We refer to the above and confirm that these terms and conditions, together with the letter accompanying them and any enclosed schedule of costs, will form the whole agreement between us to carry out the work referred to in that letter.
These terms and conditions are governed by the Law of Scotland and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.
Law Society of Scotland
As you may know, solicitors in Scotland require to be registered with the Law Society of Scotland. All of our solicitors are members of the Law Society of Scotland and subject to its professional rules at all times.
Progress of Your Case
Your case will be dealt with by Mr Tuck who is the partner in the firm. The solicitor can normally be contacted on 0141 336 2020. Please realise, however, that as we deal mainly in court actions the solicitor may be at court for part (or on occasion) all of the day. If your solicitor is not available, you can speak to Mr Tuck’s secretary. The secretary will be able to take a message for the solicitor, and may be able to give you some indication as to the progress of your case.
We will try to keep you fully informed as to what is happening with your case. We will write to you as soon as there are any developments, and will provide you with regular updates. In urgent situations, we will try to contact you by telephone.
Please feel free to contact the solicitor or their secretary if you would like to discuss any aspect of your case. In addition, you can e-mail or write to us, at the addresses given on our headed notepaper. You should note, however, that as Keith J. Tuck Solicitors is a court practice, solicitors are often at court during office hours, and we can’t guarantee that your chosen solicitor will be able to call you back quickly. If your solicitor is unavailable, you will often be better asking to speak to their secretary or another solicitor within the office. If you are anxious to make contact with your chosen solicitor only, sending an e-mail may be the quickest way of securing a response.
Please note that we will accept verbal instructions from you during meetings and telephone conversations between you and the solicitor(s) dealing with your case. Only rarely will we ask you to confirm your instructions in writing. If there is a change in your instructions, you must advise us immediately, in writing. If you do so by email or fax, you must telephone our offices to ensure your communication has been received (to avoid issues such as spam filters resulting in communication not being received). If you wish anyone other than yourself to provide information or instructions on your behalf, you must confirm this in writing.
Unless we otherwise agree in writing, we shall assume, where we act for more than one person but only one of them generally provides us with instructions, that that person has the authority of the other(s) to do so. Where we do act on behalf of more than one person, each person for whom we do work is equally responsible for the instructions given to us and for payment of our fees and outlays in connection with that matter. If you do not understand what this means, please ask us to explain further.
Conflict of Interest
We cannot act for two or more parties if they have conflicting interests. Please advise us at the outset if you are aware of any potential conflicts which may arise. If we decide that we can still act, (ie, if you are one of the exceptions to the general rule) we will confirm this to you in writing.
Information passed to us is confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties unless authorised by you or required by law.
Limitations on Service
Keith J. Tuck Solicitors does not offer financial advice or tax advice to our clients. We are not authorised by the Law Society of Scotland to do so. In the event that you may require such advice, we may be able to refer you to colleagues in the financial services sector. Please ask if you require further information.
Data Protection and Data Storage
Keith J. Tuck Solicitors is registered as a data controller within the meaning of the Data Protection legislation. Information about your case will be stored in a paper file and on a secure electronic case management system. The above comments about confidentiality apply equally to paper files and electronic data.
At the end of the case, we will retain your file for a period. In the case of paper files, the period of file storage will depend upon the nature of the case, in accordance with Law Society of Scotland guidelines. Alternatively, your file may be scanned electronically; the paper file would then be securely destroyed, and the electronic copy stored for at least ten years, again in accordance with Law Society of Scotland guidelines. The legal status of electronic copies of principal documents is not settled; principal documents (such as certificates) will be returned to you on completion of the case, and we would recommend that you take steps to store these safely.
It can be very hard to give a clear indication of how long a case is likely to take. This is something that you can discuss with your solicitor. We will always do our best to progress cases as quickly as possible.
It is usually difficult to predict how much work will be required in an individual case. Much depends on the attitude of the opponent - a bitterly contested case will take much longer (and probably involve a higher fee) than one which is not contested. We shall, however, do our best to provide you with a cost estimate, and give you a periodic indication of fees incurred.
