TERMS & CONDITIONS

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Below we reproduce the contents of our client care and terms of business letter for personal injury/civil, and our client care and terms of business letter for crime.  The reproductions below do not form a contract of being legally instructed to act for you.  A legal instruction is only confirmed with Satchell Moran Limited once we have sent you our terms of business letter and you have accepted this by signing it and returning it to us.

PERSONAL INJURY TERMS & CONDITIONS

We set out below the details in relation to our client care information and terms and conditions of business. We believe that you will find our service to be efficient and of an excellent standard but if you have any queries about basic issues regarding your case and procedural matters this letter will often provide a quick answer to these. These terms and conditions are taken from our standard client care letter.

At the end of this letter we ask you to sign to acknowledge receipt and as we have not yet met in person to authorise us to start to bring your claim.

Who will deal with your case?

At the outset your claim will be handled by a Solicitor whose name and contact details are at the top of this letter. This person may be assisted by colleagues in only their team. If the Solicitor is not available any member of Satchell Moran Solicitors Limited will be happy to take a message.

Terry Moran has overall responsibility for supervision of your matter. The Directors of Satchell Moran Solicitors Limited are ultimately responsible for this matter.

Solicitors who will deal with or supervise your claim:

Terry Moran – admitted as a solicitor 15/10/03

Paula Satchell – admitted as a solicitor 02/01/98

Sophia Symes – admitted as a solicitor 15/04/13

Paul Kinsella – admitted as a solicitor 15/01/10

Ian Clifton - admitted as a solicitor 01/10/12

Your Claim

Is for personal injury, damages and/or losses arising from the above accident.

What you must prove to establish the claim.

In order to bring a successful claim, it is necessary to show that your injury and loss were caused as a direct result of the Defendant’s negligence/breach of duty.

Firstly, we must establish that the Defendant was primarily responsible for the accident and then establish that your injuries were caused by the accident which will involve obtaining medical evidence and other evidence to substantiate your loss.

Merits of your Claim.

On the basis of the information currently available, this Firm considers that you have a good prospect of succeeding with your claim. It is our policy to only take on claims that are likely to succeed. However, evidence may emerge to challenge our understanding and we will keep your prospects of success under review. We will notify you if the position changes for the better or worse as the claim progresses.

Our Advice

We are required to conduct a cost/benefit analysis into your claim before proceeding. This means that we must weigh up the costs that are likely to be incurred against the likely benefit of proceeding with the claim. Our advice at this stage is that you should proceed with a claim. If for any reason circumstances change to affect this advice, then we will let you know in writing.

What can you claim for?

Your claim for compensation will comprise of:

General damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injury. The value of this award will depend largely on the content of the medical expert’s report. We will advise you further on the value of your claim when a report has been obtained.

Special damages in respect of any items of loss or expenses, for example, loss of earnings, travelling expenses, treatment or medication costs and the likes. Please keep a note of the dates you attend all medical appointments and keep receipts for any items that you have to purchase as a result of the accident for your injuries. Please provide all sick notes supplied by your GP. With regard to items of loss or expense please keep a detailed list of these together with documentary evidence, e.g. bills, invoices and receipts. If you have not been able to work as a result of this accident and are suffering a loss of earnings, then please let us know when you return to work and at the same time provide copies of your pay slips 3 months prior to the accident and during the period you were absent. Please also provide the name and address of your employer so we can write to them to obtain the information we need to calculate your loss of earnings. If you are self-employed, we may need you to supply us with your latest Income Tax Self-Assessment Tax Return and/or copies of your latest Profit and Loss Accounts.

Damages for disadvantage on the open labour market.

Special damages in respect of vehicle damage or loss.

Hire/loss of use.

You may be entitled to claim for loss of use of your vehicle. This is if your vehicle is immobile from the time of your accident until you have your vehicle repaired; or a replacement vehicle, or when your vehicle is placed in for repair. If you are using alternative transport such as buses and taxis, please keep your receipts/tickets and submit these to us to be included in your claim.

Repairs to the vehicle.

If you have had your vehicle repaired, then please send a copy of your receipted invoice so this may be included in your claim. If you are not able to provide the information immediately please contact us urgently.

Diminution (loss) of value.

Your car may have suffered a decrease in its current retail market value due to the road traffic accident if it is less than 3 years of age. Please contact us further to discuss this direct.

Recovery and Storage charges.

If your vehicle is in storage, please keep these charges to a minimum. If practical, please move your vehicle to a place of free storage immediately. If you have been charged for the recovery of the vehicle, please supply a copy of the invoice to be included in your claim.

Insurance policy excess.

If you have comprehensive motor insurance, please supply a copy of your excess receipt to be included in your claim.

Action Plan/Next Steps.

In order to progress your claim, we propose to take the following steps:

Sort out funding, See paragraph below.

Obtain sufficient information from you so that we can prepare a statement of your evidence now or at a later date.

We will contact the other party and their insurers to let them know we are acting on your behalf and to put forward details of your claim

It will be necessary for you to attend a medical appointment with a medico-legal expert for the purposes of recording and assessing your accident related injuries. This appointment is likely to take the form of a short interview and examination. We will do our best to ensure the examination is in your local area.

