Land Law
Specialists

Land Law Solutions

Important information & Terms of Business of Land Law Solutions.

If you instruct us the following information governs the retainer we shall have with you. These are the standard Terms of Business applicable to the work for clients of Land Law Solutions.

Hours and Place of Business

The normal hours of business are 9am to 5pm during weekdays. However, the small nature of this firm is that the partners may be contacted at times outside these times on additional contact numbers given to clients, where appropriate. The partners also work from their homes and if not contactable there, a message can be left at the main line answer phone and a return call will be made when the message is retrieved.

Responsibility of Work

Your matter will be dealt with by Derrick Robson and/or Heather Palmer. There will be no change to this arrangement without prior notification to you except for temporary absence through illness or annual leave.

Charges & Expenses

Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the partners in respect of any work which is done on your behalf. This will include but will not be limited to, meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed costs calculations and time spent travelling away from the office when it is necessary.

In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors including but not limited to any need to carry out the work outside normal working hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, specialist expertise the case may demand and the value to you and hence the responsibility inherent in the case.

Owing to the nature of this area of legal work and the complications that can arise, it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate of our fees for all the work that may be required. However, our hourly rates are 250 per hour per partner. These hourly rates are reviewed periodically to reflect increases in our overheads, costs and inflation. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.

It is our belief that the best approach to your matter is to provide you with an initial opinion on your case and in this report, we will outline your position and suggest possible ways, if applicable, to progress your matter which can then be discussed in more detail. In our discussions and/or correspondence with you an initial figure (plus VAT plus disbursements) will be agreed that you are prepared to spend on the matter. Unless there are exceptional and unforeseeable circumstances this fee will cover the work we have agreed.

At this point we will contact you and seek further instructions as to how to continue. If you wish further work to progress in line with the recommendations we set out, we shall provide additional estimates at this stage. Normally these estimates will be included within the initial opinion. It is mutually beneficial that the fees are agreed between us throughout the process.

We do offer a limited number of cases on a success fee basis, where the work will proceed on the basis of an agreed capped fee where there is no risk of additional costs to you being incurred. This fee is the maximum payable by you if our work is not successful for you, however, should we achieve a successful outcome an agreed fixed additional fee is payable reflecting the success we have achieved for you. Both the capped fee and success fee will be clearly set out in advance.

Duration of the Case

It is very difficult, at this early stage, to judge how long your matter will take to reach completion. Much depends upon the co-operation of all parties involved in your case. We will keep you advised of your likely timescale throughout the transaction as this can vary significantly depending upon the circumstances. We aim to dispatch our initial report to you within two weeks of receiving your confirmation of instructions and/or papers for our consideration. If this is likely to take longer, we shall inform you of the reason and the estimated timescale for its dispatch.

Quality of Service

We aim to offer an efficient, professional and personal service to all our clients. To continually assess our performance, files are periodically chosen at random by the partners and inspected to ensure that each other's files are in accordance with the firm's policies and procedures.

If any aspect of our service proves to be below your expectation, please raise this initially with the partner dealing with your matter. Should this not resolve your problem you should raise your complaint with the other partner of the firm.

If you wish to have a copy of the Complaints Procedure this is available on request. If you are unable to resolve a problem with us under our Complaints Procedure then you do have the right within a period of six months to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman who can be contacted at the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, by telephone on 0300 555 0333, or by email at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Complaints about Fees

A complaint may relate to the firm's fee invoice to you. You may also have the right to object to the bill by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If all or part of a fee invoice remains unpaid, the firm may be entitled to charge interest. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the firm's fee if you have already applied to the court for assessment of the fee invoice.

Regulation of the Firm

The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services 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 Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling body dealing with legal complaints.

We maintain professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Service Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is Alpha Insurance A/S, Alpha Group, Harbour House, Sundkrogsgade 21, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark. However, this provider could change periodically therefore please contact us to ensure this information is up to date.

Financial Services/ Title Insurance

If you have requested us to deal with a matter relating to Restrictive Covenant and/or Rights of Way and in some instances it is recommended that an insurance policy is put in place to cover a title defect.

We can deal with an insurance firm on your behalf to put in place such a policy for you and the cost of the policy will be discussed with you during your case. We receive no commission for arranging such insurance policies although we do make a charge for the administration work involved in putting the policy in place and liaising with insurers where applicable.

This firm does not offer investment or financial advice. It is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry out insurance mediation activity which is broadly 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 SRA. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register

We only select products from a limited number of insurers offering defective title insurance but we are not contractually obliged in any way to conduct business with these firms. Please refer to our Terms of Business for further details.

Distance Selling Regulations

These regulations provide that if you have not instructed us in a face to face meeting you have the right to cancel your instructions, without cost, within seven working days of instructing us. Cancellation can be by post, fax or email but you cannot cancel once we start work with your permission. Verbal cancellation is not sufficient.

Equality and Diversity Policy

The firm is fully committed to providing a service without discrimination of any sort in all dealings with clients, third parties and employees. The firm's detailed Equality and Diversity Document is available on request. We shall make reasonable adjustments to ensure you receive our service in a manner suitable to you, without charge.

