1. Our contract with you
1.1 These Terms of Business (as updated from time to time) apply to all work we do on your behalf.
1.2 Each time you instruct us on a new matter we will send you a letter confirming your instructions and setting out the scope of the work we will carry out for you, our fees and individual contact details. This is called the engagement letter. These Terms of Business should be read together with the engagement letter. Together they form the contract between us.
1.3 If there is any inconsistency between our Terms of Business and the engagement letter, the engagement letter will take priority.
1.4 Your continuing instructions in the matter described in the engagement letter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business.
1.5 Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Business will apply to all future instructions you give us on any matter.
1.6 These Terms of Business are subject to change from time to time and are updated on our website.
1.7 This contract and any dispute or claim arising out of, or in connection with, it, its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of England and Wales.
2. About us
2.1 Salient Law Ltd is a company incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 10858477. Its registered office is at 102 Cassia Point, Glasshouse Gardens, London E20 1HU. All directors of Salient Law Ltd are solicitors.
2.2 As a firm that provides only non-reserved legal services, Salient Law Ltd is not required to be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means that our clients are not entitled to receive a grant from the SRA Compensation Fund if money has not been accounted for as a result of our acts or omissions. We are also not required to hold professional indemnity insurance equivalent to the SRA's Minimum Terms and Conditions.
2.3 Our solicitors are regulated by the SRA and must comply with Codes of Conduct and other professional rules, which you can access on the SRA’s website or by calling 0370 606 2555. You may be able to submit a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman in relation to any matter supervised by one of our solicitors.
2.4 We are not registered for VAT purposes.
2.5 Where we say ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ in these Terms of Business, we mean Salient Law Ltd.
3. About you
Where we say ‘you’ or ‘your’ in these Terms of Business, we mean the client identified in the engagement letter and anyone authorised to give instructions on that client’s behalf.
4. Our responsibilities and your responsibilities
What you can expect from us:
- 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
What we expect of you:
- Provide documents when we ask for them and respond promptly when we ask for instructions or information
- Notify us if your contact details change
- Tell us immediately if your expectations change or if you are not sure you understand what we have discussed
- Inform us of any time limits or objectives that might not be obvious to us
- Notify us immediately if you receive any email or other communication purporting to be from the firm stating that we have changed our bank details or payment arrangements.
- Let us know about any other changes that may affect the way we deal with your matter
5. Scope of our legal services
5.1 The scope of the services we will provide is set out in the engagement letter.
5.2 We will provide legal advice and services to you with reasonable care and skill. However, the nature of many types of legal work means that it is not possible to guarantee a particular outcome.
5.3 Unless otherwise agreed in writing, we will advise only on English law and on European Union law to the extent that it has any bearing on English law.
5.4 If you ask us to obtain advice from another law firm, that firm will be responsible for the service and advice they provide.
5.5 Unless otherwise agreed in writing, our advice and any documents we prepare:
- are for use only in connection with the specific matter on which we are instructed, can only be relied on by you; and
- reflect the law in force at the relevant time.
6. Service standards
6.1 We will update you by telephone or in writing (including by email) with progress on your matter regularly and explain to you the legal work required as your matter progresses.
6.2 We will update you at appropriate intervals on the likely timescale for each stage of your matter and any important changes in those estimates. Whenever there is a material change in circumstances associated with your matter, we will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks.
6.3 We will update you on the cost of your matter at the intervals set out in the engagement letter. If appropriate, we will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
6.4 We are committed to acting in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Our equality and diversity policy is available on our website.
7. Our liability to you
7.1 Your contract is solely with Salient Law Ltd, which has sole legal liability for the work done for you and for any act or omission in the course of that work. No representative, director, officer, employee, agent or consultant of Salient Law Ltd, will have any personal legal liability for any loss or claim.
7.2 Unless explicitly agreed otherwise, in writing:
- we do not owe, nor do we accept, any duty to any person other than you; and
- we do not accept any liability or responsibility for any consequences arising from reliance upon our advice by any person other than you.
7.3 We are not responsible for any failure to advise or comment on matters falling outside the scope of our instructions, as set out in these Terms of Business and the engagement letter.
7.4 Our maximum liability to you (or any other party we have agreed may rely on our services) in relation to any single matter or any group of connected matters will be £1,000,000 including interest and costs unless we expressly state a different figure in the engagement letter.
7.5 We will not be liable for any of the following (whether direct or indirect):
- loss of revenue;
- loss of profit;
- loss of or corruption to data;
- loss of use;
- loss of production;
- loss of contract;
- loss of opportunity;
- loss of savings, discount or rebate (whether actual or anticipated); and
- harm to reputation or loss of goodwill.
7.6 Nothing in these Terms of Business shall exclude or restrict our liability in respect of:
- death or personal injury caused by our negligence;
- fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation;
- any losses caused by wilful misconduct or dishonesty; and
- any other losses which cannot be excluded or limited by applicable law.
7.7 Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
8. Our charges and billing
8.1 You are liable to pay legal costs as set out in the engagement letter, which also states the arrangements for billing. We will usually discuss this with you at the outset of your matter.
8.2 We may deliver our bills to you electronically. Please let us know if you have any particular requirements for the delivery of our bills.
8.3 Our bills become due for payment within 14 days of your receipt, and in the currency in which they are submitted.
8.4 Please inform us if you would like a third party to be responsible for paying our bills or any part of them. We must approve this in advance and we will need the party’s name, contact details and any other information or identification documents we request. It is your responsibility to pay our bills even if someone else has agreed to pay some or all of them and our bills will still be addressed to you. If someone else does pay some of our bills, you are responsible for paying the rest.
