TERMS OF BUSINESS

 These Terms of Business are intended to make clear, in as straightforward a manner as possible, the way we carry out work on your behalf.  This benefits us both by setting out where we stand at the beginning of our relationship and should avoid any misunderstanding or uncertainty in the future.  They are not intended to limit or restrict our professional duty in any way.  If you have any doubts or concerns about any of the following terms and condition, please ask and we will be happy to explain.

Cooling off period:

You are entitled to a cooling off period unless waived by you. If you wish to cease instruction to us within 14 days, then you may do so. This does not affect your right to terminate our services at any other time. If you exercise your right to terminate during the cooling off period, please be aware that you will have to pay for all and any work that was necessarily undertaken by us and for any outlays incurred on your behalf during that period, as by signing this agreement you waive your right to so otherwise terminate.

Quality Service:

In all our dealings with you our commitment is to provide a high quality service, to find out what you want and to achieve it.  We try to work quickly and hope you find the staff friendly and approachable.  At the end of the transaction we hope you will think our fee represents good value for money.

Responsibility for Your Work:

Mr Sandeman will ultimately be responsible for your work. He may be contacted during our office hours Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm but as you will appreciate, there are times when he is not available.  If so, please either speak to another member of staff who may be able to assist or resolve the matter, or leave a message with our secretarial staff who will ensure that it is brought to his attention as soon as possible.  Please help us by telling us why you need to be contacted.

Contacting us:

We are open from 9.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.  Our telephones are answered during our operating hours.  We do not have an out of hours answering service, although there is a messaging service, but you should rely upon that. You can email us by sending an email to the address on our web page – www.sandemans.co.uk.

Scope of Work:

We will always try to identify the details of work to be carried out on your behalf. 

How Long Will It Take?

The nature of legal work often makes it difficult to estimate precisely how long something will take to complete.  When we do discuss your requirements at the outset we will also discuss time scales.  We do attempt to meet these – even beat them – and always deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Please remember that quite often the speed at which work can be completed is affected by the help that we receive from other people.

Conflict of Interest:

We are not aware of any conflict of interest that would arise in dealing with this matter on your behalf.  If you become aware of any potential area of conflict, please let us know at once and we shall do likewise, so that the position may be re-assessed.

Further Information Required:

We will be in touch as and when we require any more information.  At our initial meeting, we may have requested further information and/or documents.  We will of course require to receive these from you. Often, without these, we will be unable to act for you, so it is important that you produce all information and documents as soon as you can, or if there is to be a delay, let us know why and when you will be able to comply.

Law Society of Scotland:

Like all Scottish Solicitors we are members of The Law Society of Scotland and subject to its Professional Rules.  We comply with the Law Society of Scotland Practice Rules 2011.

Your Work:

We believe it is very important that you are well informed about the progress of your work.  We will advise you at regular intervals regarding the progress of your work and keep you informed of all significant developments.  Unless we hear from you to the contrary we shall assume that we may, if appropriate, contact you by email via the internet – we make no guarantee regarding the confidentiality or otherwise of email communication.  If you are uncertain about what is happening at any time, please ask.  It helps us to help you if you identify the best way for us to communicate with you.

Liability:

Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we shall assume that where we act for more than one person, but only one of them tells us what to do, that person has the authority of the other(s) to do so.  Where we do act for more than one person, each person for whom we do work is equally responsible for the instructions given to us and for payment of our whole fees and outlays in connection with the matter.  If you do not understand what this means, please ask us to explain. 

Change Of Plan:

Please tell us if you change your wishes.  We will tell you what effect this has.

 

Cost:

The base rate at which we charge fees for a particular matter is as set out here unless otherwise stated.  Often our fees will be calculated by reference to an agreed fixed figure or an agreed scale of charges appropriate to the type of work involved.  Alternatively they may be calculated by reference to the time spent in carrying out the work.  In assessing the fees we take into account a number of important factors, including; the value of the transaction, the complexity and difficulty of the matter, the skill, knowledge and responsibility involved, the urgency of the matter and the place where we are required to carry out the work.  We may require to be satisfied that you are able to pay us for the work you wish us to do.  We are happy to tell you at any time what the fees are to date.  Our fees are exclusive of VAT, outlays, travelling expenses and photocopying charges.  Our hourly rates are subject to review from time to time.  If your work has not been concluded by the next review date, the new rates, which will be notified to you as soon as possible, will apply to work undertaken after the review date.  In executries we shall have our fees assessed either by the Auditor of Court or a similar independent cost assessor and the costs of such will be an outlay payable from the executry funds.

Estimates:

Any estimate we give is based on our experience in handling matters similar to the work you have asked us to do.  However, no two matters are ever exactly the same and in some situations we may need to revise our original estimate.  We will tell you as soon as we can if the work is more complicated or will take longer than we originally thought.

