Terms & Legal
Please see covering letter. We will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary – due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or circumstances significantly change. We will also inform you in writing of the estimated costs of the extra work before incurring further costs.
2.1 We may request payment on account of costs and/or disbursements at any time.
2.2 Interim bills may be delivered at such intervals as we determine.
2.3 Bills are due for payment on completion. We will charge daily interest at the rate of 8% p.a. on payments overdue by more than 30 days. It is therefore in your interest to make prompt payment.
2.4 If any sum remains unpaid after 30 days we will charge interest at the daily rate of 8% p.a.
2.5 We accept payment by cheque, bank transfer or debit card. We do not accept payment by credit card.
2.6 You agree that we can deduct from any money held for you by us to meet payment of any outstanding invoice.
2.7 The common law entitles us to retain any money, property, files or papers in payment of our costs, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred. This is known as a ‘general lien’. We are not entitled to sell property held under a lien but we are entitled to hold property, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs.
2.8 We do not accept payments to us in cash in excess of £500, Monies due to you from us will be paid by cheque or bank transfer, but not in cash, and will not be made payable to a third party.
2.9 Cheques should be made payable to Walker Foster Limited.
2.10 You agree that notwithstanding any estimate of fees provided to you, you will be responsible for payment of all costs for work done for you and all disbursements incurred on your behalf.
2.11 Payment of Interest: We will account to you for interest earned by us on cleared funds where such interest would be in excess of £50 gross.
2.12 All post will be sent out in the normal 1st and 2nd class mail or via the DX service to third parties. Anything sent at a higher rate (i.e. Recorded or Registered mail) will be chargeable as a disbursement.
- Financial Services
Sometimes conveyancing, matrimonial and probate work may involve investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and so may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However, we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments, provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.
- Insurance Mediation
Walker Foster are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the exempt firms register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at https://register.fca.org.uk/s/.
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing. If we decide to stop acting for you, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
If instructions are terminated, you will be liable for fees and disbursements to the date of termination of the instructions to which we may be committed, plus any fees and disbursements for work necessary in connection with the transfer of the matter to another adviser of your choice and/or removing ourselves from the court record, as applicable.
- Your Obligations and Disclosure to Lenders
Where we act on behalf of both you and any third-party lender or mortgagee, you hereby irrevocably authorise us to disclose to that third party without limitation any and all information, copy documentation and details of your instructions given to us in or which may relate to that matter.
- Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP), in the event that the limited company or LLP is unable to pay the charges and expenses of this firm for whatever reason (e.g. as a result of insolvency), the Directors of the limited company or Members of the LLP agree to personally be jointly and severally liable for the charges and expenses of this firm. We may require that a Director or controlling shareholder or Member signs a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm.
- Tax Advice
Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of a tax planning strategy. We may not be qualified to advise you on the tax implications of a transaction that you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising. If you have any concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately. If we can undertake the research necessary to resolve the issue, we will do so and advise you accordingly. If we cannot, we may be able to identify a source of assistance for you.
- Identity, disclosure and confidentiality requirements.
In some circumstances Money Laundering regulations require us to obtain from you proof of identity and we may decline to act for you if this is not forthcoming. We may make an electronic identity check and the fee will appear on your bill as a disbursement. Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation however is subject to a statutory exception: legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make such a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or of the reasons for it, because the law prohibits ‘tipping-off’. Where the law permits us, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take. Our firm may be requested to supply such details as your full name, address, date of birth and occupation to our Bank in connection with any financial transactions connected to you. Information from your file may therefore be made available in such circumstances. We will always aim to obtain a confidentiality agreement with the third party. Any personal data we receive from you for the purposes of our money laundering checks will be processed only for the purposes of preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, or as otherwise permitted by law or with your consent. You consent to us retaining such data for longer than the five-year statutory period, unless you tell us otherwise
Help to Buy ISA Scheme: If you are purchasing a property with assistance from the Government’s Help to Buy ISA Scheme we hereby notify you, as required under the Scheme rules, that HM Treasury will be a data controller in respect of the personal data you provide to us. This data will be processed by HM Treasury and the administrators of the Scheme, and your agreement of our terms and conditions of business will amount to your consent to this processing of data and your consent for us to provide such data to HM Treasury and/or the administrators of the Scheme.
