Welcome to Albin and Co Solicitors, specialising in
Thank you for instructing Albin & Co. Solicitors to assist you.
For the purpose of these Terms and Conditions “we” “our” “us” or “the Company” means Albin & Co Ltd trading as Albin & Co Solicitors which is a Limited Company. The registered office and principle place of business is at 46a West Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1TZ. Persons referred to in these Terms and Conditions as “directors” are members of that Company.
These Terms and Conditions, together with our client care letter and instructions letter, set out the basis on which we will provide our services and should be read together. The Terms and Conditions including the limits on liability will apply to all services provided to you from time to time unless we have entered into a specific written agreement which expressly excludes or modifies them in whole or in part.
Any business conducted with us is solely with Albin & Co. Ltd who has sole legal liability for the work done for you and for any act or omission in the course of that work. No member, director, principal, employee, associate or consultant of the Company will have any personal liability for work undertaken for you. If any of them signs in his or her own name any letter or other document in the course of carrying out that work it does not mean he or she is assuming any personal legal liability for that letter or document.
1. General Basis for Acceptance of Instructions
Instructions will be accepted or declined in accordance with the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, as it may from time to time be amended.
We are free to use such members of our staff or agents in connection with your case as we consider to be appropriate and in your best interests.
You will notify us in writing if communications are to be sent to you other than at the postal address, fax number or email address you have provided, and whether particular advice is to remain undisclosed to other persons associated with you. Unless you tell us not to do so, we may communicate to you by email and do not accept responsibility for any breach of confidentiality which may occur, whether because of a fault or omission on your part or by any of your agents or the result of any action of a third party. We do not encrypt, password protect or digitally sign any e-mail or document sent by us unless agreed with you in writing.
You will provide us with sufficient information to enable us to carry out our work in a timely manner. This will include relevant documents, notes, agreements, emails, correspondence and personal statements. You will safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for discovery.
It is our practice to check for conflicts of interest in appropriate cases. However, an actual or potential conflict between your interests and the interests of another advised party may arise during the course of a matter. If this situation arises during our dealings with you we will discuss it with you and determine the appropriate course of action. In order to protect your interests we may not be permitted to continue to act for you.
If we are instructed to act for a third party, in circumstances where we hold information which is confidential to you which would be material and adverse to that third party, we may accept that party’s instructions provided that we put in place such information barriers as may be suitable to prevent the passage of that information to the third party. Your consent to our proceeding in that manner is deemed to have been explicitly given by your agreeing to these Terms and Conditions.
Part of our transcription may be outsourced to a third party based in the UK or overseas. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that confidentiality and security of information is strictly adhered to.
2. Charges and Expenses – Publicly Funded Matters
Where we are acting for you under the Civil Controlled Work (Legal Help and Controlled Legal Representation) or Civil Legal Aid Certificate then our hourly charging rate will be that set by the Legal Aid Agency (“LAA”) from time to time. In most Mental Health cases, the LAA will make payment to us of a fixed fee rather than make payment at an hourly rate. It is agreed in such cases that such payment will constitute our fee for your matter.
Where your work is funded by the LAA our charges and expenses may be paid by the LAA on your behalf. However, should your Civil Legal Aid be revoked or discharged at any time, we reserve the right to cease acting for you further until an alternative funding arrangement has been agreed. In addition in those circumstances, you may become liable to us or to the LAA for some or all of the costs incurred in your case.
In cases which are funded by a Legal Aid Certificate, a separate document outlining our actual costs, details on obligations and the limitations on work will be sent to you.
MENTAL HEALTH WORK
3. Legal Help and Controlled Legal Representation:
Actual Costs: Non-Tribunal Cases: Legal Help
Mental Health cases which do not concern a tribunal application are paid at a fixed fee of £253. The fee is payable for work in matters where the issues are separate from the tribunal process such as a separate Hospital Manager’s hearing or cases involving complaints or the provision of treatment where there is no tribunal application. Should work carried out on a non-tribunal case go beyond £759 then we will be paid an hourly rate as detailed below.
Actual Costs: Tribunal Cases: Controlled Legal Representation
Mental Health Cases which concern a tribunal application fall into 3 separate levels which include:
- Level 1 Initial Advice: this is paid at a fixed fee of £129 and covers initial advice to you in cases where you are eligible and submit or has submitted an application for a tribunal hearing. It covers the work done in making the initial visit to you, and follow-up work such as sending initial letters of instruction or making the application for a tribunal hearing if one has not already been made. Should the work carried out at this level go beyond £387 then we will be paid at an hourly rate at the rates detailed below.
- Level 2 Negotiation and Preparation: this is paid at a fixed fee of £321 and covers all negotiation with third parties (such as doctors and hospital managers) and all preparation for a tribunal hearing after the initial advice has been given and the tribunal application has been made. This fee can only be claimed if 30 minutes of preparation or advice or where there has been separate communication with other parties on legal issues. It will cover work dealing with Manager’s hearing or meetings with professionals involved in your case between an application for a tribunal hearing being made and the hearing taking place. Our ability to attend such hearings or meetings will depend on the nature of the issues to be discussed and whether legal advice and / or representations will be required. Should work carried out at this level go beyond £1350 then we will be paid at an hourly rate at the rates detailed below.
- Level 3 Representation before a Tribunal: this is paid at a fixed fee of £249 and covers us representing you in a tribunal hearing and in relation to any aftercare services. Should work carried out at this level go beyond £2232 then we will be paid at an hourly rate at the rates detailed below.
