These terms, together with the accompanying covering letter (“Letter”) set out the terms of the relationship between you and us upon which FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors (“We”) will provide legal services to you and any principals for whom you may be acting, and this document contains certain information that we are required by our regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, to provide to you. We have tried to make the information as clear as possible and it is vital that you read the document carefully and fully understand and agree its contents. If there is anything you would like us to explain, please do not hesitate to contact us, our contact details can be found in our enclosed letter to you.
FD Law Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors are specialists in this area of law. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with ID no. 632067 as an Alternative Business Structure. Further information can be found at www.sra.org.uk.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (formerly the Financial Services Authority). However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, 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.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do . The relevant register is called the EPF Register.
If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice. However, we may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are Directors of the Law Society of England and Wales. 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. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority or with the Legal Ombudsman (see section “Our Relationship with You”).
We may assign any of our rights or transfer by novation any of our rights, obligations and liabilities under the Letter or these Terms to any other company or other corporate entity within the FD Law Limited group of companies (New Service Provider), which will perform and be bound by the Letter and these Terms in every way as if it were the original party to them. In the event of any such assignment or novation, you undertake to perform and be bound by the Letter and these Terms in every way as if the New Service Provider were the original party to them in place of us, to accept the liability of the New Service Provider in place of our liability and to release and discharge us from all claims and demands arising under or in connection with the Letter and these Terms, whether arising on or before the date of any such assignment or novation and whether known or unknown.
Marketing Services and Fees
As a firm of solicitors we have a professional duty to act in your best interest at all times and give you independent advice. If you require any further information, please contact us.
During the course of the Firm’s work it may be necessary to discuss your case with or instruct cost specialists, experts or counsel. Your acceptance of these Terms of Business amounts to your consent to us to disclose information which we consider necessary to progress your case.
In some cases we will instruct County Costs Consultants (CCC) to undertake litigated costs draftsmen work on behalf of the Firm. You should be aware that there is a relationship between the Firm and CCC in that one of the owners of the Firm is also the sole owner and managing director of CCC. We have worked with CCC for many years and our relationship with the business allows us to provide a seamless client service. We are confident that this arrangement will not affect the way your matter is handled in any way, but please contact us if you would like any further information.
In addition, we will include in our agreement with CCC a confidentiality undertaking and wording along the lines of the following to address outcome 7.10 of the SRA Code of Conduct:
“CCC shall cooperate with the Firm in fulfilling its regulatory obligations including, where the provision of services under the Agreement is deemed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to be critical to the delivery of legal activities, allowing the Solicitors Regulation Authority or its appointed representative to obtain information from, inspect the records of, or enter the premises of CCC.”
Responsibility for the work
The Letter confirms that your claim will be dealt with by the person whose contact details appear in your letter. Your claim will be supervised by Daniel Thompson.
Kingsley Hayes will carry out most of the work on your affairs personally, although other individuals will work on your affairs where that person is unavailable, if it is more cost effective to do so, or the Services require the expertise of a particular person. We will where possible identify those individuals in the Letter and will try to avoid changing the people who perform the Services, but if this cannot be avoided we will inform you of any change.
Your Legal Costs and Disbursements
Our standard costs
The rules that govern solicitors mean that you are principally responsible for our charges and they form part of your claim against the other party.
However, if you win your case our charges will generally be paid in part or whole by the person responsible for the accident or, more likely, their insurers. If you lose, you may become liable for all or part of our charges or those of the other party. To ensure that you do not have to pay these personally, we have discussed and agreed with you the best method of funding these charges, and the funding arrangement we are acting for you under is confirmed in the attached letter.
Please note that we have agreed to enter into a funding arrangement with you on the basis of the information you have provided about your claim. In the event that this information is not accurate in any way our ability to continue with that funding arrangement may be affected and we reserve the right to void the agreement.
In the event that the funding agreement is voided or you breach your responsibilities as described in the section below you will be responsible with immediate effect for the payment of our costs incurred on your behalf in pursuing the claim.
A copy of the Conditional Fee Agreement that you have agreed to enter into is also enclosed with the attached letter.
At this stage, we believe that your claim has good prospects of succeeding however if we become concerned at any stage that your claim might not be successful, we will contact you straight away.
Although we have explained that you should not end up with a liability to pay our charges, we are still obliged by the rules that govern us to confirm to you what our likely charges will be. Our charges are based on the time we spend dealing with your claim, and this includes reading and working on correspondence, email, telephone calls, any meetings with you. The complexity of your case will also affect the time spent on it. Our hourly rate is £300 and our charges are reviewed annually and may be increased from time to time. We will let you know if there is any change during the time that we are dealing with you claim.
