TERMS OF BUSINESS – all prices exclude VAT which will be added if applicable
Version June 2021
DIRECT ACCESS CLIENTS
This is an important document as it set out terms if you use my services as well as giving you indicative pricing structures which will be agreed by email once you agree the level of services required.
1.1. These terms of business (“Terms” or “Terms of Business”) apply to all work done by Dr John Brown of North East Barristers Chambers (“we”, “us”, “our”, “the firm”).
1.2. You will be considered to have accepted these Terms if you instruct us to do work for you.
1.3. References in these Terms shall include any letter, document or email sent to you which sets out, amongst other things, the scope of the work we will be carrying out for you, any assumptions we have made about the scope, any exclusions from the scope, the anticipated timescale, and an estimate or proposal in respect of fees we will charge for the work undertaken on your behalf.
1.4 If you instruct me to attend a PM hearing in a civil court there is always a remote possibility that if I have an AM hearing (specifically in the Crown Court), that AM hearing may run into the PM. In such cases where I then become double booked, you agree that I can instruct a litigation assistant who is a qualified solicitor to attend the hearing in my place.
2.1. Our Aim
In all our dealings with clients we aim to provide a professional quality of service. We shall endeavour to meet all your objectives within an agreed timescale, subject to external factors over which we may have little or no control.
The general times-scales to be agreed are that any emails sent to us shall be replied to within 48 hours (not including weekends). The only email you should use to correspond with us is firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.2. Our Relationship with you
Our advice is provided solely to you, our client. Without our prior written consent, our advice may not be used for any purpose other than the one for which it was given. You may not disclose our advice to any person other than those who normally have access to your records and papers, such as your employees, agent, and other professional advisers. You may not quote or refer to us or our advice in any public document or communication without our consent.
Our duty of care is to you and not to any third parties. No third parties (unless we specifically agree) shall have the right to rely on or enforce any term of our agreement with you under the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 or otherwise.
We may act for and provide advice to more than one person or organisation jointly in relation to the same matter. In such a case, we are acting for all of you, collectively. We may sometimes need to take instructions from one of you on behalf of the others, for example, because it is more convenient for one of you to deal with us, or because the matter needs to be dealt with quickly. You authorise us to do this without needing to confirm the instructions with all of you.
2.3. Scope of our Advice
We do not normally give advice on taxation or accountancy matters. Accordingly, we have no responsibility for the effectiveness of tax advice on any matter nor for the taxation consequences of any tax advice that we give. If we believe that you require such advice, we shall advise you to seek it from suitably qualified professionals. Similarly, we can only advise on the law in England and Wales and not in any other jurisdiction. If you require advice on the law of any other jurisdiction then we may, with your permission, seek advice from a suitably qualified legal adviser in the relevant jurisdiction. You will be responsible for their fees.
2.4. Use of Professional Third Parties
If a third party is needed (e.g., an expert) we will agree the expert with you, but you will have to appoint that expert and pay him. Services provided by any such third party will be subject to their terms of business (as provided to you).
From time to time, we may use temporary legal staff. Although they are not all our employees, we supervise such staff as if they were employees and place them under similar obligations as to confidentiality so to protect your confidential information and preserve your right to privilege. If practicable we will advise you of any such arrangements made in relation to your work.
At the start of any new matter, it is important that we clearly understand what you want to achieve, the timescale in which you wish to achieve it and, if you have a budget in mind, your expectations in respect of legal costs.
Having taken your instructions, we will address the following matters and
3.2.1 your requirements and objectives.
3.2.2 the scope of the work that we will be carrying out for you and any exclusions or
assumptions to the work.
3.2.3 an explanation of the issues and an outline of your options.
3.2.4 what we will do and what we will not do for you.
3.2.5 we will identify any unusual level of risk or uncertainty in the proposed matter.
3.2.6 identify if you will act as a litigant in person or if you want us to come on the court record.
3.2.7 we will consider if we have any potential conflicts in carrying out the work for you.
