Terms of Business

Introduction

Coodes is the trading name of Coodes LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with number OC383089. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of our members, all of whom are solicitors, may be inspected at our registered office: Elizabeth House, Castle Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3AP.

In this document and in any communication with you, “partner” means a member of Coodes LLP or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing and “employee” means an employee of either Coodes LLP or any service company which provides services to Coodes LLP. “We” and “our” mean Coodes LLP and “you” means the person who is our client or, if more than one person, those persons who, together, are our client. Where we act for two or more clients jointly, it is on the understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions of either or both or any of them.

Our aim

We aim to offer you quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair price and to do our very best to look after your interests. As a start, we should set out the basis on which we will provide our legal services and the way in which we will deal with your instructions.

Service standards

We are committed to providing our clients with professional advice and excellent levels of service.

We will:

  • Represent your interests and keep your business confidential;
  • Tell you who is dealing with your matter and who your contact is. We will keep you informed of any changes;
  • Do our best to communicate with you in plain English and keep legal jargon to a minimum;
  • Explain to you the legal work that is needed. We will keep you informed of your legal rights and provide you with the necessary advice to enable your matter to be completed or resolved as effectively as possible;
  • Progress your matter as quickly as we can and keep you informed throughout the matter;
  • Update you when appropriate as to whether the likely outcome of your matter justifies the likely costs and risks of continuing;
  • Deal with your enquiries and communications as quickly as possible;
  • Explain to you the risks and benefits of taking any action that we discuss and agree any alternative options;
  • Give you the best information that we can about the likely cost of the action that we agree should be taken.

Charges and pricing

  • We offer a range of pricing options for the work that we do;
  • At the start of your matter we will establish with you the pricing option that is the most suited to your individual requirements;
  • We will regularly review our charges and pricing options and inform you if there are any changes;
  • We will inform you if there are any unusual or additional charges prior to incurring those charges.

Client care

  • We will consider carefully all your comments about our service. If you feel that you are not receiving the service that you hoped for please tell the person dealing with your matter immediately;
  • We may ask you to complete a feedback form at the end of your matter which we will use to help us improve our service;
  • We operate a complaints procedure which is available on request;
  • We treat all clients fairly and do not discriminate against anyone because of their age, race, sex, sexual orientation or disability;

To help us provide this service we need you (the client) to:

  • Provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions;
  • Respond to requests for information;
  • Consider carefully and act upon our advice to you;
  • Pay our fees promptly to avoid any delay with your matter.

Hours of business and how to communicate with us

Our normal hours of opening are 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Our offices at St Ives, Newquay and Holsworthy are open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. We will tell you how to contact us outside those hours should it be necessary. You can communicate with us by phone, letter, fax and email, although we do not accept service of formal documents by fax or email. Please note what is said below about email communications with us. Appointments to see us are usually in our offices, but can be arranged elsewhere if that suits you better.

The cost of communications with us are normally included in the firm’s charges. However if we are requested to make special deliveries of documents we may charge that as an additional expense to you.

Email communications

If you provide us with an email address we assume that we have your consent for us to communicate with you and related parties by this method of communication. If you do not wish us to communicate with you or any related parties in this way please notify us. If you do not wish us to store your emails please do not correspond with us by email.

Please note it is not our policy to encrypt our outgoing emails. Due to the insecure nature of sending unencrypted messages over the internet please note that there is a risk to you if confidential information is communicated in this way. We do not accept liability for any communication which is intercepted or otherwise falls into the hands of those other than the intended recipient or in respect of non-receipt, late receipt or corruption.

Although we regularly carry out virus checks we strongly advise you to carry out your own checks on all systems, data and communications whether in the form of computer disks, emails, internet use or otherwise. We accept no liability for any virus that may enter your system or data by these or any other means.

Scope of work

Our detailed Confirmation of Instruction letter will set out the scope of the work that we have agreed to do on your behalf. It will also detail any areas of work that we will not be doing on your behalf (if any). It is important that you understand these limitations to avoid any misunderstandings. Our charging structure and charges reflect this scope of work, so any work that we subsequently agree to do outside this scope will be charged separately to you. We will agree the scope and cost of the additional work before we agree to do any such work.

We do not advise on the law or legal implications of any legal jurisdiction other than England and Wales.

