This explains the terms upon which we provide our services and how those services will be provided
Nature of Relationship
The relationship between a lawyer and his client is one of the utmost good faith and confidentiality. In the course of our work we are required to exercise reasonable skill and care and to comply with the Law Society Codes of Conduct in respect of all our professional dealings.
We will advise you of the name of the partner with ultimate responsibility for your affairs and the name and status of the person with day to day conduct of each matter upon which you instruct us. We will keep you informed of the progress and the issues raised.
In order to achieve our aim, which is to provide you with high quality, efficient and cost effective legal services, we encourage the lawyers, legal assistants and departmental managers within the firm to deal with matters upon which you require advice, to work closely with you and ensure that you always have a readily accessible person to contact. Nevertheless, whoever is dealing with your particular matter, one partner in the firm will be your continuing client partner and will oversee our relationship with you.
If you are able to provide the information and instructions we need promptly, we will be able to advise and assist you more efficiently and cost effectively.
In order to comply with the laws of Jersey and in particular with regard to the anti-money laundering legislation you may be asked to produce documentation to confirm your identification and the source of any funds or wealth used for the transaction for which you seek advice. We would ask that in order to avoid delay to the matter you comply with this request in a timely manner.
Certain types of work and transactions are subject to minimum scale fees stipulated by the Jersey Law Society and/or the Royal Court. In the event, however, that time charges exceed the minimum scale fee or the transaction does not proceed, then our fees will be based on time charges.
Subject to the above, our fees are based on the time spent on the matter and the seniority of the people involved; other factors may also be taken into account. These include:
• the monetary amount involved;
• the complexity of the matter;
• the specialised legal knowledge required;
• the number and length of documents involved;
• the place and time of day at which the work has been carried out;
• the importance and urgency of the matter to the client.
As a matter of commercial practice, we periodically review and increase the charge-out rates for partners and staff. Details of time charges in effect from time to time are available upon request and may vary from time to time. In all cases we will be pleased to discuss with you the basis upon which we charge for our work and to discuss alternative methods of charging if you wish.
In all cases time is charged in 6 minute units with the actual time spent being rounded up to the nearest 6 minutes. There is a minimum charge of 6 minutes for any activity.
Whilst no charge is generally made for secretarial time, as this is included in the charge out rates of the fee-earners, such time will be charged where the secretary is carrying out work which would otherwise have to be done, in whole or in part, by one of the nominated fee earners, or the matter requires secretarial work outside of normal working hours. Secretarial time will in such circumstances be charged at the rate of £65 per hour.
As the instructing party, you will be responsible for the payment of our fees unless a partner agrees, in writing, that another party should assume that responsibility. This includes cases where we are successful in winning costs on your behalf. In such a situation it is common for only a proportion of the fees to be recovered due to the ‘taxation’ system and it can take many months to enforce payment. For the avoidance of doubt, a costs award is an indemnity to the client who remains liable for our fees at all times (subject to any agreement to the contrary).
In the case of clients referred to us under the Legal Aid system, time spent will still be recorded on the basis referred to above. Clients will, however, be assessed and fees charged according to their respective means. Legal Aid clients should discuss the matter of fees in the first instance with the person designated by the firm to represent them.
Disbursements and expenses
In addition to our fees there will be other expenses for which you will be responsible. These include communications, copying, messenger and courier charges, travelling expenses, specific disbursements such as court fees, registration and search fees, and fees of counsel and other experts. We may also engage foreign lawyers on your behalf should circumstances so require. You will be charged for photocopying and facsimile transmissions at the rate of 25p per sheet. We will also charge for hand deliveries should they prove to be necessary or prudent and for stationery in appropriate cases.
We will normally deliver our fee notes monthly, but where the matter is expected to last a reasonably short time, we will deliver our bill on completion. Accounts rendered are payable by you on presentation and will attract interest at a rate of ten per cent per annum from the date of the account on all bills not paid within 14 days.
In certain cases, and particularly when litigation is involved or when we need to incur expense on your behalf, we may require you to provide a payment on account of the anticipated fees and disbursements.
Payment can be made by most major credit or debit cards. A 3% charge applies to all payments by credit card.
