1. INFORMATION ABOUT COSTS, FUNDING & EXPENSES
1.2 COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE FUNDING
1.3 FUNDING YOUR OWN CLAIM ON A PRIVATE BASIS
1.4 FUNDING THROUGH A THIRD PARTY
1.5 LEGAL EXPENSES INSURANCE
1.6 CONDITIONAL FEE AGREEMENTS
1.7 CONTINGENCY FEE AGREEMENTS
1.8 AFTER THE EVENT INSURANCE
1.9 OUR COSTS
1.11 IN THE EVENT YOU BECOME LIABLE TO PAY OUR BILL OF COSTS
1.12 COMPENSATION FOR INJURY AND CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS
2. TERMS OF BUSINESS
2.2 HUDGELL SOLICITORS
2.3 SETTING STANDARDS
2.5 CLIENT MONEY
2.6 CONFIDENTIALITY, PRIVACY, CALL RECORDING AND DATA PROTECTION
2.8 RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES
2.9 CLIENT SATISFACTION
2.10 ACCEPTABLE CONDUCT POLICY
2.11 LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
2.12 APPLICABLE LAW, ETC
2.13 EQUALITY & DIVERSITY
2.15 CANCELLATION NOTICE
We explained that Legal Aid is not available to fund almost all personal injury claims, and is only available in respect of certain Civil Liberties Claims (such as claims against the police and abuse claims).
There is a preliminary form of Legal Aid known as Legal Help under which we can provide advice and assistance. However if Court Proceedings were necessary an application would need to be made for a formal legal aid certificate. This application can be rejected on either the merits of the claim or on financial eligibility grounds. Financial eligibility is different for the different types of Legal Aid. Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to pay a monthly contribution for the lifetime of your certificate. You would also be under a duty to inform the Legal Aid Agency of any changes in financial circumstances. A certificate will only remain in force whilst you are financially eligible and your claim has merit. If your claim does not meet those criteria the certificate can be discharged at any point.
Legal Aid is not free. If your case was unsuccessful and you were paying a contribution to the certificate those contributions would be lost. That would usually be the limit of your liability. If you win your case, and you recover money or property as a result, the Legal Aid Agency will use those funds to reimburse them the money they have spent on your claim. This is known as the statutory charge. However, in normal circumstances the other party would be ordered to pay the costs of bringing the claim and any payments that you have made to the Legal Aid Agency would be refunded. However, it is possible that the amount of costs awarded to you and paid by your opponent may fall short of the money spent on your claim by the Legal Aid Agency and you would be required to meet the shortfall from your compensation.
You have the right to require us to submit your legal aid bill to the court so that it can be assessed.
If you lose your case, you will normally have the benefit of Qualified One-Way Cost Shifting so the court will not usually enforce an order for costs against you, unless:
Again, if you lose, your legal aid certificate will give you some protection against any costs order, in addition to the protection that you have from Qualified One-Way Cost Shifting. It is important to realise that this protection is not complete. A court can still make a costs order against you, if you are legally aided, but your opponent would need to seek permission from the court to enforce that order. If your opponent does seek permission, then the court will look at your conduct in the case, and your resources before making a decision on how much you should pay.
It may be that your opponent makes a formal offer to settle your claim (called a Part 36 offer) which you reject on our advice, and your claim for damages goes ahead to trial where you recover damages that are less than or equal to that offer. You will be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs if you fail to beat a Part 36 offer made by your opponent in these circumstances. Technically you will have won the claim but risk getting no award at all. Qualified One-Way Cost Shifting and your Legal Aid Certificate cannot protect you against this risk.
(a) If you do not have a Legal Expenses Insurance policy, Legal Aid is not available or suitable, and there is no third party that might pay your fees, it may still be possible to fund your claim by entering into a Conditional Fee Agreement with us. These agreements are often referred to as ‘no win no fee’ agreements because under such an agreement you will not have to pay our legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful.
(b) If your claim is successful you will be liable to pay our legal fees and disbursements plus (where expressly specified) a ‘success fee’ (to reward our firm for the risk we take when we make our fees conditional upon the success of your claim) but you will usually recover a proportion of these (with the exception of the ‘success fee’) from the other side. In a straightforward personal injury claim, the likelihood of obtaining and recovering a proportion of our fees (except the ‘success fee’) and disbursements from the other side is very high. Therefore, in our opinion a Conditional Fee Agreement is appropriate to your circumstances as it leaves you with only our success fee and any shortfall in our costs to pay. Nevertheless, you should be aware that if your claim is unsuccessful you may still have to pay our disbursements and the fees and disbursements of the other side.
(c) We have assessed the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and we are prepared to enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement with you. Should the case change, and particularly if it transpires that you have failed to disclose any relevant information to us, we reserve the right to withdraw from these agreements and you may become liable to pay our past and future fees on a private basis.
