Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP – Terms of Business
25th October 2023
1……… Information about your matter
2……… Your responsibilities
3……… The people who will work for you
4……… The work we will do for you
5……… The cost and time scale
6……… Payments on account and interim billing
7……… Paying our bill – and when payment is late
8……… Cash and financial matters
9……… Notice of changes
10……. Authority you give to us
11……. Our service levels
12……. Referral or fee sharing arrangements
13……. Funding legal cases
14……. Ending our relationship
15……. Consumer Contracts Regulations
16……. Interest on money held by us
17……. Financial benefit – other than interest on client account
18……. Professional indemnity insurance
20……. Regulatory status
21……. Data protection
22……. Equality and diversity
23……. The legal contract between us
25…….Adverse costs orders
26…….How we deal with money received for damages and costs
27…….Variation of these Terms of Business
Please do not hesitate if any of these terms are unclear and wish to discuss them with us.
Information about your matter
On each matter where you instruct us we will confirm to you in writing:
a) who we act for.
b) the fee earners who will deal with you.
c) the work we will do for you.
d) the basis on which our fees are calculated and an estimate of the likely time scales.
e) details of any referral or fee sharing arrangements.
f) the LAA category supervisor for the work we are doing if it is legally aided.
a) You will provide us with clear and accurate instructions.
b) You will provide us with all relevant documentation.
c) You will let us know quickly of any changes to your name, address or other contact details and if any other information you have given us has changed.
d) You will supply us with your bank details when we ask so we can send any money owing to you and will let us know if these details change.
e) You will attend all appointments arranged for you. If you are unable to attend, you will give adequate notice to avoid any cancellation fee. We reserve the right to pass on cancellation fees charged by experts for non-attendance at appointments where adequate notice has not been given.
The people who will work for you
When you instruct us we will tell you, in writing, the name and qualification of the fee earners dealing with the matter.
We will do our best to keep you informed of all people who will do significant work on your matter, but if in doubt please ask. We are happy to give you the name and qualification of any member of our staff.
The managing partner with overall responsibility for management of the firm is Jonathan Wheeler. You can contact Jonathan by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The work we will do for you
We will make sure that we have agreed with you the work we will do and any limits on the scope of that work e.g. because of the funding arrangements.
Unless we have specifically agreed to advise you on tax matters, tax advice is not included in our retainer and we will assume that you are getting separate advice from an accountant or tax specialist.
The cost and time scale
Our fee rates are based on all the circumstances of the case including complexity, skill, time, urgency, importance and value.
The rates charged vary according to the experience and qualification of the person doing the work. We have 10 grades of staff ranging from Grade 1 (partner) to Grade 10 (clerk). We will tell you of the grade of the person dealing with your matter and any people who work on it regularly.
We will tell you of the hourly rate of each grade of person applicable to your matter.
We record our time in 6 minute units for all work done on your behalf. This includes but is not limited to time spent on all letters, phone calls (made or received), emails, documents, research, consideration, travel etc.
These rates will be reviewed upwards on 1st January in each year. Unless we tell you otherwise, the charging rates will go up by up to 10% annually. If it is more than 10% a year, we will tell you as soon as possible.
We will give you as much information about the likely costs associated with your matter as we can, including our fees and VAT, disbursements (ie sums we will pay on your behalf to third parties) and any other payments for which you may be responsible.
We will also guide you about the likely timescale to finish your matter or to the next stage.
We will always advise you if we consider the likely results do not justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter.
In County Court matters your acceptance of these terms shall form your agreement, under rule 46.9(2) of the Civil Procedure Rules, that section 74(3) of the Solicitors Act 1974 shall not apply and that we shall be allowed to charge costs that may, where suitable, be greater than the amount you could have recovered from another party to those proceedings.
Our fees are exclusive of VAT and payments. All payments will be listed separately on your invoice. Please note we do charge an extra fee for minor expenses including bank charges, photocopying, travel and couriers.
Our VAT registration number is GB440 4099 69.
Payments on account and interim billing
Unless otherwise agreed, it is our practice to ask you for a sum to cover early fees and payments that we may incur on your behalf. The amount paid may not reflect the cost of the work that we do nor the cost of the work already completed. Sums of money paid to us on account can be applied by us at our discretion.
We may render “on account bills” for such sums as we consider are appropriate – such bills do not necessarily reflect the work done by us up to the date of the bill.
We expressly reserve the right to render “interim statute bills” where appropriate. An interim statute bill is a final bill for the work done during the period which the bill is stated to cover.
Paying our bill – and when payment is late
Our bills are payable within 14 days.
If we agree a fixed fee with you that fee will not become payable until we have sent our invoice to you.