Our success fee
We have agreed to take your claim on under a no win no fee arrangement supported by a Conditional Fee Agreement. This means that there is a risk that we will not get paid all of the costs that we incur on your behalf as a result of either the risk associate with the claim being defended or costs being paid under a fixed fee.
We have agreed with you that you will make a contribution to our costs in the event the claim is successful and to support that agreement we have agreed that we will be entitled to a success fee.
The success fee is calculated with reference to the amount of work we do with you and is 100% of our base costs.
We have agreed to the cap the costs that we claim from you under the success fee to no more than 25% (inclusive of VAT) of any damages awarded to you for the injury element of your claim and that the success fee element may be deducted from your compensation by us before payment to you of the balance.
Different cases have different prospects of success. Having taken into account the nature of your case we will have confirmed the level of success fee that we intend to charge in the letter enclosing these terms and conditions and the Conditional Fee Agreement.
Disbursements / other fees
We will also incur disbursements which are fees that we have to pay to other parties who we instruct to produce evidence in your case, e.g. court fees, doctors’ fees, engineer’s fees.
To avoid having to consult with you in advance of incurring each item of expenditure, we take your initial instructions to us in any matter as your authority for us to incur reasonable out-of-pocket expenses in the conduct of that matter, including instructing Counsel or experts where appropriate.
If your claim is unsuccessful you should not be responsible for the Defendants costs, but there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the Defendant makes an offer to settle your claim, which you reject, and are subsequently awarded less than the amount previously offered, the Defendants costs will be payable from the date of their offer.
Protection against paying fees
Where you have chosen to take out a policy of insurance to cover you against any non-recovery of costs or fees incurred in respect of your claim, payment of this policy is detailed in our initial letter. The letter enclosing these terms confirms the provider, the level of cover and the cost of the policy. Subject to you complying with the terms of the agreement, if your claim is unsuccessful and no damages are recovered, the premium cost will be waived.
Where there is not enough information to take out an after the event policy at this stage or where you have declined the offer of a policy we will review your claim once the initial document pack is returned and then subsequently at key events and may recommend to you that you consider taking out a policy to cover any risks that occur.
Where your case is part of a multi claimant action against the same defendant the insurance product selected will be specific to that action and the terms of that policy will be outlined to you prior to that protection being offered to you as they may be a common policy or unique to you depending upon the circumstances of your loss.
If your case is being funded through a legal expense insurance policy, we would recommend that you familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of that policy. We may from time to time be required to report to your Insurer in accordance with the terms of your policy with them.
Estimate of costs
It is very difficult at this stage to provide a firm estimate at this stage as to what our total charges will be. However, by way of a guide, if you have one opponent who admits liability for your injuries and your claim is worth under £10,000, our costs should not exceed £4,800 plus VAT at 20.00% and with disbursements totalling between £500 – £1,000 making a total estimate of no more than £6,500. Where the value of your claim is between £10,000 and £25,000 then those costs in total are likely to be in excess of £15,000 in total. If legal proceedings have to be issued, the costs will increase. We will provide you with a revised estimate at key stages in your claim when we understand the value more.
A data breach claim is a privacy action where costs are billed on your behalf on an hourly rate. If your claim has an injury element as a result of distress there may be part of the costs and success fee that are recoverable from the defendant but part, for the injury element alone, that you may have to pay as part of your success fee cap. You will be advised at key stages of the claim and before any settlement what those values are.
It is important that any costs incurred in pursuing your claim are in proportion to the claim itself. If at the end of your claim there is any dispute with the person at fault over the amount of costs being claimed on your behalf compared to the level of compensation you received, a County Court Judge does have the power to reduce the amount of costs the party at fault has to pay. This is of course a situation we wish to avoid and we will always advise you if we feel that the cost and risk involved in pursuing any aspect of your claim outweighs the likely outcome of the claim itself.
If anything happens during the life of your case to change the estimates above we confirm that we will write to you to advise you of the change and provide a new estimate of the charges likely to be incurred.
Always act in your best interests, subject to our duty to the court
Explain to you the risks and benefits of taking legal action
Give you our best advice about whether to accept any offer of settlement
Give you the best information possible about the likely cost of your case
Provide you with a good standard of service
Give us instructions that allow us to do our work properly
Not ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way
Not deliberately mislead us
Co-operate with us
Attend as necessary any medical appointment or court hearing
Advise us as soon as reasonably practicable of any development that may affect any matter on which we are acting for you.
