it will have been agreed when the Service Level Agreement was entered into).
- By appointing us to act on your behalf, you authorise us to incur expenses on your behalf as we consider necessary. These expenses will be provided to you at cost and examples include but are not limited to Counsel’s fees, trace agent fees, process server fees and Land Registry fees. VAT will be added to those expenses or disbursements which are liable to VAT. We will consult with you before incurring any significant expenses and disbursements. Any expenses or disbursements incurred by us will be added to your bill and will be payable by you.
- We may deliver our bills to you electronically. Please let us know if you have any particular requirements for delivery of our bills.
- Our bills become due for payment within 14 days from date of invoice
- We may charge interest on overdue bills at 8% per annum.
- We may cease acting for you if an interim bill remains unpaid after 28 days or if our reasonable request of a payment on account of costs is not met.
- You have the right to challenge or complain about our bill. Please see section 17 (Complaints) for details of how to complain about our bill.
9. Liability of Costs
- Please inform us if you would like a third party to be responsible for paying our bills or any part of them. We must approve this in advance and we will need the party’s name, contact details and any other information or identification documents we request. It is your responsibility to pay our bills even if someone else has agreed to pay some or all of them and our bills will still be addressed to you. If someone else does pay some of our bills, you are responsible for paying the rest.
- You are primarily responsible for payment of our costs and expenses whether or not you have the right to reimbursement from another party. Even in the event that you are successful in obtaining a costs order in your favour, it is likely that it would not be for the full amount of your costs and there is no guarantee that the costs could be recovered in full.
- If you are successful and the court orders the other party to pay some or all of your costs and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date when payment is ordered. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our costs and expenses on account, but otherwise we are entitled to the rest of that interest.
- You will be also be responsible for paying costs and expenses of seeking to recover any costs and expenses which the court orders the other party to pay.
- In some circumstances the court may order you to pay the other party’s legal costs and expenses if you lose the case or an application. This would be payable in addition to our costs and expenses. We will discuss with you whether our costs and expenses and your liability for another party’s costs and expenses may be covered by existing insurance and if not whether it would be advisable for you to obtain insurance.
- You should also be aware that the court has the power to make a summary assessment of the costs relating to an application made during the course of proceedings and to order one party to pay another party’s costs usually within 14 days. If such an order was made against you, subject to any appeal you would need to pay the amount ordered within the specified period. Failure to discharge such a costs obligation may lead to a Judgment being registered against you thereby impacting upon your credit rating.
- If our instructions in relation to a matter are received from more than one party each party for whom we are acting will be separately responsible for payment of the whole of our costs and expenses.
10. Legal Cost Insurance
- If you have any pre-existing insurance cover against liability for your own or another party’s legal costs (“before the event”) insurance, you should draw this to our attention immediately. Unless you do so before or immediately following receipt of these terms of business, we shall proceed on the basis that no such cover is in existence. Failure to draw our attention to the existence of such cover might diminish or entirely eliminate any right to indemnification under such cover.
- A guidance note concerning costs insurance and risk sharing is attached. If you require further information in relation to either of these, you should contact the individual with day to day responsibility for your matter, or a Director of the Company.
- If you enter into a risk sharing arrangement with us, these terms of business will continue to apply save to the extent that they are varied by any such arrangement.
11. Confidentiality and Conflicts
- We will keep your information confidential, unless
- You consent to the disclosure of that information;
- Disclosure of the information is required or permitted by law or regulatory requirements that apply to us; or
- These Terms of Business/ Service Level Agreement/ Engagement Letter state otherwise.
- At the outset of a matter, it is our practice to check for any conflict of your interests and the interests of another client of the firm. It is also possible that a conflict may arise during the course of a matter. In this instance, we will discuss the potential conflict and its implications with you and agree on a course of action. Whilst we hope the situation would not arise, we may not be permitted to continue to act for you on a particular matter in order to protect your interests.
12. Electronic Communication
- Unless you instruct us otherwise we may contact you or others by email. We deploy a range of information security measures, but we cannot guarantee that the documents or information sent by email will be secure or virus free, that it has not been intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete or otherwise be adversely affected or unsafe to use.
- We each agree to use commercially reasonable procedures to check for the most commonly known viruses before sending information electronically but you and we recognise that these procedures cannot constitute a guarantee that transmissions will be unaffected by hazards. We confirm that we each accept these risks and authorise electronic communications. Neither you nor we will have any liability to the other on any basis, whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise in respect of any error, damage, loss or omission arising form or in connection with the electronic communication of information.
13. Privacy and data protection
- We use your personal data primarily to provide legal services to you, but also for related purposes such as administration, billing and record keeping.
- Our use of your personal data is subject to your instructions, the UK General Data Protection Regulation, other UK legislation and our professional duty of confidentiality.
- We use third party service providers (including ‘cloud’ service providers) to help us deliver efficient, cost effective legal services. This may include document/ information hosting, sharing, transfer, analysis, processing or storage. We ensure that all third party service providers operate under service agreements that are consistent with our legal and professional obligations, including in relation to confidentiality, privacy and data protection. By agreeing to these Terms of Business you signify your agreement to the use of those cloud based services.
14. Banking and related matters
- Our client account
Unless otherwise agreed, we hold client money in various accounts with UK banks regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Changes to our bank details
We will never tell you about changes to important business information, such as bank account details, by email. Please inform us immediately if you receive any email or other communication purporting to be from the firm stating that we have changed our bank details or payment arrangements.
- Payment of interest
- Interest on money held by us will be applied in accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998.
