Terms and conditions of business
1.1 Your contract is with Beswicks Legal which is the trading name of Beswicks Solicitors LLP (OC322184) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) registration number 533645 and whose registered office is at West Court, Campbell Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 4FB (“Beswicks”). A list of Members is available for inspection at the registered office. Beswicks use the word “Partner” to denote a member of the LLP and/ or a person of equivalent qualification and status employed by the LLP. These terms of business and the notices contained in them should be read in conjunction with, and are subject to, our Terms of Engagement. Together they form the entire agreement between us unless varied by written agreement and are the only terms we will accept. Your continuing instructions shall amount to an acceptance of them.
2. Electronic communications
2.1 Beswicks operate electronic documents and case management systems. Wherever possible we will communicate with you by telephone or electronically by email. Electronic communication carries with it a risk of, but not limited to, interception, inadvertent misdirection or non-delivery. It is your responsibility to carry out a virus check on any attachments received. All risks connected with sending commercially sensitive or other information relating to you and/or your business are borne by you and are your responsibility.
2.2 You agree to communicate with us by telephone and email wherever possible. You should notify us in writing if email is not an acceptable means of communication.
2.3 You agree to us communicating with you at the email address you have provided to us or the email address available on your website.
2.4 We will not send copies of electronically transmitted information by post or other means.
Our responsibility to you:
3.1 You will be informed of the person with day-to-day responsibility of your file and you will be notified of any change if a change should occur. Support and administration staff are not qualified to give legal advice.
3.2 We limit our work for you to the matter on which you are currently seeking advice and we may limit it further to specific areas of advice. The extent of our work for you is recorded in our Terms of Engagement. We will keep you advised of legal issues only to the extent that they relate to the matter on which you have asked us to advise you.
3.3 Our advice is for your benefit alone and must not be copied or disclosed to any third party without our prior written consent. We have no duty to any person or corporate body in relation to advice where it is disclosed without our written consent.
3.4 We shall not be responsible for reviewing advice given to you under previous retainers unless we expressly agree with you to keep previous advice under review. Where we receive or could be given instructions in relation to the same matter from more than one client, those clients will be jointly and individually responsible for our fees unless we agree differently.
3.5 We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees, and are required to produce a written equality and diversity policy (a copy of which is available on request).
Your responsibility to us:
3.6 You will:
3.6.1 provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions;
3.6.2 provide documents when we need them;
3.6.3 safeguard documents you have consulted us about;
3.6.4 comply with our equality and diversity policy in dealing with our staff;
3.6.5 treat all our staff with respect; and
3.6.6 keep us appraised of any changes that may affect your instructions or the matter.
4. Limitations of our liability to you
4.1 Our liability to you will, at all times, be limited to:
4.1.1 £3,000,000 in respect of any one claim. This is the minimum amount of professional indemnity insurance cover we are obliged to provide in accordance with the Solicitors Indemnity Insurance Rules. Our primary professional indemnity insurance is provided by Allianz Insurance.
4.1.2 £3,000,000 where a series of claims arise out of one transaction or set of circumstances or instructions. This is the amount of professional indemnity insurance cover we are obliged to provide.
4.1.3 In the event that paragraphs 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 are found for any reason to be unenforceable then there is a maximum total liability level of cover in place. In this circumstance our liability will be limited to any loss suffered proportionate to our responsibility and taking account of the overall loss and the responsibility of any third parties in any contributory negligence.
4.2 Where any other person, firm or corporate body is or could be made a party to or a witness in any relevant proceedings, is also liable to you for, or has otherwise contributed to, all or part of the same loss or damage as us (a “Culpable Party”) and/or where you have contributed to such loss or damage, our liability shall be limited to such amount as it just and equitable having regard to the extent to which each of us, any such Culpable Party and you is liable for, or has otherwise caused or contributed to, such loss or damage. Any limitation, exclusion or restriction (howsoever arising) on the liability of any Culpable Party and any other matter (whenever arising) including inability to pay or insolvency, affecting the possibility or recovering from any responsible person shall be ignored in determining whether and to what extent that Culpable Party is liable to you for, or has caused or contributed to such loss or damage.
4.3 Neither we nor you shall unreasonably resist the joinder to any relevant proceedings or the calling as a witness in such proceedings of any Culpable Party or their members, officers, employees or agents.