We will only accept payment by cheque or bank transfer.
If a bill is not paid within one month we can charge you interest at 8% a year on the balance outstanding (including the VAT). We may issue court proceedings against you to recover the outstanding debt, interest and our costs.
If a bill is not paid within 14 days, we may stop dealing with your matter until it is paid in full and we may not accept further instructions from you on this or any other matter. We will also exercise a lien over any relevant papers or goods until the bill is paid in full.
Where a third-party is paying some or all of your legal costs any interest recovered belongs to us unless agreed otherwise.
Cash and financial matters
We will not accept or make any cash payments.
We will need your bank details when we open your file and will verify these with you, either in person or by telephone, before any payments are sent. To help us combat fraud, we will not accept any change in bank details by email alone. We will only release payments to an account in your name, any request to release payments to a third party account, will require a satisfactory explanation from you and your written form of authority. This it to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering laws.
UK Bank Accounts
Any money we need to send to you will be sent by BACS (three day payment) bank transfer to a UK bank account. On payment of an extra fee, money can be sent by CHAPS (same day payment, for any amount), or Faster payment (same day payment for values up to £100,000).
If your account is with a bank overseas, please note that any foreign payments incur a fee of £50 + vat. In addition, Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP has no control over the exchange rate used. Same day payments are not possible to non-UK accounts.
Notice of changes
We will tell you:
a) if any person responsible for your matter changes
b) if the law changes
c) If any new information or risks that we know of or which we think could happen that could affect the result of your matter.
d) Whether the likely results still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances.
e) of any alternative ways of funding your matter (eg legal expenses insurance or legal aid) and keep this under review.
f) if it becomes clear the matter is or will become unusually complex or time-consuming, or the scope of your instructions has substantially altered or expanded, any fixed fee or fee estimate we have given you is no longer suitable, and we will provide you with a new fixed fee or fee estimate as soon as practicable.
Authority you give to us
You expressly give us authority:
a) to take all steps that we consider reasonable in the conduct of your matter and to incur payments (ie fees to third parties for the conduct of your matter, eg for, court fees, expert witness fees, fees to get relevant records etc).
b) if you were sent to us by a referral agency, to keep that referral agency advised of the progress of your case and of the result without prior reference to you.
c) to publicise your case at our discretion in any form of media provided such publicity extends only to disclosure of material that would normally be in the public domain and not to matters which are confidential.
d) to receive all money payable to you by third parties.
e) to engage other companies or people to work on our files or your records (eg for typing, copying, collation and pagination purposes and for roles that support the delivery of our legal activities).
f) to keep your documents in electronic format only
g) to deliver our bills to you using electronic communication.
h) To conduct bankruptcy checks, periodically throughout your case, with the Land Registry, these searches will be done using only your full name.
Our service levels
We pride ourselves on our service. It is our aim to exceed your expectations.
We will update you with progress on your matter regularly and communicate with you in plain language by phone, email or letter. If you prefer a particular method of communication please let us know.
When we consider it suitable, we will review your matter and the information we have given you and we will update the costs information and time estimate then.
If you want an update please ask. Usually we will respond to an email or phone call from you within one working day. If the person dealing with your matter leaves or will be absent for a significant time (i.e. maternity leave) we will tell you in advance who will be covering. For any other absence, an out of office message will tell you who to contact.
If you are not happy with any of our service please contact our managing partner Jonathan Wheeler at email@example.com
We may contact you by telephone for feedback on our service. We appreciate this feedback – it helps us to improve our service.
Referral or fee sharing arrangements
If we have entered any referral or fee sharing arrangement with any third-party that is relevant to your matter we will give you information about that arrangement.
We will tell you of any financial or other interest the introducer has in referring you to us. We will also tell you if we are sharing our fees with any other party.
Funding legal cases
Other than private fees, we will tell you about the other ways of funding that might be available. These may include:
a) Conditional fee agreements
Much litigation is now dealt with on a conditional fee basis. If we can offer this to you, terms will be in a separate agreement. These Terms of Business will apply as long as they are not varied by the Conditional Fee Agreement.
b) Legal expenses insurance
You may have arranged your own legal expenses insurance cover. The extent of this cover may vary depending on the identity of the insurer. We are happy to act for clients who enjoy the benefit of legal expenses cover. We can undertake work within the limits allowed by the insurers. If we are undertaking work for you that is covered by legal expenses insurance, it is important that you understand that you (not the legal expenses insurers) are and have been our client since we first accepted instructions. Therefore you remain chiefly liable for our fees at the hourly rates advised to you regardless of whether your legal expenses insurer will protect us at those rates or if the limit is exceeded. If you wish to ensure the limit is not exceeded we can supply an up-to-date statement of our fees and if suitable an estimate of your opponents fees on request.