(d) Any Conditional Fee Agreement that we have or will provide you with specifies (where relevant) the level of our success fee. Please read the Conditional Fee Agreement and the attached document entitled ‘What you need to know about a CFA’.
(a) Contingency Fee Agreements are a form of ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement and are often used as a method of funding non-contentious matters, most commonly CICA Claims, MIB Untraced Driver Claims and Employment Tribunal Claims. We may also use these types of agreement (in conjunction with a Conditional Fee Agreement) in relation to claims which settle without Court proceedings having been issued.
(b) Under a Contingency Fee Agreement, you will not have to pay our fees if your claim is unsuccessful. However, if your claim is successful, we will take a fixed percentage of your damages, inclusive of VAT and the value of any disbursements that we are unable to recover from the other party. The proportion of your damages that we retain represents our reward for the risk we assume in making the payment of our fees contingent on your claim being successful.
(c) Following a risk assessment of the merits of your claim, and where we believe it to be in your best interests, we may propose funding your matter by way of a Contingency Fee Agreement.
(a) To protect you against this possibility of having to pay our disbursements and the fees and disbursements of the other side we may recommend (if appropriate) that you take out an insurance policy known as an ‘After the Event’ policy (ATE).
(b) If we do recommend that you obtain such a policy we will recommend a suitable policy to you and, on your instructions, will arrange this policy. You are not obliged to take out the policy we recommend and you should seek independent financial advice if you have any concerns about our recommendation. Similarly, if we do not believe that taking out a policy is in your best interests, we will advise you accordingly.
(c) We will set out the reasons why we believe that you need an ATE policy and why we believe the policy that we have recommended meets those needs in a ‘Demands and Needs’ statement. We are not financial advisers and do not conduct an analysis of the insurance market when making any recommendations and only do so because we are confident that that policy will meet your requirements.
(d) Hudgell Solicitors is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance distribution 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 www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register.
(e) We are required to inform you that 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. Complaints are handled by the Legal Ombudsman.
(b) Where your claim for personal injury is a low value claim (i.e. more than £1,000 but no more than £25,000) the Ministry of Justice has mandated that the claim be processed using the Claims Portal. The claims portal is a secure electronic communication tool for processing low value personal injury claims.
(c) Portal claims are subject to strict rules known formally as the ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims’. There are separate rules in relation to both Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) and Employers’ Liability and Public Liability (EL and PL) claims.
(d) The most important point to note about these rules is that they provide for ‘Fixed Recoverable Costs’. Recoverable costs are the costs incurred in obtaining legal representation which are recoverable from your opponent if you win your case. This means that the amount of costs recoverable will not be equal to the amount of costs incurred, creating a shortfall which you will be responsible to pay. The conditional fee agreement or other retainer you enter into with us will set out the basis for calculating our charges.
Where your claim relates to a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) which occurred on or after 30th April 2010 and is worth up to £10,000; or occurred on or after 31st July 2013 and is worth more than £10,000 but less than £25,000, your claim might be suitable for the claims portal (we will let you know if your claim is suitable for the portal). If your claim is processed through the claims portal and settles before proceedings are issued, you will be subject to fixed recoverable costs set out in the Civil Procedures Rules. The fixed costs are set in relation to the stage that the case reaches.
The portal covers 2 stages:
Stage 1 - covers the period from giving notice of the claim to the other side until the other side admits liability;
Stage 2 - covers the period from admission of liability until agreement is reached about the amount of damages.
If liability is not admitted (stage 1) or we cannot agree on the amount of damages (stage 2) then the claim will exit the claims portal. In limited circumstances the rules provide for a stage 3:
Stage 3 – only applies where liability has been admitted but we are unable to agree with your opponent on the amount of damages you should receive; or we need to have costs assessed at Court (child claims only); or the time limit prescribed by the rules has expired.
(e) The fixed recoverable costs are:Value of the Claim Stage of Claim £1,000 - £10,000 £10,000 - £25,000 Stage 1 £200 £200 Stage 2 £300 £600 Stage 3 £250 – representative’s costs (£1,000 - £10,000) £250 – Counsel’s cost (£1,000 - £10,000) £250 – representative’s costs (£10,000 - £25,000) £250 – Counsel’s costs(£10,000 - £25,000)
(f) Where the claim exits the portal you will be subject to further fixed recoverable costs as set by the Civil Procedures Rules, but we will not know what these are until your damages have been agreed. We will in any event keep you up-dated as your claim progresses.
Where you have an Employers’ Liability or Public Liability Claim which arises from an accident occurring on or after 31st July 2013, or in a disease claim where no letter of claim has been sent to the Defendant before 31st July 2013, your claim might be suitable for the claims portal (we will let you know if your claim is suitable for the portal). If your claim is processed through the claims portal and settles before proceedings are issued, you will be subject to fixed recoverable costs set out in the Civil Procedures Rules. The fixed costs are set in relation to the stage that the case reaches.