4.4 If the effect of clause 4.2 would be to limit our liability to less than such amount as is fair and reasonable, as determined in accordance with that clause, this clause shall have effect as if it limited our liability (subject to clause 4) to such amount as is fair and reasonable as so determined.
5. Exclusions of our liability to you
5.1 No individual Member, Partner, employee, consultant, or agent of Beswicks contracts with you personally or assumes legal responsibility to you personally on behalf of Beswicks. All correspondence and other communications sent to you in the case of our work shall for all purposes be treated as having been sent by Beswicks. You agree that you will not bring any claim against any individual Member, partner, employee, consultant, or agent of Beswicks personally, and that our Members, partners, employees, consultants and agents may rely on the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 should they need to enforce this clause.
5.2 Whilst we make general comments concerning taxation, pensions and investments, we do not hold ourselves out as experts in these fields and we will have no liability to you in respect of the taxation, pensions and investment treatment of any transaction or proposed transaction. It will be for you to obtain appropriate advice concerning taxation, pensions and investments. You agree that such issues will not fall within our general retainer.
5.3 In property transactions we do not investigate the structural fabric of any building and are only able to provide commercially available searches as to the environment risk in any land transaction. We will not investigate or report on the use or potential future use of land nearby to land being purchased. We recommend that you obtain appropriate advice in relation to all land transactions or corporate transactions involving land and buildings.
5.4 We shall not be liable for any consequential special indirect or exemplary damages costs or losses or any damages costs or losses attributable to lost profits, loss of goodwill or opportunity.
5.5 We shall not be liable for any loss or liability, cost or expense arising from negligence of any third parties instructed on your behalf, even where we have recommended them.
5.6 We shall not be liable for any restitution claim and/or restitution damages of any nature and or claims or refunds of Beswicks fees paid by you to Beswicks and/or fees paid by you or Beswicks to third parties.
5.7 Nothing in these terms and conditions shall limit or exclude our or our members’ or employees’ liability:
5.7.1 for death or personal injury caused by negligence;
5.7.2 in respect of fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation or reckless disregard of professional obligations; or
5.7.3 Any other situations in which the limitations of our or their liability is prohibited by law.
6.1 We have a statutory obligation to comply with Money Laundering Regulations (“Regulations”). We are required to:
6.1.1 obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of our client;
6.1.2 obtain information concerning the source of client funds; and
6.1.3 disclose to the National Crime Agency (“NCA”) any activity concerning you if we know or suspect or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting, money laundering and/or terrorist financing for the purposes of the Regulations. Under the Regulations we may be prohibited from telling you that we have made a disclosure or the reasons for it.
6.2 If circumstances apply to you where we are required to make a disclosure to the NCA pursuant to the Regulations, then we may not be able to continue acting on your matter unless and until we receive the appropriate consent from the NCA to continue. We will not be liable for any loss you may suffer as a result of our having to comply with the Regulations. A full text of the Regulations is available on request.
6.3 For identification purposes we will need to see documentary evidence of both your name and address. In property matters we will also require for individuals your national insurance number and for companies their UTR number. We may also carry out an electronic verification check on your identity using appropriate third- party databases. You consent to such a check being made as part of us accepting your instructions. In performing these checks personal information provided by you may be disclosed to a registered credit reference agency which may keep a record of that information. This is done only to confirm your identity. A credit check is not performed, and your credit rating will be unaffected. All information provided by you will be treated securely and strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.
6.4 In accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the Money Laundering Regulations, we confirm Beswicks Solicitors LLP is the data controller and Nick Phillips is the nominated representative/data protection officer.
6.5 We will only process any documentation or personal data received from you in respect of client due diligence for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing unless (a) use of that data is permitted by or under any enactment or (b) you give express consent for the documentation or personal data to be used for other forms of processing.
6.6 If we are not given satisfactory information at the appropriate time both to verify your identity or concerning the source of funds, we will be obliged to refuse to act for you or terminate the retainer with you.
6.7 Apart from our statutory obligation to comply with the Regulations or as otherwise required by law we shall keep confidential all information that you provide to us.
