Terms and Conditions of Business

General Introduction

All work undertaken by LCS Legal Services Group Ltd and its subsidiary companies (the Company) for its Clients (the Client) is governed by these Terms of Business (‘Terms’).

It is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that all information provided is accurate and complete, and all Clients are reminded that it is their responsibility to check all documents thoroughly before signing. Under no circumstances should a document be signed unless a Client thoroughly understands the contents and is satisfied with the contents.

Responsibility for Your Legal Work

A named Legal Professional in the Company Legal Department will be responsible for your work and will be your principal point of contact. That person will be identified in our acknowledgement letter or email together with details of any other persons nominated to handle your work.

Fees and Disbursements Costs

Our fees are as specified in the Instruction Document or Agreement or Initial Letter and are either based on a fixed fee arrangement for a specific type of work or charged on an hourly basis. Disbursements such as but not limited to Land Registry and Probate and Probate Application costs and other statutory costs are charged in addition. The cost of all services and method of charging will be confirmed in writing. Fees are payable whether or not your work is successfully concluded or when a non fixed fee transaction is completed. If any 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 the work completed up to date of termination. VAT at the prevailing rate is chargeable in addition unless otherwise stated on the Initial Letter or Agreement or Receipt.

Any work not falling within the agreed remit will be chargeable either at a fixed additional cost or on an hourly rate according to the time spent on your particular work.

Where your work is charged on an hourly rate basis and unless otherwise agreed, those fees will be charged in accordance with the time spent dealing with your work.

Our current hourly rates are: Associate Paralegal £50 per hour, Senior Qualified Paralegal £75 per hour, IOP Fellow Paralegal £125, Lawyer £180 per hour. These rates may change in the future but are correct as at 1st March 2017.

Payment of Fees and Disbursements

Unless your work is charged on a pro-forma basis you will be invoiced either when we have completed the work necessary or, if the matter is a lengthy one and it is more appropriate to invoice on a periodical basis, e.g. in the case of estate administration, initially once the Grant of Representation has been received and thereafter quarterly or at an appropriate stage in the conduct of the matter. 

We may send you interim bills where work is carried out over a period of time. This avoids a build-up of fees and helps you to budget for costs as the matter proceeds. The timing and the amount of the interim bills will depend on a variety of factors but will reflect our work done for you, reaching an appropriate stage and the proportion of the total work having been undertaken.

A final account of our charges and expenses will be sent to you at the end of the work. You permit us to deduct our charges and expenses, whether interim or final from any money we are then holding to pay for additional disbursements and these will be notified to you in writing. 

Payments to Third Parties

Where applicable you agree to pay the annual/monthly maintenance fee as stated in the Instruction Form. If you fail to pay this maintenance fee to either us, the Company or such other associated Company acting as Trustee from time to time by standing order or to make payments in advance when so requested we may decide to withdraw our services pursuant to these Terms. 

Service commitment

We will endeavour to:

• Represent your interests and keep your work confidential
• Explain to you the Legal work which may be required and keep you informed
• Make sure that you understand the costs involved in your work being completed
• Keep you regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us
• Try to explain everything clearly but please let us know if you need anything explaining in greater detail
• Respond to your queries promptly, for example, we will always try to return your telephone calls on the same day if possible.

Instructions

To enable us to handle the work properly on your behalf, you agree to provide us with complete, accurate and truthful instructions and to supply these and any such further information as we may request within a reasonable period of time of our requesting such information.

Where instructions have been received from you either in writing or verbally at a client interview or over the telephone, where necessary we will endeavour to confirm those instructions to you in writing. You are authorising us to take necessary steps to protect your interests in carrying out your instructions (unless you instruct us to the contrary) and we shall not be responsible for any failure to advise or comment on any matter which falls outside the scope of your stated instructions. Where you are instructing us as spouse/cohabitees/partners you hereby jointly agree that until you inform us to the contrary, instructions from one of you will be deemed to be instructions of you both. 

Hours of Business

Our normal opening hours are from 9.00 am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday (subject to change). Please note that we do not normally provide our services outside of the day and times stated above except where we have made prior arrangements with you.

