Shepherd & Co.

Opening Hours

 The Office is open Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.15pm except on public holidays in England. The Office is closed between 1.00pm and 2.00pm each day. Messages can be left on the answerphone.

Basis of charging

Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include:

– Advising you in meetings and on the telephone.

– Negotiating with others on your behalf in meetings, by letter and by telephone.

– Considering, drafting and completing documents, deeds etc.

– Preparing for and attending court or tribunal hearings, including travelling and waiting time.

– Instructing third parties on your behalf.

– Legal and factual research.

– Preparation of any detailed costs calculations.

Hourly rates

Band A – Solicitors with over 8 years post qualification experience including at least 8 years litigation experience – £201 per hour plus VAT.

Band B – Solicitors and licensed conveyancers with over 4 years post qualification experience and other fee earners of equivalent experience – £177 per hour plus VAT.

Band C – Other Solicitors, licensed conveyancers and fee earners of equivalent experience – £146 per hour plus VAT.

Band D – Trainee solicitors, paralegals and fee earners of equivalent experience – £111 per hour plus VAT.

The hourly rate is reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. We will notify you of any variation to the hourly rate.

 

Routine letters are charged as 6 minute units of time and we charge for the time spent on making and taking calls in 6 minute units. For example, one 6 minute unit of time is charged at £11.10 plus VAT by a Band D fee earner.

 

Where fixed fee estimates are provided, this is based on the information available to us at the time that the estimate is provided. We reserve the right to revise the charge if we are required to do work which is additional to that which can be anticipated at this stage. You will be notified if this situation arises.

In property transactions, in the Administration of Estates, cases involving particular complexity or requiring specialist expertise, an additional charge may be made to that calculated on the basis of time spent. This may reflect a percentage of the price of the property, the value of the Estate or other financial benefit. This value element reflects the importance of the transaction and the consequent responsibility falling on the firm. Where a value element is added, we will be happy to explain the calculation to you.

You are entitled to request an estimate of our charges at any stage of your case. We shall update you with a costs estimate every six months or whenever any estimate we have provided is likely to be exceeded, whichever is the sooner.

If we are acting for you under the terms of a Conditional/Contingency Fee Agreement, please refer to that agreement for all essential information in relation to legal costs.

 

Disbursements

Solicitors have to pay out various expenses on behalf of clients including court fees, expert’s fees, Land Registry fees, search fees, stamp duty and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. We refer to such expenses as ‘disbursements’.

Postage

We will usually only charge you for special or recorded delivery. However, we do reserve our right to seek reimbursement from you for penalties and charges paid to recover letters sent to us bearing postage stamps of insufficient value.

Value Added Tax

VAT will also be payable by you at the prevailing rate upon all this firm’s charges and upon some of the disbursements that are incurred on your behalf.

Payment arrangements

We shall deliver bills to you at regular intervals for the work carried out during the conduct of the case. This assists our cash flow and enables you to budget for costs. Accounts should be settled within 14 days. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at a rate of 4% above National Westminster Bank Plc’s base rate at the time of the delivery of the bill where payment is not made within 14 days of the delivery of the bill.

Payment may be made to us by cash or cheque. In the event of cheques not being met when presented, you will be charged £30 plus VAT to cover our banks fees and administration involved in dealing with this.

In property transaction cases, if sufficient funds are available on completion and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct our charges and expenses from the funds.

If any account is overdue for payment we shall be entitled to refrain from continuing work for you. We shall also be entitled to retain any documents and papers belonging to you, together with our file of papers, until such time as all sums outstanding are paid. You will be required to pay our legal costs at the Band C rate and court fees in relation to any court proceedings that we commence in respect of any unpaid invoice.

Payment of your legal fees by others

If another person is ordered to pay your legal fees, you will not necessarily recover from that person the full amount of costs incurred on your behalf or that person may not be capable of paying what they have been ordered to pay. The fees payable by another party depends on a number of factors applied by the court in determining the level of costs recoverable. They are usually in the range of 60-75% of your total bill. If the other party is in receipt of public funding (legal aid), you may not be able to recover your own legal fees in any event.

Your liability to pay other parties legal fees

You must always bear in mind that if the court so directs, you may have to pay the other parties legal fees as well as your own.

