PAUL K NOLAN & CO
PAUL K. NOLAN & CO
S O L I C I T O R S
CARING FOR OUR CLIENTS
TERMS & CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT
These Terms & Conditions of Engagement (Terms), together with our engagement letter, set out the basis of which we will provide our services, and they should be read together. In the event of any inconsistency between our engagement letter and these Terms, the former shall prevail. With effect from the 1 January 2013 these Terms will apply to all services rendered by us to you from time to time unless we have entered into a specific written agreement which expressly excludes or modifies them in whole or part. If you require a printed version, please let us know.
2) GENERAL BASIS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF INSTRUCTIONS
a) Instructions will be accepted or declined in accordance with the Solicitors’ Practice Regulations 1987 (as amended), and the Solicitors (Client Communication) Practice Regulations 2008. See http://lawsoc-ni.org/role-of-the-law-society/regulation for further information.
b) Details of the solicitor with day to day responsibility for your file are set out in our engagement letter. We will be free to use such members of our staff or agents in connection with our business as we consider to be appropriate and in your best interest.
c) You will notify us in writing if communications are to be sent to you other than at the address or fax or email that you have provided, and whether particular advice is to remain undisclosed to other persons associated with you. Unless you tell us not to do so we may communicate to you by email and do not accept any responsibility for breach of confidentiality which may occur, whether or because of a fault or omission on your part or by any of your agents or the result of any action of a third party.
d) You will provide us with a full description of services you require and a statement of your objectives.
e) You will provide us, on request, with sufficient information to enable us to carry out our work. This will include relevant documents, notes, agreements, emails, correspondence and personal statements.
f) Where our services are supplied to two or more persons then your liability for our costs is joint and several; you will each be liable for any amounts due to us. If a third party or other source is to be responsible, this must be agreed with us before work is undertaken.
g) It is our practice to check for conflicts of interest in appropriate cases. If an actual or potential conflict between your interests and the interests of another advised party arises during our dealing with you we will discuss it with you and determine the appropriate course of action. In order to protect your interests we may not be permitted to act for you.
3) CONTACTING US
Our offices are open from 9 am to 1 pm and 2pm to 5 pm Monday to Thursday and until 4 pm on Friday. Our address is on the back of this guide. Our switchboard or telephone message service are available from 9 a.m to 1p.m and 2 p.m to 4.30 p.m Monday to Thursday and until 4.00pm on Friday. These hours will vary around holiday times.
4) HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
It is difficult to give accurate estimates of how long any legal matter will take to complete. We are happy to discuss likely timescales with you when we take your initial instructions. Although we do attempt to meet any agreed timescales, you should bear in mind that the speed with which work can be completed is frequently affected by the speed of response of other parties, or other factors which are outside our control e.g. Court procedures.
5) WHO WILL DO MY WORK?
Primary responsibility for client matters will always be with a Solicitor. We will try to keep you informed of progress (or reasons for lack or progress) and of action being taken. We will also explain any action which you yourself should take. You will find our experienced secretarial and paralegal staff ready to help in dealing with messages etc if your contact solicitor is unavailable.
6) PROBLEMS OR COMPLAINTS
We aim to offer our Clients an efficient and cost effective service. If there is any aspect of our work with which you are unhappy, please let us know. If your concern should remain unresolved, please raise it with the Solicitor responsible for the supervision of the matter, or address your query to in writing to the senior partner. Any complaint will be remedied promptly, if possible, and investigated further if necessary. You have the right to take independent legal advice from another solicitor in any case where you have, or may have, a complaint against the firm. If it is determined that a complaint will not be upheld, we reserve the right to recover from you the costs on a time basis of investigating the matter. You should note that complaints raised more than 30 days after submission of an invoice will not ordinarily be entertained. You may also
wish to refer to the Law Society of Northern Ireland for further information on the conduct of solicitors at http;//www.lawsoc-ni.org/.
7) MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS
In order to enable us to satisfy our obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and related and amending legislation, it will be necessary for you to supply photographic proof of identity and address confirmation before we are able to act or continue to act for you or for any principal whom you may represent. We will also not be able to receive any funds from, or pay any funds, to you or on your behalf unless all necessary identification and other procedures have been satisfied for the purposes of the Regulations.