Tax, commercial and environmental advice

Any work that we do for you may have tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. We do not consider that the scope of work that we are carrying out on your behalf includes any obligation to give advice in relation to any tax implications or tax planning strategies, unless we have specifically agreed otherwise. If you have concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately. Please note that we will not advise on VAT, Capital Gains or Corporation Tax aspects of the proposed transaction.

The transaction or matter that we will be undertaking on your behalf may involve considerations and decisions as to its financial, commercial or related viability or implications. The transaction may also have an impact on the environment in which it works. The work that we do for you will not include any obligation to give advice in relation to those matters or issues.

Our charges

Information regarding our charges is set out below and more detailed information relating to your matter is contained in our Confirmation of Instructions letter. This sets out the basis of how our charges will be calculated and the expenses we expect will be incurred on your behalf.

Charges calculated on a time basis

In matters where work is charged on a time basis we will provide an estimate of our charges to include VAT and expenses, either for the entire matter or to take the work to an agreed stage. An estimate is not a fixed price nor is it binding. At the outset of the matter you will be told the hourly rates of the people who are likely to be dealing with your work.

Our charges will be calculated by reference to the time spent in dealing with your matter and the knowledge, qualification and experience of the person(s) who handle your matter. This includes meetings with you and others related to the matter, considering, drafting, preparing and working on papers, correspondence, making and receiving telephone calls and any travel.

Routine letters which we write, including email, and routine telephone calls made and received will be charged at one tenth of that hourly rate. More substantive letters and telephone calls will be charged on a time basis. Routine letters received will be charged at one twentieth of that hourly rate.

We will add VAT to our charges at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present the rate is 20%.

In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors which will include the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge which the matter requires and, if appropriate, the value of the property or assets involved. Our rates may be higher if, for example, the matter becomes more complex than expected. If this becomes relevant we will notify you.

Our hourly rates will be reviewed from time to time and we will notify you of any increase. Currently our rates are reviewed annually in December, to apply from the following January. If you have any questions about the revised rates notified to you, please contact us straight away.

Stamp Duty Land Tax administration

If you are purchasing a property you will be required to complete and sign a Stamp Duty Land Tax Form and you will be liable to pay the tax due. We will ask you to sign the form and to provide us with funds to pay the SDLT and will send both to HMRC. Just as with your Tax Return the responsibility for ensuring that the Stamp Duty Land Tax form is accurate is yours and whilst we will complete it from the information available to us you should ensure that it is accurate as we cannot accept responsibility for any errors that occur and subsequent liability. A charge will be made for the completion of the necessary form, details of which are set out in the schedule to the accompanying letter. We will inform you if any unforeseen work becomes necessary and the charge needs to be increased.

Bank transfer administration

We will make separate charges for the work needed to make payments on your behalf using the Bank electronic payment system. The charges include our own charge for the work as well as the charge to us from the bank for sending the transfer. Both charges are set out in the schedule to the accompanying letter.

Lender’s costs – purchase

If you are a buyer requiring a mortgage we will be instructed to act for your lender in its taking of security on the property. The lender will require you to pay their legal costs. We will send you a copy of the lenders invoice and payment is due from you prior to completion as set out in the schedule.

If we act for the lender we will have a duty to pass to the lender information you give us that might be relevant to the lender’s decision whether to finance the purchase. This will include any differences between your mortgage application and the information that we receive during the transaction, any cash back payments or discount schemes that the seller is giving you. If you provide us with information which you do not want the lender to know and such information is relevant to the lender we may have to stop acting for the lender and possibly also for you.

Lender’s costs – sale

If you are a seller with a mortgage secured upon your property we will be instructed to act for your lender in the discharge of its security upon the repayment of the mortgage debt. The lender will require you to pay their legal costs and we will send you a copy of the Lender’s invoice and payment is due from you prior to completion as set out in the schedule.

Abortive work

Our charges and expenses are payable whether or not the matter is successfully concluded or a transaction completed. If any matter or transaction does not proceed to completion for any reason, then we will charge for the work done on the basis set out under the heading, “Charges calculated on a time basis”

Limits to our charges

You may want to ask and we may agree with you to set an upper limit on our charges if we are charging you on a time basis. We will tell you in advance if we are reaching that limit and if we reach that limit, we will stop any further work and tell you that we have done this. You may then set a new limit, or just pay for the work done to date. Not all matters are suitable for this type of arrangement, particularly if court proceedings have been commenced.