You may have been suffering with pre-existing injuries and/or suffered further injury post-accident. If you have any conditions or have suffered an injury from any other accident, it is very important that you let us know. Whilst it does not mean that you cannot make a claim, the medical expert needs to be aware of it so that they can comment upon it within their report.

The court have access to your medical notes and records in order to investigate this element of your claim, even if only to confirm that you do not have any relevant pre-accident history. If it is necessary to access your medical records, then forms of authority will be sent to you. The medical expert will only comment on the entries in your records that are relevant to your claim. At all times your records will be treated as confidential and shared only as required by your claim.

In due course we will need full details of your losses and any out of pocket expenses. Please start writing a list and keep any bills, invoices, receipts etc.

Once we have the medical evidence and full details of your losses, we will endeavour to negotiate a settlement of your claim with the Defendant’s Insurers. If this is not possible, we will then issue Court proceedings.

Costs and funding.

Methods of funding include:

  • Conditional Fee Agreement;
  • Trade union funding;
  • Legal expenses insurance;
  • Payment by another person;
  • Hourly rate, win or lose;
  • Fixed fee;
  • Damages-Based Agreements pursuant to Section 45, Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Damages-Based Agreement Regulations 2013;
  • Conditional Fee Agreement under The Conditional Fee Agreement Order 2013.

We agreed that your claim will be funded and dealt with by way of a “No Win – No Fee” agreement (otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement under The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013), with a success fee. The essential ingredients of such an agreement are as follows:

If your claim is successful, the Defendant’s insurers will pay your damages, and a contribution to our costs and disbursements, but will not pay any element of the success fee and will not pay all of our costs. The total charge to you will be limited to a sum equal to 25% of the damages on top of all monies recovered from your opponent in respect of costs.

Disbursements are payments that we make on your behalf such as payments to obtain copies of your medical records, medical experts reports, other experts reports (for example an engineer) and court fees if we need to issue Court proceedings. We are required to notify you of our basis if charging and our charging rate and details are set out in the enclosed document, ‘Conditional Fee Agreement: What you need to know.

If your claim is unsuccessful then we do not charge you but we may seek to recover disbursements which we will have previously advised you of before incurring the cost where you choose to cancel the policy of ATE insurance.

We will ensure that you receive at least 75% of any damages that we recover on your behalf less the cost of any After the Event insurance premium and less the cost of any unrecovered disbursements in the event that you cancel the policy of ATE insurance.

We confirm that we will pay any disbursement payments that may be paid on your behalf as the claim proceeds and we will recover these from the Defendant’s insurers on successful conclusion of your claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, we may choose to recover these payments from you if you cancel the policy of ATE insurance. If you have After-the-Event insurance, then these payments will be paid by those insurers.

We have discussed with you the ways in which legal costs in your claim may be funded and, as indicated above, it was agreed that the most appropriate method of funding is by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement under the Conditional Fee Agreement Order 2013 with a success fee.

We therefore enclose our Conditional Fee Agreement under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013, completed in accordance with the details set out in this letter.

We will explain to you and confirm in writing, any changed circumstances which will, or which are likely to, affect the amount of costs or the cost-benefit to you of continuing with your claim.

Below is laid out an estimate of the costs that occur in the majority of the claims that we handle.

Where the matter resolves within 9 months of the claim commencing then a total of 6 to 9 hours work at the hourly rate set out above is incurred with disbursements for medical evidence totalling £350 to £600; Counsel advising and/or drafting paper totalling £300 to £500 and Court fees that begin at £80 for claims valued at £1,000 to £1,500 rising to £610 for claims valued over £15,000 to £50,000. In the past decade court fees have risen several times.

Where the matter resolves beyond 9 months then it is likely to progress to litigation and complex issues may well arise. The expertise and specialist knowledge which the claim requires and, if appropriate, the value of the property or subject matter involved are some of the many factors that can affect the level of costs and the type and level of disbursements incurred. This will be advised to you if the claim presents such issues.

At this stage it is not possible to state which of the above categories will apply to your case as we need to undertake the preliminary steps and liaise with the Defendant and their insurance company. The majority of claims we handle fall under (a) above.

We did discuss other methods of funding which I do not advise are appropriate for your case.

Trade Union Funding.

If you are a member of a Trade Union, then you may be eligible for free or discounted funding of your legal costs by that Trade Union. If you are then contact us to discuss this further but at this stage it is our understanding you have no such membership.

Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI).

Please check your insurance policies as many now include LEI. If you have legal expenses insurance, it may be that it covers this type of claim. You advised me that you did not believe this to be the case.

Payment by any other person.

We will discuss this with you as it will be necessary to carry out checks against any payments received and the person making them as we will have to make the relevant checks under money laundering regulations. See below.

Hourly rate win or lose.

We are content to act for you in the basis that you pay our full hourly rate (set out below), win or lose. However, as we are prepared to charge you nothing in the event of defeat, under the Conditional Fee Agreement enclosed, we advise you against this method of funding.

Fixed fee.