The portal covers 2 stages:
Stage 1 – covers the period from giving notice of the claim to the other side until the other side admits liability;
Stage 2 – covers the period from admission of liability until agreement is reached about the amount of damages.
If liability is not admitted (stage 1) or we cannot agree on the amount of damages (stage 2) then the claim will exit the claims portal. In limited circumstances the rules provide for a stage 3:
Stage 3 – only applies where liability has been admitted but we are unable to agree with your opponent on the amount of damages your claim is worth; or we need to have costs assessed at Court (child claims only); or the time limit prescribed by the rules has expired.
The fixed recoverable costs are:
Value of the Claim Stage of Claim £1,000 – £10,000 £10,000 – £25,000 Stage 1 £300 £300 Stage 2 £600 £1,300 £250 – representative’s costs (£1,000 - £10,000) £250 – Counsel’s costs (£1,000 - £10,000) Stage 3 £250 - Counsel's costs (£10,000 - £25,000) £250 - Counsel's costs (£10,000 - £25,000)
Where the claim exits the portal you will be subject to further fixed recoverable costs as set by the Civil Procedures Rules but we will not know what these are until your damages have been agreed. We will in any event keep you up-dated as your claim progresses.
(a) To progress this matter, we are likely to need to incur some other expenses directly on your behalf which are called “disbursements”. We expect these to include:
(i) Medical Reports estimated at £450.00;
(ii) Hospital notes estimated at £80.00;
(iii) GP records estimated at £80.00;
(iv) Police Reports estimated at £45.00 to £150.00, if appropriate;
(v) Court fees - £150.00 to £1,000.00;
(vi) Barristers’ fees estimated at £300.00 (although we may be able to arrange a conditional fee agreement with the barrister in which case your responsibility for these will be on the same basis as our own charges).
(b) We will ensure that you do not have to pay these disbursements, subject to you complying with the terms of any funding agreement with us and/or any supporting insurance taken out on your behalf.
(a) In the event that you personally become liable for our fees and that you fail to settle one of our invoices on time, we may exercise a lien over any papers of yours that we hold at that time. This means that we may keep papers and other materials belonging to you until you settle our invoice. We will only do this if it is reasonable in all the circumstances and with due consideration to ensuring your position is not prejudiced and your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998 (or any statutory successor thereto) are not infringed.
(b) Should the case arise where we issue you personally with an invoice then payment is due within 28 days. If you fail to pay our bill we will charge you interest (on a daily basis) on the unpaid element of the bill at the rate payable on judgment debts (the current rate at the date of this agreement being 8% per year) from the date of the bill until payment, unless it is determined that you do not have to pay that element.
(c) You are entitled to object to the bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and/or by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
(a) If you are receiving means-tested state benefits/support, the amount of capital (i.e. savings) that you have may not exceed the ‘Capital Threshold’. Therefore, if you are awarded damages as compensation, your entitlement to such benefits/support may be reduced or stopped completely. In addition, the Capital Threshold is calculated per household, meaning any benefits/support claimed by your partner may also be affected.
(b) However, it is possible to safeguard any compensation received for injury and/or clinical negligence from being included as part of your capital. This is achieved through the use of a Personal Injury Settlement Trust. If you transfer any such compensation award to a Settlement Trust, you will still be obliged to notify the Benefits Agency of the existence of the Settlement Trust, but any capital held in the Settlement Trust will be disregarded i.e. it will not count to the Capital Threshold.
(c) You have 52 weeks from the date of any settlement or any interim payment to set up a Settlement Trust and there is no upper limit to the amount of capital that can be transferred to the Settlement Trust.
(d) As well as, or as an alternative to, setting up a Settlement Trust, if you are awarded compensation you may wish to seek financial advice generally. You are hereby advised that we are not authorised nor qualified to give financial advice.. However, if you would like us to direct you to an independent financial adviser, please let us know. We can arrange for a Settlement Trust to be set up on your behalf. We will be writing to you further in this respect in due course, where appropriate.
(e) By entering this Agreement, you are confirming that you have been advised of the above risks and of the possibility of creating a Settlement Trust to protect any benefits/support that you receive now or in the future. Accordingly, we shall not be held liable for any loss that you suffer as a result of the reduction or suspension of any benefits/support that you may receive now or in the future.
(a) Hudgell Solicitors is a trading style of Neil Hudgell Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with number 07078429. The firm operates from its registered office: No 2 @ The Dock, 46 Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1TU, and from other offices in Hull, Leeds and London. Normal hours of opening are 9am – 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am - 5pm on Friday. However, it may be possible to arrange appointments outside these hours when it is both in the interest of the client and practical. Our telephone number is 01482 787 771 and our fax number is 01482 787887. The person responsible for your matter may, at his or her absolute discretion, provide you with a mobile telephone number, and may endeavour to take your telephone calls outside of office hours, but nothing he or she says should be interpreted as an agreement to routinely deal with your matter or to take your telephone calls outside of office hours.