Fixed charges

One of our pricing options is that the cost of the work that we do on your behalf shall be fixed at an agreed sum. We offer a range of fixed charge services where the scope and extent of the work to be undertaken is clear from the outset. In addition to the fixed charge you will be charged VAT and any expenses we may incur on your behalf such as court fees. Our Confirmation of Instructions letter sets out the work that we will do on your behalf and confirms the fixed charges that we will charge you for that work. The only variation will be if you ask us to do work outside the agreed scope of work or your matter becomes more complex and falls outside the agreed scope. If that happens we will agree an alternative method of pricing and any revised charges with you before they are incurred.

Where a fixed charge is agreed, payment of our invoice is due at the outset of the matter, unless staged payments have been agreed in advance. Our charges and expenses are payable whether or not the matter is successfully concluded or a transaction is completed. If a matter does not conclude during the period in which we are instructed, then we are entitled to the entire fixed charge. We may agree stage payments for a transaction. In the event that the matter does not complete in those circumstances we will not refund you for any work commenced and you will be responsible to pay the entire charge for the relevant stage we are working on. Our invoice will include VAT and expenses incurred on your behalf.

Expenses

There will frequently be expenses that we have to incur on your behalf in dealing with your matter such as Search Fees, Court Fees, Expert’s and Barrister’s fees. We will normally obtain your approval before incurring any substantial expenses on your behalf. We require you to provide us with sufficient funds to cover such expenses before they are incurred. VAT is payable on certain expenses at the appropriate rate. We set out in our confirmation of instructions letter an estimate of those expenses.

Additional charges

Whatever the basis on which we agree to charge you we will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances significantly change during the matter. We will also inform you in writing of the estimated cost of the extra work before incurring the additional charges.

Invoicing and payment arrangements

Charges calculated on a time basis

We will send you interim invoices for our charges and expenses at regular intervals as set out in the Confirmation of Instructions letter. We will send you a final invoice for charges and expenses on conclusion of the matter. It is our normal practice to ask you for payments on account of our charges and expenses both at the start of a matter and as it progresses. Any amounts received will be shown as paid on your final invoice.

Our charges and expenses are payable whether or not the matter is successfully concluded or a transaction is completed. If any matter does not proceed to completion for any reason during the period in which we are instructed, then we will charge you for work carried out at our hourly rate. Our invoice will include VAT and expenses incurred on your behalf.

Payment arrangements

You can make payment to us in the following ways:

  • Debit Card or Credit Card, which can be dealt with over the phone
  • Electronic bank transfer payment
  • By cheque made payable to Coodes
  • Cash – up to a limit of £1000

Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid to you by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.

If we hold sufficient funds on your behalf we will usually deduct our charges and any expenses that we have incurred on your behalf from these funds.

If you do not pay any invoice within twenty eight days of issue interest will accrue on the invoice at the rate of 8% per annum, calculated from the date of the invoice. Where an interim invoice remains unpaid for more than twenty eight days, you may be notified that no further work will be carried out on your matter until it is paid. We may also terminate your retainer with us, which means that we will do no further work for you on this matter at all and you will be responsible for our charges and expenses to the date of termination, together with the charges and expenses of applying to any court to come off the court record as representing you.

If you are unhappy about any aspect of our invoice you should follow the complaints process as set out in this document on page 6 under the heading “Complaints”. In addition to our complaints process you have a further option which is to apply to the court for an assessment of the invoice under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Payment of your charges and expenses by others

It is possible that you may be able to recover our charges and expenses from some other person. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances, the other person is unlikely to 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. The other person will not be liable to pay the VAT element of your charges and expenses if you are able to recover the VAT yourself.

If you are successful in your action and a court orders another party to pay some or all of our charges and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have already paid some or all of our charges on account, but we are entitled to the balance of that interest.

Other parties’ charges and expenses

It may be that part of this transaction requires you to pay the legal expenses of one of the other parties to the transaction. In litigation matters the result may be that you have to contribute to the legal expenses of the other party. We have no control over how those legal charges may be calculated by that parties’ legal representatives, but we will endeavour on your behalf to agree the basis upon which the charges will be made and so, if possible, obtain a firm figure or place a cap on the level of those charges.