We discussed the possibility of acting for you under a fixed fee, but due to the variables in any case of how long it will take and how much work is involved we agreed that you preferred the security of the charge made to you, over and above the costs that we recover from the other side, being limited to 25% of damages as per the enclosed Conditional Fee Agreement.

Damages-Based Agreement.

This firm is not prepared to act on this basis. Under such agreements Solicitors are paid from damages only. We cannot operate the firm profitably under such agreements due to the extensive restrictions imposed by Parliament. In particular, such agreements heavily restrict the amount of costs that we can recover from the other side and this acts as a major disincentive.

Our expectation is that virtually no firms will be prepared to enter into such agreements for personal injury work and we believe that the quality of legal advice must inevitably be affected as the resources of firms are stretched by such funding methods and the limitations imposed by Parliament.

This type of funding was introduced only in April 2013 and as such the rules are still developing. In the future, we may adopt a different policy but for now we do not believe it is appropriate. If you want any more information in relation to why we are not prepared to act under a Damages-Based Agreement, then please contact us.

Hourly Rate.

Our charges will be calculated by reference of time spent by us in dealing with this matter and the seniority and experience of the person handling your claim. We divide these in two levels:

All work undertaken by Solicitors with less than 4 years’ experience and non-Solicitors with equivalent expertise will be charged at the rate of £250.00 per hour, plus VAT, currently 20%, giving a total of £300.00 per hour.

If your file is under the conduct of a Solicitor with four years of experience post qualification as a Solicitor then all work undertaken by such a Solicitor will be charged at the rate of £300.00 per hour, plus VAT, currently 20%, giving a total of £360.00 per hour.

You will be advised of the change in the hourly rate at the outset of the file coming under the conduct of a Solicitor at the higher hourly rate.

We may increase the charging rate during the conduct of this matter, but we will advise you before any new rate is applied.

The charging rate is applied to the time spent on your matter, for example communicating with, or attending you or others on your behalf, in preparation of any communications and documentation and in consideration or review of your file.

Time may be recorded in units of 6 minutes or according to the time actually spent.

Letters, emails and telephone calls, of six minutes or less are charged at £25 or £30 each, including VAT, currently 20%.

You have the right to object to your bill by making written representation to us within one month of delivery of the bill.

You have the right to have our charges assessed by the Court, as set out in sections 70-72 of The Solicitors’ Act 1974. We have the right to charge interest on any unpaid bills.

Expenses.

There may be additional expenses known as disbursements, such as travel costs, court fees and barristers’ fees which you must pay.

Legal Aid.

Civil Legal Aid has been abolished by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 except in very limited circumstances. If you require further advice about legal aid, please contact our offices. Please note, we do not offer cases funded on a legal aid basis.

Authority to pay damages to us.

We will take any charges payable by way from your damages so by instructing us you expressly authorise the other side and/or their insurers to pay your damages to us. /we will then send the balance to you within 7 days of receipt if the damages. By agreeing these terms and conditions you authorise us to have the damages paid to this firm and you authorise us to deduct all costs and disbursements due to us. If for some reason the damages are paid direct to you then your obligation to us still stands and we will ask for the contribution that you have agreed.

Costs Orders.

There are various situations where you may be responsible for the other party’s legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful or if you withdraw from the case. In addition, you will be responsible for the other party’s legal costs if you fail to accept an offer of compensation, continue to trial and are then awarded a sum that is equal to or lower than the offer from the other side. The costs of another party may be covered by an existing insurance arrangement that you have, or you may be able to purchase insurance to cover this potential liability. We can help you with this.

After-the-Event Insurance.

We recommend that a policy of after-the-event insurance is purchased on your behalf. That insurance policy will protect you by paying the Defendant’s legal costs and your disbursements if an order for costs is made against you. An order for costs may be made against you if the Defendant makes an offer to settle your claim (called Part 36 offer) and at a later point you accept that offer or at trial the Judge awards a sum of damages that is equal to or less than the Defendant’s offer. Since you have failed to beat the Defendant’s Part 36 offer you will be expected to pay the other party’s legal costs from the last date that you could have accepted the Part 36 offer up to and including the date of acceptance or trial. Legal costs increase as you approach a trial so any Order for costs made for failing to beat a Part 36 offer are likely to be substantial.

There are other situations where a court may order costs against you such as where you have brought your claim and it is lost or it is found to be exaggerated or it is discontinued or it has to be struck out by the Court.

We recommend that you obtain after-the-event insurance to protect yourself. Payment of the insurance premium is usually delayed until the conclusion of your claim. The insurer will write off the cost of the premium if your claim does not succeed at all. In the event that your claim succeeds then the insurance premium is payable by you and will be deducted from your damages and the premium will be paid by way in addition to the fees that we are entitled to under the Conditional Fee Agreement entered into between us.

If your claim is found to be dishonest, fraudulent or the like then the insurance policy will not protect you against the cost of the other side. Likewise, this agreement and the CFA will also end. This is the case with your own motor insurance policy as well and you will be aware of this issue from local and national media.

You have confirmed that you do not have any Legal Expense Insurance or Trade Union or funding available to you.

