1          Our business

1.1    McGarry Law LLP (trading as McGarry & Co.) is a solicitors’ practice authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Our SRA number is 8000441.

1.2    The professional rules that apply to our business can be viewed on the SRA’s website at www.sra.org.uk.

1.3    A list of our partners is available to inspect at our offices.

1.4    Our VAT number is 10326485.

1.5    Our practice maintains compulsory professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the SRA. The contact details of our insurer and the territorial coverage of our policy are available to inspect at our offices.

2          Hours of business

2.1    Our offices are usually open between 9.00am and 5.00pm on weekdays.

3          Charges and expenses

3.1    This matter will be charged on the basis set out in the client care letter.

3.2    In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, and any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand. An increase in the rates may be applied to reflect such factors.

3.3    In property transactions, administration of estates, and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a client, a charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property, the size of the estate, or the value of the financial benefit may be considered. It is not always possible to indicate how these aspects may arise but on present information we would expect them to be sufficiently taken into account in the rates which we have quoted.

3.4    Where an increase in rates or a charge reflecting the value element is to be added we will explain this to you.

Services provided for a fixed fee

3.5    Where our client care letter states that we are charging on a fixed fee basis, additional services can be provided at your request. An additional charge will be incurred for these services either on a fixed fee or calculated on an hourly rate.

Services provided at an hourly rate

3.6    Where our client care letter states that we are charging on an hourly rate, our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This may include meetings with you and perhaps others; reading; preparing and working on papers including keeping records of our attendances; making and receiving telephone calls; emails; faxes preparation of any detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills; attending court; and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office.

Payments made on your behalf (disbursements)

3.7    Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land Registry fees, Probate Registry fees, court fees, experts’ fees, and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses. We refer to such payments generally as ‘disbursements’.

Payment for work done

3.8    If your matter does not proceed to completion or we are prevented from acting for professional or other reasons, we are entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred on the hourly basis set out above (but not exceeding any fixed fee as specified in our client care letter).

4          Payment arrangements

Administration of estates

4.1    We will normally send an interim bill at regular stages during the administration, starting with the obtaining of a Grant. The final account will be prepared when the Estate Accounts are ready for approval.

Other cases or transactions

4.2    It is normal practice to ask clients to pay interim bills and sums of money from time to time on account of the charges which are expected in the following weeks or months. We find this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of the case may result.

Our right to cease acting if a bill or request for payment is not met

4.3    In the unlikely event of any bill or request for payment not being met, McGarry & Co. must reserve the right to stop acting for you further.

Payment on account

4.4    We may also ask you to pay monies on account of costs, expenses on first instruction or from time to time during the course of a matter.

4.5    Please note that the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 state that we ought not to pay out on any cheque we receive until it is cleared funds. This means that if we are paying money to a third party, based on a cheque that you have let us have, we cannot do so until your cheque has cleared. This will normally mean letting us have your cheque between five and seven working days (depending on the bank in question) before payment is due.

When third parties may meet our costs on your behalf

4.6    It is your responsibility to tell us if you have any form of insurance cover such as legal expenses cover that will pay our fees. You must also tell us if there is a third party who may pay our fees.  However, please note that you will always ultimately be responsible for our fees if a third party does not pay.

Our bills when acting for more than one person

4.7    If we are advising more than one person (including individuals, companies or other entities) we will, unless otherwise specifically agreed with you in writing, act for those persons jointly and severally. If we are asked to deliver bills to only one person those bills will nevertheless be binding on all other persons we act for under this agreement.

Our bills when acting for limited companies

4.8    When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a Director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.

Our payment terms

4.9    Payment is due to us within 28 days of our sending you a bill. Interest will be charged at the rate of 4 per cent above the base rate of HSBC Bank Plc from time to time from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made within 28 days of delivery by us of the bill.

4.10  We do not accept payments to us in cash in excess of £400. 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.

Our right to retain your money and property belonging to you

4.11  The common law entitles us to retain any money, papers, or other property belonging to you which properly came into our possession pending 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 the lien but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs.