Proof of identity will usually be a current valid Passport, Driving Licence, recognised identity card or equivalent showing your name, date of birth and photograph, together with a current utility bill or equivalent, not more than three months old, confirming your address. For companies, we will usually require a copy Certificate of Incorporation or copy audited statutory accounts together with personal identification as above in respect of some or all of the company’s directors. In the case of a company incorporated overseas, we may also require a Certificate from lawyers qualified in the relevant jurisdiction to the effect that the company is properly incorporated, together with evidence of the company’s directors and of the authority and identity of the persons instructing us.
In the light of these Regulations, and for insurance reasons, we can only accept cash payments from or on behalf of clients and in special circumstances or in limited amounts.
8) PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002
Paul K Nolan & Co are prohibited by this Act from acting for or advising a client in relation to the acquisition, retention, use or control of the proceeds of any crime or any attempt to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer any criminal property or to remove it from the jurisdiction, or from being involved in arrangements relating to such activities. The proceeds of crime and criminal property are widely defined for these purposes to include any activity (including tax evasion) carried on anywhere which would be illegal if carried on in the UK.
We have a legal obligation to report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency any person, including a client, suspected of involvement in activity covered by this Act. As a result we reserve the right to make all disclosures to relevant authorities as required by law, without notice to you, and if appropriate to cease acting for you without giving any specific reason. These obligations override our normal duty of confidentiality to you. We will not accept any liability for any loss or damage that you or any third party may suffer or incur on any account for any action taken, or not taken, by us in good faith with a view to complying with this Act or any related Legislation. We may also require confirmation from you of the source of any funds, in particular any remitted from overseas, and whether all necessary tax has been paid and all necessary returns made in relation to any overseas funds. We reserve the right to require further information and supporting documentation as appropriate.
9). PAYMENTS ON ACCOUNT
In certain cases, we may request that you make a payment on account of fees and disbursements to be incurred. The amount of any such payments will be agreed with you before any work is carried out. It may be appropriate for further payments of this nature to be made from time to time. Many clients prefer to make the payments to us by regular instalments in order to limit the amount owed to us at any one time. We are happy to accept such payments by way of Standing Order, and can provide you with a suitable form on request. We cannot undertake any work on your behalf and particularly litigation or foreign transactions until a requested payment on account has been received.
10) OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES (OUTLAYS AND DISBURSEMENTS)
From time to time it may be necessary to incur expenses on your behalf. These might include Counsel's fees, Medical Fees, Court fees or Search fees etc. Such fees will be charged to you at cost. We make no margin of profit on these fees. Before such expenditure is incurred, we may require that you provide us with sufficient funds to cover these disbursements or expenses.
11) FEES & COSTS
(i) Our fees are primarily based on the amount of time spent on your transaction or case. They can comprise a fixed fee - e.g. conveyancing; or fees according to a particular scale; a consultation fee; a set Retainer fee before taking on a case; or fees assessed on work done.
(ii) Broadly speaking, except for a Retainer fee [ see clause v , below ], legal fees are calculated in two ways. First, the total time devoted to the case from the date of taking instructions to its conclusion, that is, the sum of charges for letters, phone calls, meetings etc. This aspect is straightforward enough and our hourly rates are based on the seniority and expertise of those involved and reflect competitive rates in the marketplace.
(iii) Secondly, other specific factors relating to your case are taken into account when calculating charges. These are set out by law and include:
a) The complexity of the matter;
b) The skill labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved;
c) The number and importance of documents prepared or considered;
d) The number of attendances, letters or telephone calls;
e) The amount of value of any money or property involved;
f) The importance of the matter to you;
g) The urgency of the matter;
h) The place where the business is transacted;
(iv) Wherever possible we will, upon accepting instructions, give you an estimate of the likely costs involved and may revise that estimate from time to time as it becomes necessary. If we have provided you with a written estimate, it is given as a guide only and should not be regarded as a fixed quotation.
(v) A Retainer fee may be payable at the outset of any matter and is a fixed fee for advice, consultation, preparatory work, specialist knowledge or other work or expertise brought to bear in respect of a particular matter upon which you have consulted us. As a fixed fee it is not time based. Whilst we may undertake some initial work for you without further charge, other work in connection to your case is billable at the hourly rate chargeable in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. If our Client consists of more than one person, each person is responsible individually as well as collectively for the whole of our fees. Please note that if a fixed fee is quoted at the outset, it may be subject to revision if instructions or attendances in the course of the transaction exceed the average for such cases, or if we incur or are asked to carry out extra work.
(vi) It is important to bear in mind that even in fixed fee cases you may incur additional costs where the time spent dealing with communications from you, including attendances, correspondence or telephone calls, or from other parties, is disproportionate considering the issues involved and the complexity of your case.