We have delegated authority through Lamp Services Limited to agree an insurance policy and as such we are able to insure any claim that we feel has sufficient prospects of success without having to apply to the insurer to see whether they will cover each claim. The premium is competitively priced, and it provides appropriate protection against your opponent’s costs. We conduct a regular review of the insurance marketplace and feel that the policy with Lamp Services Limited is competitive against other products available in the marketplace. The premium for Lamp Services Limited is £330.40.

Insurance premium tax is payable on all insurance policies at the point that the premium is paid. Until 1st November 2015 insurance premium tax was 6% to the current 12%. This new rate took effect on 1st November 2015 and applies to all policies taken out after that date as well as applying to all policies taken out after that date as well as taken out before 1st November 2015 where the premium has not yet been paid. It is likely that insurance premium tax will rise again in the future. This is important to you because insurance premium tax is paid at the point that the premium is paid. The Legal Expenses Policy we propose is paid for from your settlement monies at the conclusion of the claim so although the cost of the policy may not alter the level of tax may alter and this means the final figure paid could increase or decrease if insurance premium tax is altered again and before your claim settles. Any such change in insurance premium tax will alter the final sum paid.

We are not insurance brokers and do not undertake to advise you as to the most appropriate policy for your needs and offer only general advice in this regard based on our periodic review of the market. You are free to choose a different after-the-event insurance policy if you wish.

A brief summary of the benefits and key facts of the Lamp Services Limited policy are attached.

It is our view that it is appropriate to take out a policy of insurance at the outset of matters as this is the most cost-effective time to secure such insurance. This has been discussed with you and set out further LEI explanation document that is enclosed and provided the “demands and needs” statement. You have the ability to cancel the policy of insurance in accordance with the consumer contract regulations that are set out below.

Limitation period.

Any proceedings for personal injury must be issued at Court within three (3) years of the date of the accident.

Our responsibilities.

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) under our firm number 626300. The website for the SRA can be located here www.sra.org.uk

Under our professional conduct rules we must act in your best interest at all times and ensure the proper administration of justice. We take these obligations seriously and review our files against these criteria.

We must comply with our professional code – The Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct 2011 – and this states that we must:

  • Uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;
  • Act with integrity;
  • Not allow our independence to be compromised;
  • Act in the best interests of each client;
  • Provide a proper standard of service to our clients;
  • Behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in Solicitors and in the provision of legal services;
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and deal with our regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;
  • Run out business or carry out our role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles;
  • Run our business or carry out our role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and
  • Protect client money and assets.

The full code is available at http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code/content,page.

In order to comply with the Code, we will:

  • Update you with progress on your matter regularly and the frequency of our communication with you will depend on the immediate demands of the service required, the complexity of the claim we are handling for you, and your budget for costs;
  • Endeavour to communicate with you in plain language and explain to you the legal work required as your claim progresses;
  • Update you regularly on the costs of your claim and at least every 6 months;
  • Update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances;
  • Update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates;
  • Continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your mater can be funded;
  • Review your case regularly;
  • Advise you of any changes in the law which will, or are likely to affect your case;
  • Advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your case.

Your responsibilities.

You will:

  • Co-operate with us in order for us to deal with your claim;
  • Provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions;
  • Not provide any false or misleading information;
  • Provide any documentation required in a timely manner;
  • Safeguard any documents that are relevant to your claim and disclose them to us to enable us to comply with Court rules;
  • Attend an appointment for a medical examination or other expert when asked to do so;
  • Keep to any arrangement that we have about paying for our services; and
  • Not act in any way that would breach our professional rules.

Complaints.

We hope to provide the highest possible service to our clients but if for any reason you do not feel that our service has matched your expectations then please contact us straight away. Any complaint will be fully investigated by the Complaints Partner free of charge. The Complaints Director is Mrs Paula Satchell.

If you have any concerns about the way your case is handled by the complaints Director or any matters concerning the firm or any suggestions on how we can improve our service to you please contact our Compliance Office for Legal Practice, Mr Terry Moran, who is authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which will be sent to you on receipt of any claim or on request if you prefer.

We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman unless you are exempt from that scheme such as most businesses or a charity or a Trust with over £1 million-pound turnover.

If you have any further concerns you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint by letter to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or telephone 03005550333. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within twelve months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years when you should reasonably have been aware of it).

Recommendations, referrals and Collective Marketing Agreements.

We market this firm by recommendations from former clients and referrals from former clients and others. Since April 2013, law firms in the personal injury sector have been prohibited from paying a referral fee.

We are on the panels of personal injury Solicitors for a number of marketing companies. We pay a collective marketing fee for our place on the panel and our services are marketed alongside other specialist personal injury law firms. These panels are limited to the members and is not a whole of the market search for a Solicitor or a recommendation personal to you.

We do not pay on a case by case basis for introductions.

Termination

In the unlikely event, we can no longer act for you we will advise you accordingly providing reasons for our decision if appropriate. However, due to the Money Laundering Regulations (2007); Data Protection Act 1998 and/or client confidentiality this is not always possible. Please note we would be entitled to keep your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our costs and expenses.

Money Laundering and identity check.