Please also understand that we are frequently asked to provide an undertaking to the parties’ solicitors to pay those legal expenses. The effect of an undertaking is that we are professionally required to make that payment whether you agree or not. For that reason we will ask you to pay those legal expenses to ourselves in advance, so that the funds can be paid over in compliance with the undertaking when necessary. If we have given an undertaking, because of our professional obligations, we will not be able to accept any countermanding of those instructions from you.

Client money and interest payments

If we receive or hold money for you or on your behalf, we will deposit that money in a client account with Barclays Bank plc (a bank permitted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to accept deposits).

We shall not be responsible for any losses whatsoever suffered, sustained or incurred by you or any third party by reason of any failure or collapse of any bank at which client monies are deposited.

You consent to the disclosure by us to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) of details of your holding(s) of any money in any client account at a bank which fails or collapses. The FSCS imposes a limit on the amount of compensation which may be claimed. The limit applies to all monies held by a client with one bank regardless of the brands which that bank may use. If you hold personal money in the same bank in which we hold money for you then the FSCS limit presently £85,000.00 will apply to your entire money. You can obtain further information via the FSCS website at: www.fscs.org.uk.” The FSCS also provides a £1 million protection limit for temporary high balances held with a bank, building society or credit union if it fails. Further details relating to what constitutes a temporary high balance and the rules relating to the protection can be found at ww.fscs.org.uk

During the course of many transactions we hold money on your behalf. Interest on money held on your behalf shall be calculated by reference to the interest rate paid by the firm’s bankers, Barclays Bank plc, for money held on an instant access deposit account, irrespective of the amount held. However if it appears likely that the money would be expected to be held for more than 3 months a higher interest should be applied. Interest will only be paid on cleared funds. Having considered and compared different accounts our policy is that the lower rate will be calculated at 20% of Bank of England Base Rate, and the higher rate will be calculated at 75% of Bank of England Base Rate.

To reflect the fact that it takes time and resources to calculate interest and to process it through our ledgers, we will only pay interest to you if the amount exceeds £20, unless it is fair and reasonable to account to you having regard to all of the circumstances.

Outsourcing

Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/search application or other work 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 your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

Limitations on our liability to you

You are not entitled to bring any claim arising out of or in connection with the work that the firm does against any individual member, partner, employee or consultant of Coodes LLP in their personal capacity. Any duty of care which would otherwise, as a matter of law, be owed to you by any of our members, partners, employees or consultants is excluded from our contract with you. However, this does not alter or reduce any liability which Coodes LLP may have to you. We maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance in accordance with the rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Details of the insurers and the territorial coverage of the policy are available on request.

If, despite our efforts, we make a mistake (by which we mean any breach of our duty of care or other duties to you) and are liable to make a payment to you our liability shall be limited as follows:

  • our maximum liability for any mistake shall be £5 million or such other higher amount (if any)
  • this limit shall apply whether the mistake affects just one piece of work we do for you or several, so long as it is the same or a similar mistake;
  • for the purpose of the overall limit, more than one mistake on a matter or transaction is considered as one mistake;
  • we will not be liable for indirect, special, exemplary or consequential damages, costs or losses or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities (whether or not foreseeable at the commencement of the matter);
  • we shall not be liable to the extent that our mistake results from something you do or fail to do (such as giving us the wrong information or not giving us information at the time we ask for it);
  • we shall only be liable for that proportion of loss or damage (including interest and costs) suffered by you, which is ordered against us by a court after taking account of the contribution to the relevant loss or damage of any other person responsible or liable to you for such loss or damage. For the purpose of assessing the contribution of any other person, no account shall be taken of any limit imposed on the amount of liability of such person by any agreement made before the loss or damage occurred;
  • where we are acting for more than one person, our liability is allocated among you in such proportions as you agree between you. You will not dispute the limit of our liability on the grounds that no such allocation was agreed.

The limitations and exclusions of liability in this paragraph shall not apply to any liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or to any other liability which cannot be lawfully excluded or limited.

