Terms of Business
To access these terms of business in alterative formats please email [email protected]
Evans Lamsley Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registered number 11565040.
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA) and our SRA ID number is 654565. This means that we are required to comply with a number of professional rules set out in the SRA Handbook which you can view at https://www.sra.org.uk/handbook.
Our VAT registration number is 312 0718 49.
These terms may not be altered unless agreed in writing by a Director of Evans Lamsley Limited.
You should read these terms carefully, along with your client care letter and any other documents referred to within that client care letter, as these documents set out the basis on which we will provide services to you and form the contract between us.
By accepting these terms, you are entering into a contract with Evans Lamsley Limited.
If we are advising more than one person (whether individuals, companies or other entities), we will, unless otherwise agreed in writing, act for those persons jointly and severally.
If you are instructing us jointly, it is your responsibility to tell us straightaway if you require more than one person to give us instructions in relation to your matter. Otherwise, we will accept instructions from any one person.
If you are a company or other commercial entity, it is your responsibility to tell us at the outset if you require more than one Director (or equivalent) to give us instructions.
Our advice is limited to employment law and HR in the jurisdiction of England and Wales only.
Rachel Lamsley and Nick Evans are both qualified solicitors holding practising certificates. Both are Co-Founders and Directors of Evans Lamsley Limited.
The basis for our charges will be set out in your client care letter.
Fixed fee and annual fee services:
For businesses that have agreed an annual fixed fee retainer service, there will be no additional charges other than for Employment Tribunal claims, save for any Tribunal Claim(s) referred to within the client care letter, with such fees being agreed before any work on the claim is undertaken. We reserve the right to increase the annual fixed fee on an annual basis with effect from each anniversary of the start of the fixed fee retainer service. The increase will be the percentage increase in RPI in the preceding 12-month period. The first increase would take place on the first anniversary of the start of the fixed fee retainer service.
Any additional fee increases after the fixed fee retainer service would only be applied after discussions with you. Such may apply where, for example, you have additional staff numbers.
Any other increase above RPI will only be as agreed between the parties.
For individuals or businesses that have agreed a fixed fee for ad-hoc work, the fee is based on the assumption that the work will be completed without any complications arising. If any unforeseen additional work is required, or if you change your instructions to us, we will either provide a revised fixed fee or agree that any additional work will be charged at the hourly rate of the person dealing with your matter. In either case, we will not carry out any further work until any changes to our original estimate have been agreed in writing.
Hourly rate services:
If we charge on an hourly rate basis, hourly rates vary according to the experience of the person handling your matter. The hourly rates that apply to your matter are set out in your client care letter.
We review our hourly rates from time to time, we will notify you in writing of any increase.
You will be charged for time spent on your matter which will include: any meetings with you (and any third parties); considering, preparing and working on papers; correspondence; making and receiving telephone calls; research; internal consultations; and travelling. Time is recorded and charged in six minute units at the applicable hourly rate. Therefore, this is the minimum amount of time we will charge for any piece of work undertaken on your matter.
We add VAT to our fees at the applicable rate at the time that the work is completed.
Where we give you an estimate of costs, it is a guide to assist you in budgeting for your legal costs and is not fixed. We will do our best to keep you updated with the best costs information that we are able to provide at any one time. If you would like to agree a ceiling figure, above which we will not incur any further costs without your consent, please let us know as soon as possible.
All disbursements (expenses) which we incur in working on your matter will be payable by you in addition to our charges, save as specifically amended by the client care letter. Examples of these expenses include but are not limited to: fees charged by experts, agents, couriers and barristers; court and tribunal fees; travel expenses and subsistence; use of on-line databases; and electronic transfer payments. VAT is payable on certain expenses, which you will need to pay in addition.
Compensation, statutory payments & payments to an employee or employer
All compensation, statutory payments and payments to an employee or employer which are incurred as a result of a settlement or employment tribunal claim will be payable by you.