We are required to provide you with prescribed information in order to comply with the law on money laundering. Please find the attached fact sheet and return the relevant proof of identity to us as soon as possible.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulation 2007 we must report any suspicions we have regarding money laundering to the authorities. These regulations used to be restricted to the proceeds of drug trafficking and terrorist activity but now relate to the proceed of any crime whatsoever. There are severe penalties if we do not comply and it is highly unlikely that the need to make a report would ever apply to you, but you should be aware of our obligations.

If we make a report the Act stops us from carrying out any further work for you unless we obtain an authority to do so. The Act stops us from telling you that a report has been made or explaining to you why we have stopped work for you. These duties override our duty to you and as such you accept that we will not be liable for any loss you may suffer because of our actions in complying with these duties.

Data Protection.

We use the information you provide including your national insurance number primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:

Making enquiries about previous accidents through the MIB askCUE PI system;

Pursuing and advising on your claim;

Updating and enhancing client records;

Analysis to help us manage our practice;

Statutory returns; and

Legal, Regulatory and other compliance requirements.

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 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 about you.  Please note that we will retain your data during the lifetime of your case and for a 6-year period thereafter it will be destroyed.  If for any reason we need to retain your data for a longer period, we will inform you of such.

Our ICO number is ZA162538.

Outsourcing

Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing or photocopying or other work such as investigation, witness statement taking or medical reports on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want you file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

As part of our quality control processes external firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.

Storage of documents

After completing work, we will be entitled to keep your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

On conclusion of your matter, your papers will be scanned and stored securely in electronic form which is backed up on a regular basis. This service is free of charge. We will destroy the physical file one month after the end of the matter unless you tell us that you wish to collect and keep your papers. We will not destroy important original documents such as wills and deeds.

We keep scanned files on the understanding that we can destroy those electronic copies six years after the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we retrieve the scanned file out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may charge you both for:

Time spent producing stored papers that are requested: and

Reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.

Interest on client funds.

Rule 23 of The Solicitor’s Accounts Rules stipulates that interest paid on client account balances must be fair and reasonable and be calculated over the whole period for which the money is held.

We apply a simple de minimis rule, as allowed by the Law Society, that no interest is payable if the amount of interest calculated on the balance held is £20.00 or less.

The interest rate applicable to the calculation shall be at the prevailing rate as set out by the firm’s bankers from time to time and shall be annually reviewed by the firm’s accountant and Managing Director and COFA.

A copy of the SRA Accounts rules 2011 can be accessed at

http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/accountsrules/content.page

Distance Contracts

If we have not met you, the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 apply to this matter. This means you have the right to cancel the instructions to us within 14 working days of receiving this letter without giving any reason. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us with a clean statement (e.g. a letter sent by post or email to this office). You may use the attached cancellation form, but it is not obligatory. The cancellation period will expire fourteen working days after receiving this letter.

If we have started work on your file after the cancellation period or during the cancellation period if you have asked us to do so, you may be charged if you cancel your instructions.

If you would like us to commence work on your file within the next fourteen working days, please sign these terms and conditions and return it to this office by e-mail or post. By signing you acknowledge and agree that this matter may not be concluded within 30 days of your original instructions to us.

Contracts made away from this firm’s office.

If we met with you away from our firm’s office, then the Consumer Contract Regulations 2014 apply to this matter. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within fourteen working days of receiving this letter without giving any reason. You can cancel your instructions by contact us with a clear statement (eg. a letter sent by post or email to this office). You may use the attached cancellation form, but it is not obligatory. The cancellation period will expire fourteen working days after receiving this letter.

If we have started work on your file after the cancellation period or during the cancellation period if you have asked us to do so you may be charged if you cancel your instructions.

If you would like us to commence work on your file within the next 14 working days, please sign these terms and conditions and return it to this office by email or post. By signing you acknowledge and agree that this matter may not be concluded within 30 days of your original instructions.

Insurance mediation.

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority so that we may carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on selling and administering insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong is regulated by the Solicitor Regulation Authority. The register can be assessed, via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/firms/systems-reporting/register.

The Law Society of England and Wales is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman is an independent complaints-handling body. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive, you should raise a complaint in accordance with the firm’s complaints procedure.

Limiting liability.

Our liability to you for professional negligence is limited to £3,000.000.00. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or loss 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. Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.

In certain circumstances and in certain cases we may wish to limit further our legal liability ti you but if we need to do so I will discuss and write to you separately about this.

Provision of Services Regulations 2009.

Under these Regulations we must provide you with details about our VAT and professional indemnity insurance and how you can access these. These details are available at the firm’s offices and a copy may be made for your records if you attend our offices.

Equality and Diversity.

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.

Regulatory Status.

All services provided by us are as a firm of Solicitors, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

If someone thinks a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their ethics or integrity, they have the right to notify our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).  There are no time limits for making a report but there are limits on what the SRA will consider. Please note that the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service (complaints of this nature should instead be referred to the Legal Ombudsman).  For further information about the SRA’s role, please contact the SRA or visit:

https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page#report

Legal Ombudsman

We hope to provide the highest possible service to our clients but if for any reason you do not feel that our service has matched your expectations then please contact us straightaway.  Any complaint will be fully investigated by the Complaints Partner free of charge. The Complaints Partner is Mr. Terry Moran.

