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Terms of Business

(Version 3.15, April 2021)

About us
Our normal business hours
Our associated companies
What we can advise you on
What you can expect from us
What we expect from you
Our approach to fees and other charges
Paying our fees and other charges
How we will hold your money
Warning – Money Transfer Requests
How we may contact you
How we use your personal information
If you are not happy with our service
Our liability to you
Terminating our instructions
Your right to cancel
Our working practices
Other important terms

These terms will apply to all work that we do for you. These terms will usually be provided to you together with an engagement letter confirming:

  • your instructions to us;
  • the name and status of the individuals advising you, including the director with overall responsibility for your matter;
  • our fees and other important matters.

Reference in these terms to writing or written includes email and fax.

 

About us

Gregg Latchams Limited trading as GL Law is a limited company registered in England and Wales under company number 6899567 with its registered office at 6 Queen Square, Bristol BS1 4JE.

We are a firm of solicitors authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 607476. This means that we follow the principles, rules and conduct requirements set out in the Solicitors Regulation Authority Handbook.

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can provide limited services in relation to investments and carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We are accredited by Lexcel, the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care.

Our VAT number is 137848239.

 

Our normal business hours

Our normal business hours are between 9.00am and 5.30pm on weekdays, except for bank holidays in England and Wales (www.gov.uk/bank-holidays) or other days advertised on our website or correspondence. During Covid 19 restricted attendance at these offices will be by appointment only which will be arranged with your legal representative. Where possible appointments will be conducted through web conferencing with you to mitigate risk. Appointments can be arranged outside normal business hours on request.

 

Our associated companies

We are part of a group of companies which is owned by Gregg Latchams Holding Company Limited. Other companies within our group include:

  • Gregg Latchams Business Consultancy Services Limited trading as GL Business Consultancy;
  • GL Integrity Financial Planning Limited trading as GL Integrity Financial Planning. GL Financial Planning is an appointed representative of The On-Line Partnership Limited (trading as In Partnership) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under number 456599.

Our associated companies are separate businesses and are not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the same way as we are.

If we refer you to any of our associated companies for advice, they will provide you with further information about their professional status and regulation.

 

What we can advise you on

We provide advice on the laws of England and Wales. If you require advice on the laws of another jurisdiction, we have a network of contacts subject to your instructions who may be able to help. We may instruct one of these firms on your behalf or refer you to them directly.

Our Estate Planning & Tax department are able to provide advice on personal tax issues in the context of the services that they provide. However we do not generally provide tax advice unless we have specifically agreed to do so in writing.

If you need advice on investments beyond that which we are authorised to provide, we may have to refer you a person authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

What you can expect from us

We aim to provide all of our clients with a high-quality, cost-effective and responsive legal service in line with the law and our professional ethics and standards. This means that we will:

  • act in your best interests;
  • inform you of any conflict of interest preventing us from acting for you and assist you in finding new legal advisers if necessary;
  • inform you of our fees and other costs before starting any work;
  • keep you informed about our fees and other costs throughout and not exceed any agreed fee or estimate without your consent;
  • explain our advice to you clearly, avoiding the use of legal jargon where possible;
  • ensure that you understand the risks of any options we present to you and the prospects of a successful outcome where appropriate;
  • keep you regularly informed of progress or, if no progress is being made, when you are likely to hear from us again;
  • keep any confidential information that we receive while acting for you confidential and only disclose such information in certain limited circumstances;
  • respond to your queries as soon as possible.
 

What we expect from you

We expect you to:

  • provide us promptly with any information or documents that we request;
  • provide any permissions that we may need in order to act for you;
  • inform us of any limitations that you would like to place on our authority to act for you;
  • inform us promptly if anything happens which may affect the advice that we have given or may give to you;
  • pay our agreed fees, disbursements and expenses in line with our terms even if another person has agreed or been ordered to pay them or you have instructed us together with another person or entity.
 

Our approach to fees and other charges

We usually charge for our services based on the time spent working for you. This may include meetings, writing letters, reports and emails, making calls, reviewing documents, going to court, travel and waiting time.

We record our time in units of six minutes, rounded up to the nearest unit.