(vii) Unless otherwise agreed, our charges will be payable whether or not a particular matter proceeds to completion.
(viii) Our Vat registration number is: 287 0251 55
(ix) The way that solicitors calculate continuing charges is by reference to time units which represent a proportion of the overall hourly rate. In those circumstances we would charge you in accordance with the firm’s hourly rates prevailing in relation to the fee earners at the time currently earning the hourly rates charged for matters of this sort. Please ask for the appropriate rate applicable to your file.
(x) The way we actually calculate our charges is by reference to time units which represent a proportion of the overall hourly charge. By way of example one tenth (6 minutes) of the relevant hourly rate is charged for short or routine letters and for short or routine telephone calls. Letters sent which take longer that this time period (6 minutes) or telephone calls lasting longer than 6 minutes are charged by reference to the number of 6 minute units (including parts thereof) taken up by them. No distinction is made for the type of work undertaken i.e. there is no reduced rate for waiting, travelling, attending consultations, or Court, all of which are charged at the full hourly rate.
(xi) Please refer to the additional cost information in relation to specific areas of work which is set out under the sub-headings below, namely LITIGATION AND CONTENTIOUS MATTERS [at Paragraph 23 et seq]; LEGAL AID MATTERS [at Paragraph 28 et seq]; CONVEYANCING MATTERS [at Paragraph 34 et seq] ; and PROBATE MATTERS [at Paragraph 35 et seq]
12) TELEPHONE CALLS, MESSAGES AND APPOINTMENTS
Our office receives hundreds of telephone calls each week. We are pleased to hear from our clients but ask that calls should be kept as brief as possible. Long telephone calls are counter-productive. You may leave a brief voicemail message.
If it is impossible to deliver a message briefly you should let us have a written note by post, fax or email. This provides a record of your enquiry and avoids misunderstanding. It will also enable us to check your file and respond appropriately and promptly.
Please bear with us. It may not be possible for us to return all calls within a short time as we have court commitments and many elderly or ill clients must be visited out of the office.
If the person you wish to contact is not available, you should nevertheless leave brief details of your query with our secretarial staff. This will ensure that the matter can still be dealt with.
Do not dictate lengthy messages to our reception staff as the risk of misunderstanding or mistake is greater. You will be asked to put long messages in writing. Telephone calls made or received in the course of work on your file are charged separately to you. We will notify you when we need to make an appointment. Appointments made by you at your behest are charged separately to you.
13) SECRETARIAL AND OFFICE SERVICES
We make no separate charge for secretarial and typing services. We do, however, charge for photocopying, faxes, telephone calls and attendances or additional message taking.
14) INTERIM BILLS
It is not unusual for many transactions to take several months to complete or, in some cases such as litigation or off-plan purchases, several years. Accordingly we usually render interim bills to you to cover work carried out to date. Such bills will normally be rendered on a monthly or quarterly basis, unless we agree otherwise.
Like any business we are only able to keep our costs competitive if our bills are paid promptly. All bills are due for payment upon presentation. We require accounts, whether interim or final, to be settled in full within one month of delivery. If bills are not paid within one month, interest is payable on the overdue amount at the Court rate until payment in full is received.
a) Any account rendered by us is due for payment on delivery and interest will be charged at the rate for the time being prescribed for judgement debts on any balance (including outlay) outstanding after 30 days.
b) Paul K Nolan & Co may from time to time deduct sums due to us for monies in hand on your account in any matter.
c) We may from time to time invoice you on account of the final bill for costs and disbursements. Such invoices may be sent periodically in accordance with our client care letter or at any natural break in the instructions.
d) If you have any query about your invoice, including the basis on which it has been calculated, you should contact the solicitor with day to day responsibility for your work as soon as possible and in any event within 30 days, after which we will treat the amount shown in the invoice as recoverable by any means.
e) You are entitled to require us within one month of the delivery of any invoice to obtain a Remuneration Certificate from the Law Society of Northern Ireland stating that in their opinion the costs charged are fair and reasonable or, as the case may be, what lesser sum would be fair and reasonable.
f) You are also entitled to have a bill checked by an officer of the High Court by a procedure known as Taxation of Costs in accordance with the provisions of the Solicitors (NI) Order 1986. Where we have dealt on your behalf with a contentious matter (eg; litigation or divorce) you have the right under the Solicitors Order (NI) 1986 to request that the legal fees which we charge are assessed by an officer of the Court. This is known as "taxation". Both parties will have the opportunity of making representations to the Court Officer whose decision will be binding upon both you and us. The Court will charge a fee for this procedure and you may incur further costs in connection with it. The Court could order you to pay the taxing fee and any further costs incurred as a result of the taxation.
g) Where we have agreed fees at the outset and notified you of these in writing, a retainer contract will exist between us which may restrict your right to refuse or delay in paying our bill.