Fees/ Expenses:

We will charge you for all legal work undertaken under these terms of engagement, unless you qualify for and obtain Legal Aid Advice and Assistance (but you may be required to pay an assessed contribution for such to us) or Legal Aid (but for civil legal aid, you may be required to pay an assessed contribution to Scottish Legal Aid Board, and in criminal cases you may be required to pay either Scottish Legal Aid Board or us a contribution assessed by Scottish Legal Aid Board).  If you are liable to pay a contribution for legal aid or advice and assistance, if you do not pay that at the time we require you to pay that, we reserve the right to no longer act for you, or to cease to act until you do pay the contribution assessed. Even if you change your solicitor, you will still have a liability to pay the contribution so assessed. In assessing fees as further described in these terms of business, our current hourly rates are:-

Partner                          £250.00 Associate                                 £225.00

Solicitor                                   £200.00 Executry assistant                      £200.00

Paralegal                                     £180.00 Assistant                                  £150.00

 These rates apply to all work undertaken after 1 December 2023.  These rates will continue to apply until we notify you of any change.  We may elect to charge Court work at the rates and fees specified for party/party expenses as determined by Act of Sederunt from time to time.  We will be happy to show you these fees which are publicly available on the Scottish Courts website (www.scotcourts.gov.uk) or the website for public information (www.legislation.gov.uk).  We may give you an estimate for work to be undertaken but you should realise that we reserve the right to notify you that the work envisaged is outwith the scope of our estimate and that we may then revise the estimate or elect to charge on a different basis.  You will be notified in advance of such situation and may elect to withdraw at that time.  The way we calculate work is as follows:

Time units (not more than 6 mins) except as below         1 unit

Telephone calls for up to 6 mins                        1 unit

Letters for each 125 words                                            1 ½ units

Drawing documents per 125 words                                4 units

Revising documents per 125 words                                2 units

Perusing documents per 6 mins                         1 unit

Copying per 10 pages                                                   1 unit

Posts etc                                                                       At cost

 

 

Legal Aid:

If you are eligible for financial assistance under any of the Legal Aid schemes, part or all of your costs may be met from the Legal Aid fund.  However, if any money or property is recovered or preserved on your behalf as a result of the work carried out under the scheme, then in most circumstances the regulations require you to pay your own legal expenses from that money or property.  Further information is obtainable from leaflets produced by Scottish Legal Aid Board on their website (www.slab.gov.uk) or from us.

Expenses in Court Actions:

If we act on behalf in connection with a court action in which you are partly or wholly successful, it may be possible to recover expenses from your opponent.  In practice only a proportion of your expenses are likely to be recoverable.  You are liable for our fees and for outlays incurred on your behalf whether or not you are successful in an action but credit will be given for all expenses recovered from your opponent.

Deduction Of Fees And Outlays At Source

Where we receive sums which belong to you we shall be entitled to deduct from those sums all outstanding fees and outlays before sending you the balance.

Responsibility For Fess And Outlays Payable By A Third Party

In matters where someone else has said they will pay your fees and outlays, if they fail to do so you will be responsible for paying them.

Invoices:

We will issue our invoice either at the end of the work or at intervals.  Payment of any invoice is due on presentation of the invoice.  If payment is not received within 28 days of the date of the invoice we reserve the right to charge interest on the full amount we assess is due at 10% per annum and if we have restricted our fees, to charge the full amount rather than the restricted amount.  If you do not pay our account on time, we may stop working for you and charge you the full amount of work we have done for you. If you decide to pay by credit card, then we will charge you 2% of the total so paid, as that is the direct cost to us for that method of payment (debit cards are free).

Property Transactions:

When you are selling property, we will deduct outstanding costs together with our fees from the sale proceeds on the date on which the sale is completed.  When you are buying property, fees and costs must be paid by you in cleared funds no later than the day prior to the day on which you become the owner of the new property. Please be aware that we are restricted in accepting certain types of payments and it may take time for your payment to be cleared. If in doubt, speak to us so that we can advise you.

 

 

Costs Paid On Your Behalf:

Where expenses are paid by us for you we will require to be repaid by you within seven days of asking you.  We reserve the right not to pay any expenses on your behalf unless you have paid them in advance.  We will not be liable to you for any penalties or other loss caused by non-payment if you have not put us in funds to make payment on your behalf.

Records:

At the end of the work and after we have been paid, we will return to you at your request any relevant documents or papers which belong to you.  Our files are stored and thereafter destroyed in accordance with The Law Society of Scotland’s guidance.  If you have any particular requirements regarding the storage or destruction of your files please let us know and we will do our best to comply.  We reserve the right to  store  records in any form. 