We may agree a fee with you to reflect:

  • the value of our services to you;
  • the complexity or urgency of your instructions;
  • the value of a transaction;
  • any specialist skills required; or
  • the level of risk that we accept.

Depending on the nature of your instructions, we may be able to agree a fixed or capped fee with you.

Our engagement letter will:

  • confirm the name and status of the individuals advising you and their hourly rates;
  • confirm the basis on which our fees will be calculated as described above;
  • provide an estimate of our fees, which we may review with you if your instructions or the circumstances change or your matter takes longer for reasons outside of our control;
  • describe what we have agreed to do for the agreed fee;
  • explain the special rules that apply to fees and costs in litigation claims;
  • specify the amount of any expenses or other costs that we will need to pay on your behalf.

If any transaction or other work does not complete, we shall charge you for the work carried out plus any other costs that we have paid on your behalf.

Our fees do not include VAT, which will be added to your invoice.

 

Paying our fees and other charges

Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we shall submit invoices to you regularly and at least monthly. Unless otherwise stated, invoices will be interim invoices payable towards a final invoice which will be sent on completion of our work to you.

Our invoices are payable immediately on receipt in Pounds Sterling. If you do not pay any invoice when due, we may stop the work that we are doing for you until such invoice has been paid. We shall notify you before doing so. If all or part of any invoice remains unpaid for more than one month, we may charge interest on the outstanding amount from the date of the invoice until the date of payment. The rate of interest will be 8% above the Bank of England base rate or the current rate of interest set by law for the late payment of debts, whichever is higher.

When we are instructed by more than one person or legal entity to represent their joint interests, those instructions will be considered to be joint and several unless we have otherwise agreed in writing. This means that we can look to any one of those instructing us for payment of all and any monies due to us, leaving the payer to collect the appropriate contributions from the other or others.

We reserve the right to pursue a claim against you for non payment of any invoices.

We accept a number of payment methods as set out on the reverse side of our invoices. We cannot accept cash payments.

 

How we will hold your money

If we receive or hold any money for you or on your behalf, that money will be put into a separate client account and held in line with the Solicitors Regulation Authority Accounts Rules.

In line with the above rules, any money held by us for you or on your behalf will be taken towards payment of any outstanding invoice within 14 days from the date of the relevant invoice, unless held for any other purpose.

In the prevailing long term economic climate of extremely low interest rates we do not routinely calculate or pay interest on balances.  If you would like us to calculate interest that has accrued on your balance we will be happy to do that and pay interest to you, provided the total amount of interest on any balance is greater than £50, at a rate which is equivalent to the rate that would be paid on an instant access business deposit account held at our bank and calculated from the date any money is received by us until the date that we return any money to you.  Note that any interest you receive is liable to be taxed as interest income.

Any money payable to you will only be paid to you and not to any other person or entity.

We shall not be liable for any loss of money due to a banking failure or collapse of any bank at which our client account is held. In the event of such failure or collapse, you may be able to claim compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Further information about this scheme is provided in our engagement letter and on the Scheme’s website.

 

Warning – Money Transfer Requests

Please be aware that cyber criminals are actively targeting the clients of financial institutions and other professionals, including solicitors.

If you receive an e-mail or telephone call that purports to be from Gregg Latchams or GL Law asking you to send funds to any bank details, other than those supplied, you must speak directly to your solicitor before you take any action, as your e-mail account may have been compromised. Please do not use the telephone number provided on the e-mail or by the caller, as this may also be fraudulent.

Gregg Latchams will not contact you by email or phone to say that our account details have changed.

If you receive any such communication please advise us immediately and do not send any funds to such an account. If you do, then we regret that neither we nor the bank can be liable for any loss that you incur by sending money to the incorrect account.

It is a sensible precaution to check bank account details with your known adviser here using a known telephone number before authorising any bank transfer.

 

How we may contact you

We may contact you by letter, email, phone or fax. We do not accept liability for any communication which is intercepted or otherwise falls into the hands of those other than the intended recipient, unless this is due to our own negligence.

 

How we use your personal information

We will process personal data in the course of providing our services to you. Further information about the personal data we collect, how we process it and your rights in relation to your personal data can be found within our Personal Data Processing Notice.

If you are travelling outside the UK , please let us know. Different rules may apply in the area to which you are travelling and we may need to put in place additional safeguards before transferring personal data or emailing you.