(b) Hudgell Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number: 521372). We are bound by various professional rules of conduct which can be viewed at www.sra.org.uk or by writing to ‘Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN’ or calling the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s contact centre on 0870 606 2555 (inside the UK), 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday.
(c) Our VAT registration number is 254 7802 90.
(d) The SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules require us to take out and maintain professional indemnity insurance with Qualifying Insurers. We can provide information about the compulsory layer of professional indemnity insurance we carry, including the contact details of our insurers and the territorial coverage of our insurance, upon receipt of a written request for the same (addressed to our Head Office).
(e) Dr Neil Hudgell (the Managing Director of Hudgell Solicitors) is also a Director and Shareholder of 4 Probate and Wills Ltd, who share our offices in Hull. He himself offers no legal advice or services through that company. 4 Probate and Wills Limited are not a firm of Solicitors, and as such are not authorised or regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In the event that we recommend their services to you during the course of your claim, the continuation of our services to you will not depend upon you acting upon any such recommendation, and you will be reminded of your freedom to choose your own alternative legal services provider. No information will be shared with 4 Probate and Wills Limited without your express consent for us to instruct them on your behalf.
(a) We operate systems throughout our offices, insisting that all our staff meet certain standards with regard to Client care. These standards include:
(i) Sending you copies of all important correspondence;
(ii) Returning your telephone calls received before 3pm during the course of the same day, if at all possible;
(iii) Dealing with correspondence of any sort promptly;
(iv) Writing letters to you and others in plain and concise language;
(v) Giving appointments to you without any undue delay;
(vi) Dealing with you and all persons with the same attention, courtesy and consideration regardless of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, creed, disability or sexual orientation.
(b) To assist us in providing an efficient and effective service we ask that you:
(i) In all communications quote the file reference number of your matter (which is set out at the top of each of our letters) and clearly address all written communications to your Legal Representative;
(ii) Leave clear telephone messages with your Legal Representative’s secretary, assistant, or reception;
(iii) Notify us immediately of any change of your address, telephone number or other material information;
(iv) Notify us immediately if you are delayed or cannot attend an appointment;
(v) Respond to our requests promptly;
(vi) Contact your Legal Representative immediately if you receive any communication from your opponent or solicitors on that person’s behalf. Do not reply without speaking to your Legal Representative.
(a) Unless we agree otherwise, all copyright which exists in the documents and other materials that we create whilst carrying out work for you will remain our property. You have the right to use such documents and materials for the purposes for which they are created, but not otherwise.
(b) Unless otherwise required by law or court order, you agree not to make our work, documents or materials available to third parties without our prior written permission. Our work is undertaken for your benefit alone and we are not responsible to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that you make available to them.
(a) Unless otherwise agreed by us in writing, if we receive any sums to hold on your behalf (whether received directly from you or from a third party) then we may deposit such money into an account or accounts with any bank or financial institution (a “deposit provider” which expression shall include bank, financial institution or clearing house through which transfers are made) of our choosing. We confirm that we comply with any applicable laws and any applicable rules of our regulatory authority in respect of the making of any such deposits.
(b) We shall not be liable for any loss which you or any third party may suffer in connection with an insolvency event occurring in relation to any deposit provider with whom we have deposited funds or through whom transfers are made, save if and to the extent that any such loss was caused by or contributed to by any breach by us.
(c) If an insolvency event occurs in relation to any deposit provider which holds money that we have deposited on your behalf, you agree that we may where applicable disclose to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”) all relevant details in our possession about you and the money that we hold on your behalf with such a deposit provider. However, if you do not wish us to make any such disclosure, please notify us in writing addressed to our Data Protection Compliance Officer, Mr Neil Hudgell. Please note that by withholding consent to our disclosure of your details to the FSCS in such circumstances, you may forfeit any right you may have to receive compensation from the FSCS where an insolvency event occurs in relation to a deposit provider holding money which we have deposited on your behalf. Further information regarding the FSCS can be found at www.fscs.org.uk, telephone number 0800 678 1100.
(d) Subject to certain conditions set out in Rule 22 to 25 of the SRA Accounts Rules, a sum in lieu of interest must be accounted to clients when it is fair and reasonable to do so in all the circumstances. Our policy seeks to provide for a fair and reasonable outcome for both our clients and this practice. Our policy on interest shall be kept under review. The rate of interest available on client accounts is significantly lower than the rate of interest which can be obtained on other bank or building society accounts. This reflects the fact that immediate access is required to client accounts in order to comply with the accounts rules and to facilitate the smooth completion of transactions. It is therefore unlikely that the funds will attract as much interest as if you had invested those funds yourself.
(e) All interest arising from cleared funds held on behalf of a trust will be credited to the trust whether those funds are held in a general client account or a separate designated client account (formerly known as a Designated Deposit Account).