Identification

In some areas of our business, it is a legal requirement upon us that we are able to certify a client's identity, and also to be satisfied that we are dealing with the proprietor of the property we are advising upon. We, therefore, may enclose a form for you to complete, have signed by a suitable person (as listed on the form) and return to us. The form is designed to be as simple as possible but does still need input on your part to fully complete.

Data Protection

Our Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, in relation to personal data about you, is Heather Palmer. Please refer to the accompanying Terms of Business for further information regarding our data protection policy.

Hourly Rates

As with most other firms of solicitors, we record time in minimum units of 6 minutes. All time spent on your matter is recorded in this way and can include the making or receiving of telephone calls, writing or reading letters and e-mails, drafting, reading or checking documents, waiting time, travel or attending meetings with you or others involved in the matter. An inspection of the file does not always reflect the actual time recorded on your behalf. This is because time recorded includes time spent travelling and waiting or considering preparing and reviewing letters and documents. Time spent in this way may not be evidenced from the file. This is particularly true of letters relating to complex cases which may require significant time in researching the position prior to writing the letter.

We review our rates annually on the 1st April and (where our fees are to be assessed by reference to hourly rates) you will be notified in writing of any changes.

Expenses

Expenses (e.g. travel or overnight accommodation) will be added to your invoice at cost. We reserve the right to make a separate charge for photocopying (where a fixed fee has been provided and where the documentation is substantially more than anticipated). For travel our standard policy for rail and air travel both within the UK and overseas is economy class. Any vehicular travel will be charged in accordance with rates recommended by the Inland Revenue from time to time. Unless specifically stated within the accompanying Letter of Engagement, all expenses incurred on your behalf will be payable by you in any event.

VAT

Value Added Tax is payable in addition to fees (except for non UK residents subject to certain conditions) and on most expenses.

Payment on Account

Payment of monies to us on account of fees or expenses whilst carrying out your instructions will occasionally be required. We require these to be made in cheque form and any cheque shall not be cashed by us or forwarded to a third party until the fees or expense have been incurred by us and invoiced to you.

In relation to expenses, we are more likely, than not, to request that you make a cheque payable for a third party expense direct to the third party provider for us to forward on your behalf (rather than require a cheque to be made payable to us).

If we hold such a cheque, you hereby authorise us to apply those monies against any unpaid invoices.

Lien

We reserve the right to exercise a lien over your papers while any sums of money remain owing to our firm.

File Retention and Future Costs

We shall in any event store your file of papers for a period of at least six years. After this period, at the partners' sole discretion, your file of papers may be destroyed at any time without notice to you unless you have, by then, contacted us in writing expressing your wish that the file be stored for a longer period.

If you require copies of documents, your file or information from your file after a period of three months from the date of completion of your matter we reserve the right to charge a reasonable sum to cover the costs of supplying this information, such sum shall not currently exceed 60.00 plus VAT and is reviewed annually on the 1st April.

Abortive Costs

Some transactions do not reach a conclusion for numerous reasons. We reserve the right to charge an abortive fee which will represent a pro-rata payment of the quoted fixed fee or the hourly charges up to the point of cessation of work in accordance with the rate quoted. This shall be subject to a minimum charge of 50 plus VAT to cover the administrative costs of opening the file and subsequent storage commitments required.

Money Laundering

You may be aware that there are duties on professional practices similar to those on banks and financial institutions to identity their clients and to take steps to prevent money laundering. Whilst we will not require this in cases where only legal advice is being given as a result that such advice alone is not a financial transaction covered under the regulations, there may be an occasion where we would prefer to take documentary evidence from you to verify your identity. In the case of a limited company we shall require identity and address evidence for the main directors and evidence of beneficial ownership of the company.

We will occasionally need to obtain information as to where the funds you are sending us are coming from and how you acquired the money in the first place. We appreciate that some personal questions can seem intrusive but we are under a legal obligation to obtain this information from you in certain cases.

Financial Services and Insurance

Very limited services can be supplied in insurance mediation activities such as advising on Defective Title Indemnity Policies and After The Event insurance. Should your work require such a policy, you will be notified separately.

There may be conditions in a policy saying that certain actions of yours could make it invalid. Carefully check what these conditions are when you read through the documents we forward to you.

If we recommend an insurance policy it is because the insurers are a reputable company and the policy is suitable for the problem you have. However, it should be emphasised that we will not have carried out a fair analysis of the market or approached other insurers for quotations before making this recommendation to you and you are free to make your own enquiries through an insurance broker or otherwise if you wish.

The firm is not contractually obliged to conduct insurance mediation activities only with one or more insurance providers. If you wish you can request of us details of the insurance providers we select from or deal with in respect of the contract of insurance we are referring.

You are under an obligation to disclose to the insurers any matter or material fact that might be considered likely to influence the insurer in accepting the application for insurance.

Data protection

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:

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 might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, Heather Palmer is the Data Controller under the Act in relation to personal data supplied about you.

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on the firm, including in relation to the Lexcel quality standard of the Law Society of England and Wales which we are working towards achieving. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Please advise us if you would prefer for your papers to be withheld from inspection for these purposes. Work on your matter will not be affected in any way if you would prefer to withhold consent.