Paying our bills
The frequency of billing will depend on the nature of a matter. The frequency of billing for your matter is set out in your client care letter.
Where we ask you for payment in advance (for example on fixed fee subscription work), we are not obliged to carry out any work on your matter until that payment has been made.
You must tell us straightaway if you have any form of legal expenses insurance that you think might pay for our bills.
If a third party agrees to pay our bills, you will remain responsible to us for payment until those bills have been paid in full.
Unless agreed otherwise, our bills are payable within 7 days of delivery. If we do not receive payment during this time, then we reserve the right to charge you interest on the outstanding amount at a rate which is 8%. We may also retain any papers and documents belonging to you while payment for our bills is outstanding.
All bills, whenever they are submitted, will be final bills for the period to which they relate but this does not prevent us from invoicing you for expenses for that period on a subsequent bill.
If we are providing services to more than one person whether individuals, companies or entities and we are asked to deliver bills to one person, those bills will remain payable in full by all persons that we provide services to under this contract.
You can make a complaint about a bill using the firm’s complaints procedure which is available upon request. You may also have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman or to apply to the court for an assessment of the bill under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
Recording of calls
Please note that we may recording incoming and outgoing calls for the purposes of training, quality and monitoring purposes.
Limitation of liability
Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000 (two million pounds), unless we expressly state a higher amount in the client care letter accompanying these terms of business. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.
We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.
Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
Details of our insurers, including contact details and territorial coverage, are available to clients upon request.
Rights of third parties
Unless permitted to do so by law or our professional rules, a person who is not a party to this contract shall not be entitled to enforce any of its terms.
Storage of documents
After completing the work, we may be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for charges and disbursements.
We will keep our file of your papers for up to 15 years depending on the transaction, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may charge you for: time spent producing stored papers that are requested; and reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers. Unless otherwise agreed with you in writing, those charges will be at our hourly rates applicable at that time.
Confidentiality and data protection
Our use of your information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 2018 and our duty of confidentiality. Therefore, we keep information passed to us confidential and will not disclose it to third parties except as authorised by you or required by law. However, if on your instruction, we are working with other professional service providers (such as expert witnesses or other professional advisors), we will assume that we may disclose any relevant information about your matter to them unless you tell us otherwise.
We may also provide confidential information to an insurance provider relating to an insured Employment Tribunal claim. Should your claim be insured, which is something that you will be aware of, we will assume that information can be disclosed to them unless you tell us otherwise.
The firm is the data controller (for the purposes of the Data Protection Act) of personal data that you provide to us. This means that the firm has a duty to comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act when processing your personal data. The firm has Nick Evans as its Data Protection Officer and he is responsible for overseeing the firm’s compliance with the Data Protection Act.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including (but not limited to): updating and enhancing client records; analysis to help us manage our practice; statutory returns; and legal and regulatory compliance.
If you are an individual, you have a right under the Data Protection Act to obtain information from us about your personal data, including a description of the personal data that we hold on you. Should you have any queries concerning this right, please contact our Data Protection Officer at our registered office.
Security of communications
Where you provide us with computer network addresses for sending material to, we will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that your arrangements are sufficiently secure and confidential to protect your interests.
The Internet is not secure and there are risks if you send sensitive information in this manner or you ask us to do so. Data we send by email is not routinely encrypted, so please tell us if you do not want us to use email as a form of communication with you or if you require data to be encrypted.
We will take reasonable steps to protect the integrity of our computer systems by screening for viruses on email sent or received. We expect you to do the same for your computer systems.
It is very unlikely that we will change our bank account details. In any event, we will never contact you by email to tell you that our details have changed. If you receive any communications purporting to be from this firm, that you deem suspicious or have any concerns about (however slight), please contact our office straightaway.
File auditing and vetting
The firm may become subject to periodic audits or quality checks by external firms, companies or organisations. This could mean that your file is selected for checking. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms, companies or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Please indicate whether or not you are happy for your file to be selected for file auditing by signing and returning the copy enclosed letter. If you do not provide us with consent to make your file available for checking, your refusal will not affect the way your matter is handled in any way.