6.8 The anti-money laundering guidance which UK banks and other financial services firms must adhere to is issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (“JMLSG”). The JMLSG considers all clients with funds deposited in a law firm’s pooled client account to be beneficial owners of that account. The JMLSG does not require banks to routinely identify the beneficial owners of that law firm’s pooled accounts, as they do with most other accounts they issue. Pooled client accounts are granted this exemption on the proviso that this information is available upon request. In the event of our bank requesting information about the beneficial owners of our pooled client account, we have a legal obligation to disclose your details to them.
7. Your money: deposits into our bank account
7.1 We treat electronically received monies as cleared funds as soon as we are notified that our bank account has been credited. We encourage you to make deposits and payments electronically.
7.2 You may receive details of our client bank account to deposit monies with us. This information is for your convenience and should not be disseminated. In the event that monies are received without our prior knowledge and approval we may not be able to return such monies to you until we are satisfied as to our position. This could take several weeks.
7.3 It is our policy not to accept payment in cash over the sum of £500 either direct from the client or deposited with our bank.
7.4 If you obtain borrowing from a lender when we will require the lender to arrange by bank transfer the advance usually the delay before you are due to complete your purchase. This is to ensure that cleared funds are available in time for completion. The lender may charge interest from the date they release the funds.
8. Our charges
8.1 Except in relation to matters where a fixed fee has been agreed the basis for calculation of our charges is mainly by reference to the time spent by the person dealing with the transaction or case and other staff in respect of any work which they will do on your behalf. This will include meeting with you and third parties, any time spent travelling, discussing the position with colleagues, considering, preparing and working on papers and correspondence, making and receiving telephone calls, preparing for court and tribunals, e-fax and emails. Our charges may be more than the actual time incurred.
8.2 Where our charges are on a time spent basis they will be based on an hourly rate. Our time is calculated in units of six minutes. Our standard current hourly rates are set out in our Terms of Engagement. They are reviewed annually.
8.3 We reserve the right to increase the level of the hourly rate by reference to certain factors such as value, where instructions require work to be carried out outside normal hours and according to the level of expertise involved.
8.4 Our 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 terminate the retainer unless revised rates are agreed in substitution.
8.5 We may have to pay out expenses on your behalf, we refer to such payments generally as “disbursements”. We charge for all disbursements incurred. Disbursements may include, for example, court fees, search fees, stamp duty, registration fees and counsel’s fees.
8.6 In property transactions and in the administration of estates and in transactions involving a substantial financial consideration or benefit to you, we may calculate charges both by reference to the time spent and also by reference to a value element based on, e.g. the price of the property, 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 upon us. We will explain any value element in our Terms of Engagement.
8.7 Charges are payable whether or not a case is successfully concluded or a transaction 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.
9. Administration charges, expenses and VAT
9.1 We make the following administrative charges:
9.1.1 our charges include sundry photocopies. However, where volume copying is required then we may make a charge of 15p plus VAT per sheet copied for black and white copies and 25p plus VAT per sheet for colour copies. If external printing is undertaken the actual charge will be charged to you;
9.1.2 mileage is charged to you at 40p per mile plus VAT. Other travel (and where necessary accommodation) is charged at the cost paid;
9.1.3 arranging and completing a same day electronic telegraphic transfer of funds £20 plus VAT;
9.1.4 completion of Stamp Duty Land Tax form as your agent £50 plus VAT;
9.1.5 postage and other similar expenses, where necessarily incurred by us, will be charged at the cost paid; and
9.1.6 For new clients an initial set up admin fee will be charged. Details of this fee will be set out in our Terms of Engagement.
9.2 We have no obligations to arrange or contract with or for barristers, experts, court, search and probate fees or to make payments unless you have provided us with cleared funds for that purpose in advance of us entering into a contract to provide such items.
9.3 Our charges and administration charges do not include VAT which will be added where applicable at the appropriate rate. VAT will be added to third party fees and expenses where applicable at the appropriate rate. Our VAT number is 234 1959 04.
10.1 Any budget is not “fixed” unless we state it is fixed. We will give you indications and forecasts as to possible charges which are not firm “quotations” or “estimates”. We will review budgets periodically and advise you of any alterations.
10.2 There may be a difference between a budget we agree with you and a budget approved by a court. You are responsible to us for any shortfall between them.