Failure to carry out your responsibilities may cause you to breach the terms of your Legal Expenses Insurance Policy or Conditional Fee Agreement, and you may become personally liable for our charges and potentially those of the other party.
Claims often involve time limits, particularly once legal proceedings are commenced, and there is a limitation period in place which provides a deadline by which your claim must be pursued. Your co-operation at all times will help to ensure your claim is progressed without delay. Failure to our requests for co-operation and information may result in us ceasing to act on your behalf.
If you instruct other solicitors before our work on the case is finished, then we have the right to preserve our lien (keep all your papers) unless you pay all our charges and expenses due at that time or another firm of solicitors working for you undertakes to pay us what we are owed.
Under HM Revenue & Customs Regulations, if you are a company, business or individual who is registered for VAT, you are responsible as such for any VAT on your costs. This is not recoverable from the person at fault and we will submit to you a VAT account. Please note that VAT will also not be recovered from the person at fault in relation to repair costs, hire charges, etc. If however you are not registered for VAT then it can be reclaimed from the person at fault or their insurers on your behalf.
Any figure given by way of estimate, quotation, hourly rate or other cost or charge, whether in the Letter or in these Terms, is exclusive of VAT. Our VAT number is GB 297 9526 32. We will generally be obliged to charge VAT on our fees and on most disbursements at the rate from time to time in force. Where any work is not subject to VAT, we will specifically confirm this to you. Unless you have received such confirmation, VAT will be chargeable.
Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 requires us, if we become aware of, or suspect that there has been, any sort of unlawful dealing relating to either property or money, including tax evasion or benefit fraud, to inform the authorities. Our failure to do so, or if we “tip you off” that we have done so, could lead to our prosecution and possible imprisonment. By instructing us to act on your behalf, you expressly consent to us disclosing any information that we consider necessary, without reference to you.
The legislation also means that you could be guilty of a criminal offence if you receive, conceal or become involved in any arrangement or other activity involving proceeds, or either direct or indirect benefits, from money laundering or tax evasion or benefit fraud unless you make a disclosure to the relevant authority under the provisions of the Act.
In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 we may require you to send to us two forms of documentary identification. This can be either a passport or photo driving licence (or other photographic ID) and one recent utility bill; we shall return them directly to you. If the need arises for you to provide us with these documents we will contact you to inform you.
Data Protection Act
Some or all of the information you supply to us in connection with your insurance claim will be held on computer. Your personal information is confidential and protected against unauthorised people obtaining access to it. The information given by you will be used and disclosed in the normal course of us administering your claim. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a right of access to see your personal information that is held in our records, whether electronically or manually. If you have any queries, please write to our Compliance Officer William Betts.
We may, when we communicate with you, both incoming and outgoing calls, record our calls for quality and monitoring purposes, as well as regulatory compliance. If you do not wish the call to be recorded you should inform us accordingly at the outset of the call.
FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity in its own policies, practices and procedures and in those areas in which it has influence. This applies to the firm’s professional dealings with staff and Partners, other solicitors, barrister, Clients and third parties.
The firm intends to treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of their disability, gender, marital status, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief or sexual orientation. This policy is constantly updated to reflect current legislation and to ensure compliance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s code on anti-discrimination practice.
As lawyers we are bound by a general duty of confidentiality towards you as our client. Any information which we obtain from you while providing the Services which is not in the public domain will be treated as confidential. On some rare occasions we may be required to disclose information to relevant regulatory or fiscal authorities, or under rules of professional conduct. In such cases, we would (where both permissible and practicable) inform you of the request or requirement to disclose. We may have to delay or stop providing the Services for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
In the course of providing the Services, we may need to give information to other Directors of the FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors and to other third parties such as banks, lenders, expert witnesses and other professional advisers.
Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing or document production on our files so as to ensure that this is done promptly. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced in this way, please tell us as soon as possible.
We also use other companies or people to provide us with photocopying, file storage and IT services in connection with the Services. Again, we will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these providers.
We will not use information confidential to you for the advantage of a third party and, conversely, you accept that we will not use confidential information obtained from any other person for your advantage.
You agree that we are authorised to disclose that you are our client, and that we have acted for you on any matter where information on that matter is in the public domain and on any other matter where you consent to such disclosure.