16) METHOD OF PAYMENT
Bills may be paid by Cheque, Bank Transfer or Cash. Payments on account of
disbursements can be made in a similar way.
17) PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING SERVICES
Where appropriate, we will advise you of Financial Services which we can provide. All such services are supplied by independent financial advisers with broad experience in all areas of Insurance, Pensions, Mortgages and Investments.
The firm of Paul K Nolan & Co does not normally seek or receive commission. In all cases you will be advised of any commission which may be received by us in respect of your matter. If we did receive any commission from Building Societies, Insurance Companies, Stockbrokers or other Agents, we would credit half the amounts received by us against your fees.
19) INTEREST ON CLIENTS' MONEY
Any money held or received by us on your account will be placed and held on your Client Account in accordance with the Law Society rules. We will account to you for interest on any sums exceeding £20,000.00 held by us for long periods of time. Rates of interest are those applicable to small sums on instant withdrawal accounts.
20) TERMINATION OF REPRESENTATION
We will on giving reasonable notice be free to refuse to act or continue to act for you if we are, or may be, in breach of the law or the principles of professional conduct by accepting or continuing to accept instructions; or we consider there is or maybe a conflict or risk of conflict of interest between your interests or those of any other client of ours; or any account rendered by us in respect of fees or disbursements has not been paid within 30 days of its date; or any request for money on account of costs or disbursements incurred or to be incurred has not been complied with within 2weeks of it being made.
We may also discontinue acting on other reasonable grounds for example, excessive telephone calls or attendances or any other additional circumstances which may be prescribed by the Law Society from time to time.
You may terminate our retainer in writing at any time. In some circumstances, you may consider Paul K Nolan & Co ought to stop acting for you, if, for example, you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work. If you or we decide that we can no longer act for you, you are liable for our charges down to the date of termination.
21) CONSEQUENCES OF TERMINATION
If our instructions are terminated for any reason then we may in addition to any other remedy available to us:
a) Retain any Deeds, securities or other documents under our control;
b) Retain any monies for the time being outstanding to any account you may have with us;
until payment has been made of all outstanding costs and disbursements together with Vat and costs and disbursements incurred in connection with the termination.
22) CONTINUING OBLIGATIONS
Unless specially otherwise agreed, Paul K Nolan & Co shall not be under any continuing obligation to advise you of changes in the law which may affect advice previously given. All communications generated between us during the currency of our retainer shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any third party without consent.
As part of our commitment to provide a quality service to you we may, from time to time invite suitable qualified external assessors periodically to review our files on a sample basis for compliance. Files are not made available to assessors if the subject matter is of a sensitive nature or where you specially request that they such not be made available.
23) STORAGE OR DESTRUCTION OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS
After completing your work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. Except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you, we will destroy the file 6 years after the date of the final bill we send you. We shall not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
If we are asked to retrieve papers or documents from storage for you or on your behalf, we shall charge for such retrieval. For time spent producing stored papers or documents, we may also charge for dealing with correspondence or carrying out other work necessary to comply with instructions given by you or.
If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we shall not normally charge for such retrieval.
LITIGATION AND CONTENTIOUS MATTERS:
24) LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
This paragraph shall apply to any claim:
a) Brought by you;
b) Or to a claim against you by any individual or company, related or associated to you, and any officer, servant or, employee of any of these entities if any duty is are held to be owed to them,;
c) Against this firm (which for the purpose of this clause includes any successor practice), any past present or future partners of the firm, and/or any past, present or future employees of the firm.
All claims, whether made by one or more of the parties referred to in subparagraphs (a) and (b), arising from the same act or omission, or from a series of related acts or omissions, shall be regarded as one claim. Any such claim shall be limited to such amount as is referred to in our engagement letter. Where no specific amount is referred to in our engagement letter the limit for each and every claim, including claimants’ costs and expenses, shall be £3,000.00.
In no event shall our liability in respect of a claim, as defined above, exceed the level of our professional indemnity insurance from time to time (which at the date of these Terms is £20,000.000.00).
