The following definitions shall apply to these Terms & Conditions: -
“Engagement Letter” means the Client Care Agreement, e-mail, letter or any other agreement recording the basis of our engagement.
“Firm”, “we”, “us” and “our” means Barnard & Co Employment Law Solutions
“Matter” means any specific transaction, case, dispute or issue in relation to which you ask us to provide professional employment law and HR services, whether or not it has been defined in the Engagement Letter.
“Principal Solicitor” means Peggy Anne Barnard, the sole practitioner of the Firm
“You” means the client(s) named in the Engagement Letter, and “your” shall have a cognate meaning
These Terms & Conditions (as amended / supplemented by any Engagement Letter) shall apply to all and any future instructions given by you to this Firm.
No variation of these Terms & Conditions shall be effective unless in writing and signed by the Principal Solicitor.
If, having read these Terms & Conditions, you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Principal Solicitor.
Client Care Promise
We are committed to providing exceptional client care at all times, and in doing so, promise you the following: -
We shall, at all times, abide by the professional standards laid down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”);
We shall use our best endeavours to respond to any communication or correspondence received from you on that same day (subject to such communication or correspondence being received within normal working hours). In the event that it is not possible to provide a full response that same day, we will as a minimum, acknowledge receipt of your communication or correspondence and advise when you can expect to receive a full response;
At the outset of every matter we will provide you with the best possible information as to the likely costs and timescale of your Matter based on the instructions and information you have provided;
We will update you on the costs of your matter, as a minimum, on a monthly basis.
All our communications with you will be written in plain English and free from legal jargon;
We will keep you regularly updated as to progress on your Matter. As a minimum we will provide updates on a weekly basis (unless we have agreed otherwise with you);
We will discuss with you all possible means of funding your Matter, and where relevant means of minimising any potential exposure for your opponent’s costs;
We will discuss and will continue to discuss the potential benefit to you in pursuing any litigious case in light of the inevitable expense and potential risk to you. Your continuing instructions will be deemed to be confirmation that you wish to proceed with the Matter and it will be deemed that you have, after careful consideration, formed the view that the potential benefit to you outweighs the risk of losing the case and / or being liable for your costs as well as those of your opponent. Litigation is often and uncertain and we will therefore keep this issue under review with you.
We want you to be happy and confident with the service you receive from us. However, in order for us to provide the best possible service for you, we will require your input. With this in mind, you agree that you will (so far as you are practicably able to do so): -
Provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions in relation to your Matter;
Provide us with all information and materials necessary or desirable for us to conduct the Matter on your behalf;
Safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for discovery or disclosure;
Notify us promptly of any changes or additions to your instructions, information and materials previously provided by you or on your behalf;
Tell us if you do not understand the advice we have given you or any document you have received. It is our job to make sure that you understand the legal aspects of your Matter, but we cannot do this if you are not open and honest with us in the event that you do not understand something. We promise not to charge you extra for taking the time to ensure that you fully understand any advice or documents already provided to you;
Inform us if you have any policy of insurance that may cover your costs, or where relevant those of your opponent;
Inform us if your costs, or where relevant those of your opponent, may be covered by a third party e.g. your employer or trade union;
Pay any invoices or money on account within the timescales prescribed (see further below).
People Responsible for your Matter
The person responsible for dealing with your work on a day to day basis will be the Principal Solicitor. In the event that there is a need to transfer responsibility for your Matter to another person, i.e. in cases of illness or holiday, you will be advised promptly of the proposed change and why it is necessary.
The Principal Solicitor, whilst retaining overall responsibility for your Matter, will have complete discretion to deploy any other lawyer, trainee lawyer, paralegal or other staff or consultants of the Firm as deemed appropriate or necessary to ensure the best possible delivery of our services.
Normal Hours of Business
Our normal opening hours are between 9am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday;
Messages can be left on the office voicemail facilities outside these hours;
Appointments can be arranged outside the normal opening hours if desired and suitable to all parties.
Charges & Expenses
Unless we have agreed a fixed fee with you, our charges will be calculated principally by reference to the time spent by us in providing our services, at the fixed hourly rates as set out in the Engagement Letter. This may include meeting with you and others, reading and considering documents, preparing and working on papers, making and receiving telephone calls, sending and receiving emails, faxes, text messages, preparation of schedules and bills, attendance at Court and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office.