3.2.8 we will, if appropriate, estimate the likely timescales of the matter and advise as to any specific issues which may affect timing; and
3.2.9 if possible, we will provide you with an estimate of the fees likely to be involved which will be updated from time to time as the matter progresses.
Our responsibilities to you are:
3.3.1. to act in accordance with your instructions.
3.3.2. to exercise a high degree of professional care in our dealings with you.
3.3.3. to be proactive in ensuring you meet your objectives.
3.3.4. to communicate with you at regular intervals by telephone and email.
3.3.5. to notify you of any material developments or occurrences.
3.3.6. (if agreed with you) provide you with a cost benefit analysis of the matter (i.e. our assessment as to whether the likely outcome of a disputed matter will justify the expense or risk involved, including, if relevant, the risk of having to bear an opponent’s costs);
3.3.7. to act in your best interests at all times; and
3.3.8. to ensure that you are advised of the legal issues arising in this matter and the options available to you in respect of these.
Your responsibilities to us are:
3.4.1. to inform us of all material factors of which you are aware which may affect the matter.
3.4.2. to provide us with appropriate evidence as to your identity and, where requested, that of your organisations;
3.4.3. to provide us with prompt, accurate and appropriate instructions when required.
3.4.4. to provide an appropriate level of funding as required by these terms.
3.4.5. to settle our bills promptly when delivered; and
3.4.6. if despite ongoing emails or calls you fail to keep in contact and update your instructions as matters move on, we will be entitled to withdraw the services and will be under no obligation to refund you any fees you have paid.
The decision as to whether to proceed to instruct us in relation to any matter (and the course to be taken in relation to that matter) will be made by you based upon your own commercial assessment.
We will generally charge on a fixed-fee basis and these are generally given subject to certain assumptions and may be revised if these assumptions change.
In the case of estimates, we reserve the right to change or amend the estimate at any time while we are carrying the work out for you. We will, however, notify you beforehand (except in a case of urgency) if we need to revise our estimate upwards.
If you require a written advice before I can determine if you have a legal claim I will base my time on drafting that advise on an hourly charge of £250 with a minimum period of 3 hours.
You will always be liable to pay any court fees e.g., to lodge a claim and any experts fees.
If you are only instructing me to attend a court/tribunal hearing, £500 of the total agreed fee (or the full fee if less than £500) needs to be paid as a retainer for me to put the matter in the diary, the remaining payment for the hearing must be paid at least 72 hours before the hearing.
Whilst hearings are by phone or video (because of Covid 19) no additional fees will be billed, however if we must travel more than 30 miles to a court, we will have to charge additional petrol costs and if the hearing is more than 100 miles away and goes into a second day, we will also have to charge B&B costs to ensure I am on site for the second day.
4.2 Postage costs
Generally, we will agree any correspondence with you and will then put it into PDF format for you to post it. If, however we must post anything on your behalf you will agree to meet the postage fees.
5. LIEN AND SET-OFF
We reserve the right to retain funds, correspondence, documents, records and title deeds belonging to you which have come into our possession until all our fees and disbursements owed to us by you have been paid. We shall be entitled to set off any amounts owed to us against any funds we are holding on your behalf.
6. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
The following should be read carefully as it limits the extent of our liability to you. Any such liability arising from or in connection with the services provided to you by us is the liability only of Dr John Brown. Our partners, employees and contractors shall have no personal liability to you.
The liability of Dr. John Brown for loss or damage cause by our negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation) is limited to a maximum sum of £500,000 (five hundred thousand pounds) for each single originating cause, which amount includes all legal and other costs which we may incur in defending any actions against us. Our liability is covered by Bar Mutual Insurance. This limitation of liability provision shall apply to each and every matter we handle for you unless otherwise agreed with you in writing.
You also agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless against all losses, damages or costs howsoever caused which we may suffer in acting for you in this engagement (including, without limitation, our compliance with our statutory obligations), subject to the limitation in liability set out in the preceding paragraph.
7. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
We are not allowed to act for you if there is a conflict between your interests and ours. For example, we normally cannot act for you if the other party in the transaction is a regular client of ours. If in the course this engagement a conflict of interest arises, we will let you know as soon as we become aware of it and discuss with you the course of action required.
8. MONEY LAUNDERING
We are required to comply with our statutory obligations under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (as amended by the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019, otherwise known as the 5th Money Laundering Directive) (together “the Money Laundering Regulations), to carry out certain checks in order to verify identity and the source of funds supplied by a client.
If you instruct us, you must send me a proof of ID and proof of address.
We are also under a duty to report any suspicion that we have of money laundering and this duty may override our duty of client confidentiality. We shall not incur any liability to you for any loss you may suffer as a result of our compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations to include any delay in dealings with or concluding your matter. While this may seem excessive, we are required to adhere to the Money Laundering Regulations and may not be able to act for you if we cannot comply with these Money Laundering Regulations.
9. COMMUNICATION BY EMAIL
We generally communicate with and send documents to clients and any other parties by e-mail. You accept that the internet is not a secure medium and that electronic transmission of e-mail may become lost, delayed, intercepted, corrupted, delivered incomplete or fail to be delivered.
We shall use our reasonable endeavours to ensure that our e-mails are free from viruses and other obstructions and shall expect you to do the same. However, you should note that e-mail cannot be guaranteed to be secure, error-free or confidential and that we shall have no responsibility or liability for any error, omission, claim or loss arising from or in connection with any communication to you via email, in the absence of any bad faith or willful default on our part.
Do not send us original documents unless we specifically ask for them (only send us photocopies). We hold no liability for original documents unless liability is agreed before they are sent to us.
10. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
All copyright and intellectual property rights in any work and materials that we develop or create for you shall be our property unless specifically agreed otherwise. You are, however, permitted to use any such materials for the purposes for which they were created.
For the purpose of advising you or other clients, and subject to our duties of confidentiality to you, we shall be entitled to use, analyse, share and develop the knowledge, experience or skills of general application gained through working for you.
11. DATA PROTECTION
As part of our engagement with you, we expect to receive personal data from you or from persons connected with your business. This could be personal data about you, people who work for or with your business, or third parties, including people at organisations you do business with or are in dispute with. We are required under the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”) and the General Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679) (“GDPR”) (the GDPR and the DPA collectively, “data protection law”) to inform you about the uses to which we put your personal data.
We will comply with the data protection law in our own handling of personal data (including any personal data we obtain from third parties for your engagement) but will not be responsible for any action taken by the Information Commissioner (or any other data protection regulator), data subjects or other persons arising from any transfer of personal data to us by you (or its processing in order to fulfil your instructions) contrary to data protection law.
We may use third parties to process your personal data for us in order to obtain goods and services related to your engagement or appropriate for the running of our firm. We do not sell personal data to third parties for marketing or other commercial purposes.
Data protection law requires that all personal data kept by us is accurate and up to date, so please keep us informed of any changes to personal data, including email and mobile phone numbers, which you supply to us in connection with our engagement.
As a Barristers Chambers, we are under strict rules of confidentiality and shall not disclose any confidential information received from you unless instructed by you or as required by law. Equally, we cannot use or pass on confidential information obtained from other clients for your benefit.
Occasionally, we may be requested to refer in general terms to work done for you. For example, we may be requested to give information for reports to be published in the legal or business press of transactions where we have acted for one of the parties, or we may wish to disclose that we have acted for you in a particular deal or matter. In such cases, we will ask for your consent before disclosing and, if given, this consent will also apply to future similar disclosures by us
You may terminate your instructions in writing at any time, but any retainer is non-refundable. We may stop acting for you where we believe that we have a good reason to do so, for example, if a conflict of interest arises, if you persistently refuse to provide information that we require, if you persistently refuse to take our advice, if you do not pay your invoices on time or do not provide an interim payment when requested. Termination shall not affect any accrued rights of either party.