Independent Fee Assessment:

If you are unhappy with the amount of our fees or, without our having told you, they exceed any estimate supplied, you can ask the Law Society of Scotland to have the matter determined under the Legal Fees determination Scheme which they supervise. You can find details of such on the Law Society website or if you ask us we will give you the required information about procedures and costs which apply. The Adjudicator will issue a Fee Determination Certificate. You or we may be liable for the cost of such according to a Code of Practice regarding such. We will apply the certificate, whether it be higher or lower than the original feenote.

 

Outstanding Monies:

You are entitled to change solicitors at any time but are responsible for the fees and any other outstanding payments due to us until the time of change.  We are entitled to hold any title deeds, files or other papers until payment. 

Companies:

If you are a limited liability company it is an essential condition that in instructing us your directors personally guarantee the company’s liabilities to us.

Limitation of Liability:

The total aggregate liability (including liability for interest) of Sandemans, its partners and employees, whether in contract or delict (including negligence or otherwise) to you arising from or in connection with the work carried out by us on your behalf shall not exceed the level of our professional indemnity insurance cover for the time being at the date of intimation of any claim relative to such work (further details of our indemnity insurance cover are available on request).  This limitation applies notwithstanding any express or implied term or condition of our letter of engagement but will not apply to any acts, omissions or representations which are criminal, dishonest or fraudulent on the part of Sandemans.

 

Confidentiality/Money Laundering:

Information passed to us is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties, save as authorised by you or required by law.  We may need to ask for proof of identity and for other information such as the source of any funds passing through our hands in connection with Money Laundering Procedures.  We are obliged to comply with Law Society of Scotland Regulations and also the Money Laundering Regulations in force from time to time and Anti-terrorism matters including Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.  Under certain circumstances we may be obliged to disclose information regarding clients transactions to the relevant authorities if such information suggests or tends to suggest that a client has been involved in actual or attempted money laundering or actual or intended terrorist events. Our policy as controllers of data about you are published on our website. If there are issues about such please refer to that document or ask for a print of it and we will address any issues you may have.

Complaints:

We hope that you will have no cause for concern but we do have a complaints procedure.  In the first instance please let us know if there are any problems and we will do our best to resolve them, but failing that please feel free to speak to our Mr Sandeman who will do his best resolve the matter to your satisfaction.

 

Client Relations Partner:

If you remain unhappy about the legal advice you have been given, the quality of service provided or the way you have been treated you should, in the first instance, take the matter up with the person with whom you have been dealing.  If, having done so you are still not satisfied or if you prefer, please raise the matter with our Client Relations Partner, who has responsibility for quality matters.  That partner will ensure that any such complaint is fully investigated and that you receive a response within ten working days.  We will try our best to resolve any such matter.  If you are still dissatisfied you are always entitled to take the matter up with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission who you can contact at 12/13 St Andrews Square, Edinburgh (www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk). Please note that they have strict time limits about when you have the right to complain, ie within 3 years of the problem which has arisen and your right may be lost if you are too late. You should consult their website or contact them direct for further information in that regard.

Data Protection Act:

For the purposes of data protection legislation please note that by instructing us you accept and agree that personal information about you will be held in our computer system.

 

Whole Agreement:

These terms and conditions, together with any letter and/or schedule of costs accompanying them, constitute the whole agreement between us.

Applicable Law:

Our contracted terms and conditions are governed by the law of Scotland and is subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.

Other information:

There may be other matters which you wish to know or require further details.  If so, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to answer all matters you may raise.

Incidental Financial Business

If part of the work we are to undertake on your behalf is the sale of shares, in the winding up of an executry estate as part of the estate, and such therefore is to be sold in the winding up of the estate, this requires to be undertaken. We require to provide you with certain information when we are undertaking this type of specific work, known as Incidental Financial Business, and which is in addition to our general terms of business.

(a) The specific Incidental Financial Business undertaken by this firm (Sandemans) will be the sale of shares held by the deceased through Equiniti plc on your instructions. The firm has limited its Incidental Financial Business activities to arranging the sale of these shares given the limited scope of activities allowed under the Law Society of Scotland’s Incidental Financial Business regime.

 (b) This firm is licensed by the Law Society of Scotland to carry on Incidental Financial Business under the Society’s Practice Rule C2: Incidental Financial Business.

 (c) This firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

(d)  The firm has Professional Indemnity Insurance under the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy. The current level of indemnity under the Master Policy is £2m per claim.  The firm is also covered by the Scottish Solicitor’s Guarantee Fund which is a fund established under Section 43 of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 for the purposes of making grants in order to compensate persons who, in the opinion of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland have suffered pecuniary loss by reason of dishonesty on the part of a Scottish solicitor in connection with the practice of a solicitor.

(e) Any complaint which you may have about any service provided by this firm should be directed to the Client Relations Partner (insert name) please note that you also have a right to complain to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, 12/13 St Andrews Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2AF telephone 0131 201 2130  (www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org).

Enquiries

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