We have compulsory Professional Indemnity Insurance cover under the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Master Policy, which is underwritten by a “Slip” of insurers in any one insurance year. A copy of our Professional Indemnity Insurance Schedule and related Evidence of Insurance issued to us by our brokers together with copies of each solicitor’s individual Professional Indemnity Insurance Certificate is available for inspection and copies of these documents will be provided to you on request.
The Territorial limits of the Master Policy are worldwide but there is a restriction of the Jurisdiction Limits in respect of the USA and Canada for which are excluded the following:
i. damages or other monetary awards, judgements or negotiated settlements claimant’s costs and expenses and defence costs connected with or arising out of any claim made or suit brought against the Insured before any arbitrator tribunal or court in the United States of America, its territories and possessions, or Canada.
ii. The enforcement upholding or registration against the Insured by any arbitrator tribunal or court outside the United States of America, its territories and possessions, or Canada, of any damages or other monetary awards, judgements or negotiated settlements claimant’s costs and expenses and defence costs connected with or arising out of any claim made or suit brought against the Insured before any arbitrator tribunal or court of the United States of America, its territories and possessions, or Canada.
a. These Terms shall not affect any provision of the general law or professional standards applicable to the relationship between us and you as solicitor and client.
b. We will not be liable to you or any third party if we are unable to perform our services as a result of any cause beyond our reasonable control. If any such event should arise, we will notify you as soon as reasonably practicable.
c. Paul K. Nolan & Co is regulated by The Law Society of Northern Ireland from whom further information can be obtained on the professional standards and conduct required of solicitors in Northern Ireland at http://www.lawsoc-ni.org/. The firm is not separately regulated by the Financial Services Authority but it is able to offer a limited range of investment services to clients where they are an incidental part of the professional legal services we have been engaged to provide.
d. Any notice to be given to us may be sent to Paul K. Nolan & Co 135a Upper Lisburn Road Finaghy Belfast BT10 0LH and, any notice to be given by us, may be given to you at your last address known to us.
e. Notwithstanding any other provision, these Terms will not confer on any third party the right to enforce any of them, or our letter of engagement, for the purposes of the Contract (Rights to Third Parties) Act 1999.
26) LAW & JURISDICTION
These Terms and the agreement between us, are subject to and to be construed in accordance with the law of Northern Ireland. Any dispute or difference arising between us and you shall be referred to the High Court of Justice of Northern Ireland to whose non-exclusive jurisdiction you irrevocably submit by continuing to instruct us, having had notice of these Terms and/or by your express acceptance of these Terms.
27) DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998
The firm of Paul K .Nolan & Co, as a data controller, is bound by the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. You agree that we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data to enable us to discharge the services agreed under this engagement, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analyses for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance.
28) ORDERS FOR COSTS
If you are successful in your claim, we will normally also obtain an Order that your defeated opponent should pay a contribution towards your legal costs. It is, however, rare for the Court to order your opponent to pay every last penny of the costs which you will incur and you should therefore expect a shortfall between the contribution or award ordered against your defeated opponent and the actual cost to you.
There is a distinction between “party and party” costs and “solicitor and client” costs and it is the former that are covered by a Court award. Additional correspondence, meetings and other work are “solicitor and client” costs and must be met by the client.
Costs are awarded in many accident claim cases by reference to scale fees published by the Court. These will apply whether or not the case was settled or proceeded to trial. Because the fees are measured according to a scale, they may not take into account all the work which was necessary ( described in Clause 6 above) in your particular case. In such cases we would usually have to look to you to make up any shortfall.
Even if your opponent is ordered to pay a contribution towards your costs, you, as our client, remain liable for the full amount of our costs. There is, of course, no guarantee that your defeated opponent will be able to pay amounts which the Court have awarded. Should you lose your case, you should expect to be ordered to contribute towards your opponent's costs.
If your case is being conducted in a Court outside the United Kingdom, different procedures relating to legal costs may apply. In costs conducted through the Spanish legal system, for instance, costs may not be awarded separately from any amount paid in compensation. Upon settlement of any such claims therefore you will be liable for our costs and outlays which will be invoiced in accordance with the provisions of clauses 10 and 11 above.
LEGAL AID MATTERS:
29) LEGAL AID – THE GREEN FORM SCHEME
If you require Legal Aid we will advise you whether you are eligible for advice under the "Green Form" Scheme. The amount of Legal Aid to which you may be entitled is strictly governed by the Legal Aid Regulations. It may be free or may require you to pay a contribution.
