Terms of Business of BRM Legal – (July 2019)
Our services to you
BRM Legal is a trading name of BRM Legal Limited (Company Reg. No. 06962971) which is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA Number 560900. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (“the SRA“). The SRA supervises the conduct of our services and monitors compliance with our duties to you as our client. The person at BRM Legal with overall responsibility for our services is our Nisar Khan, who is a solicitor.
Information that we need from you – Identification for Anti – Money Laundering and Other Purposes
Solicitors must establish the identity of their client at the outset of a matter in order to avoid problems (such as conflicts of interest) in the future. We are also required to adhere to strict rules that are intended to prevent solicitors from being involved in money laundering. In order to comply with these rules we have to obtain documentary proof of our client’s identity. Please therefore supply us sufficient information to verify your identity which should include, your passport, driving licence, utility bill and if you are a trading company Certificate of Incorporation and a copy of your latest set of published accounts.
We will need to take a copy of your passport and photo card driving licence in order to satisfy the requirements of identity verification. Where you do not have a passport or photo card driving licence, we are willing to accept 2 original utility bills in lieu of this. In some cases other forms of identity can be provided in order to satisfy the regulations concerning verification of your identity.
Service standards and responsibilities
Our responsibility to you is to conduct the work we do for you in a professional, competent, expeditious and cost effective way. We will:
- represent your interests and keep your business confidential;
- explain to you the legal work which may be required and the prospects of a successful outcome;
- keep you regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us;
- try to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you – please do not hesitate to let us know if we fail in this aim;
- deal with your enquiries promptly – we will always try to return your telephone calls on the same day.
Your responsibility to us is to ensure that:
- you give us all the information we need as quickly as you can when we ask for it and to let us know of any information that comes to your knowledge that is in any way relevant to the work we are doing for you as soon as you receive it;
- you put us in funds in respect of any payments (disbursements) we need to make on your behalf in good time so as to ensure there is no delay in us being able to make such payments, and to pay all bills promptly upon receipt so as to ensure that we are able to continue working for you without interruption and so that you do not incur interest charges;
- you ensure you attend punctually for all appointments – if you are late, we may not be able to spend as long with you as we need to if we have another commitment scheduled after your appointment.
- if you are unable to attend an appointment, or you know you are going to be late, you contact us in advance, giving us at least 24 hours’ notice if possible – if you do not attend an appointment, or are so late that the appointment cannot proceed due to lack of time, without giving us 24 hours’ notice, we reserve the right to charge you for the time wasted;
- you look after documents we send you – if we have to provide you with duplicates, we reserve the right to make a charge for so doing.
How we Calculate Our Charges and Fee’s
Our standard hourly fee rates are set out below:
For all matters our fees will be calculated on the basis of time spent by members of our staff, these are set out below:
High Value or Complex Casework:
For a Grade A lawyer working on your matter the charges shall be £382.00 per hour plus VAT for attendances on your matter. Letters received and sent will be charged at £38.20 plus VAT per item, email correspondence will be charged at £38.20 plus VAT per item received or sent
High Court Casework:
For a Grade A lawyer working on your matter the charges shall be £251.00 per hour plus VAT for attendances on your matter. Letters received and sent will be charged at £25.10 plus VAT per item, email correspondence will be charged at £25.10 plus VAT per item received or sent
For a Grade A lawyer working on your matter the charges shall be £201.00 per hour plus VAT for attendances on your matter. Letters received or sent will be charged at £20.10 plus VAT per item, email correspondence will be charged at £20.10 plus VAT per item received or sent
The rates for other lawyers working on your matter are as follows: Grade B £177.00 per hour; Grade C £146.00 per hour and Grade D £111.00 per hour with correspondence items including e-mails sent and received being charged at 10% plus VAT of the applicable hourly rate.
If made at hourly rates, charges will be made for all time spent on your matter, including telephone calls with you, meetings with you and with others, any time spent travelling, considering, preparing and working on papers and correspondence and file notes.
In all matters where we act for you we will charge for work done on your matter, unless we set out in writing otherwise.
There are four grades of fee earner:
- A) Solicitors and chartered legal executives with eight years’ or more post qualification experience.
- B) Solicitors and chartered legal executives with four years’ or more post qualification experience. Costs lawyers undertaking advocacy or litigation.
- C) Solicitors and chartered legal executives with less than four years’ post qualification experience. Costs lawyers with more than one years’ experience.
- D) Trainee solicitors, paralegals and other fee earners. Costs lawyers with fewer than one years’ experience.
Please note that Nisar Khan, Abdul Jamal and Safiyah Ali are Grade A Lawyers as they each have eight years’ or more post qualification experience.
Fee’s for Residential Conveyancing, an uncontested probate, motoring offence or Immigration matter
As a guide you should note that if we are acting for you in a residential conveyancing matter, an uncontested probate, motoring offence or immigration matter you can expect that our charges will be in the region of £595 plus VAT for us to act on the matter. These charges may increase in line with our hourly rates mentioned should your matter become protracted or complex.
Where we act for you in a conveyancing matter you should note that some additional costs normally apply in addition to our normal conveyancing charges. Typically these costs are £36 (Inc. VAT) for an electronic transfer of payment between banks. We charge you a professional fee for this service which is based on a reasonable cost to you of us providing the service, this takes into account the actual cost to us of providing the service but in every case you will pay an amount which is greater than the actual cost to us as we also charge for the time taken to work on your behalf. We will charge you for each electronic transfer that we make for you.