The transaction or matter that we will be undertaking on your behalf may involve considerations and decisions as to its financial, commercial or related viability or implications. The work that we do for you will not include any obligation to give advice in relation to those matters or issues.

Termination

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. We will decide to stop working for you only with good reason and on giving you reasonable notice, for example if you do not pay our invoices or staged payments, or if your interests come into conflict with our own interests or those of another client or if you ask us to do the work in a way that conflicts with our regulatory code of conduct. If that happens we will explain the reasons for any such decision at the time.

If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will become liable to pay our charges. We are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while money is owing to us.

Regulation

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Our registration number is 611627. The SRA regulatory Code of Conduct under which we operate can be accessed on their website at www.sra.org.uk.

Complaints

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 please contact the person carrying out your work.

If that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction or you would prefer not to speak to that person then please contact our Complaints Partner, Chris Andrews, on 01579 347600, chris.andrews@coodes.co.uk or by post to 10 Windsor Place, Liskeard, PL14 4BH. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available on request.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask The Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. They can be contacted by telephoning 0300 555 0333 (Helpline), by writing to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by e-mail to enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk. By its rules there are time limits as to when the Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints. These are six years from the date of the act or omission complained of, or three years from when you should have known about the cause of the complaint. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to The Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. We have eight weeks to consider your complaint, but aim to provide a response within 28 days.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask The Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. They can be contacted by telephoning 0300 555 0333 (Helpline), by writing to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or by e-mail to enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk. By its rules there are time limits as to when the Legal Ombudsman will accept complaints. These are six years from the date of the act or omission complained of, or three years from when you should have known about the cause of the complaint. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to The Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. We have eight weeks to consider your complaint, but aim to provide a response with 28 days.

A complainant to the Legal Ombudsman must be one of the following:

  • an individual;
  • micro-enterprise as defined in European Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 (broadly, an enterprise with fewer than 10 staff and a turnover or balance sheet value not exceeding €2 million);
  • charity with an annual income less than £1 million;
  • club, association or society with an annual income less than £1 million;
  • trustee of a trust with a net asset value less than £1 million; or a personal representative or the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman. If you do not fall into any of these categories, you should be aware that you can only obtain redress by using our Complaints Handling Procedure or by mediation or arbitration, or by taking action through the Courts.

If your instruction relates to a contract we entered into online or by other electronic means, you may be able to submit your complaint to a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider in the UK via the EU ORR platform.

The ADR platform is an interactive website offering a single point of entry for disputes between consumers and traders relating to online contracts. The ADR platform is available to consumer clients only, ie where you have instructed us for purposes outside your trade, business, craft or profession.

The website address for the ADR platform is: ec.europa.eu

You have a right to challenge any invoice for our charges that we send to you by using the firm’s complaints procedure.

You may be entitled to have our charges reviewed by a court by applying for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. You should note that the Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about an invoice if you have applied to a court.

We charge interest on the outstanding amount of this invoice in accordance with article 5 of the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009. Interest will be charged at the rate payable on judgment debts from one month after the date of delivery of the invoice.

Investments and Financial Services

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are, however, included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry out insurance distribution 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/firms/financial-services-register

Sometimes the work with which we are involved includes investments. As we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority we may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. We can, however, provide certain limited services in relation to investments, provided that they are closely linked with the legal services that we are providing to you. This is because we are members of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you with regard to investments then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If, for any reason, we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with whom you should raise concerns.

Proceeds of crime / money laundering

Like all solicitors, we are now required by law to apply procedures to guard against the risk of being involved in any way with the proceeds of crime, however trivial. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money. We comply with legislation including the Proceeds of Crime Act designed to combat the laundering of money which is the proceeds of crime and as a result we have procedures in place to prevent the use of our business for the laundering of money.

Evidence of identity

The law requires solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients, where relevant, other beneficiaries to a transaction and, in some cases, the source of funds. This is a legal requirement on solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients, primarily to guard against them being used by persons wanting to launder money or obtain a mortgage fraudulently, both of which are criminal offences. To comply with the law, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to inspect the original passports, full UK Driving Licences or EU countries identity cards. If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity and/or authority to instruct us. If you cannot satisfy these requests promptly, we have the right to cancel the Contract immediately on giving written notice to you.