- Adjourned Hearings: Please note that if your case takes more than one tribunal hearing to reach a final decision then we will be paid an additional £117 for each adjourned hearing. This additional £117 will be added to the overall fixed fee of £744 and we will only be paid an hourly rate if the total time spent on you file goes beyond £2232 plus 3 times the added fee of £117 per adjourned hearing.
Hourly Rates, Telephone Calls and Letters
Level 1 Tribunal Cases & Non-Tribunal Cases:
Telephone Calls: £3.78
Preparation & Attendance: £48.24
Travel & Waiting: £27
Level 2 & 3 Tribunal Cases:
Telephone Calls: £3.87
Preparation & Attendance: £54.09
Travel & Waiting: £27.81
We will, on giving reasonable notice be free to refuse to act or continue acting if:–
- We are or may be in breach of the law or the principles of professional conduct by accepting or continuing to accept instructions;
- We consider there is or may be a conflict or risk of conflict between your interests and those of any other client of ours or Albin & Co. Ltd;
- Any account rendered by us in respect of fees or disbursements has not been paid within 30 days of its date; or
- Any request for money on account of costs or disbursements incurred or to be incurred has not been complied with within 30 days.
- We may also discontinue acting on other reasonable grounds.
You may terminate our retainer in writing at any time. In some circumstances, you may consider we ought to stop acting for you, if, for example, you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work. If you or we decide that we can no longer act for you, you are liable for our charges up to the date of termination.
5. Consequences of Termination
If our instructions are terminated for any reason then we may in addition to any other remedy available to us:–
- retain any deeds, securities or other documents under our control or;
- retain any monies for the time being standing to any account you may have with us until payment on each case has been made of all outstanding costs and disbursements (including, any not yet billed) together with VAT and costs and disbursements incurred in connection with the termination.
If we cease acting for you, we shall, where relevant, apply at your expense to remove ourselves from the court or employment tribunal record.
6. Continuing Obligations
Unless specifically agreed otherwise we shall not be under any continuing obligation to advise you of changes in the law which may affect advice previously given.
All communications generated between us during the currency of our retainer shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any third party without consent.
As part of our commitment to provide a good quality service to you we may, from time to time, invite suitably qualified external assessors periodically to review our files on a sample basis for compliance. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
7. Equality and Diversity
Albin & Co. Solicitors are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, employees and other agencies. Please contact us if you wish to see a copy of our Equality and Diversity policy.
8. Compliance and Complaints
We are confident that Albin & Co. will provide you with first class advice and representation. If however you feel that in any way dissatisfied with the service you have received, please initially contact the fee-earner with conduct of your case to see if it can be resolved.
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). We are committed to providing the very best quality legal advice and client care. We strive to provide all of our clients with an efficient and effective service. If you wish to discuss how your service could have been improved please contact Chris Albin who is the Partner responsible for complaints resolution on 0118 957 4018 or E-mail email@example.com or alternatively write to him at Albin & Co. 46a West Street, Reading, RG1 1TZ. We have a procedure in the event of a complaint being made and will provide you with all relevant information immediately. We are permitted 8 weeks to consider your grievance. If we are unable to resolve the problem with you, you may ask the Legal Ombudsman to deal with the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted at :
T. 0300 550300
PO BOX 6806
Please be aware that any complaint to the Ombudsman must usually be made within 6 months of your receipt from us of a final written response, or within 12 months of the act or omission about which you are complaining.
As of 1st February 2013, the Legal Ombudsman the following changes were made.
The time limit for accepting a complaint has increased to 6 years from the date of act/omission or 3 years from when the complainant should have known about the complaint. This new time limit will be introduced gradually and the Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness go beyond 6th October 2010.
Should you wish to consult the Solicitor’s Regulations Authority (SRA) handbook, their link can be found on the Albin & Co Ltd website www.acsolicitors.co.uk.
9. Identity and Disclosure Requirements
The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require us to obtain information about a client’s identity and to verify that information. We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply to us, when requested to do so, appropriate proof of identity and address for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent.
Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep their clients’ affairs confidential. However, there is an important exception to this. Under legislation solicitors have a duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction involves money laundering or terrorist financing, the solicitor may be required to disclose this to that Agency without telling the client either that a disclosure has been made or the reasons for it. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
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 arising out of our compliance with any statutory or regulatory requirement in this or any other regard or for any delay occasioned by such compliance or mistaken compliance.
10. Data Protection
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 us manage our practice; statutory returns and legal and regulatory compliance. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our 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 on you. Your particulars are held within the European Union on our database and externally with our business computer software provider. Data may be processed on our behalf by third parties. You expressly agree that we may, from time to time, use your post and/or fax details to send you information about developments in the law and our services which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify Chris Albin in writing.
11. Conclusion and Storage of Papers / Documents
Once your case has finished your file will remain in storage for at least six years, after which it will be reviewed and if necessary destroyed. If you require the file for any reason within six years it will be available.
Correspondence and documents received by us may be routinely scanned into our data storage and retrieval systems. The originals may be destroyed unless you have provided us with specific instructions in writing not to do so. In addition, personal information you provide us will be stored on our systems. We will retain electronic information for a minimum of 6 years. By submitting any correspondence, documents or personal information to us, you consent to the storage of information about you and your matters in such media.
We trust that the terms of this letter and our standard terms of business meet with your approval. If you are not in agreement with the terms set out above then please feel free to contact Chris Albin to discuss them further. In the absence of any disagreement, we will assume that you accept these terms. You should be aware that by doing so, the advice and services at Albin & Co. Solicitors will be deemed to be on the basis of these Standard Terms and Conditions.