Victory at Law Solicitors Ltd trading as Victory At Law Solicitors is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) whose code of conduct can be found on www.sra.org.uk. The SRA is the independent regulatory body of Solicitors. Professional rules laid down by it require that clients of solicitors be informed of certain terms of business. Accordingly this formal statement indicates the basis upon which we will carry out our professional services on your behalf.
1.1 We are located at 74a Woolwich Road, London SE10 0JU and normally open our offices between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. on weekdays. Appointments can be arranged outside of these hours if essential. We are closed on all Bank Holidays and some religious days.
2. Responsibility for work
2.1 A nominated fee earner at the firm will be responsible for your work and will be the principal point of contact. That person is identified in the Client Care Letter, together with any other personnel nominated to handle your work. You will be notified of any personnel changes, the reason for these changes and any cost implications will be explained to you if any. Our reception staff may be able to deal with your queries and will be pleased to take any message from you.
3. Our Service
3.1 Victory at Law Solicitors is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive, or about the bill, please contact the person dealing with your case in the first instance. If after discussing the matter with the case worker, the difficulty remains unsolved, you should write to our Client Care Director who can be contacted at our above mentioned address. If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ to consider the complaint. You may obtain a copy of our firm’s Complaints Procedure from our office.
3.2 We trust that we would be able to resolve the matter with which you are unhappy with between ourselves. Indeed we pride ourselves on the quality of service we offer and in the many satisfied clients we have. We would hope you would be another.
3.3 You are reminded that you will be bound by the contents of all signed documents and you are strongly advised to read all documents thoroughly and to raise any queries before signature. Under no circumstances should a document be signed unless you thoroughly understand it and are satisfied with its contents in all respects. We are here to help you – please ask questions whenever you wish.
4. Level of Service Agreement
4.1 In publicly funded cases, we will prepare and send your defence or admission within the deadline, after we have received the grant of LAA funding certificate or Representation Order and you have provided all relevant documents that will enable us to respond to the claim. We will notify you as soon as we send the defence or admission to the court or the other party.
4.2 The decision of the court concerning your case will be a refusal or a grant. As soon as we receive a decision of the court regarding the proceeding, we have completed and discharged this retainer. After such decision any further work like appeal against the decision will attract additional fees. We will discuss that if the need arises.
4.3 We shall endeavour to keep you informed about the progress of the case and also seek your instruction on any issues or developments, which may arise as this matter progresses. We are able to deal with such matter after you have provided the instruction sought. In that case your delay in providing instruction will delay the action we need to take and slow the progress of the case.
4.4 In this retainer we agreed that you will call us at any time during office hours. We will endeavour to respond to your call within 48 hours of receiving it. You can also make your inquiries in writing.
4.5 The exact time scale in this matter given current trend cannot be estimated as delay may arise due to the high number of cases pending in court. If we feel that the case is being delayed, we will inquire from the court and advise you of the progress.
5. Success Guarantee
5.1 We cannot give a guarantee that your claim shall have a successful outcome because it depends on the evidence that you have given to support your claim and whether you have provided satisfactory evidence is for the court to decide. We will advise further on the merit of your case when we receive further information and documents requested.
6.1 As Solicitors, we are under a professional and legal obligation to keep our client’s affairs confidential. This means that we cannot disclose your information to a third party without your consent. External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. This external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. This obligation, however, is subject to 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 and Organised Crime Agency. 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 this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.
7.1 Please let us have clear instructions and make sure that we have understood each other correctly. We will, usually, relate your instruction as we understand them to be in a client care letter at the onset of your instructions to us. If you are unsure about anything, please ask us to explain.
7.3 Deal promptly with any correspondence or questions and we shall endeavour to do the same.
7.4 Tell us of any important time limits or if you are going to be unavailable for a period of time.
7.5 Help us to plan our working day. Unless it is urgent or you need to discuss matters, write to us rather than telephoning. If you wish to see someone, please make an appointment.
8. Fees (relating to all matters)
8.1 Where we have given you an estimated/fixed fee. This is based upon the standard transaction and is designed to cover a reasonable number of telephone calls, letters, faxes, e-mails and/ or documents. If the transaction is unexpectedly complicated or lengthy, we reserve the right to charge an additional hourly rate over and above the quoted fee. We will notify you in advance if this is the case.
8.2 Unless and until either (a) an alternative fee arrangement has been agreed and confirmed in writing by us or (b) you are entitled to have the fee of Victory at Law Solicitors paid by the Legal Aid Agency, the basis for calculation of our fees is described below. This is mainly by reference to the time spent by the relevant fee earner and staff on dealing with the transaction or case, the time charged being all time spent on your affairs. This will include attendances upon yourself and perhaps others; any time spent travelling; considering, preparing and working on papers and correspondence; making and receiving telephone calls; all time spent making file notes; etc.
