SOLICITORS

Steele & Son

WITH BAGOT HEYES

Legal services to businesses and individuals throughout the Ribble Valley and Pendle.

Clitheroe: 01200 444321  |  Barnoldswick: 01282 813385  |  Email: click to send email

These are the terms under which we, Steele & Son with Bagot Heyes, provide professional services.

These terms will apply to all work we do for you now and in the future, unless you and we agree otherwise in writing.

 

Offices and hours of business 

Our offices are located at the following addresses.

Castlegate, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1AZ Tel: 01200 444321

Station Chambers, Barnoldswick, Lancashire, BB18 5DP Tel: 01282 813385

Our normal opening hours are 9.00 am to 5.00 pm - Monday to Friday

 

Please note: Not all of our staff work all of these hours. Where necessary appointments can be made at other locations, including your home address, and at other times. However, we try to confine our working hours to the office hours set out above.

 

Our service to you

We aim to provide a quality legal service at reasonable cost. Your matter is important to you and it will be treated by us as equally important. In order to provide a quality service, we have to set ourselves targets. We always aim to meet those targets, but it has to be appreciated that there may be reasons beyond our control which may prevent us from doing so.

  • We aim to act upon any correspondence within 3 working days.

  • We aim to deal with any telephone calls within 24 hours.

  • An engagement letter will set out instructions and advise what action we will be taking and if possible, the approximate time the matter will take.

  • We will give you the best information we can as to the likely costs involved and how and when they be met. During the matter we will keep you informed of progress. We can send you copies of any correspondence, but you should remember that this could increase the amount of our costs.

  • We will advise you of any unforeseen delays and explain the reasons.

  • We will explain the effects of any important documentation or procedure.

  • We will advise you if a cost forecast needs revising.

  • At the end of the matter, we will write to confirm its conclusion and explain any continuing consequences. We will render our bills as promptly as possible and account to you for all monies due to you without undue delay.

 

How you can help us

  • Please give us clear instructions and tell us if there are any important time limits.

  • Ask us if you are not sure of anything. It is important that we understand each other correctly throughout.

  • Deal promptly with any important questions that may arise.

  • Keep in regular contact. Ask for a progress report if you are worried about anything or if you do not hear from us when you expect to do so.

  • Tell us if you are moving or if you are going to be unavailable for some time. Please give us details of forwarding addresses and telephone numbers. Much of our work involves deadlines and time limits and if we are unable to contact you prior to a time limit expiring, the consequences could be very serious.

 

Responsibility for your work

We are confident that we will offer you a friendly and efficient service. The person mainly responsible for your work is named in the accompanying Engagement letter. We try to avoid changing the people you will deal with but, if this cannot be avoided, we will let you know who will be handling your work.

 

Our Fees

We will charge you a fee for all work we do for you. You are ultimately responsible for paying our fees, even if someone else has agreed, or has been ordered by a court, to pay part or all our fees. If you and anyone else instruct us to act for you jointly, we may recover our fees from any one of you.

 

The main factors in calculating our charges, as laid down by law, are the time spent and the value of the matter to the client. Other factors that may be relevant include particular cases of complexity, the need for special expertise and speed where a matter has to be dealt with particularly quickly.

 

In addition to our charges, VAT is payable at the normal rate. Expenses which we pay to others on your behalf, such as search fees and land registry registration fees, are also payable.

 

We charge either based on a fixed fee or a variable fee: 

  • Fixed Fees are most commonly quoted in relation to domestic property transactions and drawing up wills. If we have agreed a fixed fee this will be quoted in the accompanying Engagement letter.

  • Variable Fees. With many matters brought to us by clients it is not possible to accurately assess at the outset the amount of time needed to be spent to bring the matter to a conclusion. Variable Fees are therefore based upon the actual time spent plus any ascertainable value of the matter to the client. At the outset we are happy to agree a budget which we will not exceed without reference back to you.

 

As a matter progresses, we record the amount of time spent on each stage of proceedings.

The time is recorded in blocks of units and each unit represents six minutes worth of chargeable time.

 

We are entitled to charge you for all the time we spend on your work. This includes the time we spend:

  • in (and preparing for) any meetings with you (and perhaps others);

  • considering, preparing, working on and dealing with papers and correspondence;

  • making and receiving phone calls; and

  • travelling and waiting.

  • In attending to any advocacy on your behalf.

 

Our fees are usually based on the time we have spent on your work. However, we may also take account of a several factors including:

  • how complex the work is;

  • how urgently we needed to act;

  • the expertise or specialist knowledge needed to deal with your work;

  • the value of the asset or matter involved.

 

The accompanying Engagement letter sets out the hourly rate of the member (or members) of staff dealing with your work. If we are representing you in a court case, we can charge our usual fees even if they are more than the amount the court orders your opponent to pay. We regularly review our hourly rates and take account of changes in salary and other costs of running our business. We will notify you in writing if we change our hourly rates while we are working for you.

 

You must pay our fees regardless of whether or not the outcome you get is successful. If your work cannot be completed for any reason, we can charge for all work we have done and the expenses that have arisen.