Subject to your financial circumstances, you may be entitled to up to two hours’ worth of advice under the Green Form Scheme. You should note that this does not mean two hours in meetings with you, since time will also be spent in writing letters, making telephone calls or researching matters in your absence. It is generally not possible to seek extensions of time for advice available under this Scheme.
Advice given under the Green Form Scheme is only free if no money is recovered for you. We would draw your attention to paragraph 32 below headed "Legal Aid is not a gift", which will apply to you unless the Legal Aid Department considers that you would suffer severe hardship if you had to pay your own costs in full.
30) LEGAL AID - GENERALLY
(i) Upon receipt of your instructions, but before we can take any steps to act on your behalf, we will need to consider with you whether you may be eligible for financial assistance under any of the Legal Aid Schemes which may extend to representation in Court and, wherever appropriate, will arrange for applications for Legal Aid to be made on your behalf. The high cost of legal proceedings and the limitations of the Legal Aid system means that Legal Aid is very restrictive in its scope.
(ii) Whether Legal Aid is granted will depend both on your financial position and on the merits of your case. Civil Legal Aid is means tested and Legal Aid Application forms are lengthy and detailed. The Legal Aid Department assesses disposable income, which it defines as gross income less taxes, dependents and other outgoings. You will have to produce documentary proof of your savings, earnings or benefits, as well as outgoings and dependents – anything, in fact, which has a bearing on your income or assets. Your completed application will then be sent for assessment.
(iii) Depending upon your financial circumstances, it is likely you will have to pay a contribution to the cost of your Legal Aid. If this is the case, the amount of the contribution will be shown on any offer of Legal Aid which you might receive.
(iv) You are entitled to decide whether you wish to proceed with Legal Aid in view of the contribution being asked of you. If you do accept an offer of Legal Aid which requires you to make a contribution it is very important that you ensure that the contribution is paid promptly and reaches the Legal Aid Department by the due date. If you miss a contribution, or even pay it late, we may be told to stop work at what could prove to be a crucial point in the case, and your interests could be seriously prejudiced.
(v) Applications to the Legal Aid Department can take many months to be processed. There is very little we can do to speed this process. You will be contacted directly by the Legal Department when they can deal with your application. Enquiries about the progress of your application must be made to the Legal Aid Department directly. We are not informed until a decision is made about your application.
We do not generally charge you for taking initial instructions and helping you complete your Legal Aid Application forms, but remember you are not covered by Legal Aid until a Legal Aid Certificate has been issued. Accordingly, you will be invoiced directly for any consultations, correspondence or telephone calls that are not covered by Legal Aid.
When your Legal Certificate has issued, we can only do such work or devote such time as is covered under the terms of your Certificate. As your case proceeds we will contact you to arrange attendances and consultations as and when required. All other attendances or consultations or telephone calls that are not covered by Legal Aid will be billed to you directly.
31) EMERGENCY LEGAL AID
In cases of extreme urgency it may be possible for us to obtain Emergency Legal Aid on your behalf. This is granted quickly and is based simply on an assessment of the merits of your case, without assessing your financial position, at that time. At a later date, the Legal Aid Department will make an assessment of your financial position and you will have a duty to co-operate. If it is found that in fact you were not in fact eligible for Legal Aid your Emergency Certificate can be revoked, and the financial consequences set out in paragraph 33 below would apply.
32) LEGAL AID IS NOT A GIFT
If we recover any money for you or, in the case of Green Form advice, money is recovered from any other source as a result of our advice, your legal costs will generally have to be paid out of that money. If you win your case, Paul K Nolan & Co will normally obtain an order that your defeated opponent should pay a contribution towards your costs. The larger the contribution, the less the Legal Aid Fund will need to take out of your award. Nevertheless, it is rare for the Court to order your opponent to pay full amount of costs incurred, and therefore there will usually be a shortfall, being the difference between the costs which your defeated opponent is required to contribute and the actual costs. The shortfall will be taken from your award. You should also be aware that there is no guarantee that your opponent will be able to pay any award made in your favour, in which case you might not receive any damages awarded to you. However, the costs will normally still be met by the Legal Aid Fund.