Routine letters, e-mails and text messages that we send or receive and routine telephone calls that we make or receive will be charged at one-tenth of the hourly rate. Other letters, e-mails and calls will be charged on a time spent basis, as will any meetings with you or any third party (i.e. barrister or opposition).
We may, in accordance with professional guidelines, charge a premium to take account of a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the urgency of the matter and the value of the matter. We will always advise you of any such premium in writing before it is applied.
We may have to pay out various other expenses on your behalf, e.g. Tribunal / Court fees, barrister’s fees…etc. These charges are called disbursements. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with cleared funds for that purpose.
VAT will be charged at the appropriate rate on all charges and disbursements.
We may require you to make a payment to us on account of our charges and expenses at the outset of the Matter and at any further time we may decide is appropriate throughout the course of the Matter. We find that this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses being incurred. Money paid on account which is not subsequently required for charges and expenses will be returned to you promptly.
If we hold money in a general client account on your behalf, or if money should have been held on your behalf but was not, then we will account to you for a sum in lieu of any interest accrued. However, we will not account to you for any interest where the sum calculated is £20.00 or less.
We shall, unless agreed otherwise, invoice you in respect of our charges and expenses on a monthly basis and / or on completion of each Matter.
Payment is due to us within 14 days of us sending you an invoice. Interest will accrue on a daily basis at 8% plus Bank of England Base Rate on all debts over 14 days until such time they are paid. Any debts that have to be chased will incur an administrative charge of £40 + VAT.
We accept payment by bank transfer, cheque, credit or debit card or cash. We do not accept cash payments in excess of £500.00.
In the event that you do not pay any invoice within 14 days, or any sum requested on account within the timescales agreed, we may suspend or termination the provision of our services, and will invoice you for all accrued charges and expenses.
In circumstances, you may have a right of recovery or indemnity against a third party in respect of all or part of our invoices (i.e. your Trade Union or your employer in the case of a Settlement Agreement), you accept that you remain liable to us to pay out invoices notwithstanding such a right.
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a Director and / or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of our charges and expenses. If such a request is refused, we reserve our right to cease acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.
In accordance with Money Laundering Regulations, we are required to verify the identity and address of all our clients (whether companies or individuals).
Individuals are required to provide one item from both List A and List B below: -
LIST A – Proof of Identity
Current full UK Driving Licence (paper) or UK Photocard Driving Licence
LIST B – Address Verification
A utility bill (ie. gas, electricity telephone, water…etc.) within the last 3 months;
Council Tax bill within the last 3 months;
Bank or credit card statement within the last 3 months;
Mortgage statement within the last 3 months
Television Licence renewal notice;
Correspondence from HMRC within the last 3 months
10.2 If we are acting for a limited company, we will conduct a company search with Companies House. The cost of any such search will be charged to you. In addition, we require a “beneficial owner” of the company to provide the documents listed above at 10.1. A “beneficial owner” is anyone who: -
10.2.1 owns or controls (whether directly or indirectly) more than 25% of the shares or voting rights in the body; or
10.2.2 otherwise exercises control over the management of the body.
10.3 Please note that we require certified copies if you are sending the above documents by post or e-mail, or alternatively we would be happy to take certified copies at our offices for you.
10.1 We are entitled to refuse to act for you in you fail to provide the above documents.
As solicitors, we are under a professional and legal obligation to keep your affairs confidential. This obligation is, however, subject to a statutory exception: legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or the reasons for it, because the law prohibits “tipping-off”.
Our Firm may be subject to audit or quality checks by external firms or organisations. We may also on occasion outsource work i.e. photocopying, admin, research…etc. Information from your file may therefore be made available in such circumstances. We will always aim to obtain a confidentiality agreement with the third party, if they are not governed by their own professional or legal obligations of confidentiality.
You agree that we may use the information which you provide, or which we obtain through our dealings with you for the following purposes: -
the day to day provision of our services;
to administer your account with us, including tracing and collecting any debts;
for fraud prevention / anti money laundering purposes;
to assess client satisfaction;
to contact you by letter, telephone, e-mail, or otherwise about our services and events which may be of interest to you;
in order to comply with Court and Tribunal rules. All documentation relevant to any issues in litigation, however potentially damaging to your case, have to be preserved and may be required to be made available to your opponent. This aspect of proceedings is known as “disclosure”.