c) Legal Aid
Legal aid is sometimes available and if we think you may qualify we will advise you of this. Even though you may be granted a legal aid certificate, until a certificate is granted you remain a private client and therefore responsible for our fees before the grant of legal aid. Legal aid is not retrospective
Ending our relationship
a) You may end your instructions to us at any time.
b) We may decide to stop acting for you if we have good reason eg if you do not pay an invoice or any money sought on account within a reasonable time, if we identify a possible conflict of interest or if the professional relationship between us has broken down. In any event we will give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
If you or we decide we should stop acting for you, you must pay our charges up to then. If we agreed a fixed fee our charges will be some of the agreed fixed fee according to how much work has been done.
If we decide to stop acting for you we will explain possible choices available to you.
Consumer Contracts Regulations
If we have met with you away from our office and agreed to act for you or if we have agreed to act for you following a telephone conversation or by exchange of emails (or other electronic communication), and if we are acting for you for purposes which are outside your business, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to our agreement with you. That means that you have the right to cancel our agreement without charge within fourteen days of your acceptance of these terms. If you wish to do so you must tell us of your decision to cancel in writing. If you agree to us beginning work but give written notice to us within the 14 day period, then we may make a charge for the work undertaken before cancellation.
Interest on money held by us
We are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to account to you for interest earned on client money where it is fair and reasonable to do so in all the circumstances.
We will pay interest at the rate payable by our bank on instant access deposits.
We will not pay interest to you:
a) Where the interest due is £40 or less; or
b) Where money is held by us for less than one week.
Financial benefit – other than interest on client account
If we receive any financial benefit as a result of acting for you we will:
a) Pay it to you; or
b) Offset it against your fees; or
c) Keep it with your consent – having explained to you the amount or estimated amount involved.
Professional indemnity insurance
We are required to hold professional indemnity insurance cover for a minimum sum of £3,000,000. In fact we have cover of £35,000,000. It is an express term of our retainer that our liability to you is limited to £35,000,000. Details of our current cover can be obtained from our Compliance Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that you will not have cause for complaint but if you do please contact our Compliance Manager at email@example.com who will send you a copy of our complaints procedure and will look into your complaint. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of the complaint you may have the right to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman’s services are available to members of the public and very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at
PO Box 6806,
Telephone 0300 555 0333.
You must refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than:
- One year from the act/omission; or from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, or
- Within six months of you receiving a final response from us to the complaint raised.
Full details regarding time limits are available from the Legal Ombudsman.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority at www.sra.org.uk
If you are not happy with our bill then you should tell us by way of our complaints procedure. You may also have the right to have the bill assessed by the court under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974
Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our SRA number is 816764. The detailed professional rules that apply to us can be found on the Solicitors Regulation Authority web site at www.sra.org.uk.
Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide investment advice and, if while we are acting for you advice on investments is needed, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice. However we may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.
We are an ancillary insurance intermediary and are included on the register kept by the Financial Conduct Authority so we can carry on insurance distribution which is broadly advising on, selling and administering insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong is also 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
We have appointed Amanda Garner as our Insurance Distribution Officer.
Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP is registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office under the UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) registration number Z6139374. We will only collect and use your personal data as allowed by those regulations.
We use the personal data you provide mainly for to provide legal services to you and for related purposes including updating and improving client records, analysis to help us manage our practice, filing statutory returns and legal and regulatory compliance. We only collect sensitive personal data from you that is necessary to help you with your legal affairs.
We sometimes need to share your personal data with third parties. This will only be done:
- as is necessary or desirable in the conduct of your legal affairs e.g. by providing such data to referrers, your opponent, statutory authorities any contractors we engage to help us with the conduct of your legal affairs.
- as is necessary to run our business e.g. by providing such data to quality standards assessors, regulatory or professional bodies and our contractors.
- under the exceptions in the UK GDPR ie for crime prevention and detection, to government agencies, for collecting taxes and to anyone else with a legal right to receive such personal data
We do not transfer personal data outside the European Economic Area except where it is necessary for the conduct of your legal affairs nor do we pass on personal data to other organisations for marketing purposes.
You may ask us for a copy of any of your personal data that we hold. Our use of your personal data is subject to your instructions, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), other relevant UK legislation and our professional duty of confidentiality.
Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP is a data controller under the UK GDPR and other relevant data protection legislation. We have named Amanda Garner as the firm’s representative.