If your contact details change while we are acting for you, you must tell us in writing as soon as possible. We may send you an email asking you to update your contact details by clicking on a link in that email to a secure webpage.

 

If you are not happy with our service

If you have any queries or complaints about our service or the fees and other costs that we have charged, you should speak first with the director responsible for your work named in our engagement letter.

If you are still not happy or, if you prefer, please raise the issue with our Client Care Consultant, John Dalby, by calling 0117 906 9400 or by emailing clientcare@gl.law.

Our Client Care Director will provide you with a copy of our complaints procedure, ensure that your complaint is fully investigated and provide you with a detailed response.

If you are still not satisfied, you may have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman by calling 0300 555 0333, by emailing enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or by post to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. Further details on making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman can be found in our complaints procedure.

Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must ordinarily be made within 6 months of the date of our final decision on your complaint, which must be given to you within 8 weeks of that complaint. In addition, any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must ordinarily be made within:

  • 6 years from the date of the act or omission complained of; or
  • 3 years from the date on which you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If your complaint relates to any invoice you may have the right to challenge the invoice by applying to court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about an invoice if you have applied to the court for an assessment instead.

You also have the right to complain to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) if you feel that we have breached SRA principles or failed to meet their standard. Any such complaint should be made to the reports team at The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN. 0370 606 2555 or report@sra.org.uk.

 

Our liability to you

Unless we otherwise agree in writing, our liability to you in connection with our services will be limited to £8 million, which is the maximum cover provided by our professional indemnity insurance.

We shall not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses relating to lost profits or opportunities.

We shall not be liable if we are unable to perform our services as a result of any event outside our reasonable control. We shall contact you as soon as possible to let you know if such event occurs and take steps to minimise the effect of the delay.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

You agree that any work carried out by our directors, employees and consultants is provided on behalf of Gregg Latchams Limited and that you will not make any claim against, or argue the liability of, any individual for breach of contract, negligence or otherwise.

 

Terminating our instructions

You may terminate our instructions at any time by writing to the director supervising your work as named in our engagement letter.

We may decide to stop acting for you only for good reason, for example, if you do not pay any invoice, provide us with misleading information, act in an abusive or offensive manner or there is some other breakdown in our relationship as solicitor and client. We shall give you reasonable notice if we decide to stop acting for you.

In the above circumstances, we shall charge you for the work that we have done and costs that we have incurred. Where appropriate, we may also charge you for fees and other costs incurred in transferring your work to another adviser.

We shall be entitled to keep all of your papers and documents while any invoice or part of an invoice remains outstanding.

 

Your right to cancel

If you are an individual and have entered into an agreement with us having not attended our offices in person, for example your home or place of work, you may have the right to cancel your agreement with us within 14 days from the date of our agreement without having to give us any reason.

If you want us to begin any work for you during the cancellation period, we shall ask you to confirm this in writing. If you give this confirmation, then:

  • you will lose the right to cancel if we complete the work for you during the cancellation period;
  • if you cancel after we have started work for you, but before the cancellation period has ended, you must pay us for the work we have done up until the date you inform us that you wish to cancel. The amount will be in proportion to the work we have done when compared with the total fee we have agreed with you or, if we are charging on the basis of time spent, the amount of time actually recorded by us.

To cancel your agreement with us, please let us know by calling, emailing or writing to us or your Lawyer (at our Bristol office address). You can also print off a cancellation form from our website however you do not have to use this form.

If you have paid us any money before   the end of the cancellation period, we may deduct an amount for the work that we have done as described above. The balance will be refunded to you within 14 days of date you inform us that you wish to cancel.

 

Our working practices

Anti-money laundering

We are required by law to ensure that we are not unwittingly involved in money laundering or handling the proceeds of crime. To comply with these obligations, we:

  • will need to confirm your identity preferably using an electronic onboarding verification check via Infotrack at a cost of £6.30 (including VAT) per person. The cost will be passed on to you in the same amount as the cost to us. We shall also ask you for information regarding financial details, funding sources and information about people and entities related to you including if applicable any corporate structure;
  • may be unable to act for you if you do not provide any information we ask you for;
  • are required to monitor transactions and maintain records relating to your identity and may ask you to provide updated details at any time, and;
  • have a duty to disclose information to the National Crime Agency where we know or suspect that any transaction involves money laundering and in this situation, we may not be permitted to inform you that a disclosure has been made.