Source of funds

At the start of any matter we will normally ask you to tell us the source of any funds you will be using. It is simplest for us if the source is an account in your name in a UK Bank or Building Society. If the source is an unusual one, such as an account in another country or in the name of someone other than yourself, please tell us as early as possible, including the reason for use.

Destination of funds

Where we pay money out to you, we will normally do so by a cheque made payable to you, or by electronic payment into an account in your name. If, instead, you want us to pay money out into the name of someone other than yourself, please tell us as early as possible, including the reason.

Confidentiality

We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by anti-money laundering legislation to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering. 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. We do not accept liability for any loss or delay that may be caused to you in complying with this legislation.

We may be required by law to reveal certain information and documents about you to authorities such as the Police or HM Revenue and Customs in relation to matters such as tax, fraud and money laundering. In the unlikely event we may have to share information with third parties, you agree to waive our duty of confidentiality and “legal professional privilege” relating to your matter.

Conflict of interest

We carry out conflict checks in every matter as soon as it is practicable to do so. We have a number of procedures in place to ensure that any issues which arise can be discussed with you and dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We have a professional obligation not to act for you, or any other client, in a situation where there is an actual or significant risk of a conflict with either the interests of another client or our own interests.

If you become aware of an actual or potential conflict of interest at any time while we are acting for you please discuss it with us immediately so that we may endeavour to resolve the issue in the most advantageous way to all clients concerned. If we do have to cease acting for you, you will still be responsible for our charges up to that time.

Equality and diversity

We are committed to treating all clients fairly and to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

Data Protection

Your personal data will be processed in accordance with your instructions and the principles of the data protection law. To view our full Privacy Policy please visit our website www.coodes.co.uk\privacy. If you would like this policy in another format (hard copy, audit, large print, braille) please contact our Data Protection Officer by email at dpo@coodes.co.uk or by telephone on (01326) 318900.

From time to time we would like to send you relevant information; newsletters; legal updates and invitations to events which we think may be of interest to you. To do this we use a variety of direct marketing methods of communication.

Please note that we will never pass your details on to third parties, unless as part of our legal requirements or in relation to our quality standards. If you wish to receive these legal updates, please click on this link, or visit our website and subscribe using the link provided at the top of every page.

You may unsubscribe at any time by contacting us by email, telephone or writing to us. Contact details can be found on our website www.coodes.co.uk.

Quality standards

We are committed to a policy of continuous improvement in the quality and efficiency of the services we provide to you. To assist us in achieving this we may be subject to periodic file checks or audits by external organisations in connection with recognised quality assurance schemes, such as Lexcel. Unless you advise us in writing to the contrary we will assume that you agree to our permitting such file checks in relation to files we may open for you. In the case of Legal Aid Agency Audits, this is part of your own contract with the Legal Aid Agency. These external organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.

Rights of third parties

The services provided by us are for your benefit alone and solely for the purpose of the matter to which they relate. They may not be used or relied upon for any other purpose or by third parties. Our duty of care is to you as our client and does not extend to any third party. No third party shall have any right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any of the Terms, provided that no right or remedy of any such person which exists or is available otherwise than by virtue of that Act shall be adversely affected by the Terms.

Storage of papers and safe custody of deeds, wills and documents

After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for our charges and expenses. On completion of your work we will keep our file of papers (excluding any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) for at least six years from the date of sending you our final invoice and on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy our file together with any papers belonging to you after six years. We will not destroy Deeds, Documents or Wills that you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we take papers out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we will charge you for the time spent producing stored papers that are requested for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers. If you require a copy of any document after completion of your matter, we reserve the right to make a modest charge for its retrieval and supply.

Acceptance of any Deed, Will or other original document for safe custody by us does not imply that we accept that we have any continuing responsibility to inform you of any changes in the law that may affect the effectiveness of any of the terms of such Deed, Will or Document.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: SENDING FUNDS TO OUR ACCOUNT

Given recent high profile media cases of email interception and fraudulent alterations to bank details and in particular, those relating to solicitors firms, PLEASE NOTE that you cannot rely on any bank details sent to you by email, even if they appear to come from this firm. It is your responsibility to check with us that you are using the correct bank details for any payments to be made to us in order to avoid any fraud. Please also note we will not be held responsible for any liability arising out of funds being sent by any party to an incorrect account.