Stephen Moore & Co
Terms and Conditions of Business
1. Conducting Solicitor
All Solicitors in this firm, with the exception of William Heywood, have over 10 years qualification as a Criminal Law Solicitor. They are:-
You will be told in our opening letter to you which Solicitor has conduct of your case and who is the supervising Solicitor.
The hourly rate for all solicitors is £150 per hour.
You may find some of the work done for you is carried out by non-solicitor fee earner member of staff. If so, you can be assured that they have the requisite experience to deal with the task assigned. Their charge out rates are :-
Susan Coverdale £90 accredited police station representative
Lindsey Saunders £90 accredited police station representative
In addition each letter, e-mail and telephone call will be charged at £15 per item.
All of the above amounts will be subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
3. Payment to others
If we incur travelling expenses they will be charged out to you at the rate of 45p per mile and any car park or train costs will be charged at the incurred rate.
It may be that your case will require the services of an expert to give an opinion on some aspect of your case. If so, their charges will be payable by you in addition to our own costs.
4. Indication of costs – Private Client Cases
We will give you an indication of the likely total cost of your case at the outset and update that at least every six months and sooner if there should be any significant events that affect the indication first given.
5. Indication of costs – Legal Aid Cases
We will give you an estimate at the outset of the case of the likely costs of defending your case on a trial and the costs of a guilty plea. We will only revise that initial estimate if anything significant during the duration of your case that will affect our original costs estimate.
6. Interim Bills and monies on account of future costs
In order to protect our own cash flow and to avoid presenting you with one large bill at the end of the case we will issue you with interim bills for payment and we will require to receive interim payments from you of those bills as your case progresses. We will also require from you money on account of costs to be incurred both at the outset and as the case goes along.
If you do not pay us when we ask for payment of an interim bill or monies on account of future costs then we reserve the right not to carry out any further work for you and to regard our instructions as terminated even if this means you will be unrepresented at court.
7. Court assessment of bills
You have the right to object to any Bill delivered to you by this firm and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part 3 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
8. Payment of interest
The Solicitors Accounts Rules require that we account to you for any interest earned on client monies. This applies to any money received on your behalf which will be held in our client account. Interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate set by the Royal Bank of Scotland deposit-account. That of course may change. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from the date when the funds are received by us until the date of the cheque issued to you for it. The payment of interest is subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time which is set out in the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011.
9. Terminating the retainer
You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us.
We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, e.g. if you do not pay an interim bill or there is a conflict of interest. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. If you or we decided we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated at the rates set out in these terms and conditions.
10.Hours of business
Our normal office hours Monday to Friday are between 9 00am and 5:30pm. We do attend on clients at police stations and in court outside of those hours in emergency situations and if you should find yourself under arrest for any particular matter you should always ask the police to contact Stephen Moore & Co.
We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter on at least a monthly basis and in any event following each court hearing.
We will endeavour to communicate with you in plain language.
We will explain to you the legal work we are required to undertake as your matter progresses.
We will update you on the cost of your matter at six monthly intervals.
We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstance.
We will update you on the likely timescales as each stage as your case progresses and if there are any significant changes to those estimates.
12. Our responsibilities to you include:
- Regularly reviewing your case;
- Advising you of any changes in the law that might affect your case;
- Advise you of any circumstances or risk which we know of or which we anticipate that could affect the outcome of your matter.
13. Your responsibilities to us include:
- Providing us with clear accurate and timely instructions;
- Providing all documentation required by us to deal with your case in a proper and diligent manner.
Stephen Moore & Co is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about any Bill please contact the person named as having conduct of your case or the supervisor in the letter attached to these terms and conditions either in writing or initially on the phone number appearing at the top of the first page. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints from clients and this is available on request from our office.
If you are not satisfied with the way in which any complaint is handled by us you can then ask the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box: 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or by telephone on 0300 555 0333. He may also be contacted at www.legalombudsman.org.uk To consider the complaint 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.
15. Money laundering
The Money Laundering Regulations require us to obtain information about the clients identity and to verify the information. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf the clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money. To comply with the law we need to get evidence of your identity at the start of your case. Our practice is to require you to provide us with your passport or a driving licence with photograph as evidence of your identity together with at least one household bill or other demand addressed to you at your home address.
We cannot carry out any work for you until we have been provided with this documentation and nor can we accept any funds from you. It's essential therefore that you provide us with this information immediately to avoid any delay in us being able to assist you with your case.
We are generally obliged to keep your affairs confidential however, we may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency where we know or suspect that the transaction may involve money-laundering or terrorist financing if we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made, we may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
In order to minimise the risk of money-laundering this firm will not receive cash from clients in excess of £500 for anyone matter. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds. Where we have to pay money to you it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
16.Equality and diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients third parties and their employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
17.Professional Indemnity Insurance
We maintain professional indemnity insurance and if you require the details of this insurance it may be obtained from our offices on request.
We use the information you provide to us primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:-
- Updating and enhancing client records;
- Analysing information to help us manage our practice;
- Statutory returns;
- Legal and regulatory compliance.
19.The files and confidentiality
External firms and organisations such as the Legal Services Commission and the Solicitors Regulation Authority may conduct audits and quality checks on our practice. These external firms and organisations are required to exercise confidentiality in relation to your files and we have no option but to allow them access to them.
20.Storage and documents
After completing the work on your case we will be entitled to and indeed required to keep your papers and documents for at least six years. We are happy to provide you with copies of any information/documentation that you require from those files. We do so however on the strict understanding that we will be able to destroy them six years after the date of the conclusion of your case. If you require copies of any papers stored once your case has been completed then we reserve the right to charge you a fee for the retrieval of those documents and a charge for photocopying and sending them to you.
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms and conditions of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.