10.3 You may set a limit on the charges and expenses to be incurred by notifying us in writing prior to us commencing work on your behalf. This means that you must pay for those incurred up to the agreed limited without our needing to refer back to you. We will inform you as soon as it appears that the limit may be exceeded and will not exceed the limit without first obtaining your consent. We reserve the right to stop work until we have agreed a new limit or basis of charging with you.
11. Costs in civil proceedings
In some litigation cases if you are successful the court may order that another party make payment of a proportion of your incurred legal costs, known as a costs order. If a costs order is made in your favour, it is rare that this will result in the other party having to pay the full amount of the costs incurred by you as not all costs paid to us are recoverable if the court considers them reasonable and proportionate on assessment.
11.1 You have primary liability for the fees you incur for our services even in a case where it is expected that an order for costs might be obtained against another party, or a costs order is obtained. Our costs are payable regardless of whether a costs order is made in your favour or against you. You will also have to meet any costs incurred in instructing us to assist with the enforcement of any such order for costs against another party. Any order in your favour is only good as the paying party’s ability to pay you.
11.2 In some circumstances the Court may order you to pay the other party’s costs and expenses (for example, if you are unsuccessful at trial or at an interim application during the case) Sums payable pursuant to a costs order will be payable in addition to our charges and expenses and may be payable “as you go” often within 14 days.
11.3 Your costs and expenses and your liability for another party’s costs and expenses may be covered by insurances you possess or can obtain. It is your responsibility to enquire and to obtain any such insurance available to you. If you have any legal expenses insurance, you must provide us with details straight away as there may be terms and conditions that apply before insurers will accept responsibility for costs.
12. When and how we will bill you
12.1 Property transactions – we will normally send our bill before completion. We require payment of our charges and administration charges prior to or upon completion. Where sufficient funds are available upon completion, and unless agreed otherwise, we shall deduct from such funds amounts due to us. Please note that payment of our bill and any administration charges by either debit or credit card will need to be made at least 3 working days prior to completion and, for payment by cheque, at least 7 working days prior to completion.
12.2 Administration of estates – it is our usual practice to deliver an interim bill during the administration normally when an application for a grant is ready to be submitted to the Probate Registry. If it will take some time to complete the administration, further interim bills will be rendered periodically, and a final bill will be presented when the estate accounts are delivered for approval.
12.3 In all cases we normally ask you to pay interim invoices and sums of money on account of the charges and expenses which are anticipated in the following weeks or months. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of the case may result.
12.4 In all cases we reserve the right to deliver interim bills at intervals (usually monthly) during the transaction and if work in progress reaches £500.
12.5 Once we have rendered a bill to you, we may use money held on account to pay the charges and any expenses incurred on your behalf.
12.6 In the event of any changes or request for payment on account not being paid we reserve the right to decline to act further. We shall render a final bill up to that date and you will be liable for payment of the full amount.
12.7 For any bill we deliver relating to regulated services you agree to waive your right under Section 69 of the Solicitors Act 1974 to have the bill signed by a partner.
12.8 If you are not satisfied that a bill shows a proper charge, you have various remedies. You may be able to seek a determination of our charges from the Solicitors Regulation Authority or request an “assessment” by the Court under Part 111 of the Solicitors Act 1974. The exercise of these rights is subject to certain time limits, and you may have to pay a portion of our charges before being able to exercise your rights.
12.9 We may send and you agree to receive our bills by email.
13. Making payments to us
13.1 You can pay your bill by various methods including electronic bank transfer, cheque, credit, or debit card. Payments by card can be made by person at our office, over the telephone, using the Beswicks website portal or client payment request link. For property transactions please note that payment of our bill by either credit or debit card need to be made at least 3 working days prior to completion, and for payment by cheque at least 7 days prior to completion.
13.2 All our bills are payable within 14 days of their date. If you do not pay, we will charge you interest from the 15th day after the date of the bill and all charges including our charges and disbursements incurred collecting our unpaid charges (not limited to court fixed costs) including unpaid costs will be recoverable in full.
13.3 If payment is not made within our terms of 14 days, we reserve the right to claim interest pursuant to S69 of the County Courts Act at the rate of 8% for annum.