33) CHANGES IN CIRCUMSTANCES AND WITHDRAWAL OR REVOCATION OF LEGAL AID
We are obliged by Legal Aid Rules to warn you that, if Legal Aid is granted, the Legal Aid Department may decide to withdraw the Certificate during proceedings if it feels that you have not complied with your obligations to the Legal Aid Department, or if it was felt you were requiring us to conduct the case in a way which was an unreasonable use of public money. If your Legal Aid Certificate is withdrawn, it means that no further work would be covered but the costs already incurred would be allowable under the Certificate.
You have a constant duty to report to us and the Legal Aid Department any change of your address or change in your financial circumstances. If the Legal Aid Department decides that you have not complied with these obligations, your Legal Aid Certificate may be revoked. If your Legal Aid Certificate is revoked, this not only means that no further work will be covered, but it will also mean that you would be responsible for the costs already incurred.
34) COSTS IF YOU LOSE
If we have obtained Legal Aid for you and you should lose your case, the Court will normally order you to pay a contribution towards your opponent's costs. However, the Court would not normally allow that Order to be enforced against you unless it thought that you could actually afford to make any payment.
35) NI LAW SOCIETY HOME CHARTER SCHEME
Paul K Nolan & Co have actively supported the Northern Ireland Law Society Home Charter Scheme since its inception. The aim of the Home Charter Scheme is to maintain high standards of competence and integrity among participating solicitors in the conduct of conveyances.
Selling and/or buying your home will be one of the most stressful events in your life. We believe our duty to you is to provide an efficient legal service to assist in a complex and expensive legal transaction, and also to counsel you through a very important time that is frequently fraught with anxiety. The Law Society has appointed a Home Charter Monitoring Officer who periodically visits solicitors’ offices to inspect conveyancing files to ensure that Home Charter recommended practices are strictly adhered to.
36) WHAT SERVICES CAN I EXPECT UNDER THE HOME CHARTER SCHEME?
When selling or buying a house you are entitled to expect and receive the following:
(a) Full disclosure at the commencement of the transaction of all terms of business including approximate cost.
(b) Full disclosure of any possible conflict of interest or, if necessary, action to avoid any such conflict.
(c) Advice on the terms of the contract and how it best can be brought to completion.
(d) Advice on mortgages and other financial implications of the transaction.
(e) Regular reports on the progress of the transaction and, if necessary, early warning of any likely cause of difficulty or delay.
(f) A prompt response to all requests for information and delivery of all necessary information and advice to allow informed judgements to be made.
(g) Honouring of appointments and co-operation with you in arranging appointments.
(h) Identification of the individual responsible for your business in our firm in case of a complaint arising.
(i) The use of clear and simple language in all our solicitor-client discussions and letters.
(j) Above all you have the right to expect the highest standards of integrity, skill, care and diligence from our firm in the carrying out of your conveyancing business.
37) For Probate or Administration of Estates matters, it is essential the fees charged by a Solicitor should be fair and reasonable in all circumstances. In calculating fees it has been held that the time expended is the logical starting point; however it is a rare bill that can be simply made up of the elements of time and value. Our charges will be calculated primarily by reference to the Belfast Solicitors’ Association guidelines for non-contentious probate matters and administration of estates, which include time spent on your file, the value of the estate and also the levels of skills and responsibility involved. Those guidelines are set out in full as follows:
As £5,000.00 is now the limit of the value of estates which can be administered without a Grant of Representation our suggested fees are confined to estates exceeding £5,000.00 and in such the percentage charged at 2.1 below applies from £1.00 to £10,000.00.
The Belfast Solicitors’ Association in conjunction with the Law Society recommends professional fees in these matters to be based mainly on:-
1. The amount of time expended.
2. A percentage charge on the following table:
Gross Value of the Estate Percentage charge on Gross
From £5,001.00 to £10,000.00 2.5%
From £10,001.00 to £30,000.00 2%
From £30,001.00 to £250,000.00 1.5%
From £250,001.00 to £1,000,000.00 0.5%
From £1,000,001.00 to £2,000,000.00 1/6th of a per cent
NOTE, THIS GUIDE…
A. Should not be applied as a firm fixed scale of fees in all cases. The Table is by way of a general guide for use in the average type of case and it should be considered having regard to all the relevant circumstance in particular the seven criteria contained in Order 62 of the Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland 1980 No. 346 namely:
(a) the complexity of the item or of the cause of the matter in which it arises and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
(b) the skill, specialist knowledge and responsibility required, and the time and labour expended, by the Solicitor or Counsel;
(c) The number and importance of the documents (how ever brief) prepared or perused;
(d) The place and circumstances in which the business involved is transacted;
(e) The importance of the cause or matters to the client;
(f) Where money or property is involved, its amount or value;
(g) Any other fees and allowances payable to the Solicitor in respect of other items in the same cause or matter, only where work done in relation to those items has reduced the work which otherwise would have been necessary in relation to the item in question.