- Communication between you and us
We will aim to communicate with you by such a reasonable method as you may request. We may need to virus check discs or e-mail. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by e-mail or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.
- Client Conduct
We operate a zero-tolerance policy towards abusive behaviour. No member of our staff should be required to deal with any client or third party who is exhibiting threatening, abusive or violent behaviour (including raised voices and/or actual or threatened violence) either face to face, over the telephone or in correspondence. In any of these circumstances a member of staff has the right to refuse to interact with that client, including to terminate a call.
- Problems and Complaints
Our aim is to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service at all times. Our clients and our staff are of first importance to us. We hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, please raise your concern in the first place with the fee earner dealing with your case. All solicitors must attempt to resolve problems that may arise with their services. It is therefore important that you immediately raise any concerns that you have with us. We value you and would not wish to think that you had any reason to be unhappy with the fee earner dealing with your case. If you still have queries or concerns please contact Mrs Jayne Schofield our Operations Director. We have a Complaints Procedure which can be supplied to you upon request. If we are unable to resolve the matter between us, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which provides a complaint and redress scheme. In relation to our costs you may make an application to the courts for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
If you have a complaint about us which we cannot resolve to your satisfaction within eight weeks, you can then involve: The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ www.legalombudsman.org.uk
mailto:[email protected] Telephone: 0300 555 0333. Please note that if you are not happy with our final response you have up to twelve months from our final response to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. There is a time limit of 6 years from when the problem occurred or 3 years from when you should reasonably have become aware of the problem to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010. Some clients cannot use the Legal Ombudsman scheme. Further details can be obtained from the Legal Ombudsman. If in doubt, enquire.
Alternative complaints bodies (such as: Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and us wish to use such a scheme.
- Property Transactions
Relevant information about the property can be obtained by making a personal search of the data available or asking the local authority or a private company to prepare a search report.
A personal search of the Local Land Charges Register utilises the same source information as a local authority search (or it should) and is covered by insurance against errors and omissions, whilst the local authority compiled “LLC1” is not insured, although local authorities should compensate directly for any errors or omissions they make. Other search services (“local enquiries” or “CON29”) should utilise the same source information according to government guidance, but sometimes local authorities have restricted the access they allow to personal searchers. The previous HIP regulations allowed personal searchers to cover any gaps in information (caused by local authority restrictions) with additional insurance. As all local authorities are now required to give access to all data required for searches used in HIPs, this will no longer be the case from April 2009, although insurance will still be a requirement to cover errors & omissions.
In order to speed up some aspects of conveyancing transactions, we have negotiated a number of insurance policies specifically designed to help speed the process and/or insure some defects. Specialists in the market have issued these policies and although we are not contractually bound to get the best/cheapest deals we believe that these products will provide you with the cover that you need. If we consider it appropriate to put in place any such cover for you, we will contact you and discuss this with you. We will let you know the cost of doing so and obtain your approval for putting the insurance in place. You acknowledge that the provision of an Architect’s Certificate does not equate to insurance (for example such as that provided by NHBC). It is a Certificate in a form usually dictated by a lender and is primarily for the lender’s benefit. If the property has been constructed with faults and you seek to rely upon the Architect’s Certificate, it will be necessary for you to bring a claim against the architect and this could involve court proceedings and these may fail.
- Proposed Developments
The Local Authority Search which will be submitted against the property you are to purchase will only reveal planning entries in respect of the property itself. It will not reveal any pending or completed planning applications or development proposals in respect of any adjoining or nearby properties. The Property Information Form which will be completed by the sellers might reveal whether the sellers have received or sent any notices or correspondence or if there have been any negotiations or discussions which affect the property or any nearby property. The sellers will be asked if they are aware of any proposals to develop property or land nearby or of any proposal to make any alterations to buildings nearby. If you are concerned about a possible development taking place near the property you must contact the planning department of the local authority who will be able to give you full details of any such proposals. Every local authority has its own development plan for its area. This gives details as to medium and long-term policies for future development generally, specific land uses and anticipated planning policies. These details are never given to us within a local search result. If you require a copy of the development plan you will need to apply to the local authority direct who will forward you a copy upon payment of a fee.
