Terms of Business and Privacy Notice
The purpose of this document is to confirm the arrangements between us. Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business, we ask that you sign, date and return one copy for our file.
Table of contents
- Business hours
- Our responsibilities
- Your responsibilities
- Service levels and frequency of communication
- Limit of liability
- Data protection and the GDPR
- Storage and retrieval of files
- Terminating your instructions
- Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
- Receiving and paying funds
- Our bill
- Equality and diversity
- Applicable law
- Future instructions
We are normally open between 9.00 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday. We have Saturday availability by appointment only. We are closed on all bank holidays.
- Treat you fairly and with respect
- Communicate with you in plain language
- Review your matter regularly
- Advise you of any changes in the law that affect your matter
- Advise you of any reasonably foreseeable circumstances and risks that could affect the outcome of your matter
- Provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions
- Provide all documentation and information that we reasonably request in a timely manner
- Safeguard any documents that may be required for your matter, including documents that you may have to disclose to another party
Service levels and frequency of communication
We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter regularly. We will explain to you by telephone or in writing the legal work required as your matter progresses. We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates. We will provide you with a fixed fee for the work that we will do on your behalf.
Limit of liability
We have professional indemnity insurance giving cover for claims against the firm. Details of this insurance, including contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of the policy, can be inspected at our office or made available on request. Our maximum aggregate liability to you in this matter will be £2 million including interest and costs unless we expressly state a different figure in our letter confirming your instructions. If you wish to discuss a variation of this limit, please contact the person dealing with your matter. Agreeing a higher limit on our liability may result in us seeking an increase in our charges for handling your matter. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profit or opportunity. Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes as detailed in our Privacy notice which is attached 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 2018 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. Under data protection legislation you have a right of access to the personal data that we hold about you.
Storage and retrieval of files
After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. We will keep our file of your papers for up to six years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them six years after the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody. 4 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 the retrieval. However, we may charge you for:
- Time spent producing stored papers that are requested
- Reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice, eg our regulator, The Solicitors Regulation Authority, our accountants or assessment bodies for quality accreditations. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Please contact Elizabeth Middleton if you do not wish your files to be disclosed to external auditors.
Terminating your instructions
You may end your instructions at any time, by giving us notice in writing. We can keep all your papers and documents while our charges or disbursements are outstanding. We can only decide to stop acting for you with good reason and we must give you reasonable notice. If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you are liable to pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on the basis set out in our letter confirming your instructions.
Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
We are required by law to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients and sometimes people related to them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients can be used by criminals wanting to launder money. To comply with the law, we need to get evidence of your identity as soon as possible. This is explained in our letter confirming your instructions. We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential.
The information and documentation you provide us is confidential and subject to legal professional privilege unless:
- Stated otherwise in this document or our letter confirming your instructions, eg in relation to prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
- We advise you otherwise during the course of your matter
We cannot absolutely guarantee the security of information communicated by email or mobile phone. Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we will assume that you consent for us to use these methods of communication.
Receiving and paying funds
Our policy is only accept cash up to £500. Our client bank account details are as follows:
- Bank: Barclays Bank
- Payee: Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors
- Sort code: 20-71-03
- Account: 50265799
Payment of money on account of costs
Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors will only commence work after receiving money on account of costs. We require 50% of the fee upfront for fixed fee costs, and for matters where we charge an hourly rate, we require a minimum payment of 2 hours work.
We are committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive or about the bill, please contact Elizabeth Middleton on 01189590153 and [email protected] or by post to 93 Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, RG5 4AE. We have a written procedure that sets out how we handle complaints. It is available at 93 Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, RG5 4AE. We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Solicitors Regulation Authority SRA number 620346. Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
You are liable to pay legal costs as set out in our letter confirming your instructions. We will also usually discuss this at our initial meeting with you. Bills should be paid within 30 days. We may charge interest on overdue bills at Barclay’s Bank daily rate of interest. We may cease acting for you if an interim bill remains unpaid after 30 days or if our reasonable request of a payment on account of costs is not met. You have the right to challenge or complain about our bill. Please see the Complaints section above for details of how to complain about our bill. You have the right to challenge our bill by applying to the court to assess the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The usual time limit for making such an application is one month from the date of delivery of the bill. If the application is made after one month but before 12 months from delivery of the bill, the court's permission is required for the bill to be assessed. Unless there are special circumstances, the court will not usually order a bill to be assessed after:
- 12 months from delivery of the bill
- A judgment has been obtained for the recovery of the costs covered by the bill
- The bill has been paid, even if this is within 12 months
We can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
Equality and diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on this or any other matter.
I CONSENT to my data being processed according to the enclosed Privacy Notice by Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors to enable them to provide me with the advice and legal documents that I require.
Your Name ................................................
Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors understands that your privacy is important to you and that you care about how your personal data is used. We respect and value the privacy of all of our clients and will only collect and use personal data in ways that are described here, and in a way that is consistent with our obligations and your rights under the law.
- Information About Us
- Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors is a legal practice whose address is 93 Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, Reading, RG5 4AE
- Data Protection Officer: Elizabeth Middleton Email address: [email protected] Telephone number: 0118 343 2737 Postal Address: 93 Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, Reading, Berkshire, RG5 4AE We are regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority
- What Does This Notice Cover? This Privacy Information explains how we use your personal data: how it is collected, how it is held, and how it is processed. It also explains your rights under the law relating to your personal data.