- We will pay a fair sum of interest to clients or third parties on client money we hold on their behalf.
- We will not pay interest;
- On money we are instructed to hold outside to clients or third parties on client money we hold outside a client account in a manner that does not attract interest, eg cash held in our safe.
- Where the amount of interest is less than £
- Bank failure and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
- We are not liable for any losses you suffer as a result of any bank in which we hold client money being unable to repay depositors in full. You may, however, be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
- The FSCS is the UK’s statutory fund of last resort for customers of banking institutions. The FSCS can pay compensation up to £85,000 if a banking institution is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it.
- The limit is £85,000 per banking institution. If you hold other personal money in the same banking institution as our client account (which is Barclays Bank plc), the limit remains £85,000 in total. Some banking institutions have several brands. The compensation limit is £85,000 per institution, not per brand.
- The FSCS also provides up to £1m of short-term protection for certain high balances, eg relating to property transactions, inheritance, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, unfair dismissal, redundancy and personal injury compensation (there is no financial limit on protection for personal injury compensation). This is called the temporary high balance scheme and, if it applies, protection lasts for a maximum of six months.
- The FSCS (including the temporary high balance scheme) will apply to qualifying balances held in our client account. In the unlikely event of a deposit-taking institution failure, we will presume (unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary) we have your consent to disclose necessary client details to the FSCS.
- More information about the FSCS can be found at https://www.fscs.org.uk
- Receiving and paying funds
- Our policy is not to accept cash from clients. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to establish the source of the funds and this could also cause delays.
- If we receive money in relation to your matter from an unexpected source, there may be a delay in your matter and we may charge you for may additional checks we decide are necessary.
- Where we have 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.
Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
- To comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing requirements, we are likely to ask you for proof of your identity and we may conduct searches or enquiries for this purpose. We may also be required to identify and verify the identity of other personas such as directors or beneficial owners. If you or they do not provide us with the required information promptly, you matter may be delayed.
- You agree that we may make checks using online electronic verification systems or other databases as we may decide.
- You must not send us any money until we have told you these checks have been completed.
- We will not usually charge you for identification and verification checks but we reserve the right to do so where the checks are likely to be significantly more time-consuming than we would normally expect.
16. Professional Indemnity Insurance
- We have professional indemnity insurance giving cover for claims against us. Details of this insurance, including contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy, are available on our website, or can be provided on request.
- It is a condition or our professional indemnity insurance that we notify our insurer and/ or broker of any circumstances which may give rise to a claim against us. In doing so, we may disclose documents and information to our insurer, broker and insurance advisers on a confidential basis. Our insurers and brokers are contractually obliged to keep all information we pass to them strictly confidential.
- We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided you should inform us immediately so we can do our best to resolve the problem.
- In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues. If you would like to make a formal complaint, you can read our Complaints Procedure which can be found on our website. Making a complaint will not adversely affect how we handle your matter(s).
- What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
- We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Generally, this applies if you are an individual, a business with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding a certain threshold, a charity or membership organisation with a net annual income of less than £1m, a trustee of a trust with an asset value or less than £1m, or if you fall within certain other categories (you can find out more from the Legal Ombudsman). The Legal Ombudsman will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your matter(s).
- Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving our final response to your complaint; and
- no more than six years from the date of the act/ omission; or
- no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
- if you would like more information, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman by:
- What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
- The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can help if you are concerned about our 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.
- The SRA’s website contains information about raising concerns about solicitors and law firms and can be found at www.sra.org.uk
- Terminating your instructions
- You may terminate our appointment at any time by giving us notice in writing. We can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for our charges or disbursements.
- We will only decide to stop acting for you with good reason for example where we feel that the relationship has broken down, if you do not pay a bill, if you provide us with misleading information or if you act in an abusive or offensive manner. We will give you reasonable notice before we stop acting for you.
- If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, we will charge you for the work we have done and where appropriate for transferring the matter to another adviser if you so request. This will be calculated on the basis set out in the Engagement Letter or Service Level Agreement.
18. Storage and retrieval of files
- We may create and hold client files in hard copy (paper), electronically or a combination of both.
- We normally store client files (except any of your papers you ask to be returned to you) for 6 years after we sent you our final bill. Unless you instruct us to the contrary we may store your file electronically and will destroy our paper file. We store the file on the understanding that we may destroy it after 6 years. We will not destroy original documents such as wills, deeds and other securities that we have agreed to hold in safe custody but we may, on reasonable notice, send them to you for safekeeping.
- We will not charge for this storage.
- If we retrieve your file from storage (including electronic storage) in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for the retrieval.
- If we retrieve your file from storage for another reason, we may charge you for:
- Time spent retrieving the file and producing it to you;
- Reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved file; and/ or
- Providing additional copies of any documents.
19. Third Party Rights
- It is agreed between us that save as expressly stated in these terms the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 does not apply to the terms of engagement or any subsequent amending to it.
20. Governing Law and Jurisdiction
- The agreement between us shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law
- The English Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute which may arise between us. To this end you and we irremovably agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the English Courts. Judgement in any action brought in the English courts may be enforced in the courts of any other jurisdiction.
- The invalidity or unenforceability of any of the provisions of these terms shall not affect the rest of them which shall continue to bind you and us.
22. Whole Agreement
- These terms and the Engagement Letter/ Service Level Agreement together constitute the entire agreement between us. Neither you nor we may rely on any arrangement, understanding or agreement which is not expressly set out in these terms or the Engagement Letter/ Service Level Agreement. These terms shall not be modified or varied except in writing signed by you and us.