(f) For cleared funds paid into general client accounts, the practice shall account for interest unless one of the following circumstances applies:
(i) The amount of interest calculated on the balance held is £20.00 or less; or
(ii) The client money was held in cleared funds in client account for a period of five working days or less.
(g) All other clients shall be paid interest at the rate payable on an instant access account at the bank in which the funds are held, unless there are specific circumstances which lead the client to contract out of the right to receive interest payments (for example where the client agrees the practice may keep interest payments to remunerate the practice for acting as stakeholder in the transaction or where the client’s religious beliefs prohibit the receipt of interest).
(h) In certain circumstances a separate designated client account will be opened on behalf of clients. All interest arising from funds held in separate designated client accounts will be credited to the client.
(i) Where sums of money are held in relation to separate matters for the same client, the money relating to the different matters shall be treated separately unless it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances to consider the sums together.
(j) Interest will not accrue on any advances from the practice under rule 14(2)(b) of the accounts rules to fund a payment on behalf of a client or trust in excess of funds held for that client or trust.
(k) Where a client fails to present a cheque to his or her bank for payment we will not recalculate any amount due to the client unless it is fair and reasonable to do so, for example if the cheque has been sent to an incorrect address.
(l) We will usually account to you for interest arising under our policy at the conclusion of your matter, but might, in some cases, consider it appropriate to account to you at intervals throughout.
(a) We keep information passed to us confidential and will not disclose it to third parties except as authorised by you or required by law. In certain circumstances the law requires us to disclose information relating to you (for example, payments of interest earned on a clients' account may have to be disclosed under the EU Savings Directive). If on your authority we are working with other professional advisers, we will assume that we may disclose any relevant aspect of your affairs to them.
(b) All of the personal information which we obtain will either be from you personally, or as a result of specific forms of authority obtained from you as the case progresses, which will detail both (i) from whom will be requesting the information and (ii) what specific information is to be provided.
(c) During the course of the firm’s work it may be necessary to discuss your case with appropriate consultants, experts or counsel. We may also be required to report to any legal expenses insurance with an interest in your claim. Your acceptance of these Terms of Business amounts to your acknowledgement that we will disclose information which we consider necessary to progress your case, and fulfil our contractual obligations to you or your contractual obligations to any third party.
(d) Where you provide us with fax or computer network addresses for sending material to, we will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that your arrangements are sufficiently secure and confidential to protect your interests.
(e) The Internet is not secure and there are risks if you send sensitive information in this manner or you ask us to do so. Data we send by email is not routinely encrypted, so please tell us if you do not want us to use email as a form of communication with you or if you require data to be encrypted.
(f) We will take reasonable steps to protect the integrity of our computer systems by screening for viruses on email sent or received. We expect you to do the same for your computer systems.
(g) We promise to respect the data we hold on you. Your acceptance of these terms acknowledges that we will keep your details on our database, case management systems (or in any other physical or digital form) :
(i) so that we can provide you with legal services, and (ii) for administration and accounting purposes, and (iii) so that we can make credit and or identification searches, and (iv) so that we can retain a true, full and accurate record of any matter which we deal with for you, for our and your reference both whilst the matter is proceeding and for as long following conclusion of the matter as we may reasonably feel that we and/or you may have a legitimate interest in possibly having to access and have reference to the same (in most cases 7 years from the date your file is closed or the date on which the data was provided – whichever is the later), and (v) so that we can send you relevant information on our services and on related events or services offered by third parties (including 4 Probate and Wills Limited - see 2.2(d) above) that we reasonable believe may interest you (with your express consent); and (vi) so that we may seek your views on the quality of service which we are or have provided to you.
All information that we hold concerning you as an individual will be held and processed by us strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (or any statutory or regulatory successors thereto).
(h) We will not, without your consent, supply your name and address (and/or email address) to any third party except where:
(i) It is necessary as part of the legal services that we undertake; or
(ii) We engage third party services in order to obtain feedback from you relating to our services , or (with your consent) to distribute marketing materials to you. In these situations we will always ensure that we have contractual agreements in place with such third parties which are compliant with the Data Protection Act 2018, and/or the General Data Protection Regulations, and provide the highest standard of protection for your data, even if such data is to be sent outside of the EEA.
(iii) We are required to do so under the terms of these Terms Of Business.
(i) The firm will become subject to periodic checks by Law Society approved consultants and assessors. This could mean that your file is selected for checking, in which case we would need your consent for the checking to occur. All such checks are conducted by individuals who have provided the firm with a Confidentiality Agreement. Your acceptance of these Terms of Business amounts to your consent to make your file available for checking. If you do not want us to make your file available for checking you must notify us immediately and we will mark your file accordingly. If you refuse to give us consent to checks, your refusal will not affect the way your case is handled in any way.
(j) In the event that Neil Hudgell Limited, or any part of the business currently trading as Hudgell Solicitors (Including any book of work consisting of one or more client files) is (or is potentially to be) acquired by a third party, personal data held by Neil Hudgell Limited about its clients may be reviewed by any potential acquirer (subject to appropriate data protection measures being put in place) and will be transferred as part of the assets of the acquirer firm.