14. COMPLAINTS POLICY
We are committed to providing a high-quality service to our clients. This includes a commitment to putting things right when they go wrong. Our objective at all times is to exceed your expectations. If you do not feel that we have fulfilled our responsibilities, or the standard of our service has been less then you expected, then please let us know in writing.
The Bar Standards Board will help you 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.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case. 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 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.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them using one of the options: Visit: legalombudsman.org.uk, Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm,
Email: email@example.com, Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
15. STORAGE OF YOUR DOCUMENTS
We shall keep our file of papers (except for any papers which you ask to be returned to you) for as long as we consider appropriate (see below) but for no more than 6 years.
15.1. Litigation Matters
At the end of your case, we will send you the original of all (i) pleadings (ii) orders (iii) witness statements (iv) affidavits (v) consent orders or settlement agreements. We will retain for 6 years an electronic copy of the entire file, but you agree we may destroy any paper copies. If you wish to keep the entire file you must collect it within 14 days of receiving from us a letter confirming that we are closing the file, otherwise you authorise us to destroy it.
From time to time, we amend our Terms. These Terms replace any previous Terms provided to you.
Our Scope of Works (including these Terms of Business) shall form the entire agreement between us in relation to its subject matter. The terms and conditions of our Scope of Works may not be modified or amended other than by written agreement between us.
17. GOVERNING LAW
These Terms are governed by the laws of England and Wales. You agree that the English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any dispute that may arise between us.
18. THE BAR STANDARDS BOARD
We are authorised and regulated by the Bar Standards Board
If you commence a legal claim we will agree whether I will come on the court record or if you will act as a litigant in person.
If you start proceedings you may be entitled to fee remission against any court fee if you are on benefits or on a low income. You will have to make your own application for fee remission if you think it may apply.
In all cases a formal letter before action (LBA) is required to be served on the other side before you can start court action. I charge a minimum of £250 to draft a LBA.
If you want me to prepare your case and come on the court record you will need to discuss that with me. Do not send an N434 (Notice of Acting) to the court with my details on it.
I usually agree a fee for preparing a case and I then charge separately to attend court. When attending Court my fees will be based on less than a half day, a half day hearing, or a full day (or more than 1 full day) hearing and whether travel costs have to be met for me to get to/from court and if the case is listed for more than 1 day, whether B&B accommodation is to be paid for, so that I am on site for the 2nd (+ any other) day.
If we agree a fee for e.g. a 1 day hearing (as will have been set by the court) and the hearing concludes early e.g. within 1/2 a day, or if e.g. a 2 day hearing concludes after 1 day, I will not be liable to give you any pro-rata refund on the agreed fee. If the case does not start at all I will charge £250 for attending and will carry the fee over to the next date.
If I come on record and you are the claimant we will have to prepare a bundle and I will cost that into my fees. If I am not on the record and the other side has a solicitor they will have to prepare the bundle for the hearing. If I am not on record and you are the claimant you may have to prepare the court bundle for the hearing. I have bundling software and I can prepare court bundles at an additional cost.
I will give all clients 15/20 mins free advice before they decide to retain my services. If you need to meet with me then before a court hearing I charge £300 for a conference of up to 1 hour.
If I am tasked with typing up a court order after the hearing I charge an additional £75.
If you instruct me for a final hearing and you “lose the case”, should you then seek advice on a possible appeal I will charge an additional fee for that service.
If you “win your case” and you are able to seek costs I will always make a costs application for you.
If I am not on record and you have a remote hearing by phone or video you shall send the court the number 07491041812 and the email firstname.lastname@example.org, so that I am called for the hearing or I am sent a link to join the hearing. You must supply me with the bundle for the hearing as soon as you receive it. You must also give my contact details to the other side should they seek to have pre hearing discussions with me
- 1 Introduction
- 1 These are the standard terms under which you have engaged NE Barristers Chambers to represent you.