13.4 You remain responsible for payment of bills even if the retainer does not proceed to completion or if a third party (including an insurer), who has agreed to pay or has been ordered to pay, fails to do so. Where we are instructed by more than one individual client, you will be jointly and severally liable for the total amount of fees.
13.5 In some transactions, a client may be entitled to payment of costs by a third party. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances the third party may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with us. You have to pay our charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them.
14. Making payments to you
14.1 You agree that we will pay any monies due to you electronically by Bank Automated Credit System (BACS) to the bank account you provide us with details of. This system takes 3 working days and there is no charge involved. Same day electronic telegraphic transfer payments will incur a charge payable by you. These monies cannot be paid to an unrelated third party.
15.1 If we hold money on your behalf in our general client account, in accordance with the SRA Accounts Rules, we will account to you for a fair sum in lieu of interest when the interest calculated is in excess of £20. Any such payments you receive are without deduction of tax and you must declare these amounts to HM Revenue & Customs where appropriate. Payment of interest (if any) will normally be made at the conclusion of the matter.
15.2 If we deposit money on your behalf into a Designated Deposit Account, you will receive interest at the rate applicable to that deposit account as advised by the Bank or Building Society. Any interest paid to you will be received net of basic income tax.
15.3 Rates of interest on both our general client account and designated deposit accounts are likely to be lower than the rate of interest which might have been obtained had you held the money and invested it yourself.
16. Set Off
16.1 In the event that we recover monies on your behalf, we reserve the right to utilise all monies to discharge any outstanding charges or expenses due to us from you.
17. Stamp Duty Land Tax
17.1 Many land transactions give rise to a charge of stamp duty land tax payable to HMRC and it is your responsibility to ensure that the duty is paid within 14 days of the date we notify you in writing as the filing date. Failure to pay HMRC within the 14 days limit will give rise to automatic penalties and interest charges.
18. Papers and Deeds and Documents
18.1 Following the conclusion of a transaction or case we will retain the file of papers for such a period as we shall deem appropriate in our absolute discretion, and in line with our own document storage policy, or return them to you on request provided that all of our charges and expenses are first paid in full – this is known as a lien.
18.2 From August 2014 we have used an electronic filing system and do not always retain copies of any paperwork unless it is an original document.
18.3 Storage of your papers is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy them after such a period as we consider reasonable, or in line with our document storage policy. We may make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. We will not destroy original documents such as Wills, Deeds and other securities, which you ask us to hold in safe custody.
18.4 We reserve the right to make a reasonable charge for retrieving stored papers, Wills, Deeds of securities from storage in connection with continuing instructions for you or new instructions from you. We also reserve the right to charge you for time spent in perusal, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions or on your behalf.
18.5 At present no charge is made for any such storage or retrieval of stored documents but we reserve the right to do so upon reasonable notice to you.
18.6 Copyright in any document created by us will be and remain vested in us and will not be transferred to you. We assert the right to be identified as the author.
19. Key dates
19.1 Unless we have agreed otherwise with you, we are not responsible to log, diarise and remind you of key and/or important dates which may require action by you. These are your own responsibility, and you should ensure you have adequate systems to ensure that are not missed and/or overlooked. This also applies to key dates which are dependent upon external factors and/or events of which we may not be aware. However, this does not apply to any key dates which are directly covered by your instructions to us, and which fall within the scope of our work for you.
20. Suspension and Termination and Abortive Retainers
20.1 You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. We will then deliver our bill for work done on your behalf. We will be entitled to keep any money, papers and documents belonging to you whilst there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses.
20.2 We reserve the right to suspend or terminate work for you only with good reason (for example, if any bill is not paid, in whole or part when due, or if a payment on account is not made when requested, or if we consider that we are professionally or otherwise obliged to do so). We must give you reasonable notice that we will suspend or stop acting for you. If we suspend or terminate the retainer, or the retainer becomes abortive, we will bill you for the work carried out up to the date of suspension, termination or when that retainer became abortive.
20.3 If you, or we, decide that we no longer act for you, you will pay our charges on the basis set out above, including any expenses incurred (including removing our name from the court record, if appropriate) and we may use any money held on account to discharge third party charges.
21. Future Instructions
21.1 Unless otherwise agreed or notified to you and subject to the application of the then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business will apply to any future instructions given by you to us.