Insurance

There are a number of insurance companies that offer cover for litigation for your legal fees and those of the other side. The premiums vary in amount. If you require any further information in this respect, please contact us.

Interest

Any interest received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Account Rules, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on National Westminster Bank Plc’s designated Client Accounts.

The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date on which funds are received by us until the date of issue of any cheque from our Client Account.

We may retain the first £20 of each amount of interest as and when calculated to help us cover the administrative expenses of arranging these calculations and payments to you.

If you are obtaining borrowing from a lender in a property transaction, we will ask the lender to arrange that the loan cheque is received by us a minimum of 4 working days prior to the completion date. If the money can be telegraphed, we will request that we receive it the day before the completion. This will enable us to ensure that the necessary funds are available in time for completion. Please be aware that the lender may charge you interest from the date of issue of their loan cheque or the telegraphing of the payment.

Tax advice

Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. We are not qualified to advise you on the tax implications of a transaction or the likelihood of them arising. If you have any concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately. We may then be able to identify a source of assistance for you.

Investment advice & Insurance Mediation

If during this transaction you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not. However, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on,sellingand administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at https://register.fca.org.uk/. 

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.

Confidentiality & disclosure requirements

All information regarding your business and affairs will be kept confidential at all times, unless you instruct us to disclose information.

In a conveyancing transaction where you are buying a property with the aid of a mortgage, we normally receive instructions from your lender to act on their behalf. Where this is the case we are required to pass them information that you give us that might be relevant to their decision whether to finance the purchase. If you tell us things that you do not want your lender to know and they are relevant to the lender we may have to stop acting for the lender and possibly also for you. If you do not wish us to disclose this information and wish the lender to be separately represented please advise us in writing at the outset of the transaction.

You authorise us to disclose to the other parties in the transaction and if applicable, to all other parties in the chain of transactions and their agents and advisers, all information which we have in relation to your involvement in the transaction including any related sale or mortgage and other financial arrangements and wishes as to dates for exchange and completion. You may withdraw this authority at any time but if you do so you should appreciate that we will inform the other party or parties and their agents or advisers that this authority has been withdrawn.

Please note that whatever you tell us regarding your case, it is kept fully confidential.  This means that we cannot tell a Court (or anyone else) information you have disclosed to us, without your prior consent.  However as Solicitors, we have an overriding duty to the Court and cannot intentionally mislead them in any way.  If a situation arises where we feel that we will mislead the Court, then we will have no option but to cease acting for you. 

Data Protection Act

We process your personal information and sensitive personal information as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 in accordance with the applicable data protection law. By submitting your information to us you consent to your information being processed and used by us as follows:

– To supply goods and services as requested by you including such transfer of information to employees, agents and third parties as required for this purpose.

– For our internal administration purposes.

– To market our goods and services to you.

 

We reserve the right to:

 

– Transfer our business assets (which include information) on sale or merger of the whole or any part of the business.

– Transfer our information as required to obtain legal advice, comply with legal requirements, protect our rights and property and the safety of our employees, clients, suppliers and others.

 

Please note that you have certain rights under the data protection legislation. Should you have any queries or require any further information in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“the Act”)

The proceeds of crime are any money, property or asset which has arisen has a result of crime e.g. monies (no matter how low in value) that are the result of tax evasion or benefit fraud whether the money has been saved or spent.

If we become aware or suspect the existence of proceeds of crime in your case (whether from you or any other person), in order to enable us, or any other solicitor, to continue with your case without an offence being committed, we must in certain circumstances report the irregularity to the National Crime Agency (NCA) without telling you that we have done so. NCA will then give or withhold permission for us to continue with the case. Even if NCA gives permission for the case to continue, it can pass the information received to any relevant body such as the Inland Revenue and an investigation and/or criminal proceedings may take place at any time in the future.

The obligations that we have under the Act can in certain circumstances override the duty of solicitor/client confidentiality.

Any time spent addressing issues arising from the Act will be charged to you in the same manner as any other work undertaken in relation to your case.

Money Laundering Regulations 2007

In line with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, we are required to ask for proof of your identification. We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply us with appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent.