4.12  If we are conducting litigation for you, we have additional rights in any property recovered or preserved for you whether it is in our possession or not and in respect of all costs incurred, whether billed or unbilled. We also have a right to ask the court to make a charging order in our favour for any assessed costs.

5          Interest payment

5.1    Any money received on your behalf will be held in our client account. Interest will be calculated at a rate of 0.5% per annum on any sum of cleared funds held by us on your behalf in our client account for a period of more than one calendar month. Interest will only be payable if the amount calculated exceeds £50.

6          Storage of papers and documents

6.1    We will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than six years. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period that we consider reasonable unless you instruct us otherwise.

6.2    We will not destroy any documents such as wills, deeds and other securities, which you ask us to hold in safe custody. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which may be specified in that notice.

6.3    If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection of your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. We may make a charge, however, based on time spent at our usual hourly rate for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.

7          Financial services and insurance contracts

7.1    We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). If you need advice on investments, we may refer you to someone who is authorised by the FSA.

7.2    As we are regulated by the SRA, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.

Insurance mediation activities

7.3    Although we are not authorised by the FSA, we are included on the register maintained by the FSA so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts.

7.4    Insurance mediation activities and investment services, including arrangements for complaints and redress if something goes wrong, are regulated by the SRA. The register can be accessed via the FSA website at www.fsa.org.uk/register.

8          Tax advice

8.1    Unless otherwise agreed our services will not include tax advice on tax related issues unless otherwise specifically stated in writing. Any work that we do for you may have implications on your liability to pay tax or necessitate the consideration of a tax planning strategy.  If you have concerns about the tax implications of the work we do for you, you should consult an accountant or other qualified tax advisor. We would be happy to put you in touch with someone suitable.

9          Termination

Your right to terminate instructions

9.1    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

9.2    If we decide to stop acting for you, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.

Your right to withdraw under the consumer protection regulations

9.3    Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, for some non-business instructions, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within seven days of the date on which you asked us to act for you. If we start work with your consent within that period, however, you lose the right to withdraw.

9.4    Your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business will amount to such consent.

9.5    If you seek to withdraw instructions, you should give notice by telephone, email or letter to the person named in the client care letter as being responsible for your work. The Regulations require us to inform you that the work involved is likely to take more than 30 days.

10        Identity, disclosure and confidentiality requirements

10.1  We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent.

10.2  Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential.

Exception to our duty to keep your affairs confidential

10.3  Our obligation to keep your affairs confidential is subject to statutory exception. Legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

10.4  Where a solicitor knows or suspect 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.

Your consent in probate matters

10.5  In probate matters we will assume that you have given your consent to us to provide a list of the deceased’s assets to the appropriate authority if required to do so by the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

Your consent for auditing/monitoring purposes

10.6  Your file may be audited from time to time under strictly controlled circumstances and only to duly appointed individuals. Acceptance of these terms and conditions by any client is deemed to include consent to such disclosure, which may be withdrawn by you in writing at any time.

11        Communication between you and McGarry & Co.

11.1  We will aim to communicate with you by such reasonable method as you may request as far as we are able. If you have any particular requirements, please make this clear to us at the outset of the matter.

11.2  The Data Protection Act 1998 requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you. We do not make such information available to any other provider of products and services.

12        Authorities

12.1  Instructions are understood to be for the purposes of all those instructing us.  We will act on instructions from any one of those clients unless you instruct us otherwise.

13        Governing law

13.1  The terms of business and the accompanying client care letter and other documents shall be governed by, and construed, in accordance with English law.

14        Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

14.1  It is not intended by the parties that any term which may be construed as conferring a benefit on any person who is not a party to this agreement should be enforceable by such a party.

15        Limiting liability

15.1  Our liability to you for breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000 unless we expressly state a higher amount in our client care letter accompanying these terms of business.

15.2  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 profits or opportunities.

15.3  We can only limit our liability to the extent that the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence. Please ask if you would like us to explain anything further.

16        Equality and diversity

16.1  Please contact us if you would like to see a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

17        Terms of business

17.1  If you need clarification of any of the points in these terms of business, please do not hesitate to let us know.

17.2  Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the current hourly rates, these terms of business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this practice.

17.3  Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these terms of business.