(k) Some or all of Neil Hudgell Limited’s offices are (or may become at our sole discretion) accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). This means that we have to meet the highest standards of service to our injury and clinical negligence clients. Every year APIL monitors a sample of accredited firms to ensure its standards are being met. Monitoring includes the inspection of a small number of relevant client files, as these are the only reliable source of information about the quality of the work undertaken on your behalf. This inspection is carried out by qualified solicitors with extensive experience of personal injury law, who are bound to respect the confidentiality of your file. By agreeing to these terms of business, you consent to your file being inspected (if your claim is for injury or clinical negligence). However, if you would prefer your file not to be subject to this quality check, please inform us, and we will ensure that it is not included in the sample for inspection.
(l) All calls to and from our main office telephone numbers are (at our complete discretion) recorded for monitoring and training purposes. These recordings will be dealt with in the same way as any other confidential information passed to us, as detailed above.
(m) You have a right under the Data Protection Act 2018 and/or General Data Protection Regulations to :-
(i) be informed about the collection and use of your personal data in a transparent manner ; (ii) access your personal information, including a description of the data that we hold on you (or a copy of any recorded call involving you). Should you have any queries concerning this right, please contact our Data Protection Compliance Officer, Mr Neil Hudgell; (iii) (in limited circumstances) have your personal data erased; (iv) (in limited circumstances) request the restriction or suppression of your personal information; (v) obtain and reuse your personal data for your own purposes across different services; (vi) (in limited circumstances) object to the processing of your personal information; (vii) be made aware of any automatic decision making or profiling undertaken by us or those we engage to provide our service to you, using your personal information. We confirm that your personal information will not be held for this purpose, save as expressly authorised by you as your case progresses; (viii) lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office in respect of any breach relating to your personal information. Their helpline number is 0303 123 1113.
(a) We may correspond with you by email unless you advise us in writing that you do not wish us to do so. You acknowledge that email may not be secure. Email will be treated as written correspondence and we are entitled to assume that the purported sender of an email is the actual sender and that any express or implied approval or authority referred to in an email has been validly given. You consent to us monitoring and reading any email correspondence travelling between you and any mail recipient at Hudgell Solicitors.
(b) We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you request. More often than not this will be in writing, but may be by telephone if it is appropriate. We may need to virus check disks or e-mails, but unless you withdraw consent we may 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.
(a) Except as stated otherwise a person who is not a party to this agreement shall not be entitled to enforce any of its terms.
(a) The majority of our clients are very happy with the service we provide them, but in the event that you have any cause for concern, including about a bill, then please be aware that you are entitled to make a complaint. Please contact our designated complaints handler, Mr Neil Hudgell at our registered office. We take all feedback from clients seriously and operate a Complaints Handling Procedure, a copy of which is available upon request.
(b) We are usually able to deal with any concerns you have promptly and to your satisfaction, but if this is not the case, you will be able to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman provided you do so within six months of the end of our internal complaints procedure if you are still not satisfied with the outcome.
(c) In addition, there are time limits for bringing a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, linked to the date of the act or omission giving rise to a complaint or the date on which you should reasonably have known there were grounds for a complaint. The relevant time limits are set out in the version of the Legal Ombudsman’s Scheme Rules in force from time to time and may only be extended by the Legal Ombudsman in exceptional circumstances. If you wish to bring a complaint to him, you should refer to the version which is in force at the time of your complaint. The Rules can be accessed at: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/aboutus/scheme_rules.html.
(d) You should also be aware that, when your complaint relates to a bill, the Legal Ombudsman will not consider your complaint while your bill is being assessed by a court.
(e) Ordinarily, a complainant cannot use the Legal Ombudsman unless the complainant has first used the firm’s internal complaints procedure. A complainant can use the Legal Ombudsman if:
(i) The complaint has not been resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction within 8 weeks of first making the complaint to the firm;
(ii) An Ombudsman considers that there are exceptional reasons to consider the complaint sooner,or, without it having been made to the firm first;
(iii) An Ombudsman considers that in house resolution is not possible due to an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the firm and the complainant.
(f) Legal Ombudsman Contact Details:
(i) Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
(ii) Telephone: 0300 555 0333
(iii) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(iv) Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
(g) Alternative complaints bodies (such as Ombudsman Services - http://www.ombudsman-services.org/ ) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. We do not agree to use any such alternative complaints bodies.
(a) The majority of clients or potential clients who contact the firm communicate with us in a polite and courteous manner. This policy confirms how we will deal with those whose conduct we consider unreasonable.
(b) When you contact us, we believe that you should be listened to by our staff; should be understood; and should be given the opportunity to explain the facts of your case and any related query. Our staff have the same rights, and we expect all clients to treat them with courtesy and respect.