Private Fees (Fixed Fee)
In the event that there has been an agreement to proceed by way of fixed fee then 50 per cent of said fee requires to be paid at the outset of the case and the remaining 50 per cent requires to be paid no later than 7 days prior to your first Hearing.
Private Fees (Time and Line)
Otherwise, our fees will be charged according to our standard rate of fees for private work as follows:-
Meeting £62.50 per 15 minutes or part thereof.
Telephone calls £12.50 per 5 minutes or part thereof.
Detailed letter £15.55 per sheet of 125 words or part thereof.
Formal letters £6.95
Detailed papers including court documents £62.50 per sheet of 250 words or part thereof
Advocacy Time at Court £62.50 per 15 minutes or part thereof.
Waiting Time at Court £62.50 for first 45 minutes thereof, thereafter, £27.50 per 15 minutes per part thereof.
You may be asked to make a payment in advance to account of fees. This is often necessary to cover outlays that we require to meet on your behalf (such as court fees, etc.). We also require regular payments to account. Our preferred method of payment is by a fixed standing order, with a regular amount being paid monthly. You retain the right to cancel the standing order at any time (although doing so may lead to work stopping on your case). If at the end of the case it appears you have paid us more than the fees actually incurred, we will refund the difference in full. We try to set the standing order payment at a level which will generally keep you abreast of fees. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how much work may be carried out in any particular case, and, if your standing order payment is not keeping you abreast of fees, we may ask you to increase the payment. To be clear, the standing order payment is not a payment of one month’s fees – it is a payment towards fees in general.
Throughout the course of the case, we will send you regular interim fee notes. These should be retained by you. If your standing order payments are insufficient to meet interim fee notes within a reasonable period, we may require you to increase your monthly payments. In the event that you terminate your standing order mandate, payment of all outstanding sums is thereafter required within 28 days. If you have problems paying a fee note, please speak to Mr. Tuck. We may be able to discuss options.
It should also be noted that interest will be charged on fees which have not been paid within 28 days of the termination of your standing order mandate, or where no standing order payment arrangement has been set up, within 28 days of a fee note being issued. The present rate of interest is 8% per year. If fee notes remain unpaid after three months, and no arrangement has been entered into, proceedings for recovery may be raised by our credit control department. This happens only very rarely, and we will always do what we can to avoid such a situation.
Withdrawal of Instructions
Please note that in the event of a fixed fee structure having been agreed, that unless instructions to act on behalf of yourself are withdrawn less than 7 days prior to the first Trial Sitting then the full fee will require to be paid. In the event that instructions are withdrawn more than 7 days prior to the first Trial Sitting then a fee of 50 per cent of said fixed fee will be required to be paid.
Costs Paid on your behalf
Where fees, outlays or expenses are to be paid by us on your behalf, we will endeavour to give you details of these in advance in order that you may place us in funds before the sums are due. If, however, you are unable to do this, we will require to be repaid by you within seven days of your receiving a request for payment of the appropriate sum.
Independent Fee Assessment
The Auditor of Court is always available to provide a completely independent assessment of a fair fee for any piece of legal work carried out for a client. Should you, at any time, be dissatisfied with the amount of a fee charged by us, then, you are entitled to ask us to have Auditor review your file and set an appropriate level of fee for the work done. If the Auditor reduces the amount of our original fee, we will only charge that reduced amount and the Auditor may require us to meet his costs. If, however, the Auditor confirms that our fee is correct or undercharged, then you will be responsible for the Auditor’s costs, in addition to the fee as assessed by him.
We aim to ensure that clients are satisfied with the standard of service they receive from Keith J. Tuck Solicitors. We are therefore always glad to receive feedback from clients. If you have any general comments or suggestions, please let us know.
In the event that our Client Relations Manager is unable to resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. You should note that the SLCC operates strict time limits for accepting complaints, which require complaints to be made within one year of the service ending or the conduct occurring. The SLCC will, however, disregard any time it considers a complainer was excusably unaware of any concerns.
We hope, however, that you will be pleased with the service you receive. You may care to note that we provide a wide range of legal services, including criminal law, family law, compensation claims, civil disputes, employment, wills and executries, interdict, and many other areas. If we can assist you in connection with any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Keith J Tuck