Storage of Papers and Documents
After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than six years calculated from your last invoice. After this period, we are entitled to destroy your papers and documents.
If you require us to retrieve your papers or documents from storage within the six-year period, we will be entitled to make a retrieval charge of £30 + VAT.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation & Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
In cases where we have not met you in person (because, for example, instructions and signing of contract documentation is taking place via telephone, e-mail, mail or online) or where instructions have been taken and contracts entered into away from our business premises – you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 calendar days of entering into the contract without giving any reason.
To exercise your right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear written statement (e.g. via post or e-mail).
Should you require any work to be commenced within the 14 calendar day cancellation period, you must provide your agreement to do so in writing. The return of the signed Engagement Letter shall be treated as such agreement. In such circumstances, you will be liable for any charges, costs, VAT and disbursements incurred up to the point of cancellation.
14.1 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 firm, statutory returns, legal and regulatory compliance...etc.
14.2 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 may require us to give information to third parties such 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.
14.3 We may from time to time send you information that we think may be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information, please notify our office in writing.
We are always committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care, and we therefore hope that you will have no complaint. However, if you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, please contact Peggy Barnard on 01442 531021 or via e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org, or post.
We have a procedure in place which deals with how we handle complaints which is available on our website – www.barnardco.co.uk, or if you prefer we would be pleased to forward an electronic or paper copy to you.
We have eight weeks to consider and respond to your complaint. If we have not resolved your complaint within this time, you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman 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, or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining (or alternatively 3 years from the date you should have reasonable been aware of it).
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are as follows: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; Telephone: number 0300 555 0333, Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk; E-mail: email@example.com.
Please note that you have a right to object to your bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman referred to above and / or by applying to the Court for assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. We may however be entitled to charge interest if all or part of your bill remains unpaid.
Liability, Exclusions & Disclaimers
You agree and acknowledge that we shall not be liable for: -
any loss, damage, cost or expense arising from any breach by you of these terms and conditions or any other express agreement with us, or any act or omission of any other person; or
any advice or document subject to the laws of a jurisdiction outside England and Wales; or
any advice or opinion given to you by any third party (whether or not recommended or nominated by us);
any advice on tax, financial or investment matters unless these matters are the subject of specifically agreed written terms between us; or
any indirect loss or damage or any loss of profit, income, production or accruals arising in any circumstances whatsoever, whether in contract, tort, under statute or otherwise, and howsoever caused.
Nothing in these terms and conditions exempts us from any liability arising from our fraud or reckless disregard of our professional obligations.
You agree and acknowledge that our liability to you for any loss to you caused as a result of our acting for you in relation to this or any other Matter, shall not exceed £2m (Two Million Pounds)
If you accept or have accepted any express exclusion and / or limitation of liability from any of your other professional advisers, our total liability to you arising out of our services will not exceed the net aggregate of the amount for which we would otherwise have been liable after deducting any amount which we would have been entitled to recover from such adviser as a matter of law whether pursuant to statute or otherwise, but are prevented from doing so as a result of any exclusion and / or limitation of liability.
Either party may terminate the provision of services at any time by giving written notice to the other. Rest assured that we will not termination the provision of services to you without good reason, such as:-
the threat of risk or violence, injury or any other danger to the physical, psychological or moral well-being of any of our staff;
the discovery or creation of a conflict of interest;
you requesting us to break the law of any professional obligation;
the relationship of trust and confidence necessary between solicitor and client
ceasing to exist between us;
your failure to pay to us any amount due, or money on account;
your failure to provide us with adequate instructions or information;
our being forbidden to continue to act by the NCA;
our reasonable belief that our continuing to represent you may cause severe damage to the professional or personal reputation of the Firm or any of its staff;
any other substantial breach by you of these terms and conditions.
In the event that the services are terminated prior to conclusion of the Matter, by either party, you will remain liable to pay all charges and expenses incurred before termination and due under our contract, or the time spent at our usual hourly rates, whichever is the less, together with any further charges and expenses for work necessary to transfer our files to another adviser of your choice.
If we have quoted a fixed fee, and the services are terminated prior to conclusion of the Matter, we will make a charge of up to 90% of the fixed fee. The exact amount will depend on how far your Matter proceeded ad the extent of the work we have undertaken on your behalf. We will also invoice for any expenses incurred on your behalf.