- What is Personal Data? Personal data is defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (EU Regulation 2016/679) (the “GDPR”) as ‘any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier’. Personal data is, in simpler terms, any information about you that enables you to be identified. Personal data covers obvious information such as your name and contact details, but it also covers less obvious information such as identification numbers, electronic location data, and other online identifiers. The personal data that we use is set out in Part 7, below.
- What Are My Rights? Under the GDPR, you have the following rights, which we will always work to uphold: a) The right to be informed about my collection and use of your personal data. This Privacy Notice should tell you everything you need to know, but you can always contact us to find out more or to ask any questions using the details in Part 14. b) The right to access the personal data we hold about you. Part 10 will tell you how to do this. c) The right to have your personal data rectified if any of your personal data held by us is inaccurate or incomplete. Please contact us using the details in Part 14 to 8 find out more. d) The right to be forgotten, i.e. the right to ask us to delete or otherwise dispose of any of your personal data that we have. Please contact us using the details in Part 14 to find out more. e) The right to restrict (i.e. prevent) the processing of your personal data. f) The right to object to us using your personal data for a particular purpose or purposes. g) The right to data portability. This means that, if you have provided personal data to us directly, we am using it with your consent or for the performance of a contract, and that data is processed using automated means, you can ask us for a copy of that personal data to re-use with another service or business in many cases. h) Rights relating to automated decision-making and profiling. Part 8 explains more about how we use your personal data. For more information about our use of your personal data or exercising your rights as outlined above, please contact us using the details provided in Part 14. Further information about your rights can also be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you have any cause for complaint about our use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
- What Personal Data Do You Collect? We may collect some or all of the following personal data (this may vary according to your relationship with us: - Name; - Date of birth; - Gender; - Address; - Email address; - Telephone number; - Business name; - Job title; - Profession;
- How Do You Use My Personal Data? Under the GDPR, we must always have a lawful basis for using personal data. This may be because the data is necessary for our performance of a contract with you, because you have consented to our use of your personal data, or because it is in our legitimate business interests to use it. Your personal data will be used for the following purposes: - Providing and managing your matter - Supplying our services to you. Your personal details are required in order for us to enter into a contract with you. - Personalising and tailoring our services for you. - Communicating with you. This may include responding to emails or calls from 9 you. - Supplying you with information by email or post. Please let us know if you od not want us to communicate to you by email). With your permission we will use your information to enable us to use outsourced secretarial services from UK companies that offer audio dictation.
- How Long Will You Keep My Personal Data? We will not keep your personal data for any longer than is necessary in light of the reason(s) for which it was first collected. Your personal data will therefore be kept for the following periods (or, where there is no fixed period, the following factors will be used to determine how long it is kept): - Instructions and files regarding Wills are kept for the duration of the client’s and their beneficiaries life times. - For all other matters, such as Lasting Powers of Attorney, conveyancing, litigation, commercial property, company law; the information will be retained for 6 years after the conclusion of your matter.
- How and Where Do You Store or Transfer My Personal Data? We will only store or transfer your personal data in the UK. This means that it will be fully protected under the GDPR. The security of your personal data is essential to us, and to protect your data, we take a number of important measures, including the following: - Using secure encrypted passwords for our computer systems. - We change the passwords frequently. - We do not send personal information, such as bank account, in the body of an email to maximise security.
- Do You Share My Personal Data? We will not share any of your personal data with any third parties for any purposes, subject to one important exception. In some limited circumstances, we may be legally required to share certain personal data, which might include yours, if we are involved in legal proceedings or complying with legal obligations, a court order, or the instructions of a government authority. In addition may share your personal data with companies which assist us in providing our service to you. Such services include outsourcing our reception duties and/or typing work. These companies are situated in the UK to ensure that you are fully protected under the GDPR. Whenever we use third parties, any of your personal data is used to assist us to provide our service to you, we will take steps to ensure that your personal data is handled safely, securely, and in accordance with your rights, our obligations, and the third party’s obligations under the law, as described above in Part 6.
- How Can I Access My Personal Data? If you want to know what personal data we have about you, you can ask us for details of that personal data and for a copy of it (where any such personal data is held). This is known as a “subject access request”. All subject access requests should be made in writing and sent to the email or postal addresses shown in Part 14. To make this as easy as possible for you, a Subject Access Request Form is available for you to use. You do not have to use this form, but it is the easiest way to tell us everything we need to know to respond to your request as quickly as possible. There is not normally any charge for a subject access request. If your request is ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’ (for example, if you make repetitive requests) a fee may be charged to cover our administrative costs in responding. We will respond to your subject access request within two weeks and, in any case, not more than one month of receiving it. Normally, we aim to provide a complete response, including a copy of your personal data within that time. In some cases, however, particularly if your request is more complex, more time may be required up to a maximum of three months from the date we receive your request. You will be kept fully informed of our progress.
- How Do I Contact You? To contact us about anything to do with your personal data and data protection, including to make a subject access request, please use the following details for the attention of Elizabeth Middleton: Email address: [email protected] Telephone number: 0118 343 2737. Postal Address: 93 Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, Reading, RG5 4AE.
- Changes to this Privacy Notice We may change this Privacy Notice from time to time. This may be necessary, for example, if the law changes, or if we change our business in a way that affects personal data protection. Any changes will be made available on our website at www.elizabethmiddletonsolicitors.co.uk