Referrals to third parties
If we recommend that you use a particular firm, agency or business, we shall do so in good faith and because we believe it to be in your best interests. However, if that particular firm is not another firm of solicitors, then you will not be afforded the regulatory protection of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the SRA’s Code of Conduct and SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules, nor shall you be entitled to the benefit of the SRA Compensation Fund.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and will not provide advice on financial matters such as investments or insurance policies.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case and you will not be charged for time spent handling your complaint.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman may be able to help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at complaints independently and accessing the Ombudsman will not affect how we handle your case. Most ‘consumer’ clients (as oppose to large businesses) will be able to make use of the Ombudsman scheme however there are restrictions for some larger clients. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them:
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Please note that the Ombudsman are there to deal with concerns about the level of service received. Where there are more serious concerns that a solicitor or solicitor’s firm have been involved in professional misconduct then reports can also be made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the regulator of solicitors and solicitor firms. This could be for quite unusual and serious acts of misconduct such as dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. Obviously we do not anticipate any such problems arising and would ask that you notify the matter supervisor straight away if you have any such concerns. You can find out more about the Solicitors Regulation Authority including their contact details and professional conduct rules on their website: www.sra.org.uk.
Client feedback and complaints policy
We are committed to providing a quality service to our clients. We value feedback from clients greatly because it helps us to continually improve our service. If you do not feel that you are receiving excellent client service or that something could be improved, please do tell us about it. If we have fallen short of the high standards which we have set for ourselves then we would like the opportunity to put it right.
What do I do if I have feedback or a complaint?
At first it would be helpful if you could discuss any feedback or concerns which you have about our service or how it might be improved with the lawyer dealing with your matter. If the lawyer dealing cannot resolve your concern informally, or if the issue is of such a serious nature that you do not feel comfortable raising it with your lawyer, then you may discuss this with our complaints partner as a complaint under this policy.
How do I raise a complaint under this policy?
It would help us if you could email with:
- why you feel dissatisfied with the service which you have received;
- how you would prefer to be contacted about your complaint;
- if there is anything in particular which you would like us to do to resolve your complaint.
If you would prefer not to email details of your complaint in this way then please call to discuss the best way to get an understanding of your concerns.
What happens after I have made a complaint under this policy?
- send an acknowledgement of your complaint within 7 days of receiving it;
- log your complaint on our central complaints register;
- investigate the concerns and arrange a discussion with you to try to agree how to resolve the issues within 21 days of receiving your complaint;
- write to you within 28 days of receiving your complaint to confirm the outcome of this.
In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to extend these timescales but we will try to agree any variations with you first. If you remain unsatisfied after 8 weeks at the latest we will always ensure that you are reminded at that time of how to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if you are eligible to do so.
What might the outcome of my complaint be?
We very much regret any dissatisfaction which our clients experience and will not hesitate to apologise to you where our service has fallen below our high standards. We may also agree that certain steps will be taken to improve your situation and to ensure that any problems experienced will not reoccur.
What if I remain unsatisfied?
If you remain dissatisfied you may be entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman about our service. This service is not available to all clients however such as large businesses. The Ombudsman would generally expect clients to follow a firm’s internal complaints procedure first. You can find further information about the Ombudsman on the website www.legalombudsman.org.uk. You can write to the Ombudsman at Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by email on [email protected] or call on 0300 555 0333. If you wish to raise a complaint with the Ombudsman then you should not delay bringing it to their attention once our own complaints process has concluded as there are some time limits on when this must be done. For example, normally you must raise a complaint with the Ombudsman within six months of the firm’s own final decision on how to resolve your complaint.
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)
If you are a client and we have made a contract with you by electronic means (website, email, etc.) you may be entitled to use an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. Details of this service may be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative complaints bodies (such as Ombudsman Services https://www.ombudsman-services.org/ ProMediate http://www.promediate.co.uk/) and Small Claims Mediation (http://www.small-claims-mediation.co.uk/) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We would be prepared to use ADR services.