B. Does not cover litigation and Conveyancing work arising out of an administration, or work requiring additional expert.
C. Does cover - (1) Completion of IHT return , excepting cases of unusual complexity.
(2) The extraction of the Grant of Representation
(3) Deed of Variation and distribution of assets upon completion of the Administration.
(4) We reserve the right to use additional expert assistance in complex matters.
D. For the purposes of determining the Gross value of the estate for remuneration:-
(1) The value of the Deceased’s interest in jointly owned assets should normally be taken at one half of the
principal value of those assets.
(2) The value of the Deceased’s interest in his or her residence should be discounted by one half of the market value of the residence if the deceased alone owned it or to the quarter of the market value of the residence if it was jointly owned.
(3) Where the joint interest is otherwise than a one half share the appropriate adjustment should be made.
E. Where the Solicitor is an Executor and particularly if he is a sole Executor and bears additional responsibility by reasons of the Executorship, it would be appropriate to charge an additional percentage of the gross value.
38) This document is designed to provide you with as much information as possible on the nature of the relationship you will have with our firm and the standards you can expect from us if we are looking after your affairs as one of our valued clients. We are grateful that you have placed your trust in us and we shall do our best to further and protect your interests. If you have any additional queries please do not hesitate to contact any member of our staff. They will be only to pleased to help. Please take a few moments to consider the comprehensive list of other legal matters in which we can assist, act or advise
Paul K Nolan & Co.
I confirm my agreement that the within Terms and Conditions of Engagement shall form the basis of a contract for the supply of legal services between Paul K Nolan & Co and me/us.
PAUL K. NOLAN & CO
S O L I C I T O R S
135 Upper Lisburn Road, Finaghy, Belfast BT10 0LH
Tel: (028) 90 301113, 90 301933
Fax: (028) 90 601784,
Associate Offices throughout Spain, incl. Balearics and Canaries:
Also: Portugal (incl Cape Verde Is;) Cyprus; Bulgaria; Rep of Ireland; and rest of UK.
Here is a list of legal services we commonly provide. We think you may be surprised at the range of legal services we can offer:
Buying or Selling your Home; Mortgages and Re-mortgages
ACCIDENTS CLAIMS AND PERSONAL INJURIES: Road Traffic Accidents; Accidents on Public Transport; Accidents at Work, including work-related illnesses such as a disease caused by working with asbestos, or industrial deafness; Slips, Trips and Falls on paving stones or steps etc; Holiday Accidents ; Fatal Accidents; defective Products; faulty Goods or Services; Sport Related Accidents ; Dog Attacks; Health & Safety; Accidents involving Children or psychological illness suffered as a result of abuse as a child ; injury caused by errors in hospital treatment or by vaccinations; physical or psychological injury sustained by a victim of a crime.
CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION:
Debt Collection ; Contracts Disputes; Negligence Claims ;
WILLS AND PROBATES:
Administration of Estates; Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning; Probate; Wills
Business Property Leases; Company or Business Law; Partnerships or Sole Traders; Equality and Employment Law; Tribunals
Problems with Purchases; Sale of goods/services
Holiday Home Contract Problems; Mortgage difficulties; Holiday Problems; Accidents or Assaults while abroad; Spanish Legal Services; Spanish Legal Translations; Timeshares & Holiday Clubs.
Separations; Maintenance; Custody; non-Molestation Orders; Divorce; Ancillary Relief; Family Matrimonial; Adoptions; and Wardship
Magistrates Court; Crown Courts; Appeals; PACE Interviews.
FRANCHISING LAW & PRACTICE:
Franchise Agreements; Investigating a Franchise; Advising on Practical Problems; Buying or Selling a Franchise; Franchise Disputes
NOTARY PUBLIC SERVICES:
Powers of Attorney; Contracts; Certifying copy documents; Translations; Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Legalisation/Apostille; Liaising with foreign embassies and/or legal advisers
IMMIGRATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS European Economic Area Applications ; Asylum and Refugee Applications; Work Permits; Asylum and Immigration Tribunals, Bail Hearings and Appeals; Judicial Review; Police Station Attendances; Extension Applications; Entry Clearance and Leave to Enter Applications.
office/client care /terms & conditions (edit. 21/10/2014)