TERMS OF BUSINESS

Client Care
We aim to provide you the highest possible standards of service.

As a matter of course we will:

  • always act in your best interests, subject to our duty to the court;
  • explain to you the risks and benefits of issuing Court proceedings;
  • give you our best advice about whether to accept or reject any offer of settlement put forward by the third party ;
  • give you the best possible advice and keep you updated about the likely costs of your claim.

When you instruct us to act, we will appoint a Caseworker who will deal with all aspects of your claim.  We will try not to change the person dealing with your claim, but if we have to do so, we shall tell you of any change and the reason why as soon as possible.

You will have direct access to the person dealing with your claim by e-mail and telephone and be able to leave messages for them.  Your request for a return call should be dealt with upon the same day, or as soon as possible after your call.   There may be times when the person dealing with your case will not be able to return your call promptly, but please be assured that every effort will be made to do so.

Your letters should have a detailed reply within 7 working days and any key documents will be copied to you.

We will inform you of any major developments as soon as possible and you will normally hear from us every month except when we are waiting for matters beyond our control, e.g. expert’s report or a court hearing date.   Therefore, please do not be alarmed if you do not hear from us for a while, as there is probably nothing to report in this instance.

By court rules, in all claims involving personal injury we must follow a legal procedure called a Protocol, which sets out how to resolve disputes quickly and cheaply without court proceedings. If you receive any documents (including court papers) relating to your claim you should send these to us immediately.  You must keep any relevant documents.

Your responsibilities
By return you must:

  • provide us with clear and concise instructions at all times;
  • not ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way;
  • not deliberately mislead us;
  • co-operate with us;
  • go to any pre-arranged medical examinations or court hearing ;
  • Not contact the other side or their insurers as this could prejudice your claim

We need to be able to reach you at all times and it is important that you inform us of change of address or telephone number.

Complaints Procedure
Solomon Solicitors is committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, please contact Mrs Qamar Din (Senior Partner and Complaints Manager) in writing by email on qamar.din@solomonsolicitors.co.uk by post to our head office address.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or by telephone on 0300 555 0333   Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.

Please note that this firm operates a client complaint handling procedure in accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

External Inspections
None of the information that you provide to us will be relayed to anyone else without your express permission. However the files at our firm are subject to inspection by the Solicitors Regulation Authority/Lexcel as part of their regulatory function to ensure that we are working to the standards expected of a solicitors firm. They may wish to ask you questions regarding the level of service that you have received. Please let us know if you wish to withhold consent for your file to be examined and I will indicate this in a prominent place on your file.

Lien
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses.

The common law entitles us to retain any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly come into our possession pending payment of our costs, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred.  This is known as a “general lien”.  We are not entitled to sell property held under a lien but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs.

If we are conducting litigation for you, we have additional rights.  In any property recovered or preserved for you whether it is in our possession or not and in respect of all costs incurred, whether billed or unbilled.  We also have a right to ask the Court to make a charging order in our favour for any “assessed costs”.

Bankruptcy
In the event that you have been declared bankrupt, a claim for personal injuries and the resulting compensation may comprise part of the ‘property’ of the bankrupt and would consequently have to be disclosed by you to your trustee where the compensation from the claim becomes payable before your discharge from bankruptcy.  There are complex rules concerning what part of your compensation remains payable to your creditors by the Trustee and this can be discussed in more detail where necessary. The normal rules relating to communications between us being confidential and subject to legal professional privilege mentioned above can be also overridden where a person is bankrupt as we may have to provide documentation to the Trustee. However, in the first instance, there is a most important obligation for you to advise us if you are subject to a bankruptcy order so that this mat be communicated to your Trustee.  Failure to comply with this obligation amounts to a breach of your statutory obligation to the Trustee in bankruptcy.

Money Laundering
As with other professional services firms, we are under stringent requirements to identify our clients for the purposes of the anti-money laundering legislation.  We are likely to request from you, and retain, some information and documentation for these purposes and/or to make searches of appropriate databases. If satisfactory evidence of your identity is not provided within a reasonable time, there may be circumstances in which we are not able to proceed with your instructions, and may have to cease to act for you.  In these circumstances we will charge you for the work done prior to that date.

The work which we have to do to identify you in accordance with our statutory and professional obligations is part and parcel of our work on this retainer, and will be charged for, including any disbursements incurred, in the normal way.

To comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 we require you to send us two forms of identification.  We need one form of photo ID, either your driving license or passport, plus a Utility Bill or Bank Statement confirming your current address. Please refer to the information sheet attached.

Please note that from 1 March 2004 the law was changed to impose an absolute duty on solicitors to report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) any criminal act no matter how small.  This means that if we have any reasonable suspicion that you have committed an offence then we must report it to SOCA and cannot proceed with your claim until we have received authorisation. It is therefore vital that you are honest when informing us of the losses you are claiming. You should note that our duty to report these issues to SOCA overrides our duty of confidentiality to you.

Our basic charges and hourly charge rates
Our basic charges are calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by our solicitors, paralegals and caseworkers carrying out work on your file. This includes but is not limited to meetings with you, reading and drafting documents, all correspondence, emails, telephone calls, preparation of any detailed cost calculations and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary.  From time to time, we may arrange for some of this work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by us. We will inform you if this is necessary and advise you of fees for the same.

We will endeavour to inform you of the costs incurred every six months, but details can be provided at any stage upon request by you. Any estimate given will depend on the complexity of your claim; whether fault is in dispute; the co-operation of the other party’s insurers and many other factors.

Our current charging rates for staff are as follows:

Grade A          £201.00 per hour  (solicitor with 8 years or more experience)

Grade B          £177.00 per hour  (solicitor with 4-8 years experience)

Grade C          £146.00 per hour  (any other solicitor or legal executive)

Grade D          £111.00 per hour  (trainee solicitor, paralegal or other fee earner)

All our charges are reviewed annually and are subject to VAT which is currently charged at 20%.  Should our hourly rates change then we confirm that we will write to you informing you of the same.

In cases involving Criminal Injuries (CICA) and Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) untraced Driver Agreement cases and any other work undertaken under our non-contentious business agreement a negotiated settlement fee will be charged out of your damages if we succeed for you in your case. This amount is related to the amount of damages so it is not possible to tell you in advance how much this will be.

Our service is a continuing service and should we terminate your retainer our legal costs and disbursements are payable when we cease to act for you.  We have the right to retain any papers or money until payment is made to us.

Benefits
You must inform the office that pays your benefits upon receipt of any compensation you are awarded in relation to this claim in particular if you are receiving any of the following benefits:-

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit
  • Council Tax Benefit

It is possible that receipt of your compensation may change the amount or even stop benefits being paid therefore it is vital you let your benefit provider know as soon as compensation is paid to you.

File storage
We store files at no charge to you for six years after the end of your case with us has ended.  The file will then be destroyed and we shall take it that we have your permission to do this unless you tell us otherwise in writing.

Financial Services
This Firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct 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 Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial 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 and the Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.

Details of Our Professional Indemnity Insurance
We maintain compulsory professional indemnity insurance of a minimum of £2 million, each and every claim, and further details are available upon request, including (1) the name of our primary layer insurer, (2) contact details for the insurer, (3) our policy number, and (4) details of the territorial coverage of the insurance. Details are also displayed in our office.

Data Protection
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
  • Statutory returns
  • Legal and regulatory compliance

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

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Solomon Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA No. 553647
80 Dunstable Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 1EH © 2017 Solomon Solicitors Ltd.