- 2 In these standard terms:
- 2.1 Associates mean any partnership, company, wherever incorporated, or other legal person or entity controlled or represented by you or, if you form part of a group, all legal entities in that group;
- 2.2 Engagement means our engagement by you;
- 2.3 us, our, or we refers to NE Barristers Chambers;
- 2.4 Standard Terms means these standard terms of engagement.
- 3 These Standard Terms supersede any earlier terms concerning our Engagement that we may have provided to you. We reserve the right to amend these terms in the future in particular to reflect changes in law or practice.
- 4 In these Standard Terms headings are for convenience only and are not to be taken into account in construing the text.
- 2 Application
- These Standard Terms will also apply to all other matters on which you or any Associate may instruct us.
- 3 Our Charges
- 1 Our fees will be calculated on a fair and reasonable basis having regard to competitive fee rates in the legal services market in which we operate, our skills, the nature and extent of our Engagement and the overall circumstances.
- 2 On court advocacy we will charge a fixed fee.
- The fee includes preparing for the hearing by reading the papers; and
- Pre hearing discussions with you
- Drafting a skeleton argument for the hearing , if needed
- Pre hearing discussions with the other side,
- Dealing with emails in from you , and replying, as long as the quantity is limited. NOTE if the quantity of emails or phone calls become excessive I will have to charge for my time.
- 3 If applicable, VAT at the prevailing rate will be payable on our fees.
- 4 We reserve the right to make additional charges for substantial telephone calls, faxes and photocopying.
- 4 Billing arrangements
- 1 In relation to attending court I requires that a retainer be paid to secure the booking in my diary, the retainer is only refundable if you cancel the booking within 48 hours. If your case is adjourned before the hearing date the retainer will be refunded only if I am not available for the new court date.
- 2 The retainer is £200 for a directions or preliminary hearing, £300 for 1/2 day hearing and £500 for a 1 day (or more) hearing and the balance is due in full 48 hours before the hearing time, failing which I will not be able to attend the hearing and the retainer will not be refundable.
- 3 All bills are due to be paid on presentation unless agreed by us to the contrary.
- 4 Bills will be addressed to you, our client, not to any third party (even if requested by you) though we may agree to bills being paid by a third party if: we have satisfied ourselves as to the identity and address of the third party payer for anti-money laundering purposes; we have, if we require, satisfied ourselves as to the source of the third party’s funds.
- 5 Electronic Communications
- 1 Although we take considerable precautions to protect our electronic networks, we cannot guarantee the security or integrity of such communications and cannot accept any liability for degradation viruses or other infections. You nevertheless agree that we may communicate with you and others by email.
- 2 Where additional protection is required in respect of electronic communications you should notify us appropriately in writing.
- 6 Third party receipts
- Unless otherwise agreed on a case by case basis, any sums received or recovered by us on your behalf from any third party (for example from the proceeds of litigation or the disposal of any asset or property) shall be credited against any amounts due to us for our fees and disbursements incurred on your behalf, whether billed or not.
- 7 Limitations on our Liability
- 1 We will only provide our services to you under this Engagement and we will not accept any liability to any other person.
- 2 Except where expressly set out in these Standard Terms all warranties conditions or other terms implied by statute or common law are excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.
- 3 We will not be liable for failure or delay or for the consequences of any failure or delay in the performance of your instructions if it is due to any event beyond our reasonable control including without limitation, acts of God, war, industrial disputes, power failures, fire, flood, storm, explosion, acts of terrorism and national emergencies.
- 4 The extent to which any loss or damage will be recoverable by you from us will be limited so as to be in proportion to our contribution to the overall fault for such loss or damage, taking into account any contributory negligence by you, your other advisers and/or any other third party responsible to you and/or liable in respect of such loss.
- 5 We will not be liable to you for any indirect or consequential loss or damage or for any loss of profits.
- 6 Nothing in the Engagement shall affect any liability which we may have to you in respect of any personal injury or death resulting from our negligence any loss caused by our fraud. The terms of this paragraph shall apply notwithstanding any termination of our Engagement for any reason.
- 7 We may agree with you in the Engagement an appropriate financial limit on our liability to you which will always be subject to this paragraph.