22. External Audit, Outsourcing, Confidentiality and Disclosure
22.1 You agree that we may disclose our files to regulatory bodies, our auditors, courts or other bodies working with us, as appropriate, in the exercise of their powers or in order to carry out work for you. They will be required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your file.
22.2 The principle of legal professional privilege protects certain communication from being disclosed to other parties. If any documents or information are subject to legal professional privilege, then, if possible, we will let you know and advise you of the opportunity to claim privilege. Unless you confirm any claim to privilege, we reserve the right to treat it as waived.
22.3 You agree that we may in our discretion outsource typing, photocopying or other administration work to an external company subject to a confidentiality agreement.
22.4 We owe you a duty of confidentiality but may be required to make exceptional disclosures as required by statute, court order, regulations, the SRA, or other bodies working with us, as appropriate., in the exercise of their powers in order to carry out work for you.
22.5 We may hold confidential information about a former, current, or prospective client which might be material to an engagement. In those circumstances, we owe you no duty to disclose information to you.
22.6 Where we hold confidential information about a client, we shall not be precluded from acting for another client or prospective client where that information might reasonably be expected to be material to it and it has an adverse interest to you provided that it is reasonable for us to act. In those circumstances all proper steps will be taken to ensure that confidential information about you is safeguarded, protected, and not disclosed in accordance with professional regulations.
23. International work
23.1 We will give you advice according to English law. Where we carry out services with an international element, it may be necessary or advisable to see advice from lawyers in other relevant jurisdictions. Where contacts, claims or other matters are covered by foreign laws, we are not able to advise on the effect that the contract, claim or other matter may have under foreign laws. We can provide general advice, aid in the interpretation of contracts and/or liaise with foreign lawyers as appropriate.
23.2 Where foreign lawyers or other foreign professionals are instructed, they are instructed directly by you. Any involvement we may have with them is wholly as your agent. Accordingly, we are not liable to pay their charges and you should make alternative arrangements to pay them direct.
24. Third Parties
24.1 This contract is between us and does not create any right or duty enforceable by any person not a party to it other than provided in Clause 4.1.
25. Amendment and Novation
25.1 We reserve the right to amend this contract at any time on giving you reasonable notice.
25.2 We may transfer the benefit of your work to another authorised legal practice which carries on the business of Beswicks in succession to it.
26. Applicable Law
26.1 This contract and any dispute or legal issue arising will be governed/determined and considered exclusively by the law and courts of England and Wales. Nothing shall prevent us enforcing payment of money due to us in courts outside England and Wales.
NOTICE – Complaints
If you are unhappy with any aspect of our service, please raise this with the person dealing with you in the first instance or Sarah Phillips, our Compliance Manager. In the unlikely event that you are still not satisfied with the outcome we operate an internal complaints procedure (a copy of our Complaints Procedure is available on request). If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then you may seek further help from the Legal Ombudsman at www.legalombudsman.org.uk or PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or 0300 555 0333. The Legal Ombudsman have rules and regulations as to when a complaint can be referred to them. You are advised to check these rules to ensure a complaint is brought within the appropriate time frame.
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”). Complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the SRA. The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society. Copies of the SRA Codes of Conduct 2019 and SRA Accounts Rules can be found at www.sra.org.uk.
NOTICE – Insurance Mediation
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). However, we are included on the register maintained by the FCA 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 website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
In property transactions, we may advise you to obtain defective title indemnity insurance. If it is necessary, then we will advise on the reason for this and provide a copy of the proposed policy and detail its cost.
We only select these products from a limited number of insurers. We are not contractually obliged to use any of these insurers. Before we make a recommendation about a defective title legal indemnity insurance policy, we will provide you with a Demands and Needs statement and discuss with you the suitability of the insurer and the suitability of the policy to your particular situation.
NOTICE – Financial Planning
We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA” but we are able, in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide. The scope of the retainer, however, does not and will not include giving advice on the merits of entering into any particular investments. When providing our services, we will assume that you have decided, or will decide, to negotiate and enter into any such transaction solely on the basis of your own evaluation of the same and any advice which you may receive from a person authorised under FSMA. We will not communicate either to you or on your behalf to any person any invitation to engage in investment activity.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
In the event of any banking failure, it is unlikely that the firm would be liable to any losses of client account money. If a corporate body client is not considered a small company by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, they will not be eligible for compensation. We do not have insurance for the security of monies deposited in client accounts.
