Terms of Business – Advice for Employers Website
These are my general terms of business on which we will supply you with documentation, accept instructions from you, and upon which we will carry out work on your behalf. We ask that you take the time to read and review these terms and raise any questions before we start work on your behalf or before purchasing any documents. We understand that there may be some items which you would like to discuss and will be happy to do so before commencing work or before you purchase a document.
Real Employment Law Advice Limited
Real Employment Law Advice Limited is registered and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The registration number is 606995. We are also registered with Companies House, Company number: 10067540. Our registered office is Communications House, Love Lane, Cowes Isle of Wight PO31 7EU.
- Standards of Service
1.1. We aim to offer all clients a quality personal legal service at a fair cost and we are confident that we will do so for you. We are committed to offering all clients an efficient and effective service at all times. You will be kept informed regularly of the progress of your matter. We will explain the legal work that may be required, the costs and risk benefits of pursuing a matter, the likely time scale involved and all communication will be in plain language.
1.2. If you instruct us to undertake work on your behalf you will receive separately a letter of engagement setting out additional information about your specific matter, in the event that any provision contained within your engagement letter conflicts with these terms or business then, save in respect of clause 14 below (which shall not be overridden), the provisions within the letter of engagement shall prevail.
1.3. If you purchase a document from the Website, no further terms or letter of engagement will be provided,
1.4. We will accept instructions from you on the law of England & Wales only and not on any foreign or religious law. On your behalf we may instruct, with your agreement, experts to advise and represent you on foreign and religious law issues.
1.5. In the unlikely event that it is necessary to change the person who will be advising you and handling your matter we will notify you promptly of any change and why the change was necessary.
1.6. In the course of carrying out your instructions on a matter it may be necessary to take expert advice from a third party, and we will inform you if we propose instructing a third party on your behalf.
1.7. External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our Firm, and these external firms are required to maintain confidentiality in respect of your files.
1.8. If there is any aspect of our work or service which you are unhappy with please raise it with us. In the unlikely event that we are unable to resolve matters between us then it will be dealt with under our complaints procedure.
2.1. Our fees will be calculated on the basis of urgency, complexity, value or importance to you of the work and of the time spent on your matter, together with the expenses incurred on your behalf. We may, however, agree with you a different basis for calculation of our fees.
2.2. Our current charging rate will be set out in the engagement letter to you.We will periodically review these charging rates, usually once a year, to take account of changes in overhead costs. We will notify you in writing in advance of any changes to the rates.
2.3. Wherever possible we will give you an estimate of the likely costs for the work we will be doing for you. This estimate is not a fixed quotation. If, because of the nature of the work, we cannot give such an estimate or budget we will inform you and tell you how the fees will be calculated. We will tell you if any difficulties arise or other events occur which make it necessary to review the estimate.
2.4. If for any reason the matter in which we are representing you does not proceed to completion, then we will charge you for the work done and expenses incurred.
2.5. If you wish you can place an upper limit on the amount of fees for which you will be liable and we will notify you if that upper limit is reached so that you can decide whether or not you wish to continue receiving advice and assistance. Please inform us if you want to set an upper limit.
2.6. In the course of your matter we may incur expenses or disbursement on your behalf. These expenses will include matters such as travelling expenses, photocopy costs, process server costs and direct costs in obtaining information. Where this fee is likely to be incurred you will be notified in advance and the fee for carrying out this work will be shown separately on your bill.
2.7. In all matters we will consider with you whether the likely outcome will justify the expense or the risk involved. Irrespective of the outcome of your matter you remain personally liable to settle our bills in accordance with these terms.
2.8. All rates quoted will state whether they are exclusive or inclusive of VAT. If VAT is payable this will be shown separately on your bill.
2.9. We will render bills at weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals, as agreed with you.
2.10. If you are purchasing a document from the Website you will be charged a fixed fee which is payable in advance of downloading the document.