We are committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please contact us on 0151 268 8282 asking to speak to Mr. Terry Moran or by email; Terry@satchellmoransolicitors.com

We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which will be sent to you on receipt of any claim or on request if you prefer.

We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman unless you are exempt from that scheme such as most businesses or a charity or a Trust with over £1 million pound turnover.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint by letter to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or telephone 03005550333.  Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within twelve months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).

Conclusion.

If you have any queries at all with regard to the enclosed documentation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

CRIMINAL TERMS & CONDITIONS

GENERAL

Thank you for instructing us in relation to your case. Criminal proceedings can be lengthy, complex and confusing and it is understandable that you will have many questions that you wish to have answered.

In this letter we have sought to explain the most common issues that arise in criminal proceedings, and you are asked to:

  1. Read the letter fully, and
  2. Retain the letter for future reference

However, this letter is not intended to replace the advice we give to you, nor does it mean that we are not available to support you throughout your case.  If at any time you have questions or concerns then you should not hesitate to contact us.

This letter is split into the following parts:

  1. Basic information
  2. Funding
  3. Police station cases
  4. Magistrates’ Court cases
  5. Crown Court cases
  6. Identification

PART 1: BASIC INFORMATION

Who will deal with my case?

Your case will be dealt with by our Criminal Litigation Department, headed by Mr Paul Williams, solicitor.  However, the Department does work as a team and comprises Mr Mark Satchell, head of our Crown Court Department and legal clerk, and Miss Maisie Baker, legal clerk and secretary, in tandem with support staff.

Because of the nature of court hearings, it is not always possible for the same person to represent you each time, although we will do our best to ensure that you see as few people as possible.  Please be assured however that whoever attends court to represent you is a highly qualified professional who is fully informed in relation to your matter.  In some cases, particularly those in the crown court it may be necessary to instruct a specialist advocate (a solicitor or barrister) to represent you.

We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter regularly.  We will communicate with you in plain language.  We will explain to you by telephone or in writing the legal work required as your matter progresses.

We will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.

How do I contact you?

 Our address is: 658 Prescot Road, Old Swan, Liverpool, L13 5XE

Our phone number is: 0151 268 8282

You can email us via:

  • paulw@satchellmoransolicitors.com
  • marks@satchellmoransolicitors.com

Please note that our office hours are 8.30am to 5pm each Monday to Friday.  If it is necessary to contact us outside of these hours in an emergency then please contact our out of hours service by calling 07759743797.

Because we often attend court during the day it is advisable to try and call us between 9.00am and 9.30am or after 3.30pm.  If you can email as opposed to calling, that will often get a quicker response as we can deal with many queries very quickly even when we are out of the office.

If you leave a message for the lawyer dealing with your case we will try and call you back the same day if that is possible, or no later than the next working day (Monday – Friday).

Keeping in touch

It is important to remember that this is your case and in order to achieve the best outcome we will require your cooperation.  Please respond promptly to all requests for information and attend appointments.  If your case is not ready due to fault on your part it is likely that a court will order the case to proceed anyway – this would not be in your interests.

If you are on bail then please ensure you attend court as directed. Any failure to attend court may lead to a warrant being issued for your arrest, and being refused bail in future.  Failing to attend on a bail date may also be a criminal offence which carries the risk of a prison sentence.  Courts will not accept medical notes as a reason not to attend unless the medical certificate specifically states that you are unfit to attend court and the reason why, and give a prognosis for when you will be fit to attend at court.  If you think that you might be late for court (due to travel problems etc.) then please notify our office as soon as possible so that we can inform the court as to what is happening.

Complaints

We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care.  If you are unhappy about any aspect of our service or about the bill, we want to know about it and put things right, so please contact the person dealing with your case initially.  If you would prefer not to or that is not successful, please contact our client complaints director, Mr Terry Moran.  We have a complaints procedure which is available on request.  Please let us know if you have any special needs in relation to language or arising from a disability.

We have eight weeks to consider a complaint. If we have not resolved it within that time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman. If you are not satisfied with the way we handle your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider it. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us, or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining, or three years from when you should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint (if the act took place more than six years ago).

The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are as follows: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

Call 0300 555 0333 between 8.30am to 5.30pm.  For minicom call 0300 555 1777.

Email enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk.  Postal address: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.  The Legal Ombudsman asks that you do not send originals as they scan any documents they receive and then destroy what has been sent.

Data protection and confidentiality

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
  • 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 about you. 

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice.  These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.

We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential.  However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to police/government/financial agencies where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing.  If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made.  We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.

If we know or suspect that you have given false information in relation to an application for legal aid we are obliged to disclose that fact to the Legal Aid Agency.

If you wish any other person to be given access to your information, or details of your case (for example a relative) then please contact us and we can discuss the implications of this and advise you further.

You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. Our Information Commissioner’s Office number is ZA162538.

Regulatory Status

This firm is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (www.sra.org.uk).