(c) We recognise that you may, on occasions, have reason to feel aggrieved, upset or distressed as your claim progresses.
(d) Assertive behavior (i.e. putting forward your case or point of view in a persuasive manner) will not be held to be unreasonable.
(e) What we will not accept is conduct that is aggressive or abusive, or which places unreasonable demands on our staff.
(f) Aggressive or abusive behaviour is behaviour or language (whether verbal, face to face or by telephone or by any form of written communication) that may cause our staff to feel intimidated, threatened or abused. Examples include (but are not limited to) :
a. Threats b. Verbal abuse c. Racist and sexist language d. Offensive remarks e. Rudeness f. Making inflammatory statements, or g. Raising unsubstantiated allegations.
(g) Requests may be considered unreasonable by nature and scale or service expected. Examples include (but are not limited to ) :
a. Reqesting responses to unreasonable timescales b. Insisting on speaking to certain members of staff not directly connected to your claim c. Adopting a “catch all” approach by contacting many staff members and third parties d. Continually contacting us while we are in the process of reviewing a matter for you e. Making a number of approaches about the same matter without raising new issues f. Threatening any members of our staff that you will hurt them, yourself, or others, if they do not carry out actions requested, or do carry out actions which you request them not to.
(h) We have a zero tolerance position to violence and threats against our staff, and this behaviour will usually be reported to the police, and us ceasing to act for you for breach of this Policy.
(i) In all other cases, we will consider restricting communication with you or (at our discretion) ceasing to act for you for breach of this Policy if we have informed you that your behaviour is unreasonable, and asked you to modify that behaviour, but no such modification is made by you.
(a) Neil Hudgell Limited holds Professional Indemnity Insurance covering £20 million. Further details can be obtained from our office or on request.
(b) Except as stated below, the total aggregate liability of us to you under or in connection with this Agreement (including any addition or variation to it), whether for breach of contract, negligence, breach of statutory duty, or otherwise, shall not exceed £20 million.
(c) You agree that the limitations on our liability as set out in this agreement are reasonable having regard to the nature of your instructions and the work involved and the availability and cost of professional indemnity insurance. We are, however, happy to consider options to increase these limitations, should you so require (which may result in an increase to our fees).
(d) We will undertake the work relating to your matter with reasonable skill and care.
(e) We accept liability without limit for the consequences of fraud by us or any of our Principals or Employees which is affected in their capacity as Principals or Employees and for any other liability which we are not permitted by law or rules of professional conduct to limit or exclude.
(f) If any part of this agreement which seeks to exclude, limit or restrict liability (including provisions limiting the amount we will be required to pay or limiting the time you have to bring a claim) is found by a court to be void or ineffective for any reason, the remaining provisions shall continue to be effective.
(g) We will not be liable under this agreement or laws of negligence for any deficiencies in the work we have undertaken if and to the extent that deficiencies are due to any false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation which has been provided to us (whether by you or any third party) or due to the acts or omissions of you or any third party. However, where any failure by us to identify any such false, misleading or incomplete information (or any failure by us to inform you that we have identified such information or any failure to act on your resulting instructions) constitutes negligence then we shall, subject to the other provisions of this agreement, remain liable for such failure.
(h) Despite anything else contained in this agreement, we are not under any obligation to act for you (or to continue to act for you) if to do so would breach any laws or professional rules. Therefore, we will not be responsible or liable to you for any loss which you or any other party may suffer as a result of our refusal to proceed with your matter where we would be in breach (or we reasonably believe that we would be in breach) of our legal obligations or our professional rules.
(i) You agree that you will not bring any claims or proceedings in connection with this agreement against our Regulated Principals or Employees personally, unless (and to the extent that) you are otherwise permitted to do so by law or our professional rules. Our Regulated Principals and Employees may enforce this clause even though they are not parties to this agreement.
(j) Proceedings in respect of any claim against us must be commenced within three years after you first had (or ought reasonably to have had) both the knowledge for bringing an action for damages and the knowledge that you had the right to bring such an action and in any event no later than six years after any alleged breach of contract, negligence or other cause of action. This provision expressly overrides any statutory provision which would otherwise apply; it will not increase the time within which proceedings may be commenced and may reduce it.
(k) If we and any other party or parties are liable to you together in respect of the same claim, then we shall only be liable to pay you the portion which is found to be fair and reasonable having regard to the level of our default. Therefore, we shall not be liable to pay you the portion which is due to the fault of such other party, even if you do not recover all or any money from such other party for any reason.
(l) If we are liable to you and any other party or parties would have been found liable to you together with us in respect of the same claim if either:
(i) You had also brought proceedings or made a claim against them; or
(ii) We had brought proceedings or made a claim against them for a contribution towards our liability, then any sum due from us to you shall be reduced by the proportion for which such other party or parties would have been found liable had those proceedings been brought or those claims been made.