- Bank Details
15.1. We will not send our bank details to you via email
15.2 You should not send money to us to any bank account except for the account that we provide to you at the start of the transaction.
15.3 We will only pay money due to you into an account that we have verified is yours. You agree to assist in our verification procedures, which may include you providing bank documentation and signing to confirm the account the money should be paid into.
“Walker Foster is a Trading name of Walker Foster Limited (Registered in England and Wales – No. 09847724) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 627728).
Walker Foster is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
If your matter involves the purchase of land or property, then it is a requirement that following completion of the transaction a Stamp Duty Land Transaction Return Form is submitted to HMRC. We are hereby authorised by you to complete the return on your behalf with full details of the transaction including the effective date of the transaction and to submit the form electronically on your behalf.
Under the European Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive (DGSD), and corresponding UK legislation, the compensation limit for eligible claimants in the event of failure of a deposit-taking institution is £85,000. The £85,000 FSCS limit applies to the individual client, and so if you hold other personal monies in the same deposit-taking institution as our client account, the limit remains £85,000 in total. The deposit-taking institutions in which we hold client funds are National Westminster and Santander. Some deposit-taking institutions have several brands, i.e. where the same institution is trading under different names. It is your responsibility to check either with your deposit-taking institution, the FCA or a financial adviser for more information. We do not do this for you. If we make a claim under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in respect of client money on your behalf, you consent to us giving information about you to the FSCS to help it to identify clients (including you) and any amounts to which you/clients are entitled.
You agree that we are not liable for losses resulting from a failure or collapse of a deposit-taking institution.
We are required to keep files for the minimum number of years specified by the Law Society or by such other body by which we are from time to time regulated. You authorise us to securely destroy your file(s) at the end of that period or such longer period as we may deem to be appropriate, without further notice to you. We reserve the right to charge a reasonable fee for document retrieval after a matter has been archived.
Where we act for two or more clients jointly it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions from either, both or any of them.
You acknowledge that if this transaction involves a residential mortgage and you require us to apply for mortgage funds within the seven-day period of reflection applicable to such mortgages, then we have your authority to proceed with the completion of that mortgage notwithstanding that this is within such period of reflection.
You confirm that you will read all documents that we send to you including documents relating to planning. If you have any questions regarding such documents you will raise them with us.
Under the EU Provision of Services Act 2009 we are obliged to give you the following information: -
Our V.A.T. registration number is 180 1221 12
Our Professional Indemnity Insurers are Travelers Insurance Company, 61-63 London Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1NA; valid 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021.
You can access the professional rules that apply to us, namely the Solicitors Code of Conduct at www.sra.org.uk/
- Consent to these terms
Save for positive consent dealt with us in clause 19 below, unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the appropriate fees as arranged with the fee earner, these terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been signed and returned to us for retention on your file.
- Data Protection Privacy Notice
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 instruction, data protection law and our duty of confidentiality.
Please note that our work for you may require us to pass on such information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers, including sometimes advisers appointed by another party to your matter. We may also give such information to others who perform services for us, such as typing or photocopying. Our practice may be audited or checked by our accountants or other regulator, or by other organisations. We do not normally copy such information to anyone outside the European Economic Area, however we may do so when the particular circumstances of your matter so require. All such third parties are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
You have a right of access under data protection law to the personal data that we hold about you. We seek to keep that personal data correct and up to date. You should let us know if you believe the information we hold about you needs to be corrected or updated. We have appointed the following person as our representative for the purposes of the Data Protection Act: Keith Hardington.
Terms and Conditions of business
Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the appropriate fees as arranged with the fee earner, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business.