- 8 For the purposes of this paragraph ‘liability’ and being ‘liable’ includes liability of any kind whether in contract or tort.
- 8 Anti-Money Laundering
- 1 The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (the “Money Laundering Regulations”) and Solicitors Regulation Authority guidance require us, along with all other solicitors, (i) to undertake identity (including address) checks on a regular basis in respect of all clients; (ii) to ensure that each client, its business and its source of funds are known; (iii) to keep records of the identity and address checks for at least five years; (iv) to report to the authorities (without notifying the client) any suspicion of money laundering; (v) if such a report is made, to cease acting for the client (without explaining why to the client) unless and until the authorities give consent to proceed or unless and until consent is deemed to have been given pursuant to certain statutory provisions.
- 2 As a pre-condition to our acting for you we will require you to provide to us certain information and documents (originals or certified copies) which will be specified separately. This information and documents must be provided to us immediately following the request (unless specified otherwise) failing which we may have to cease to act and will consider whether the failure to provide the information/documents necessitates the making of a report to the authorities.
- 3 We accept no responsibility for any loss, damage or expense which may be suffered or incurred whether directly or indirectly or otherwise howsoever by any client or by any person or entity who or which has approached us with a view to becoming a client or who or which we understand wishes to become a client in any circumstances in which we have acted in compliance with what we consider to be our obligations pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Money Laundering Regulations or Solicitors Regulation Authority guidance and/or such other legislation, regulations or guidance as we may be obliged to comply with from time to time.
- 9 Confidentiality
- 1 All information regarding your business and affairs will be kept confidential at all times unless you instruct us to disclose information or we are compelled to disclose it by law, for example, where there is any suspicion of money laundering or other fraud or crime is involved.
- 2 Under money laundering legislation, solicitors are under a legal duty in some circumstances to disclose information to the National Criminal Intelligence Service. Where a lawyer knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure.
- 3 If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it because the law prohibits ‘tipping-off’. Where the law permits us to, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take.
- 4 We may on occasion need to outsource work such as typing or photocopying documents. Although we will do everything possible to keep such outsourcing work confidential and secure, this can potentially increase the risks in relation to preserving client confidentiality for which we accept no responsibility.
- 10 Data Protection
- You acknowledge that, in order to act for you and for the proper and effective management of your file, we will obtain information from you, including personal data. You further acknowledge that it may be necessary to transfer your information and data within this practice. We confirm that we will deal with your information in accordance with our obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018and the GDPR.
- 11 Potential Conflicts of Interest
- An actual or potential conflict between your interests and the interests of another client of the firm, or the firm itself, may arise during the course of our Engagement. If this situation arises during our dealings with you, we will discuss the position with you and determine the appropriate course of action. In order to protect your interest, our professional rules may require us to stop acting for you on that matter.
- 12 Complaints
- Any complaints or concerns about our work should initially be raised with Dr John Brown.
- 13 Storage of documents
- 1 Files and papers relating to your matters will be stored for such time as we judge reasonable or for such time as we are required by law to do so, but in any event for a period of not less than six years, after which we may destroy them without further reference to you.
- 2 Such files or papers may be preserved in electronic form. This applies to all papers other than title deeds, wills and similar items you have asked us to keep in safe custody.
- 14 Acceptance of these terms
- 1 Your continuing instructions will amount to acceptance of our Engagement Terms.
- 2 These terms of engagement are subject to review from time to time.
- 15 Termination of the appointment
- 1 You have the right to terminate the Engagement by notice in writing at any time but the retainer will only be refunded should you cancel within 48 hour of paying the retainer to book the service.
- 2 Termination of the appointment or our inability to act for any reason will not affect our right to recover outstanding fees, disbursements or other charges, to render bills for work not yet billed, or to any other accrued rights upon termination.
- 16 Applicable law and jurisdiction
- 1 All opinions and advice given will be given under English law.
- 2 Our Engagement Terms and all matters arising from our contract are governed by English Law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wale