 

Interest earned on money we are holding for you 

It is the firm’s policy to account to you for interest earned on money held on your behalf in a general client account. The present rate used for calculating such interest is 0.1% provided such amount exceeds £20.00

 

Storing papers and deeds

When we have finished dealing with a matter for you, we will keep your file of papers for a minimum of 7 years dependant on the type of matter, and in any way, we think appropriate. If you need us to keep any papers for a specific period, you must ask us in writing. We may refuse your request or, if we agree, we may ask you to take them back at any time. (This provision does not apply to current deeds, wills and securities.)  Since space is limited, we will destroy files after 7 years unless you instruct us in writing to the contrary.

 

We provide a service to keep your wills, deeds and other securities safe. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which may be specified in that notice.

 

GDPR & your privacy

Please read the following information carefully. This privacy notice contains information about what data we collect and store about you and why. It also tells you who we share this information with, the security mechanisms we have put in place to protect your data and how to contact us if you have a complaint. Steele and Son with Bagot Heyes collects, uses and is responsible for personal information about you. When we do this, we are the ‘controller’ of this information for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation and other applicable data protection laws.

 

When carrying out legal activities we collect the following personal information that you provide to us:-

i) Identity data – name, title, address, telephone number, email address, photographic identification, date of birth, credit check.

ii) Contact information – address, email address, and telephone numbers.

iii) Financial data – Bank account or payment card details.

iv) Transaction data – details about payments to and from you regarding current and past matters.

v) Matter information – the categories of personal information that we hold will vary according to the type of matter that we are instructed and advise upon.

 

We use your personal information for the following purposes:-

i) To register you as a new client – to perform a contract with you.

ii) To administer & provide any legal services you have requested, including collection & recovery of any monies owed to us – to perform a contract with you, and necessary for our legitimate interests if recovering debts due to us.

iii) To manage our relationship with you including notifying you of any changes in our terms or privacy notice – to perform a contract with you and necessary to comply with our legal obligation.

 

We collect personal information directly from clients as part of our file opening process and may also obtain further information about specific matters from other sources including publicly available registers, credit searches, Companies House, and the electoral register. In order to provide our services to you or otherwise fulfil contractual arrangements that we have with you, we may need to use selected third parties to carry out data processing activities on our behalf.

 

We may share your data with third parties: -

i) If we are under a legal or regulatory duty to do so.

ii) If it is necessary to do so to enforce our contractual rights.

iii) To lawfully assist the police or security services with the prevention and detection of crime or terrorist activity.

iv) Where such disclosure is necessary to protect the safety or security of any persons.

v) Otherwise as permitted under applicable law.

 

We have third parties that we share limited personal data with. This data sharing enables us to fulfil the following obligations:-  Accounting purposes in respect of our Accountants;  ensuring client care is up to date and relevant in respect of our Auditors; provision of a full legal service if Barristers are required;  fulfilling our compliance obligations in respect of regulatory bodies such as the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. We will not share your data with any third parties without your consent.

 

We will securely retain your information for as long as is reasonably necessary and in accordance with applicable law.

 

We have in place security measures to protect your personal information from being accessed, used, lost, disclosed or altered in an unauthorised way. We limit access to personal data to those people who have a business need to know, and they are subject to confidentiality.

 

We have procedures in place to deal with any suspected breach of data security and will notify the appropriate regulator who will confirm our legal obligations at that time. You may ask us to correct or update your personal information at any time by writing to us or emailing us at [email protected]k. You have the right to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you. Please write or email if you wish to exercise this right. We will respond to you within one month from when we receive your request.

 

You may also submit a request for your data to be deleted by writing or emailing us. If you have any concerns over how we use your data, please contact us by either telephoning 01200 444321, emailing [email protected], or writing to us at 2/4 Castlegate, Clitheroe, BB7 1AZ.

 

Our ICO registration number is: Z4723798

 

Method of payment

You can pay up to £500 in cash, any amount by cheque or banker's draft made payable to 'Steele & Son with Bagot Heyes', or any amount by electronic transfer from your bank or building society. You can also pay for some of our services by certain debit cards and credit cards. If you want to pay in this way, please tell the person who is responsible for your work.

 

You might find it convenient to make regular advance payments towards our fees by standing order. If you want to pay in this way, please tell the person who is responsible for your work.

 

Because of the Money Laundering Regulations, unless the person dealing with your work is satisfied with where the money came from, we are not prepared to accept more than £500.00 cash. You must pay all our fees in pounds sterling.

 

Payment of fees

We may send out invoices at regular intervals for the work we have already carried out. This will help you to budget for costs as the work progresses.

 

If you do not pay us any amount we have asked for, we can refuse to do any more work for you. We will then send you a final bill for all work we have done so far. If you do not pay any bill within 30 days from its date, we can charge interest on the amount you owe at the rate payable on judgement debts (currently 8% per year). If we are dealing with the estate of someone who has died, we may decide not to send you an invoice until we have received the 'grant of representation' (the certificate saying who is entitled to manage the estate). We will send you our final bill when we send you the estate accounts for you to approve. In cases where we are holding money on your behalf it is our practice to deduct fees from the money and account to you for any balance.