- Responsibility for fees
3.1. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, you are responsible for payment of our fees and for reimbursing any expenses we incur on your behalf.
3.2. When accepting instructions to act, or when acting at any time, on behalf of a limited company we may require a director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of charges and expenses. If such a request is refused we will be entitled to refuse to act or stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges up to the date of refusal.
3.3. In the event of any bill not having been paid when due we reserve the right to suspend work and to decline to act any further in relation to any or all of your matters. The full amount of the costs of work done up to that date will be charged to you and proceedings for recovery will normally be instigated. If we are on the Court or Tribunal record as acting for you we may apply to come off the record and the costs of such application will be charged to you.
3.4. It is important that you understand that you will be responsible for paying our bills in full, regardless of any order for costs obtained against, or agreed contribution by another person. We will discuss with you whether your charges and expenses may be paid by another person. Even if you are successful, the other party may not be ordered to pay any or all of your charges and expenses.
3.5. You will also be responsible for paying the charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the Court or Tribunal orders the other party to pay.
3.6. In some circumstance you may be ordered by the Court or Tribunal to pay the other party’s legal costs and expenses, for example if you lose the matter. These costs will be payable in addition to our costs and expenses.
3.7. If we agree to act on your behalf under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) or if your matter is funded by Legal Expenses Insurance then the terms of the CFA or Legal Expenses Insurance will apply in conjunction with these terms of business. In the event that any terms(s) or conditions(s) contained within your CFA or Legal Expenses Insurance agreement conflict with these terms of business then the relevant term(s) and condition(s) within the CFA or Legal Expenses Insurance agreement will prevail. It is important that any CFA or Legal Expenses Insurance agreement is read and understood by you and any such document should be kept in a safe place.
- Payment Terms
4.1. Unless otherwise agreed, payment of each of your bills is due immediately.
4.2. We reserve the right to charge interest if payment is not made within 1 month of sending you the bill. In this situation, interest will be charged on a daily basis at 8% over the Bank of England base rate, and will accrue from the date falling 1 month after we send the bill.
4.3. You also agree that we may retain any documents belonging to you until payment has been made.
4.4. Payments of fees and expenses up to £500 may be made in cash but greater amounts must be paid by cheque or bank transfer. You are responsible for any charges in respect of any payment, for example, bank charges deducted by your bank from a bank transfer or charges in respect of payments made by credit card. If you deposit more than £500 in cash we reserve the right to charge you for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.
4.5. We are unable to make payments to a third party on your behalf.
- Buying documents on-line
5.1. The information and documents provided on the Website are for general use on a ‘do it yourself’ basis and are not intended to be comprehensive or a replacement for obtaining specific legal advice about your situation. Using the information or documents without consulting us or another professional adviser is at your own risk. Real Employment Law Advice Limited accepts no responsibility and gives no representations or warranties, express or implied, that any of the information and materials on the Website are complete, accurate or free from errors or omissions.
5.2. Any documents you buy online may only be used for personal or business use by you or your business. The documents may not be re-sold, re-published, re-distributed or used in part or whole to create documents for any other party.
5.3. Advice contained on the Website is only provided for summary guidance and therefore should not be relied on without obtaining legal advice for your specific circumstances and requirements. Accordingly, we will have no liability to you at all if you use any information or document without obtaining appropriate legal advice nor will we have any responsibility at all for any alterations made to the document after you have received it.
5.4. Because every document purchased from the Website can be downloaded immediately, no cancellation right exists under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. We therefore regret that refunds are not normally possible and will only be made in exceptional circumstances.
5.5. By using the Website and the documents you agree that in no circumstance shall Real Employment Law Advice Limited be liable for any indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages, including, but not limited to, loss of business or profits or any other financial loss, arising out of or in any way connected with the use of the Website or the documents, under any law or on any basis whatsoever whether contractual or otherwise, except in relation to death or personal injury for which no limit shall apply.