Unless you notify us to the contrary in writing, we may use your personal information for marketing our services, providing you with legal updates and profiling your legal and professional requirements. We may also disclose your information to other Directors of FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors and (unless you request otherwise) to external providers of typing and document production services. We may keep your information for a reasonable period to contact you about our services in the future.
In this Section, references to “you” may include persons related to or connected with you.
We are subject to periodic checks by external assessors. This could mean that your file is selected for checking. All inspections are conducted in the strictest of confidence however please do advise us if you would prefer your file not to be inspected. Unless you indicate otherwise, we shall assume that you consent to your file being inspected if selected.
Storage of Papers
After completing the work we are entitled to keep all the papers and documents until all our charges have been paid. We will keep your file (except for any papers that you ask us to return to you) for no more than six years. We keep the file on the understanding that we have authority from you to destroy it six years after completion of the case. We may need to make a charge based on time spent if you need to retrieve any papers.
Conflicts of interests
We advise a large number of clients, and may be in a position where we are advising individuals or entities whose interests might compete with your own. We cannot be certain that we will identify all such situations which exist or may develop and it is difficult for us to anticipate all situations which you might perceive to involve a conflict. We request that you notify us promptly of anything which you think might involve a potential conflict of interests between yourself and another of our clients, or ourselves.
Subject to our compliance with the professional rules which regulate our conduct as lawyers, we will not be prevented or restricted by virtue of our relationship with you from involvement in other matters where our or our client’s interests may be adverse to your own.
We will not use information confidential to you for the advantage of a third party and, conversely, you accept that we will not use confidential information obtained from any other person for your advantage.
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents whilst there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses.
Where we have accepted instructions and agreed to commence work for you, which were given over the telephone of via an electronic media you have the right to cancel instructions within 14 days but you will be liable to pay us costs, out of pocket expenses and VAT for work carried out from the time of acceptance to the time of cancellation.
In some circumstances we may, subject to the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, cease acting for you for any reason at any time. We will give you not less than 5 business days’ notice in writing.
Deemed Acceptance and Cancellation of The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013
Signing our Conditional Fee Agreement either personally or electronically confirms your acceptance of our terms and conditions. If you do not return a copy to us but continue to instruct us in relation to the services, you will be deemed to have accepted these Terms and the conditions set out in the Letter.
Under the terms of the above legislation, where you are a consumer and have instructed FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors Limited during a meeting in your home or place of work, irrespective of the deemed acceptance provision above, you have an overriding right to cancel any contract within 14 days. Further, we will not consider that a contract has been established during the 14 day cancellation period unless you specifically request us to commence work within this period by means of a signed form of authorisation. Where this legislation applies, forms of cancellation and authorisation will be provided to you together with the Letter and these Terms.
Our Relationship with You
We are confident of providing a high quality service but If you have any queries, concerns or a complaint about our services or our invoice which you are unable to resolve with the Director of staff who is acting for you, then please contact William Betts our Compliance Officer. If that does not lead to a satisfactory conclusion, then we would request that you contact the Complaints Team, headed by Daniel Thompson. This should be done as soon as possible after the circumstances giving rise to the complaint come to your notice. You can write to Daniel Thompson at First Floor, Old Town Hall, Victoria Square, Widnes, WA8 7QZ or telephone 0808 278 9378. A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request.
If the complaint cannot be resolved in this way, you can contact the Legal Ombudsman, whose details can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Ordinarily, you need to do this within six months of receiving our final written response to your complaint. We will not charge you for dealing with a complaint.
If a Barrister is instructed in connection with the Services we are providing to you the Barristers Chambers will also have terms and conditions (including a complaints procedure), a copy of which will be made available on request.
Responsibility for advice
FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors (rather than its Directors, employees and consultants) will provide advice and services to you, and FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors alone will be responsible for the performance of the engagement contract in relation to the Services.
Where FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors is responsible for providing advice and/or services to you then, to the fullest extent permitted by law and regulation, no individual who is a Director or employee of, or consultant to, FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors accepts or assumes responsibility to you or to anyone else for advice and services provided to you, whether or not that individual is described as a “partner”.
You agree (to the extent such agreement is enforceable under applicable laws and regulations) that you will not bring any claim in connection with any advice and/or services provided to you by FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors Limited against any Director of FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors or against any employee of, or consultant to, FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors, but this will not limit or exclude the liability of FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors itself.
Any advice and/or services provided FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors is/are for your benefit only and may not be used or relied upon by anyone else.
“Partner” is a title and individuals described as “partners” are Directors or employees of or consultants to FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors.