Our VAT number is: 230403661

This practice holds professional indemnity insurance in respect to work carried out in England and Wales. We are insured by Aviva Insurance.  Contact details can be provided on request.

Storage of papers

We will keep our file of your papers for 6 years.  If you matter is transferred to another solicitor we are still required to maintain a copy of those papers unless any new solicitor signs an undertaking to make them available for Legal Aid Agency audit.  We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them 6 years after the conclusion of your case.  If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval.  If papers are requested then you are responsible for their collection.

PART 2: FUNDING

Legal Aid

Unless you have expressly agreed to pay us privately, we will make an application for legal aid on your behalf.

Police Investigations

All police station work (which includes all police investigations regardless of where the interview takes place) is paid for under the legal aid scheme, irrespective of your income.  Work outside of the police station prior to charge, may be funded under the advice and assistance scheme.  We may ask you to complete forms CRM 1 and 2 to determine eligibility.  If you are not eligible for advice and assistance outside of the police station pre-charge, then we will either do that work free of charge, or alternatively not do that work unless and until you agree to pay us privately for it.

Non-police Investigations

Investigations by non-police agencies e.g. Department for Work and Pensions, RSPCA etc are not funded under the police station scheme.  You may however be eligible for advice and assistance and we will assess whether or not you qualify.

Legal Aid When Charged

Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court legal aid is means tested in most cases.  Most people on benefits and all persons under 18 years of age are eligible for legal aid.

An application for a Representation Order is made to the Legal Aid Agency.  The application gives details of the allegation faced and its significance to you.  The Legal Aid Agency considers the application on its merits and financial eligibility, and will grant it if the both tests are met.  If the application for a Representation Order were refused, we would discuss with you how best to proceed.

Once you have been granted a Representation Order you have a duty to disclose any change in your circumstances, including a change of address or financial means.  You should notify both the Legal Aid Agency and us in writing as soon as any changes occur.  If you do not, then your Representation Order may be discharged.

Magistrates’ Court

If you are eligible for magistrates’ court legal aid then you will pay none of our legal aid costs in relation to those proceedings.  If you plead guilty or are found guilty you may be liable to pay prosecution costs.

Crown Court

If you have disposable income in excess of £37,500 you will not qualify for crown court legal aid.  The rules, and the calculations of income are complex and in we may have to make a ‘hardship’ application on your behalf to assess full eligibility.  If you remain ineligible for legal aid, we will discuss with you the option of paying privately for your defence.

If you are eligible for legal aid in the crown court then you may be liable to pay contributions for the first 6 months of your case (income contributions) and at the end of your case if convicted (capital contributions).  Most people on state benefit pay nothing (if you plead guilty or are found guilty you may be liable to pay prosecution costs).

The rules in relation to crown court legal aid are complex and we will guide you through the application process.  If legal aid is granted you will be informed as to whether there is any contribution payable.  If you find the payment proposals unacceptable then you must notify us immediately so that we can reject the offer of legal aid.

If you are required to pay contributions towards crown court legal aid and fail to do so, interest charges will be added and the Legal Aid Agency may take legal action to enforce the monies owed. Enforcement action can include the clamping, seizure and/or sale of your vehicle (and please note that there is no legal aid available to assist you in challenging this enforcement).

Other enforcement options include:

  • charging order secured against any property owned
  • 8% interest on charging orders
  • High Court enforcement or distress warrant to visit to client’s home to seize goods to value of order
  • third party debt order against any money deposited in an account
  • attachment of earnings order

It is vital therefore that you fully understand the financial implications of accepting legal aid subject to income or capital contributions.  Legal proceedings, particularly the trial process can be very expensive, often running into many tens of thousands of pounds.  If you have capital above the limit (£30,000) this is therefore at risk and you could for example ultimately lose your home.

If you have paid contributions but are acquitted of all charges, monies you have paid (with interest at 2%) will be returned to you.  If you are acquitted of some but not all charges the amount payable under contributions may in some cases be apportioned, meaning that you will pay less. We will discuss this with you further should this situation arise.

If you are not eligible for legal aid, or you reject the offer of legal aid, we will not be able to act for you unless you agree to pay privately.

Court of Appeal

We will apply for legal aid funding on your behalf if you wish to appeal or resist an appeal by the Attorney General.  Most cases at the Court of Appeal qualify for legal aid, but legal aid is subject to Recovery of Defence Costs Order – we will discuss whether this might affect you in the event that an appeal is lodged.

If legal aid is refused we and your advocate may be willing to continue to act in certain cases.  We will discuss this should the need arise.

Private Funding

If you are paying us privately we will ask you for some money on account of costs.  Our hourly rate is currently £165 plus VAT and any disbursements (that is payment of others such as court fees, barrister’s fees, etc.).  Telephone calls and correspondence are charged at one tenth of our hourly rate plus VAT.  It is rather difficult for us to give an accurate estimate of the costs involved but we can give you a guideline figure which would be in the region of £500 - £3,000 including VAT together with any disbursements, such as experts’ fees for medical and forensic reports.  If our costs or rates are to be increased, we will advise you of this in advance.  We shall endeavour to keep you updated periodically (6 monthly) on the current costs of your case, and also tell you if the estimates we give change for any reason. 