5.6. In addition you agree that if, for any reason, Real Employment Law Advice Limited is liable for any damages, other than those for death or personal injury, the total liability of Real Employment Law Advice Limited shall be limited to the amount of the document purchased.
- Financial Services
If during this transaction you need advice on investments we will have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the FCA, as we are not authorised to advise.
- Tax Advice
7.1. Any work that we do may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. We are not qualified to advise you on the tax implication of a transaction, or the likelihood of them arising. If you have any need for tax advice, please raise this with us immediately. If we cannot assist you we will endeavour to identify a source of assistance for you.
7.2. The provision of tax advice is not included in our service or duty of care to you.
- Equality & Diversity
We are committed to promoting Equality & Diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.
- Identification & Money Laundering
9.1. For the protection of all clients, and as required by law, we operate a money laundering reporting procedure.
9.2. Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject of a statutory exception; recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
9.3. Where a Solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made.
- Storage of papers and documents
10.1. After completing the work for you we are entitled to keep all of your papers and documents whilst there is any money owing for charges and expenses. We will inform you or the appropriate persons that your file will be retained.
10.2. Thereafter continued storage is on the understanding that we have the right to destroy any documents after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you refuse to do so.
10.3. At the conclusion of your matter we will return all original documentation to you. Any remaining documentation will be scanned and stored electronically for the requisite minimum period, currently 7 years. You will be notified of the length of time that your papers will be stored electronically. All hard copy papers will be destroyed, unless requested by you.
- Communication by Email and other electronic methods
11.1. We aim to communicate with you by such method as you request.
11.2. You should be aware that email and other modes of electronic and/or internet communication are not necessarily instantaneous or secure forms of communication, and information sent in this way can be intercepted, lost, destroyed or be incomplete.
11.3. We do not normally encrypt or password protect email attachments, but can do so on request.
11.4. Communications by mobile phone may also be insecure.
11.5. If you do not want us to communicate with you via email or mobile phone or any other method please let us know.
- Data Protection
12.1. We will hold and use information about you so that we can deal with your matter and also to meet our own legal and regulatory obligations.
12.2. We are registered with the Information Commissioners Office and further information about our data protection policies are available upon request.
12.3. We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
- updating and enhancing client records
- analysis to help manage our practice
- statutory returns
- legal and regulatory compliance
11.4 Use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that the 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.
11.5 We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify us in writing.
- Outsourcing Work
Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/other work on files to ensure this is done promptly. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.
- Claims and Liability
14.1. You agree that the maximum liability Real Employment Law Advice Limited may have to you in respect of any claim or liability whatsoever (whether on the basis of contract, negligence or other tort, breach of duty, misrepresentation or otherwise) shall be limited to 3 million pounds.
14.2. You agree not to bring any claim against any of our employees or Directors in respect of loss or damage suffered by you out of or in connection with the services (including but not limited to delay or non-performance of services). This restriction will not operate to limit or exclude the liability of Real Employment Law Advice Limited for the acts or omissions or any employee or Director. It is agreed that any employee will have the right to enforce this clause pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
14.3. You agree that, as regards any claim on any matter, (whether on the basis of contract, negligence or other tory, breach of duty, misrepresentation or otherwise whatsoever):
14.3.1. The claim may be made only by you and only against Real Employment Law Advice Limited;
14.3.2. The claim may be enforced only against our available assets, and not against any other assets whatsoever, including without limitation, the assets of any employee or Director;
14.3.3. Unless expressly agreed otherwise in writing, we shall have no liability of any kind whatsoever for the acts or omissions of any third party including any other professional adviser working on your matter and whether we have been involved in the appointment of that other person to act for you, or to provide services, or to advise on the matter or not.
14.4. Without Prejudice to paragraph 14.3.3 above, our liability to you shall not be increased by reason of either you agreeing with a third person a limitation on, or an exclusion of, the liability of that person, or any liability to recover from that person or any other; and
14.5. Neither you nor us will be liable in any way for failure to perform our respective obligations in respect of any matter in which we represent you (save for your liability for my fees, costs and disbursement) if the failure is due to causes outside the reasonable control of the party which has failed to perform them.
