We aim to provide you with a friendly, prompt and efficient service.
We will treat your affairs with complete confidentiality, unless
- we are required by law to disclose information to the authorities (which will arise, for example, if we become aware of money laundering); or
- we have a professional duty to do so (for example, if there is a threat to someone’s physical safety)
We will use our best efforts to:
- return your telephone calls within two hours,
- answer your letters faxes and emails by return,
- see you within one working day if you want an appointment,
- see you immediately if your case is urgent.
If we have given you an estimate, we will:
- carry out our work for you at the estimated fee, subject to the conditions which the estimate states,
- if the estimate is for a matter which, for any reason, is not completed we will charge you for the work already done, plus expenses incurred. The charge for this will be based on the amount of time we have spent on the matter until we receive your instructions not to proceed further. Similarly, if you ask us to do further work outside the scope of the estimate, we will make an additional charge.
If we cannot provide a reliable estimate (for example because you cannot provide us with precise instructions), we will at the very least either provide a forecast of the possible range of costs or provide the best information we can about the likely costs of the next stage. Where we do not give a firm estimate, we will charge you on a time basis at an hourly rate. If relevant, we set out below the hourly rate for the work we are doing for you. We charge for time in six minute units. Standard letters faxes and emails which we send and receive, as well as telephone calls and personal attendances, are therefore charged in multiples of six minutes with a minimum six minutes per item. Time spent in travel is charged at half the hourly rate, plus travel expenses. We also pass on to you expenses we incur on your behalf, for example court fees, search fees and so on. Where we provide non-legal services, we will charge them at the rate for legal services, unless agreed otherwise. We can ask you for advance and/or interim payments. If we will be working for you over more than six months, we will update the costs information we have given you at not less than six monthly intervals.
If we hold money for you, we will place it in our general client account i.e. a bank deposit account we have for money which belongs to our clients - not to us. In the case of large sums held over a long period, we will, if you so request, open a separate dedicated bank account which will hold no one else’s money except yours. The interest which that account earns will belong to you, less savings rate tax (which the bank will deduct at source) and our management fees. We operate our general client account and separate dedicated accounts in accordance with Law Society rules. When your money will pass through our client account, money laundering rules require us to verify your identity and place of residence. We will usually do this by email search of an approved electronic database.
We do not have the expertise to provide you with advice about specific investments (such as shares) or financial products (such as mortgages). If you want advice about these, we will if you so wish refer you to an independent adviser. We can also provide limited assistance on some financial matters as long as they are closely linked to the legal services we are providing.
If you have any complaint about our service, please tell us. You should speak first to Mark Fairweather. We try to deal with complaints promptly and courteously. We have a written complaints procedure, and we will supply a copy on request.