All reference to fees is expressed exclusive of value added tax (VAT) at the prevailing rate (currently 20%).

We would ask that any payments to us are made by way of cheque.  If you do not have a cheque account we would ask that you note, in order for us to comply with Money Laundering Regulations, this firm cannot accept cash payments exceeding the total of £600 throughout the lifespan of your case.  This is an accumulative figure and limitation applies to the total cash payment for the duration of your case.

If, in the event you are successful in your defence, a costs order for central funds is made in your favour, you agree that any costs awarded by the Court will be paid directly to ourselves.  Costs orders from central funds are payable at legal aid rates, not private client rates, and as such you may not recover all of your costs.

Prosecution Costs

If you plead guilty or are found guilty you may be liable to pay prosecution costs.  We will be able to discuss the likely costs level once we have full information in relation to your case.

Other Costs

If you plead guilty or are found guilty you may be asked to pay a fine and/or compensation.  In some cases, the prosecution will seek to recover from you the ‘proceeds of your crime’ (called a ‘confiscation order’) – if yours is such a case we will discuss this with you at a very early stage as it may impact on the plea you wish to enter.

In most cases there will also be a victim surcharge to pay.  We will discuss the implications of these costs once the nature of the case against you in known.

PART 3: POLICE STATION CASES

The police may arrest you or seek to interview you by prior appointment.  Interviews can take place at a police station, your home of place of work, or other location (such as a prison if you are already in custody).

There is no such thing as ‘a little chat’.  The core business of the police is to arrest, charge and then have people punished. They are not your friend and they never act in your best interests.  Police offices sometimes say that things will be quicker without a solicitor – this is rarely true, in fact once we know about your detention we can actually act to speed things up.  And remember, if you say something you ought not to have, you might have a lot of time during the years you spend in prison regretting a little wait while we are called out to assist you.  Police station advice is always free and we always have someone available, day or night.

Therefore, if you are arrested, or are asked to speak to the police at any time, you have the right to speak to a solicitor and it is in your interests to do so.  In a small number of cases where for example there is not going to be any police interview (e.g. drink driving, or arrested on a court warrant) the rules are different and you will be offered advice by ‘CDS Direct’ – a government funded advice centre. You are advised to accept that advice and also ask them that they contact us immediately so that we know of your arrest and can assist further should the need arise.

Cases are sometimes dealt with speedily, at other times the investigation can last many months.  It is important that you keep in touch with us.  If the police contact you directly then let us know immediately – do not assume that they will contact us as well – they like it when we are kept out of the loop as our job is to protect you.

You have lots of rights and protections in the police station – it is our job to ensure that these rights are acted upon.

PART 4: MAGISTRATES' COURT CASES

If you are charged, then in almost all cases you will make your first appearance at a magistrates’ court.

Some cases can only be tried in a magistrates’ court, some only in a crown court, and in some cases, you will be given the choice.  We will advise you as to which of these applies in your case and assist you in making the right decision if you have a choice.

If you plead guilty in the magistrates’ court sentencing may take place immediately, or within a short space of time thereafter, or in some instances your case will be committed to the crown court for sentence.  We will notify you of the likely outcome, before you enter a plea, so that you know exactly what is likely to happen.

If you plead not guilty to a case being tried in the magistrates’ court it will be adjourned for trial.

PART 5: CROWN COURT CASES

More serious cases are sent to the crown court for trial and/or sentence.  Trial at the crown court is before both a Judge and Jury, and in fact this is the better outcome in some instances as the trial may be fairer.  However, this must be balanced against the possible prosecution costs, time it will take to conclude the case and the fact that sentencing powers in this court are greater.

We will guide you throughout the process to ensure that you know what is happening and why.

If at any time you have questions or concerns then please contact us.

PART 6: IDENTIFICATION

General

Government regulations mean that we must establish the identity of all our clients.  This is the case whether you are a new client or an established client.  In many instances, your arrest and identification by the police or other prosecuting agency will be sufficient to establish your identity.  However, on occasion we may need you to provide us with two forms of identification such as a passport/photographic drivers licence, together with a recent utility bill.  If that is necessary, we will tell you.

At Court

Under section 86A into the Courts Act 2003, a person who is a defendant in proceedings in a criminal court must provide his or her name, date of birth and nationality if required to do so at any stage of proceedings by the court.  It is a criminal offence for a defendant to fail to comply without reasonable excuse.

Your continuing instructions will amount to acceptance of the contents of this letter, the terms of business, and the financial information provided.   However, for the sake of completeness, please print the last page of this letter, sign and date it, and return it to us.

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NEWS

SERVICES

I will start by, firstly, recommending Satchell Moran to anybody for any legal representation before they go to anyone else.

If they cannot help you, they will refer you to people who can.

All those at Satchell Moran are very knowledgeable, easy going, and most of all, honest about their work. I can assure you that they will endevour to get the best possible outcome for you in relation to any legal issue you have.

Keep up the good work. Many thanks.

- Alan Wardle

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Satchell Moran Solicitors Limited, 658 Prescot Road, Old Swan, Liverpool, L13 5XE
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