If, for any reason, a matter is not completed, a charge will still be made in respect of the work we have done. If any payment in respect of fees or disbursements is not made when requested, we reserve the right to decline to act any further on that matter and any other matters on which we are instructed by you.
All client’s money accepted by this firm is held in a separate Client Account. You authorise this firm to pay disbursements and expenses out of moneys held for you in our Client Account and to debit fees from our Client Account where an account has been rendered. No person shall be permitted to transfer funds to the firm’s client account unless the fee earner dealing with the matter has given prior clearance after satisfactory confirmation has been received as to the value and currency of the transfer, bank from which the money is being sent and the name of the account from which the money is being sent. We reserve the right to refuse to accept client moneys in instances where any aspect of the payment is not consistent with the client matter. In addition should we supply you with the details of our client account in order that a transfer may be made it is on the understanding that these details are confidential and shall not be passed on to any third party without our express consent.
Whenever we hold funds on your behalf, for example for the purchase of a property, these funds will be held separately in a designated client account. We will pay interest on those funds at a rate of ½ % below The Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited Base Rate. Accrued interest less than £20 will not normally be paid to save administrative costs.
Limitation of Liability
Please note that our maximum liability (in contract or tort) that may arise from carrying out the scope of work referred to in the engagement letter and associated instructions covered by this engagement shall be limited to £5,000,000 inclusive of any legal fees and other costs with respect to any claim.
Regardless of any order obtained for payment of your costs by another party, you will be responsible to us for payment of all our fees and disbursements in accordance with the terms above. Orders against other parties for payment of costs usually enable recovery from them of only a proportion of the actual costs and recovery depends on many factors including, but not only, the ability of the other party to pay. You should also bear in mind that if your proceedings fail, you may be ordered to pay the costs of the other party.
Data Protection and Confidentiality
We are committed to ensuring client data is kept confidential and held in accordance with data protection legislation.
We have a data protection policy based on the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
Our Privacy Notice is available here or enclosed and details how we process data and the rights of individuals in respect of their data. You should ensure that our Privacy Notice is provided to any individuals whose personal data is provided to us by you and you are satisfied that there is a legitimate basis under any applicable data protection legislation for providing such personal data to us.
Our Privacy Notice also sets out circumstances in which data may be transferred within and outside Voisin Law. Those provisions apply equally to information held on any entity that is not a living individual.
The primary data controller in relation to this engagement is Voisin Law.
Termination of Instructions and Documents
Once instructed on a particular matter, we will continue to act for you in that matter until its conclusion, unless:
• either party may give written notification of the termination to the other;
• it is not appropriate or in your best interests for us to continue to represent you, for example, where a conflict of interest has arisen;
• you fail to comply with these Terms of Engagement.
If we cease to act for you in any of the above circumstances, you will be responsible for payment of all fees and disbursements up to the date of termination and any costs and disbursements reasonably incurred in connection with the transfer of the work to another lawyer of your choice. You authorise this firm and we reserve the right to retain all papers and documents which relate to the transaction or matter until all fees, disbursements and expenses have been paid.
Files in either electronic or physical form will be retained for 11 years from the last material entry or file closure and thereafter be destroyed unless you have informed us that you would like to receive the same.
Complaints / Concerns
You have the right to request a progress report at any time. If you have any complaints regarding any aspect of the service you have received these should be addressed in the first instance to the person having conduct of your file or the partner ultimately responsible for your case. Alternatively you may refer your concerns to Advocate Ian Strang, the Senior Partner. If any dispute cannot be resolved internally, including the level of fees charged, the matter can ultimately be referred to the Law Society of Jersey for adjudication. We will make every attempt to ensure that the complaint is resolved.
Variation of Terms of Engagement
The partners may vary these terms from time to time by notice in writing.
Acceptance of these Terms of Engagement
Your continuing instructions will be taken as an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, however this Firm reserves the right to refuse to start work on your behalf until one signed copy has been returned to us to keep on our file and we have received satisfactory documentation referred to under the paragraph above headed “Identification Procedures”.
These terms and conditions will apply to any future instructions given by you, unless otherwise agreed.