How you can help us

Your responsibilities to us are to provide clear, prompt and accurate instructions; to provide the necessary information in order to progress your case; to advise us of any important time limits; to put us in funds promptly and when requested, and to tell us promptly of any changes to your circumstances that may affect your instructions to us.

Money Laundering Regulations 

Proof of Identity

We are required under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to obtain satisfactory proof of identity from all Clients. It is essential that you supply us with evidence of your identity and evidence of your address as soon as you instruct us to act for you. We reserve the right to carry out electronic identity checks through third party providers of this service in order to satisfy those regulations. Where this is necessary you agree to pay the cost of that electronic search plus the VAT at the prevailing rate per name and will be charged to you as a disbursement on our invoice. We will advise you of those costs prior to searches being undertaken.

Please therefore provide us with one of the documents from List A below or two of the documents from List B

List A

List B

Alternatively, if you are not able to attend this office with evidence of your identification, please send us two original documents from list B or copies which have been certified by a Solicitor or Accountant. Upon request we may be able to arrange a Skype interview to complete the identification process.

Please let us know if you have any difficulty in complying with this request

Cash and Cheques

Our Company’s policy is usually only to accept cash up to £500. If money is deposited direct with our bank without our prior agreement we may charge you any additional checks we may decide are necessary regarding the source of the funds.

We cannot pay any money due to you, either to you or to anyone else, in cash. Any money due to you, during or at the end of your transaction, will be paid to you by cheque or bank transfer. We reserve the right to make a reasonable charge for the cost of sending money by bank transfer. 

Third Party Receipts and Payments

We reserve the right to make additional checks if money due from you is received from a third party or if you ask us to send money due to you to a third party instead of to you. We may refuse to accept money from or send it to a third party.

Data Protection Act 1998

We have a professional duty of confidentiality in relation to information held about you and your affairs. The Data Protection Act requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We use your personal data for the provision of our services to you and for related purposes including: updating and enhancing client records, analysis to help us manage our practice, statutory returns and Legal and Regulatory Compliance. Our use of your information is subject to your instructions and the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as other professional advisers.

You have a right of access under Data Protection Legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. Our electronic data may also be backed up to a third party provider of this service. Unless you confirm otherwise we may, from time to time, use your details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you.

Client Confidentiality

We may also be required to produce all or part of your file to our auditors and other assessors as part of an audit or quality check. These external organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. In the event of a claim against us it will be necessary for us to show our file to our Professional Indemnity Insurers. 

Financial Services

We currently hold Financial Conduct Authority ( FCA) license’s for some of the services offered by us, however, we are not Financial Advisors and therefore cannot give specific financial advice. Should any of our clients require additional financial advice or services, we will refer you to someone who is authorized by the FCA to provide the necessary advice or service.

Complaints

If you have any comments or concerns about the service we provide to you or wish to discuss any aspect of your matter, then please contact the Legal specialist handling your work or the identified paralegal with responsibility for your work, or failing that our Managing Director. We will try to resolve any problem quickly. We operate a formal complaints handling procedure, and any complaints should be addressed to the Managing Director at Legal & Contract Services Ltd, 1A Millennium Building, Unit 5 Dawlish Business Park, Dawlish, Devon EX7 0NH. 

Money held by us

Money held by us for you, whether on account of fees or disbursements or otherwise, will be placed into our Client Account. Where we act as Executor or Trustee (whether in a capacity as Officers of the Company or of an associated Company), the money will be held in our Client Trustee Account. Interest will be paid on monies held by us. The period for which interest is paid will normally run from the date(s) when we receive the cleared funds until the date(s) on the cheques issued to you. We will pay the interest without deduction of tax and it is your responsibility to declare the interest you receive for tax purposes. Money held by us (including accrued interest and money held for your associates) may without reference to you be taken by us in payment or part payment of our costs, whether overdue or not, including any outstanding disbursements. Payment of interest will be paid at the end of your transaction. If we place Client’s money in a designated client deposit account you will receive the interest actually earned on the account. If money held by us is Trust money then the full amount of the interest will be paid to the Trust.