It is the firm’s policy to conduct Anti Money Laundering (AML) identification verification searches where we have not met you in person. It is a requirement of the AML search that you are made aware it will be carried out against your name.Each search will cost £10 plus VAT and will be charged at the end of the transaction.

We are unable to accept payments of cash in any amount greater than £500, whether paid in at our offices or paid directly into our bank account.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

Under The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, for some non-business instructions, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within seven working days of the date on which you asked us to act for you. However, if we start work with your consent within that period, you lose that right to withdraw. Your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business will amount to such a consent.  If you seek to withdraw instructions, you should give notice by telephone, e-mail or letter. The Regulations require us to inform you that the work   involved is likely to take more than 30 days.If you exercise the right to cancel, you will be liable for the costs of work undertaken up to the time that we receive notification of your decision to cancel.

Cybercrime

Solicitors are coming under increasingly sophisticated attacks bycriminals. We will therefore ask you from the outset, in writing, for your bank details.  If they are to change, then we will ask you to put such request in writing.  There may come a time, when you may wish funds to be submitted to a different account and direct us to act on email instructions or by telephone.  If we agree to do so, it must be at your own risk. Before you transfer any funds to this firm, you should verify that bank details are correct by contacting the person dealing with your matter.

Ending this agreement

You may terminate your instructions to us any time. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.

We may decide to stop acting for you but only with good reason, for example:

– If you do not provide clear or proper instructions;

– If we cannot continue to act without being in breach of rules of professional conduct;

– If there has been an irretrievable breakdown in trust and confidence; or

– If you do not pay an interim bill or comply with a request for payment on account.

Storage & copying of papers & documents

After your matter has completed, we will arrange for your file to be archived (digitally or manually) and stored before being destroyed. The file will be stored for six years (or such other period required) before being destroyed. The firm will not destroy documents such as wills, deeds and other securities that you ask us to keep in safe custody. Digital files relating to claims for children or for persons who are unable to manage their own financial affairs will be kept for longer.

We are entitled to keep your papers and documents if there is any money owing to us for our charges and expenses for any reason.

If we retrieve papers, documents or computer records from archive in relation to additional or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, in other circumstances we will charge £25 plus VAT for the time spent producing stored papers, documents or computer records. We may also make an additional charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with the instructions given by you or on your behalf.

On occasions it may be necessary for us to photocopy or scan partially or entirely your file of papers for our own records. In such an event we reserve the right to make a charge for the reasonable costs, usually between 25-45 pence per page before the file can be forwarded.

Solicitors Handbook

The SRA Handbook sets out the standards and requirements that we are expected achieve and observe. The Handbook can be found at:-

www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/welcome.page

Banking Failure

We will not be liable to repay any money which we hold for you which is lost through a banking failure.

Quality Standards

Your file may become subject to periodic checks by outside assessors. If you do not consent to your file being reviewed, please inform us.

Outsourcing

We may need to outsource operational activities that are critical to the delivery of legal activities, such as IT services and archiving.  By instructing us to act in your case you consent to us doing this.

Reporting concerns

We strive to provide a high quality service in all respects. If, however, you have any queries or concerns about our work or our bill, please raise them in the first instance with the person responsible for your case. If that does notresolve the problem to your satisfaction, then you can raise the matter with a partner (Jabeer Miah or Sajid Nazir). The firm’s detailed complaints procedure is available on request. At the conclusion of the firm’s internal complaints process (usually within at least 8 weeks), you have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, such complaint to besubmitted as soon as possible thereafter but in any event within 6 months of your last contact with Shepherd  Co. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ,Telephone: 0300 555 0333, Minicom: 0300 555 1777, From Overseas: +44 121 245 3050, Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk. You may also have a right to object to our bill by applying to the Court for an assessment of the invoice under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If all or part of our bill remains unpaid, the firm may be entitled to charge interest.

Public Funding (formerly known as Legal Aid)

Legal Aid   is   generally only available through firms franchised by the Legal Services Commission.  As a private firm we do not undertake legally aided work. Please bear in mind that legal aid cannot be granted retrospectively and there will be no facility for you to be able to recover our costs against the Legal Services Commission.

Continuing and Future Instruction

Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the current hourly rates, these terms and conditions of business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. 

Shepherd & Co.

Contact details: Telephone:01327 350185

Shepherd & Co is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No: 634010