8.3 Each solicitor and trainee’s time is charged out at an hourly rate (broken down into six minute units) which reflects overhead costs. Routine letters, telephone calls and faxes are charged at a single unit whereas longer telephone calls or letters are timed in six minute units, as are all other matters. File opening is charged at £50.00. Minimum charge on any matter is £75.00 + VAT.
Pay band A (Solicitors with over 8 years’ experience): £350.00
8.5 Where your instructions require that work is done outside of normal office hours, we reserve the right to increase the level of the hourly rate. Your client care letter will indicate all negotiated hourly rate.
8.6 The hourly rates set out above are normally reviewed annually to take effect from the 1st November. Details of any revision of rates occurring during the continuance of a case or transaction will be supplied to you. These rates may not be appropriate in cases of exceptional complexity or urgency. Where it becomes apparent that such circumstances exist, we reserve the right to cease acting for you unless revised rates are agreed for future work.
8.7 Some transactions involving a substantial financial consideration or benefit to the client, may attract fees calculated by reference to the time spent and also by reference to a value element based on e.g. the size of the Estate or the value of the financial benefit. The value element reflects the importance of the transaction and the consequent responsibility falling on the Firm. Further information on the calculation of the value element and whether it will be applied to your case will be supplied.
8.8 In relation to payments made by us on your behalf e.g. for such items as Court fees, Counsel’s fees, fees for medical reports, search fees, Land or Probate Registry fees, etc., Victory at Law Solicitors have no obligation to effect such payment unless funds have been provided by you for that purpose. VAT is payable on some of these payments.
8.9 Fees are payable whether or not a case is successfully concluded or a transaction is completed. If any case or transaction does not proceed to completion for any reason during the period in which we are instructed, then we shall be entitled to charge for work done on the basis set out above but, in our absolute discretion, we may waive part or all of such entitlement to fees.
8.11 You should take careful note that instructing Victory at Law Solicitors to take on your matter under a No Win No Fee agreement involves us acting your case throughout its lifetime with obvious cost implication to Victory at Law Solicitors. This is done without charge or interest payable by you. Victory at Law Solicitors, therefore, anticipates making profit out of their share of your costs/damages. You should therefore realise that although there is no restriction on your changing solicitors in your matter there are financial matters to be settled. Should you wish to change solicitors and we are confident that Victory at Law Solicitors are providing a full and proper service, you will be invoiced the full cost of the work we have carried out to-date at our private rates according to our Terms and Conditions. Your new chosen Solicitors will also have to provide a written undertaking to discharge our No Win No Fee percentage out of any future compensation received. Both these matters are required to be satisfied prior to your file of papers being handed over.
8.12 Other cases or transactions – It is helpful if you pay us as of when due to avoid any delay in the progress of your case. In transactions or cases likely to continue for more than one month, interim accounts covering the work already carried out will normally be rendered from time to time. This procedure enables you to budget the costs as the matter progresses. In the event of any account or request for payment on account not being paid, we reserve the right to decline to act further in the case. The full amount of work done up to that date will be subject to a final account rendered and will be a debt due from you.
8.13 Interest will be charged at 4% over Barclays Bank PLC’s base rate from time to time from the date of delivery of an account in cases where payment is not made within twenty-eight days of such delivery. Victory at Law Solicitors will be entitled to charge for all expenses and costs to which we are put in recovering monies due to us.
8.14 In cases or transactions continuing for some period of time, you may find it convenient to arrange regular payments on account by way of Bank Standing Order. If you wish to make use of this facility, please raise this with us.
8.17 There may be circumstances where Victory At Law may be entitled to exercise a lien for unpaid costs.
9.1 In some litigation cases a successful client may be entitled to the payment of costs by some other party to the proceedings. However, it is rare for the system of “taxation” of costs, as it is known, to result in the other party having to pay the full amount of the costs incurred by the client with their own Solicitor. If the other party is in receipt of Legal Aid, no costs are likely to be recovered. You should realise that the primary liability for costs incurred with Victory at Law Solicitors is yours even in a case where it is expected that an order for costs will be obtained against another party. Further, the costs of seeking to enforce such an order for costs against another party have to be met by you.
9.2 Should your claim against your opponent fail then it is possible for the Court to order you to pay your opponent’s costs of the proceedings. However, for those who are legally aided, there is some degree of protection by virtue of Section 17 of the Legal Aid Act 1988 which provides that an order for costs against a legally aided must not exceed the amount (if any) which the Court considers reasonable for that party to pay. The Court has to take into account all of the circumstances, including the financial circumstances of both parties and their conduct in connection with the dispute. The Court will usually order costs against a losing legally aided party but direct that these costs are not to be enforced without leave of the Court. The effect of such a direction is that the winner would have to apply to Court for leave to take enforcement action to recover their costs.