Limitation of Liability
In certain situations there may be a risk that FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors will be prejudiced as a result of arrangements you have with other advisers which limit their liability to you. This could arise where FD Law Ltd Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors is one of several professionals advising you and you have agreed a limitation of liability with another of your advisers. If this occurs in circumstances where we would otherwise be jointly and severally liable with those other advisers for a claim, you agree that FD Law Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors position will not be adversely affected by the limitation of those other advisers’ potential liability. In other words, FD Law Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors liability to you will not exceed the net amount for which we would have been liable after deducting the amount for which the other advisers would have been liable to us in contribution proceedings if a limitation of their liability had not been agreed with you.
We ask you to advise us as early as possible if you have agreed or are likely to agree a limitation of the liability of your other professional advisers where we are also acting for you.
We will not be liable to you for any indirect loss such as loss of profits or loss of business opportunity.
In any event, our liability for any claim shall not exceed £3 million. For these purposes, all claims arising from one act or omission, one series of related acts or omissions, the same act or omission in a series of related matters or transactions, similar acts or omissions in a series of related matters or transactions, or one matter or transaction, will be treated as a single claim.
We do not limit our liability for loss caused by our fraud, or for death or personal injury resulting from our negligence.
If we engage third parties to participate in the Services, FD Law Trading as Hayes Connor Solicitors will not be liable in respect of any advice given or work undertaken by them (regardless of whether such persons were introduced by us).
Copyright in documents
Original materials which we generate for our clients are protected by copyright which belongs to us. The fee you pay for our work gives you an implied licence to make use of those materials for the purposes for which they were obtained and for all reasonably associated purposes. You do not, however, obtain ownership of the copyright in our work product unless we specifically agree in writing.
Electronic communications and the Internet
We will be pleased to discuss with you ways of setting up electronic communication links with us.
In the absence of your written instructions to the contrary, we may from time to time communicate with you electronically via the internet. Although the majority of internet messages reach their destination safely, as you may be aware the internet is neither private nor secure, nor are there service guarantees for correct message routing or promptness of delivery. Electronic communications also introduce a risk of computer viruses causing system failure. Consequently, we accept no responsibility for any claims, costs, damages, losses, awards or other liability incurred by or made against you and arising directly or indirectly as a result of the use of the internet.
We may monitor communications in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations in order to establish facts, or to determine that communications using our systems are relevant to our business, or to comply with laws or regulatory practices and procedures.
We are a data controller and bound by the Data Protection Act 1998. We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
Updating and enhancing client records
Analysis to help us manage our practice
Legal and regulatory compliance
We are entitled to obtain, process, use and disclose your personal data to enable us to discharge our duties to you, to liaise with third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisors. You have the right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.
Retention of documents
In general, we will retain any file relating to a matter on which we have acted for you for six years after the matter is completed. After that period we will be entitled to deal with the file without further reference to you. Files may be retained in hard copy or electronic format where possible. Files will not be reviewed by us during this storage period.
In any particular matter, you will of course be free to ask us in advance to retain the file for a longer period and/or to take no action in relation to our file without further notification to you. In such circumstances we may seek to apply a reasonable charge for this service, as we may for retrieval and/or copying of the file.
Changes to these terms
We may, by one month’s written notice to you, modify these Terms from time to time to reflect our current practice and/or changes to professional and other regulatory requirements which we are obliged to meet.
In any action, you will be required to disclose to the other parties all documents, correspondence, e-mails, notes, memoranda and other items which are or have been in your possession, custody or power and which relate in any way to the issues in the dispute. Subject to certain exceptions, such as most communications with us, this duty covers documents that may be prejudicial to your case, which you are nevertheless obliged to reveal. The obligation of disclosure is on-going until the action is over and therefore all such documents must be preserved in safe-keeping. This obligation is onerous and you may be liable for severe penalties including fines and/or imprisonment in cases of deliberate non-disclosure. If in any doubt as to whether to preserve documents, you should always err on the side of preservation.
Mobility and access
We endeavour to ensure that all of our offices have facilities and access for the disabled. If you wish to visit any of our offices and are disabled, we recommend that you contact us to advise of your condition. We will then be able to confirm the facilities available at that office or alternatively advise of a more suitable local office. We are equally happy to visit you at home or at your place of work if this is more convenient.
Jurisdiction and proper law
These Terms and the Letter are subject to English law and you and we irrevocably agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales. If you are not instructing us as a consumer, you and we irrevocably agree to submit to either the jurisdiction of the High Court of England and Wales or arbitration in London at our sole discretion and option.