Termination of our Services

Except for monthly paid Lifetime Services Plans including Ultimate Living Wills or Storage & Updates or Ultimate Asset Protection services, you may end your Contract by confirming this in writing to us at any time for whatever reason. For example, you may decide you cannot give us clear and proper instructions on how to proceed, or you may lose confidence in our work. No penalty shall be payable upon termination but we shall be entitled to invoice you and be remunerated for work undertaken in accordance with these Terms. We may also decide to withdraw our services and we shall give you reasonable notice where we have reasonable grounds to do so (including failure by you or your associates to settle invoices in full on the due date; or to make payments in advance when so requested). If either party end the Contract, you will pay our charges on a pro rata or hourly basis depending on the fee structure for your particular work. We are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while you owe us any money for fees and expenses.

Our Charging Policy

In order to provide a clear and transparent Charging Policy, if either party decide to cease acting for any reason before your work is completed, after the appropriate cancellation period has expired, then our charges for fixed fee matters will be calculated by reference to the actual work carried out on your behalf as at the date of termination. The amount that we will charge you (depending on the stages completed as set out below) is expressed as a percentage. They are as follows:- 

Stages Completed - Percentage of the fee we will charge you

For example, if this Contract is terminated by you or us for any reason following ‘Drafting of the Documents’, we shall be entitled to 100% of the fee quotation. This will result in no monies being repayable to you on termination. Where you have provided a sum on account of costs and either party decide to cease acting, we will immediately inform you of our charges according to the percentages above. Should we determine that you are entitled to a refund, this will be returned to you as soon as practicable. In no circumstances will our fixed charges exceed any agreed fixed fee that you pay on account, except with your prior consent.

Ultimate Service Agreements & Monthly Payment Agreements

The Agreements denote the scope of services provided and the terms of payment and contain a cool off period and cancellation instructions.

Storage of Documents and Files

Files and other papers relating to your work will be stored for such time as we judge reasonable. We may store your file or papers (excluding Deeds and Securities) by microfilming or any other means of electronic image processing and destroy the original paper copy. Otherwise your file will be retained for the minimum period as appropriate to the type of transaction. This is at least 6 years after the date of the final bill. At the end of the appropriate storage period your file (excluding Deeds and Securities) will be destroyed without further reference to you. Until such time as the papers are destroyed they may be returned to you upon request, provided there are no sums outstanding in respect of our fees and disbursements and a process payment fee may be applicable to cover our costs and postage. We provide a safe custody service in respect of Wills, Trusts, Deeds and other Securities and reserve the right to charge you for this service and notice of those charges will be provided by the person responsible for your work. Those charges may be payable on a monthly or annual basis. We do not make a charge for retrieving stored papers deeds and files where a monthly/annual storage fee is payable unless otherwise stated. In all other cases we reserve the right to make a reasonable charge for time spent retrieving old files or papers relating to completed matters and for any time spent in reading the file, providing copies of files, writing letters, releasing Wills, Deeds and other Securities from safe storage, or doing any other work at your request. Our charges will vary according to the time spent but will be calculated based on the time spent plus the costs of any photocopying and postage with a minimum fee of £50+VAT and postage. We require 7 working days prior written notice for release of Wills, Deeds, Files and other Securities (which may be stored off site). Payment must be paid prior to release of documents. 

Value Added Tax

Except for fixed cost services, our charges exclude VAT, which will be in addition and chargeable at the applicable rate and any estimates or indications of our charges or taxable disbursements exclude VAT.

Extent of our Liability

You acknowledge and agree that if you wish to make a claim relating to or in connection with the services provided by us, the claim can only be brought against the Company and not against the individual members, officers or employees. Our total liability to you for any breach of your instructions shall be limited to the fees charged by us unless we expressly state a higher amount in the letter accompanying these Terms and in any event shall not in any circumstances exceed our Professional Indemnity Insurance limit. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, direct or indirect or exemplary damages, costs, 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. We will not be responsible for any increased liability falling on us by reason of any limit which you may agree with any other adviser or which may otherwise fall on us by reason of any contributory negligence of any other person against whom you do not make recovery for any reason.