 

If we are helping you to buy or sell a property, we may send you our final bill when:

  • you sign the contract to buy or sell the property; or

  • the sale or purchase is completed.

 

Instructions given other than in person

If you do not give us your instructions at a face-to-face meeting, you will generally have the right to cancel those instructions (without having to pay any fees) within seven working days of the date we receive your instructions. You would normally be able to cancel your instructions by delivering, posting or faxing a note to our offices. You may not cancel your instructions once we have started to work for you, with your permission. By signing and returning these terms you are agreeing that you want us to start work straightaway without waiting seven days.

 

You agree that we may take longer than 30 days to complete the work which you have asked us to do.

 

Client identity checks

Due to Anti - Money Laundering legislation, solicitors must obtain satisfactory proof of their client’s identity. We require the proof of identity to be in the form of acceptable photographic identity, your signature and proof of your address. The best form of identification is a current passport or photocard driving licence, coupled with a utility bill which must be no less than three months old. We will need to see the originals of these documents but confirm they will be returned to you once copies have been taken. If for some reason you are not able to provide any of these documents. It may be necessary to undertake a search with Experian, or an equivalent company, for the purposes of verifying identity. To do so Experian, or such other Company, may check the details I supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. They may also use my details in the future to assist other companies for verification purposes. A record of the search will be retained.

 

If you are a company, we will need a copy of your latest accounts, a copy of your certificate of incorporation, and the names and addresses of your directors. We are required to obtain this identification as soon as possible after opening the file and prior to completion. In any event, if we have not received this from you within 28 days of the date of this letter, we will be unable to take any further action in this matter until the identification procedures have been completed. We must also advise you that under the Anti-Money Laundering legislation we have a duty to report any suspicious circumstances that may come to our notice.  We are not allowed to inform you as to whether or not such a report has been made as to do so would be an offence.

 

Ending your instructions to us

There may be circumstances when you want us to stop acting for you (for example, if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how you want to proceed, or if you disagree with how we are carrying out your work). In these circumstances, you may end your instructions to us at any time by writing to us. However, we can keep all your papers and documents while you owe us money for our fees and expenses.

 

We may decide to stop acting for you if we have good reason (for example, if you do not pay an invoice or any amount we ask for in advance). If we are going to stop acting for you, we must give you reasonable notice. If you or we decide to end the work, you must pay all fees and expenses up to that date.

 

LEXCEL practice management standards

We intend to obtain and retain the LEXCEL quality mark, which amounts to proof that we comply with the Law Society’s Practice Management Standards.  There will be an annual LEXCEL assessment at our offices during which an external assessor (who will be the subject of a confidentiality agreement) audits a sample of case files.  Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we shall presume that you have no objection to your case file being included in such a sample.

 

Equality and diversity

Steele & Son is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

 

Conditional fee agreements

Our fees may be covered by a 'conditional fee agreement' (commonly known as a 'no-win no-fee' arrangement). If this applies to you, the person responsible for your work will give you the terms of the conditional fee agreement and explain them to you. If the terms in this document do not agree with the terms of your conditional fee agreement, the terms of the conditional fee agreement will apply.

 

Personal guarantee (private companies only)

If these terms apply to work, we do for your company, by signing this document on behalf of your company you are guaranteeing that the company will pay all our fees and expenses. As well as your company being responsible for paying our fees and expenses, anyone signing this document will also be personally liable, and we can recover our fees and expenses from all or any of them if the company fails to pay us.

 

Public funding

If your matter is (or may be) the subject of public funding then we will give you more information before and when you complete the relevant stages of the application process.

 

Financial services and insurance

If during this matter 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.

 

If you have any problem we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Complaints Service provide complaints and redress mechanisms.

 

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, selling and 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's website at www.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 Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.

 

What to do if you are unhappy with our service

We sincerely hope that all our clients will be satisfied with the legal service that we provide. However, if this is not the case please tell us. We will endeavour to put it right as quickly as possible. If you have a complaint, mention it first to the person looking after your matter. Research shows that most complaints occur as a result of misunderstanding or poor communication. If you are still unhappy after that, you should contact our Complaints Partner, Mr John Taylor. If your complaint relates to Mr Taylor please contact Mr Keith Bagot.  Both Mr Taylor and Mr Bagot are based at our Clitheroe office. Your complaint will be promptly acknowledged and you will be sent details of how we will deal with your complaint and a copy of our Complaints Procedure.

 

Once you have followed this procedure if you are still not satisfied then you have the right to complain under to the Legal Ombudsman. They will aim to resolve your complaint in a fair and independent way. Their service is free.

 

What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint:

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case. 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

           and

  • 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 wish to contact the Legal Ombudsman then their details are:

  • Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

  • E-mail: [email protected]

  • Telephone: 0300 555 0333

  • Address: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

 

If you receive a bill that you object to then you can apply to the Court for an Assessment of that Bill under part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If any part of our bill remains unpaid then we may be entitled to charge interest.

 

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

 

Updated: November 2019

Standard terms and conditions, GDPR policy, fees & complaints procedure