Our electronic systems are designed to hold data indefinitely. We will always hold data in an electronic format at the end of a matter for at least 6 years or other statutory period required but we believe that it is in the best interests of clients and the firm to hold data for longer periods. We have reviewed our use of personal data and we reserve the right to keep data (including personal data)
Equality and diversity
Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its practice. Please contact our Compliance Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
The legal contract between us
Delivery of these Terms of Business to you, at any time during the period we are instructed by you, forms part of the contract between us from time to time. Subject to any prior agreement between us these Terms will apply to work undertaken both before and after these Terms have been delivered to you. Any dispute or claim arising from our Terms of Business or any other aspect of the contract between us will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.
As explained in the client care letter, under the heading “COSTS SHORTFALL”, the Defendant will pay a contribution towards your costs and that contribution will be decided by the court if a settlement cannot be reached. The court will consider things like: hourly rates; time spent working on the case; and the fees of barristers and experts. The following is provided as a further explanation of those elements:
We charge for our services by multiplying the hourly rate of the lawyer by the amount of time spent. Our hourly rates are comparable with other firms of solicitors located in central London specialising in legal disputes for compensation arising from personal injury and clinical negligence. Despite our hourly rates being comparable with our competitors, the court may decide that they are unreasonable or unusual in amount. In this event, the defendant’s contribution towards your costs will reduce, and thus the costs shortfall will increase. For example, the court may reduce the hourly rate of a Partner from £600 to £500. This will create a costs shortfall of £100 for every hour spent. One of the factors relevant to the court’s decision on hourly rates is where you live. For instance, the court may decide that you should have instructed a local solicitor rather than one in central London. Also, the court may refer to the guideline hourly rates (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/solicitors-guideline-hourly-rates). Our hourly rates exceed them because our cases are outside the norm in terms of value and/or complexity.
We believe it is in your best interests to adopt a team approach as it will increase the quality and speed of our services, which is likely to increase the time spent on your case, as opposed to one solicitor working alone. For example, the case progress will be periodically reviewed by a Partner of the firm and work will be appropriately delegated to more junior fee earners. A team approach will necessitate communication between fee earners and the court may decide that this is unusual or unreasonable, despite our competitors adopting a similar approach.
Fees of barristers and experts
At an appropriate time, we will instruct a barrister to advise, prepare a document or advocate at a court hearing. It may be in your best interests to instruct a more experienced barrister who charges higher fees then a less experienced one. The court may decide that the barrister’s fees are unusual or unreasonable, and if this happens the costs shortfall will increase. Similarly, at an appropriate time, we will instruct experts to provide evidence. Some of these experts are practising in cutting edge or extremely complicated areas of expertise, and are leaders in their field. For this reason, they charge higher fees and the court may decide that their fees are unusual or unreasonable, thus increasing the costs shortfall.
It may be in your best interests to issue court proceedings. If this happens, the court will set a timetable for the provision of evidence, such as witness statements or expert reports. When setting the timetable, the court will also consider the future estimated costs for each phase of the litigation. These estimates will be included in a document called a costs budget. The court will set figures for each phase of the litigation, for example the court may set a figure of £50,000 in the expert reports phase. That sum can be spent on a BBK’s fees, experts, a barrister or often a combination.
In setting a costs budget, the court is essentially determining how much the Defendant will be contributing towards your future legal costs and so any costs in excess of the budget are rarely recoverable from the Defendant because they are considered to be unreasonable or unusual. Therefore costs in excess of the budget will form part of the costs shortfall. It is possible that the costs budget will be too low and you may have to spend more than the budget to bring your claim to an optimal conclusion. We will inform you if we deem it necessary for you to spend costs in excess of the budget.
Adverse costs orders
The Defendant may win a discrete issue in your case or the court may award you less compensation than was offered by the Defendant. If this happens, the court will normally order you to pay the Defendant’s costs of the discrete issue or the costs after the offer. These are known as adverse costs orders. They become enforceable by the Defendant after the court has decided the Defendant’s contribution towards your costs. In due course, we will advise you on obtaining insurance for this scenario.
How we deal with money received for damages and costs
The compensation you receive from your case is referred to as damages.
You agree that all payments that we receive from or on behalf of the Defendant in relation to our fees, disbursements, interest on costs and VAT shall belong to us.
You agree that all payments that we receive from or on behalf of the Defendant in relation to your damages either by you or by us shall be paid into our client account. Out of the money received for your damages you agree to let us keep the amount you owe for our fees (including any success fee), disbursements, insurance premium and VAT.
We shall pay the balance of your damages to you.
Variation of these Terms of Business
We reserve the right at any time to make variations to these Terms of Business aimed at resolving any uncertainties. This might become necessary if there are developments in the law. We will notify you of any variations and explain them to you either verbally or in writing or both if you wish.