10.1 If we hold money on your behalf, subject to the terms of these paragraphs, interest will be calculated and credited to you on the quarter date and in accordance with the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 1991. Subject to certain minimum amounts and period of time prescribed by the Rules, interest will be calculated and paid at the rates from time to time payable on Barclays Bank PLC’s Business Services Practice Call Deposit Accounts less a sum of £20.00 to take into account the administrative costs of calculation and payment in respect of each amount of interest as and when calculated. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which cleared funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any cheques in discharge thereof. In lengthy matters, interest is calculated on our Accounting quarter dates; end January, end April, end July and end October. However, Victory At Law Solicitors does not currently hold client account. These will therefore not currently apply to you.
10.2 Where clients obtain borrowing from a lender, Victory at Law Solicitors will request the lender to arrange that the advance cheque is received by us a minimum of four working days prior to the completion date to ensure that cleared funds are available in time for completion. You should note that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of the cheque.
10.3 Where a client has taken out a loan through a third party to fund litigation, in all cases where we receive money on your behalf, which must be paid to discharge your loan, we will pay that received money into our Office Account. In such cases, the client is not entitled to receive the money from us on demand as we have a superior duty to discharge/reduce your loan. Interest will not be earned on such balances.
10.4 As the liability for your solicitors costs are always yours, although we may be instructed to obtain all or part of those costs from your opponent, our costs bill, once it has been agreed for payment with your opponent, will be secured by money held on your behalf in our Clients Account. For this purpose such security will be transferred to our Office account as against the outstanding account.
11.1 We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. We may need to virus check discs or email. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by fax, email and other social media communication methods but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent through them.
12. Data Protection
12.1 In order to act for you we may need to hold personal data about you, including information such as medical records and reports which are sensitive and personal. We will hold that data only for the purpose of acting for you in relation to your case and will not use the data for any other purposes. In the course of acting for you, we may need to disclose some data to third parties, including experts we ask to help you and other party to the claim and their advisers.
12.2 You have the right to receive details of the personal information we hold about you following payment of a fee. If you have any questions or need further information on how we will deal with your data, please write to: Compliance Director, at our office address. The Data Protection Act and the General Data Protect Regulation (GDPR) requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you.
13.1 .Under the Indemnity Insurance Rules firms are required to take out and maintain qualifying insurance. Details of Victory at Law Solicitor’s insurance can be found at our office, or you can contact us to request this information.
14.1 There are now in force strict rules in respect of money laundering. It is now a requirement that we report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) any transaction that we are involved in where there is any suspicion of money laundering. This is in direct conflict with the Solicitor/Client usual confidential relationship. Where you instruct us to accept or hold or pay over money on your behalf, if the circumstances give us cause that a proper disclosure ought to be made to the Authorities you hereby authorise us to make such disclosure on your behalf. In such circumstances we shall not be liable for any consequential losses following from such disclosure. If you are not content for us to make such report then we can no longer act for you.
15. Proof of Identity
15.1 Under the Proceeds of Crime Act we have to take full Proof of Identity from you. We usually do this at the first meeting. However, if we have not yet done so for whatever reason, we will ask you to make an appointment for this as soon as possible.
16.1 If during the course of your instructions, you require 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 carrying out for you.
17. Storage of papers and deeds
17.1 Following the conclusion of a transaction or case, we will retain your file of papers for a minimum of 6 years on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy it after this period of time. If, however, you request for documents during the storage period we may charge you a nominal fee to cover the costs for retrieval.
17.2 If you require such papers (including pre-registration deeds and documents where the title to a property has been registered at H M Land Registry) to be kept for any specific period you must give notice in writing to us to that effect and, in the event of such notice being given, we reserve the right to require you to take personal custody of the papers.
18. Future instructions
18.1 Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to all future instructions given by you to us.
19.1 You have the right to transfer to another solicitor, and 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 to the firm for our charges and expenses. Should this happen and your case is still outstanding we will be entitled to apply our hourly rate as outlined above in ascertaining how much you will pay us. In that case, the agreed fee would no longer be applicable. However, in cases that are publicly funded, your legal funding may not be transferred if it is considered you are acting unreasonably.
19.2 We may have to decline to act further for you if there is some conflict or other circumstances that puts us in a position where the solicitor/client relationship has broken down, for example: if you do not pay a bill, if you fail to comply with a request for payment of money on account, if you do not give us clear or proper instructions, if I cannot continue to act without being in breach of rules of professional conduct or if there has been an irretrievable breakdown in trust and confidence. We would give you notice in the unlikely event that this happens.
19.3 Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it should be helpful if you would please sign and return one copy of the same for us to retain on our file.