We currently hold our general client account funds in National Westminster Bank plc. The £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme limit will apply to each individual client so if you hold other personal monies yourself in the same bank as our client account the limit remains at £85,000 in total. It may therefore be advisable to check with your own bank as some banks now trade under different trading names. In the event of a banking failure, you agree to us disclosing details to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
NOTICE – Separate business status of Beswicks Sports Ltd, Beswicks Sports Holdings Ltd, and Beswicks Financial Ltd
Beswicks Sports Ltd, Beswicks Sports Holdings Ltd, Beswicks Sauerland Partnership Ltd and Beswicks Financial Ltd are companies of which certain members of Beswicks Solicitors LLP are shareholders and as such, so far as Beswicks Solicitors LLP are concerned, each constitute a “separate business” for the purposes of the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2019 (“the Codes”).
The purpose of the Codes is to ensure that clients of a solicitor are made fully aware that when dealing with a “separate business” of a solicitor they will be dealing with an entity which is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and that accordingly they do not enjoy the statutory protection available in those circumstances. Accordingly, it is a requirement of the Solicitors Regulation Authority to draw to your attention that in dealing with Beswicks Sports Ltd, Beswicks Sports Holdings Ltd, Beswicks Sauerland Partnership Ltd and Beswicks Financial Ltd, as opposed to Beswicks Solicitors LLP, you will not enjoy the following protections:
- Access to Beswicks Solicitors LLP professional indemnity insurance in the event of negligent advice.
- Access to the Solicitors Compensation Fund in the event of dishonesty.
Beswicks Financial Limited is, however, regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and in consequence must satisfy the Financial Conduct Authority that it is fit and proper to carry out investment business. Criteria that must be satisfied include, but are not limited to, the honesty and reputation, solvency and financial standing, competence, and organisation of the firm as a whole and the calibre and financial standing of the key individuals within the firm.
You will enjoy the following protections:
- Access to Beswicks Financial Limited professional indemnity insurance in the event of negligent advice, dishonesty, or loss.
- Access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the event of bad investment advice (details of the cover provided by the Scheme are given in a booklet which will be provided on request).
NOTICE – Right to Cancel
This section is applicable only if you are contracting with us as an individual/consumer acting for purposes wholly or mainly outside your trade, business, craft of professional and this contract is not made at our business premises or is made at a distance. The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 require us to give you notice of your right to cancel this contract without giving any reason to us within 14 days of receipt of our Terms of Engagement.
If you cancel the contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you (such as money on account for disbursements and fees). We will reimburse you without a fee or delay and no later than 14 days from when are informed of your decision to cancel using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction unless you have expressly agreed otherwise.
If you sign and return to us our Terms of Engagement you agree to us starting work and performing the contract before the end of the cancellation period. By doing so you must pay for any service you receive. Our charges will be based on the work we have done until the date we are notified of your decision to cancel the contract and will be proportionate to the work we have done in comparison to the full contracted service. If we complete the service before the end of the cancellation period, you acknowledge and agree that you lose the right to cancel this contract.
If you are in receipt of legal aid and you cancel the contract, then re-applying for legal aid for the same issues may be difficult.
If you wish to cancel this contract you must inform us of your decision to cancel by a clear statement (letter or email) or you may use the following wording, but you do not have to. Complete, detach and return the section below only if you wish to cancel the contract.
To: The Managing Partner, Beswicks Solicitors LLP, West Court, Campbell Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 4FB or send electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I/We hereby give notice that I/we wish to cancel my/our contract for the supply of the following service [please print your name and address, provide our reference and sign and date].
NOTICE – Financial Crime
Please be alert to fraudsters attempting to divert your payments to us to accounts under their control. We will not change our bank accounts details during your matter or contact you asking you to pay a different account. We strongly recommend that you telephone our office to confirm our bank details before transferring funds to us.
NOTICE – Criminal Finances Act
The firm does not tolerate tax evasion, or the facilitation thereof in any circumstances, whether committed by or facilitated by a client, Member, Partner, employee, consultant, or agent of Beswicks, or associated person/companies.