This is relevant where we and other persons may be liable in respect of the same damage. In these circumstances, our liability will be limited to such sums as we ought reasonably to pay, having regard to our responsibility for the damage (within the meaning of s2(1) of the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978) and on the basis that such other persons are deemed to have paid having regard to their own responsibility for it and disregarding any limitation which you may have agreed with them, any subsequent extension of your claims against that person or the fact that such person has ceased to exist.

If you agree to limit the liability of such persons, or if the claim against them lapses or becomes extinguished for any reason or is not pursued by you or such persons fail to satisfy any judgement obtained by you, we will not be liable to you for more than the net amount we would have paid, after allowing for the amounts you would otherwise have been entitled to recover from such other persons. 

Custody Services

Where we receive documents of title including investments on your behalf these will be held in safe custody which will be registered in your name. We shall record separately when those documents are received by us and when they are sent out by us and those documents will be separately identified in your name. Appropriate instruction from you as to the retention or dispatch of such documents will be given by you in writing.

Notice of the Right to Cancel

This Notice has been provided to you because you have entered into a contract to which the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008 (‘the Regulations’) apply. The contract is for the supply to you of our services. The person providing the services is referred to in the Regulations as ‘the trader’. Under the Regulations, you have the right to cancel this contract if you wish to do so. In order to exercise your right to cancel the contract, you need to deliver or send a cancellation notice, that is, a written notice that you wish to cancel the contract.

Any cancellation notice should be delivered or sent by recorded delivery to the Operations Manager at Legal & Contract Services Ltd, 1A Millennium Building, Unit 5 Dawlish Business Park, Dawlish, Devon, EX7 0NH.

You have 14 days in which to serve a cancellation notice and this begins from the date when you receive this Notice. This 14 day period is referred to in the Regulations as ‘the cancellation period’. 

Under the Regulations, a cancellation notice is treated as being served as soon as it is sent or posted to the trader. For the purposes of Schedule 4 of the Regulations the “Reference No” shall be the date and any reference as shown on the Agreement or Instruction Form.

The “date” of this Notice shall be the date the Terms are signed by you and which shall be effective immediately thereafter. If you agree in writing that the performance of this contract should begin before the end of the cancellation period, then even if you cancel you may still be required to pay for the service supplied. If you wish to cancel this contract you MUST DO SO IN WRITING within 14 days and if necessary by using the Cancellation Form on the Agreement. 

Variation

At the absolute discretion of the Company these Terms may be subject to any variation but must be agreed with you in writing and signed by a Company Director

At the end of our Work

We will write confirming the conclusion of it, explain any continuing consequences, render our account unless we have already done so and account to you for all money due from you or to you, let you have any papers and property for which you ask and to which you are entitled, subject to any right to retain them if our account has not been paid. 

Intellectual Property

You shall not copy or use or distribute to any third party any marketing material you receive from us nor cause or permit anything which may damage or endanger the Intellectual Property Rights owned by us in relation to such material.

You acknowledge that the Legal Documentation we supply to you including, without limitation, the content in the form of data, text, graphics and information is protected by copyright, trademarks or patents and shall only be used as expressly set forth in these Terms.

UNAUTHORISED COPYING, USE, DUPLICATING, REPRODUCTION, MODIFICATION, DISTRIBUTING OR ANY OTHER MISUSE OF OUR WORK AND DOCUMENTS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. 

Associates

Where the Client is a business owner or has Associates these Terms shall apply to you and your Associates, which for the purpose of the same Terms includes all Businesses and Associates and Companies which you control or are acquainted with or do business with either directly or indirectly. 

Governing Law

Any dispute or Legal issues arising from these Terms will be determined by the Law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.

Please ask for details of any of our services including:

  1. WILLS
  2. TRUSTS (inc Asset Protection)
  3. ESTATE PLANNING ADVICE
  4. LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
  5. PROBATE
  6. COURT OF PROTECTION APPLICATIONS
  7. FUNERAL PLANS
  8. CLIENT ACCEPTANCE

LEGAL AND CONTRACT SERVICES LTD

1A Millennium Building, Unit 5, Dawlish Business Park, Dawlish, Devon EX7 0NH Tel: 0345 017 8250 or 01626 888162

Email: office@lcslegal.co.uk