8.5 We may charge interest on overdue bills at the Bank of England base rate plus 3% per annum.
8.6 We may cease acting for you if an interim bill remains unpaid after 30 days.
8.7 You have the right to challenge or complain about our bill. Please see section 13 (Complaints) for details of how to complain about our bill.
8.8 You have the right to challenge our bill by applying to the court to assess the bill under the Solicitors Act 1974. The usual time limit for applying to the court for an assessment is one month from the date of delivery of the bill.
9.1 We will keep your information confidential, unless:
- you consent to the disclosure of that information;
- disclosure of the information is required or permitted by law; or
- these Terms of Business state otherwise.
9.2 Unless you instruct us otherwise, we may contact you or others by email. We deploy a range of information security measures, but we cannot guarantee the security of information or documents sent by email. If you do not wish us to communicate information by email, please let us know.
9.4 External organisations such as the Information Commissioner’s Office and the SRA may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit or quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. We will require that these external organisations maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited or quality checked.
9.5 Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business. If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.
10. Privacy and data protection
10.1 We use your personal data primarily to provide legal services to you, but also for related purposes such as administration, billing and record keeping and to inform you of our services and events that we think may be of interest to you.
10.2 Our use of your personal data is subject to your instructions, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), other relevant UK and EU legislation and our professional duty of confidentiality.
10.4 We may record telephone calls and monitor emails for training, regulatory and compliance purposes.
10.5 We use third party service providers (including ‘cloud’ service providers) to help us deliver efficient, cost effective legal services. This may include document/information hosting, sharing, transfer, analysis, processing or storage. We ensure all third party service providers operate under service agreements that are consistent with our legal and professional obligations, including in relation to confidentiality, privacy and data protection. If you instruct us to use an alternative provider for storing, sharing or exchanging documents/information, we are not responsible for the security of the data or the provider’s security standards.
10.6 We may use your personal data to send you updates (by email, text, telephone or post) about legal developments that might be of interest to you and/or information about our services, including exclusive offers, promotions or new services or products. You have the right to opt out of receiving promotional communications at any time, by:
—contacting us via the contact us form on our website; or
—using the ‘unsubscribe’ link in emails.
11. Banking and related matters
11.1 Changes to our bank details
We will never tell you of changes to important business information, such as bank account details, by email. Please notify us immediately if you receive any email or other communication purporting to be from the firm stating that we have changed our bank details or payment arrangements.
11.2 Receiving and paying funds
11.2.1 Our policy is not to accept cash from clients. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds and this could also cause delays.
11.2.2 If we receive money in relation to your matter from an unexpected source, there may be a delay in your matter and we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary.
11.2.3 Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
12. Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing
12.1 To comply with anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing requirements, we are likely to ask you for proof of your identity and may conduct searches or enquiries for this purpose. We may also be required to identify and verify the identity of other persons such as directors or beneficial owners. If you or they do not provide us with the required information promptly, your matter may be delayed.
12.2 You agree that we may make checks using online electronic verification systems or other databases as we may decide.
12.3 You must not send us any money until we have told you that these checks have been completed.
12.4 We will not usually charge you for undertaking identification and verification checks, but we reserve the right to do so where the checks are likely to be significantly more time-consuming than we would normally expect.
12.5 We may ask you to confirm the source of any money you have sent us or will send us. If you do not provide us with that information promptly, your matter may be delayed.
12.6 Any personal data we receive from you for the purpose of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing will be used only for that purpose or:
- with your consent, or
- as permitted by or under another enactment.
12.7 We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, we may be required by law to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where we know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
12.8 Subject to Section 7 (Our liability to you), we shall not be liable for any loss arising from or connected with our compliance with any statutory obligation which we may have, or reasonable belief we may have, to report matters to the relevant authorities under the provisions of the money laundering and/or terrorist financing legislation.
13.1 We are committed to providing high-quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of our service or charges please raise this with the person dealing with your matter, or with their supervisor, in the first instance. We have a written policy that sets out how we handle complaints. We have a written procedure that sets out how we handle complaints. Our complaints policy is on our website.
13.2 We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time, you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. This applies if you are an individual, a business with fewer than 10 employees and turnover or assets not exceeding a certain threshold, a charity or trust with a net income of less than £1m, or if you fall within certain other categories (you can find out more from the Legal Ombudsman).
13.3 The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are:
- Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
13.4 Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint, or within six years of the act or omission you are complaining about (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). Generally, the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints relating to acts or omissions that happened after 5 October 2010.
14. Terminating your instructions
14.1 You may terminate our appointment at any time by giving us notice in writing. We can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for our charges or disbursements.
14.2 We will only decide to stop acting for you with good reason, eg where we feel that the relationship has broken down, if you do not pay a bill, if you provide us with misleading information, or if you act in an abusive or offensive manner. We will give you reasonable notice before we stop acting for you.
14.3 If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, we will charge you for the work we have done. This will be calculated on the basis set out in the engagement letter.
14.4 We are not responsible for reminding you about important dates and/or any deadlines after our appointment has been terminated.
15. Storage and retrieval of files
15.1 We may create and hold client files in hard copy (paper), electronically or a combination of both.
15.2 We normally store client files (except any of your papers you ask to be returned to you) for six (6) years after we send you our final bill. Unless you instruct us to the contrary, we will store your file electronically only. We store the file on the understanding that we may destroy it after six (6) years.
Please contact us to find out more