In conveyancing matters we do charge for work done irrespective of whether you are able to sell or purchase your property and irrespective of whether the matter proceeds to completion or is abortive. Where the matter is abortive we will normally charge a legal fee (plus VAT and disbursements) dependent in all circumstances on how much time we have spent on your matter. In respect of conveyancing matters you should note that we charge for each instruction that you give us.
You should note that disbursements (expenses which we pay on your behalf) are charged in addition and typically for a residential conveyancing matter, an uncontested probate, motoring offence or immigration matter you should budget about £300 in addition for such disbursements where we act for you.
You should also note that in some cases Court and Home Office fees are payable in addition and these will depend on the type of claim you are making. In some cases Court and Home Office fees can be a few thousand pounds.
Recovery of Costs from an Opponent (some or all of our fees and charges may not be recoverable)
In some cases you may be able to ask the Court for an Order to recover the costs and expenses that you have incurred in a matter from your opponent and at other times your opponent may agree to pay your costs and expenses.
Please note that there is no automatic right to recover costs from an opponent and an Order for Costs recovery is generally made at the discretion of the Court, or otherwise only with agreement of the opponent.
You should note that Orders for costs and payments for costs from opponents are normally made on as assessed basis, and the basis for assessment that normally applies is the standard basis. This means that you can only recover costs and expenses for some of the work undertaken, and also at a rate set by the Court.
The recoverable rate for costs is linked to the assessment rates of our local County Court and you should note that in some cases this is less than the rate that we charge you.
In particular you should note that if you have agreed to pay us for our work at the higher rates that apply for High Value or Complex Casework, or High Court Casework then irrespective of the rate you agree to pay us, the recovery of costs will be limited to any reduced rate approved by the Court and is more than likely to be limited to the rate of assessment set for our local County Court.
You should note therefore that the amount that you are responsible to pay us may be more than the amount that you can recover from you opponent due to limits on costs recovery, assessment of the recoverable costs and also the limited assessment rates that apply for costs recovery.
For your information the current guideline rate set for our local County Court for recoverable costs for a Grade A lawyer is £201.00 per hour plus VAT for attendances on your matter. Letters sent at £20.10 plus VAT per item. The rates for other lawyers working on your matter are as follows: Grade B £177.00 per hour; Grade C £146.00 per hour and Grade D £111.00 per hour with correspondence items including e-mails sent recoverable at 10% plus VAT of the applicable hourly rate.
Please note that these recoverable rates are a guideline only and can be further reduced in some cases.
Interest on client money
You note that we have an obligation to account to you, where it is fair and reasonable to do so, for interest that we receive on any money that we hold for you. The rules which govern our conduct recognises that this should be considered in the light of the interest we actually receive and that it is reasonable to consider that this obligation is only engaged where we actually receive a sum in excess of £20.00 on the money that we hold for you.
In the light of the above our policy on interest is that we do not pay interest on money that we hold for you. The reason for this is that we are unlikely to actually receive more than £20.00 on money that we hold for you.
By instructing us you accept that this policy applies and that you accept that the terms of our retainer do not oblige us to pay, or account to you, for interest that we may receive on your money.
Referral fees and arrangements
We may enter into formal and informal referral arrangement with certain third parties, organisations or businesses that refer work to us. Where we do enter into such arrangements the fees that you are charged are not affected by any such arrangement that may exist and we will only charge you for the work that we do for you, based on a reasonable fee for that work, this is irrespective of whether the work was referred to us or not.
Our invoices have 14 day terms. Payment is accepted in UK pounds sterling only. If you do not settle our invoices within 14 days, we reserve the right to levy interest on the total sum outstanding at the prevailing base rate of the Bank of England + 8%. Interest at this rate will be levied automatically on any outstanding invoices over 60 days old.
Termination of our retainer
You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time. In such event, we may keep all of your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for our fees and any outstanding disbursements.
Confidentiality and Data Protection
Our regulator and other external firms may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. We use the information you provide to us primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes, including: updating our client records; 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 which we think may be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify us in writing by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
These terms of business are governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction if there is any disagreement or dispute between us over what the terms mean.
Once we have completed our services, we will return all original documents to you and destroy your file. We may however at our discretion store your files for our records only. If we do decide to store your file and you or another third party require site of the papers then you agree to pay us the reasonable costs for the retrieval of your file, which shall be based on our normal hourly rate at the time of your request.
We are pleased that you have selected BRM Legal as a provider of legal services. It is our intention to offer you high quality, responsive and cost effective services. We hope that everything will proceed to your satisfaction. We always welcome comments and feedback from our clients on the services that they have received.
Complaints about our Service
Should you have any complaints regarding our services, please contact the person dealing with the matter in the first instance to see if the complaint can be resolved. If not then the matter can be escalated to a Director in charge of complaints. If you do feel you need to complain, we will look into the matter for you with a view to resolving the complaint. We have a written procedure in place to deal with any complaints and this written procedure is available from our office by request from us. We will aim to deal with your complaint within 8 weeks, but if there are any delays we will inform you and explain the reasons why.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, or if we take longer than 8 weeks to deal with it you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman. 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 or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).
The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted on 0300 555 0333 or by writing to Legal Ombudsman, Po Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Further details about the Legal Ombudsman can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk
If you wish to complain about any of our bills, please contact us in the first instance. We are obliged to inform you of the statutory procedure for objecting to solicitor’s bills and applying for an assessment of a bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974, which allows you to apply to the court to have our charges reviewed.
Further details of our complaint resolution procedures, professional indemnity insurance and the territorial coverage of that insurance together with our VAT number and the professional rules which govern our conduct as solicitors are available by emailing us at email@example.com