Should you have engaged us on an hourly basis, you may end this contract (and therefore, your instructions to us) at any time by writing to us by post or email. However, we may be entitled to keep all of your documents and deeds while there is money owing to us (including charges and disbursements which have not yet been billed).
For businesses that have entered into a fixed fee retainer, either party has a right to terminate the retainer 1 month before the end of the fixed period by providing one month’s notice in writing (email notice is acceptable).
Should the fixed fee retainer not be terminated or renewed after the initial agreed fixed term period, the retainer will continue to roll on a monthly basis for which you will be invoiced on a monthly basis in advance. This will include the RPI increase referred to above. Any additional fee during the rolling one-month contract would only be applied after discussions with you. Such may apply where, for example, you have additional staff numbers.
During the rolling month to month contract, either party has the right to cancel at any time by providing one month’s notice in writing (email notice is acceptable).
We may end this contract (and, therefore, cease acting for you) in relation to any matter or all of your matters. We will only do this where we believe we have a good reason and upon informing you in writing. Examples of a good reason include where you have not given us sufficient instructions or we reasonably believe that the relationship between you and us has broken down.
If your matter does not conclude, or we are prevented from continuing to act because of our legal obligations or our professional rules, we will charge you for any work we have actually done. Our charges will be based on our hourly rates applicable at that time (and where a fixed fee has been agreed, the charges will not exceed that fixed fee).
If we cease acting for you, we shall (where relevant) inform the court or tribunal that we no longer act for you and shall apply to be removed from their records. We may charge you for doing so at our hourly rates applicable at that time.
If you are an individual consumer (and not a business entity) and if our contract with you is a ‘distance contract’ or an ‘off premises contract’, you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract (the ‘cancellation period’). This right exists in accordance with The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
This right will typically exist where we take instructions from you outside of our offices, for example during a visit to you, or by a means of distance communication such as over the telephone or by email. However, if you are unsure whether these cancellation rights apply to you, please contact us immediately upon receipt of these terms.
Where cancellation rights apply under these regulations, we will not start work on your file for 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract because the regulations prevent us from doing so unless you instruct us otherwise. If you would like our service to start within 14 days of the day of the conclusion of the contract, please inform us in writing.
Once we have started work on your file within the cancellation period, on your instructions, you will be charged for any work done if you then cancel your instructions. You will have to pay us an amount which is proportionate to the work completed until we receive notice of cancellation from you, in comparison with the full coverage of this contract.
Instructions for cancellation
Right to cancel
Individuals who entered into this contract away from our offices have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason. The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post).
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
Effects of cancellation within 14 days
If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you, including the costs of delivery (except for the supplementary costs arising if you chose a type of delivery other than the least expensive type of standard delivery offered by us).
We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.
We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
If you requested to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, you shall pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed until you have communicated us your cancellation from this contract, in comparison with the full coverage of the contract.
Equality and Diversity Policy
As solicitors, we have a duty not to discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against any person on the grounds of race or racial group, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age or disability. We will take all reasonable steps to comply with the terms of our Equality and Diversity Policy in the progression of your matter and in all of our dealings with employees, partners, barristers, other lawyers, clients and third parties. We will be happy to provide you with a copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy, upon request.
Tax and investment matters
We will not advise on any tax or investment and it is assumed that this will be dealt with by your tax or investment advisors. If you have none, or you have not received tax or investment advice from them, please raise this with us and we can consider with you the best way in which you should receive such advice.
These terms and your client care letter shall be governed by, and interpreted in accordance with, English law. Any disputes or claims concerning this contract and any matters arising from it shall be dealt with only by the courts of England and Wales.
If any provision of this contract is found by any court or administrative body of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the other provisions of this contract which shall remain in full force and effect.
If you have any questions please contact us on 01244 980680