14.6. The provisions of this clause shall continue to apply notwithstanding any termination of our engagement by you.
- Conflicts of Interest
15.1. There is a procedure in place to ensure that conflict checks are carried out on every matter as soon as practicable so that, if an issue arises, it can be discussed with you and dealt with as soon as possible.
15.2. The conflict procedures help to fulfil our professional obligation not to act for one client in a matter where there is an actual (or significant risk) of a conflict with the interests of another client for whom we are already acting.
15.3. If at any time you become aware of any conflict please raise it with us immediately.
15.4. Subject to our professional duties, we will always seek to resolve any conflict issues in the most advantageous way to the clients concerned.
15.5. Where our professional rules allow, you agree that after termination of our retainer, we may act or continue to act for another client in circumstances where we hold information which is confidential to you and material to the engagement with that other client. We will not, however, disclose, your confidential information to that other client.
16.1. You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing for our charges and expenses.
16.2. 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 clearly in writing. We are entitled to charge for all work up to receipt of notification.
16.3. We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example, if you fail to provide evidence of identity, if you fail to give proper instructions, if continuing to provide our services would be impractical, unethical or unlawful or if you fail to pay a bill.
16.4. If it is necessary to terminate instructions, we will notify you and give reasons where we can.
- Legal Professional Privilege
When you seek, and receive legal advice from us on your rights and obligations or if we act for you in contemplated or actual legal proceedings, legal professional privilege will attach to our communication. This means that our communications may be protected from disclosure in court proceedings. This protection may be lost or not apply where communications are made with third parties.
- Your obligation
18.1. In addition to the terms set out above, you agree that you will, so far as you are able, give clear instructions and not deliberately withhold any information which might reasonably be required to represent you properly.
18.2. The relationship between solicitor and client must be one of mutual good faith, confidence and honesty, and we each agree that our business dealings will be upon this basis.
18.3. Abusive, bad language or any intimidation will not be tolerated and we reserve the right to cease to act for any client who is guilty of such behaviour.
19.1. If the business of Real Employment Law Advice Limited or that part if it which includes the provision of services to you is transferred to a partnership or to a body corporate or to any other entity (including a limited liability partnership) and you are notified in writing of such transfer and the name of the transferee, these terms of engagement will be novated automatically (without the need for any action by you) to that transferee. Your agreement to these terms of engagement constitutes your agreement to such novation and that, as a result of the novation
19.2. References to “we”, “our” and “us” shall be read and construed as being, and as having been at all times references to such transferee in place of Real Employment Law Advice Limited.
19.3. Any claim by you may be made only against the available assets of the transferee (irrespective of when the cause of action occurred or arose); and you will have no claim against Real Employment Law Advice Limited or against any partner, member, shareholder, employee or consultant of or to either Real Employment Law Advice Limited, or any other predecessor in title of the transferee, none of whom will have any liability whatsoever to you.
- Contract with you
20.1. You are agreeing to accept these terms and to form a contract between you and us.
20.2. You cannot pass your rights under this contract to anyone else.
20.3. These terms will continue to apply to any future instructions on this or any other matter.
21.4. Except to the extent that employees and Directors can benefit from the provision relation to “Claims & Liability”, none of the provisions of our agreement with you are intended to or will operate to confer any benefit (pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999) on any person other than you.
21.5. These terms are governed by English law. If the validity or enforceability of any provision of these terms is in any way limited by any applicable law or regulation, such provision shall be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by such law or regulation. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these terms shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision.
21.6. These terms may be varied from time to time and where we intend to do so, we will give you reasonable notice.
Real Employment Law Advice Limited
Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
Authorised number: 606995
Company number: 10067540
Registered address: Communications House, Cowes Isle of Wight
offices also available at Wessex House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh and The Old Fire Station, Salt Lane, Salisbury