Terms and Conditions of Business
- General Arrangements
We will contact you as and when required for instructions as matters arise. We will not contact you every time we receive a communication. We will make every effort to keep you informed as to developments. The length of time your matter takes may be influenced by factors outside our control such as the speed with which we receive information or communications from other parties, or from experts or other authorities. You also have a responsibility to inform us of any information which can affect the work we are carrying out on your behalf. We will use our professional judgement to protect your interests.
We will not institute any legal proceedings without first obtaining your express authority, but once legal proceedings have been instituted it is important that you understand that we are entitled to take appropriate steps to deal professionally and efficiently with the matter. Apart from our duty to you, we have obligations to the courts and/or Tribunals in our capacity as officers of the court. It is important that you respond promptly to requests for information or instructions as failure to do so could harm your case. It is also important that you abide by any advice given by counsel or us.
We shall assume that we will have your authority to incur routine expenditure such as reports and searches but will revert to you before instructing counsel or experts.
- Yours Instructions to Us
It is important that your instructions to us are clear and accurate and that you continue to advise us of any new and relevant information as your case develops. It is our aim to provide you with clear and helpful advice and if there is anything that you do not understand about your case then please tell us so that we can provide clarification.
Our advice to you cannot be used or relied upon for any purpose by any other person without our prior agreement.
- Money Laundering
We are required by the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to verify your identity before we can act or continue to act on your behalf in connection with this matter.
You have already satisfied us as to your identity in the recent past and we therefore do not require any further information from you.
You have already given us a copy of your photographic identity document and a utility bill/bank statement and thus nothing further is required from you at this stage.
You will have to produce your original passport, driving licence or other official photographic identity document and either a recent utility bill or bank statement to confirm your address, as we require a copy of each for our file. You need to do this as soon as possible otherwise we will not be able to continue to act for you.
We may have to ask you questions about the proposed source and flow of funds for your case and make such further enquiries as may be relevant to the transaction. There are also circumstances under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 in which we are required to make a confidential report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency where we know or suspect that a criminal offence has been committed, and we may be prevented from informing you of this under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
Because of the provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 our policy is that we do not accept payments in cash exceeding £1000.00.
It may be necessary for us to retain personal data about you on our files and/or computer records. Examples can include financial information, bank details, sensitive personal data and medical records/reports. In accepting these Terms of Business you confirm that we may receive and hold confidential and/or sensitive personal data in relation to you and that, where appropriate, this may need to be disclosed to others, such as counsel/solicitor advocates, experts and other parties. If you have a concern about disclosure of any particular sensitive personal or commercial data please raise this with us at an early stage.
We will communicate with you by the most effective means, but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by fax, email or other electronic means. If you have concerns about the confidentiality of any information sent by such electronic means, please let us know so we can arrange for secure transmission.
When a matter has completed we normally retain our correspondence file for a period of 10 years after completion. Thereafter the file may be destroyed without reference to you unless, before then, you notify us that you wish to retain some part of the file.
- Ending the Solicitor Client relationship
You may terminate our engagement on this matter in writing at any time. You will have to pay all outstanding fees and expenses up to the date of termination. We may retain all documents, deeds and other papers until payment of all monies due to us.
We may at some time consider that we ought to stop acting for you, for example, if you did not respond to any requests for information or did not abide by or accept any advice given, or if you do not pay one or more of our invoices.
Upon termination we will notify all relevant parties including, if relevant, the court to come off record.
- Conflict of Interest
On occasions we may be asked to advise a client in a similar line of business. In accepting these Terms of Business you agree that we will not be precluded from acting on behalf of other clients, whether current or future, who are in a similar line of business to you either during the conduct of this matter or after our retainer has been completed, unless there is a clear conflict of interest arising from the specific work that we do for you. If such a conflict arises we shall advise you immediately.
- Limitation of Liability
In no circumstances will we be liable to you for any loss arising out of or in connection with this engagement of contract, tort, by statute or otherwise, unless the loss is caused directly as a result of our negligence or default. Any claim, can only be brought against R M Cullen & Son not against the individual members, officers or employees.
In all circumstances the potential total aggregate, liability of our firm, whether for breach of contract, tort, including negligence and/or misrepresentation, breach of statutory duty (or otherwise), arising out of or in connection with our engagement, will be limited to an amount not exceeding £ 6,000,000.00. The potential total aggregate liability of our firm to you arising out of or in connection with our engagement will in addition be limited to the amount that could be met without recourse to the personal assets of any partner. Our insurer is Marsh Limited who may be contacted at Bedford House, Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7DX. The territorial coverage of this insurance is Northern Ireland.
We shall not be liable for any indirect consequential loss or for loss arising out of any action necessary for us to take, to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
Where any loss is suffered by you for which we and any other person are jointly and severally liable, the loss recoverable by you from us shall be limited so as to be in proportion to our relative contribution to the overall fault, taking into account that other party’s liability. That other party may include you, for example, in a situation of contributory negligence.
If, as a result of any exclusion or limitation of liability agreed by you with any other person the amount which you are able to recover is reduced, then our liability to you will be reduced by an equivalent amount.
We shall not be liable to any third party for any services or advice that we provide to you nor shall we have any liability to you for any services or advice given by any third party whom we instruct on your behalf, for example in relation to legal, financial or other professional advice.
- Banking Arrangements
Under the Solicitors Accounts Regulations we are obliged to lodge without delay any client’s money held or received by us to a client account unless a client for his own convenience requests us in writing (or acknowledged by us in writing to the client) to withhold any client money from such account. We presently lodge any client’s money received by us in our client account in the Bank of Ireland. Depending upon the amount of money and the amount of time we hold the money we may lodge clients money in an interest bearing account. We hereby place you on notice that we shall not be held liable for loses resulting from banking failure. In the event that there is a banking failure, which affects our Client Account then you may be able to claim compensation for any financial loss sustained by you under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. You should note however that there are limits to the amount of compensation payable, if such a failure were to occur. In particular, a limit applies to the individual client and so if you hold other personal money in the same bank as us, then the limit applies to all such accounts. You should note that some banks have several brands and different subsidiaries and the limit may apply to all of them. You should check with your Bank, the Financial Services Authority or a Financial Advisor for more information, if you have any queries regarding this issue. By signing these terms of business, and in any event by your continued instructions, you agree to our banking arrangements.
At all times we try to deliver a high quality, client focussed service. If at any time you are worried about how your case is being processed, please contact the solicitor preliminary responsible for dealing with you. If you do not get a satisfactory explanation, then please write to Mr Robert Cullen setting out your concerns and he will investigate your concerns and report back to you, in writing if requested by you, as soon as practicable. We anticipate that we will be able to resolve your concerns through our internal procedures. However, if we do not, we can advise you as to what else you may do.
These Terms of Business are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Northern Ireland.
Unless we hear from you to the contrary, these Terms and Conditions will form the basis of our relationship with you. In the meantime, in so far as we carry out work for you or you raising particular concerns or issues about the content, the work will be deemed to be done on the basis of the terms set out above.
In the event that any of these Terms of Business should become invalid, illegal or unenforceable then any remaining terms and clauses shall survive unaffected.