In addition we shall carry out an online anti-money laundering search against you, currently at a cost of £7.20 (VAT inclusive) per full name searched. The cost will be passed on to you in the same amount as the cost to us. Please note that this will record a search has been made on your individual credit rating. If you do not want the search to be done, please let us know immediately.

Please note that until the anti-money laundering requirements are met we are not permitted to begin working for you or accept money from you.

Cash

We cannot accept cash payments.

Audit

To monitor the standard of our work, a small number of our files are audited confidentially by external assessment bodies such as the Law Society, Lexcel or Solicitors Regulation Authority. Unless you tell us otherwise, we will assume you are happy with this.

Commission

If we refer you to another person, we may receive a commission and this will be disclosed to you. Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we shall credit your account with any commission of more than £20.

Where we undertake any activities regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, all commission that we receive will be payable to you.

Copyright

We own the copyright to any materials we produce for you. The advice we give and the documents we prepare are for your use only, and you must not allow anyone to copy or use them without our written permission.

Critical dates

We will not be responsible for reminding you of critical dates such as rent reviews, lease renewals, exercise of options or service of notices within time limits or any other such matters, unless we have specific instructions from you to deal with such matters immediately prior to the critical date concerned.

Equality and diversity

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace and with clients and others. You can read a copy of our equality and diversity policy on our website.

Filing and archiving

We strive to operate a paperless office. We may scan letters or documents and destroy the originals after 28 days unless we are required to keep them by law or you ask us in writing not to.

We shall store files relating to your work for a minimum of six years or as long we think reasonable or as required by law. At the end of this period, you agree that we may destroy such files unless you ask otherwise in writing.

Hard copy files and original documents such as wills or title deeds may not be stored on our premises and retrieval may take some time.

If you ask us for copies of files or deeds or a hard copy of an electronic file, we may charge you for our reasonable copying, printing and postage costs.

Mortgage fraud

In many property transactions we shall act for both you and the lender providing your mortgage finance. We have a duty to reveal to the lender all relevant facts about the transaction and mortgage including:

  • any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction;
  • any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you;
  • the names of all purchasers, both legal and beneficial.

In particular we are obliged to report the purchase price to the lender and you may be committing fraud if you seek to misinterpret the true price by failing to mention any relevant fact to us .

You agree to waive your right to confidentiality in order for such disclosure to be made.

Original documents

We shall usually return original documents to you once we have completed our work. If you decide to destroy any original documents, you should be aware that a copy may not be as good if it is later needed in court as evidence. We shall not destroy original documents you ask us to keep such as wills or title deeds.

Outsourcing

Sometimes, we ask other people or entities to do work on our files to ensure it is done promptly. We shall always ensure that they have signed a confidentiality agreement.

If you do not want tasks relating to your work to be outsourced, please notify us in writing.

 

Other important terms

Anti bribery

We are committed to the highest standards of professional behaviour in our business. We shall not accept any form of bribery or corruption. A copy of our anti-bribery and corruption policy can be provided on request.

Conflict of terms

If there is any conflict between these terms and our engagement letter, these terms will take priority unless the engagement letter is clearly intended to override these terms.

Enforcing these terms

If we do not insist immediately that you do anything you are supposed to do under these terms, or we delay in taking steps against you that will not mean you do not have to do those things nor will it prevent us from taking steps against you at a later date.

Entire agreement

These terms, together with our engagement letter, will constitute the entire agreement between you and us.

Rights of other persons

No person other than you will have any rights to enforce any of these terms unless we agree otherwise in writing.

Separate paragraphs

Each paragraph of these terms and our engagement letter operate separately. If any court or authority decides that any of them are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect.

Transferring our agreement

We may transfer our rights and obligations under these terms to another organisation.

We will tell you if this happens and ensure that the transfer will not affect your rights under these terms.

Applicable law and jurisdiction

These terms and the services that we provide shall be interpreted in line with English Law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales shall apply to any dispute arising out of these terms or the services that we provide.

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