(m) Nothing in this agreement excludes or limits our liability for:
(i) Death or personal injury caused by negligence;
(ii) Fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation; or
(iii) Any liability if and to the extent that it is not permissible in law for such liability to be limited or excluded.
(a) These terms and our engagement letter shall be governed by, and interpreted in accordance with English law. Any disputes or claims concerning this agreement and any matters arising from it shall be dealt with only by the courts of England and Wales.
(b) If we or you do not enforce our respective rights under this agreement at any time it will not prevent either of us or you from doing so later.
(c) If any provision of this agreement is found by any court or administrative body of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the other provisions of this agreement which shall remain in full force and effect.
(a) We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy.
(b) If you have any special requirements in relation to the way in which you would like us to handle your work, (for example, if you consider yourself to have a disability) please let us know.
(a) You may end this agreement (and therefore, your instructions to us) at any time by writing to us by post, fax or email (see clause 2.2(a) of these terms for details). However, we may be entitled to keep all of your documents and deeds while there is money owing to us (including fees and expenses which have not yet been billed).
(b) In addition to the provisions contained in our Acceptable Conduct Policy detailed above, we may end this agreement (and, therefore, cease acting for you) in relation to any matter or all matters of yours but only on reasonable written notice and for good reason. Examples of a good reason include where you have not given us sufficient instructions, where you have not provided appropriate evidence of identification or we reasonably believe that the relationship between you and us has broken down.
(c) If your matter does not conclude, or we are prevented from continuing to act because of our legal obligations or our professional rules, we will charge you for any work we have actually done. Our charges will be based on our hourly rates agreed with you in the conditional fee agreement or other retainer we enter into with you,(and where a fixed fee has been agreed, the charges will not exceed that fixed fee), and for any expenses which we incur on the same basis.
(d) If we cease acting for you, we shall (where relevant) inform the court or tribunal that we no longer act for you and shall apply to be removed from their records. We may charge you for doing so at our hourly rates agreed with you in the conditional fee agreement or other retainer we enter into with you, and for any expenses which we incur on the same basis.
(e) If you are an individual consumer (and not a business entity) and we have not met with your prior to entering into this Agreement or, if we entered into this Agreement with you away from our business premises, you have the right to cancel this Agreement 14 days of conclusion of this agreement. This right exists in accordance with The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. Please refer to the ‘Cancellation Notice’ below for further information about your right to cancel and the conditions attached to the same.
(f) We will not start work on your file within the next 14 days, unless you have given us express consent to do so. If you would like our service to start within the next 14 days, please sign the Client Declaration enclosed, stating your wishes and return a copy to us.
(g) Once we have started work on your file within the cancellation period, on your instruction, you will be charged for any work done if you then cancel your instructions. You will have to pay us an amount which is proportionate to the work completed until we receive notice of cancellation from you, in comparison with the full coverage of this Agreement.
(h) Please note that upon conclusion of your matter, we shall write to you to confirm it is at an end. If you have provided us with original documents which you require returning to you, then you will be able to collect them from our office. If it is necessary to send documents out to you, then we reserve the right to make a charge for the administration and cost involved in so doing.
(i) We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) for at least 6 years and on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy the file 6 years after delivering our final bill should we wish to do so. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
(j) We will make a charge for retrieving and/or printing off archived files, stored papers or deeds based on the time we spend doing so. The hourly rate charged for such work will be that charged for Trainee Solicitors and other staff of equivalent experience (regardless of who carries out the work in question).
(a) This Notice is applicable to you if you are an individual consumer (and not a business entity) and we have not met with you prior to entering into this Agreement, or if we entered into this Agreement with you away from our business premises. If you are unsure, please contact us immediately upon receipt of these Terms.
(b) Instructions for Cancellation Right
You have the right to cancel this agreement within 14 days without giving any reason.
The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail) which should be sent to our Head of New Claims at Hudgell Solicitors No.2 @ The Dock, 46 Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1TU (telephone number 01482 787771) or by electronic mail to email@example.com or by fax to 01482 787887 . You may use the attached model cancellation form (see below), but it is not obligatory.
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
(c) Effects of Cancellation
If you cancel this agreement, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you
We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than :
(a) 14 days after the day we receive back from you any goods supplied ; or (b) (if earlier) 14 days after the day you provide evidence that you have returned the goods; or (c) of there were no goods supplied, 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.
We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
If you requested us to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, you shall pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed until you have communicated us your cancellation from this contract, in comparison with the full coverage of the contract
(d) Model Cancellation Form
To Head of New Claims at Hudgell Solicitors No.2 @ The Dock, 46 Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1TU (telephone number 01482 787771 ) or by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 01482 787887.
I/We [*] herby give notice that I/We [*] cancel my/our [*] contract for the supply of the following service ,
File Reference No: ………………………
Client Name : …………………….
Client Address : …………………
Signature of consumer(s) (only if this form is notified on paper) :
Date : ……………………………………………