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TERMS OF BUSINESS

Accreditations

 

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms


Terms of Business and Client Care Statement

The Practice

Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership. Your contract and/or retainer will be with the LLP. No Members and/or Consultants of the LLP nor any member of its staff undertakes a personal duty of care. We specialise in litigation and arbitration.  Our Members and Consultants are amongst the most experienced practitioners in their fields. Please ask for details of the many reported cases with which our Members and Consultants have been associated.

No Member or Consultant of the LLP or any member of its staff is authorised to accept instructions on any terms inconsistent with these terms. These terms may only be amended by our express agreement in writing. 

Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and complies with the Professional Indemnity Insurance Rules.

Hours of Business

We are open on normal working days from 9.30am to 5.30pm. If urgent assistance is required, outside of these opening hours, please send us an email (Scoggins@fsw-law.com or Waters@fsw-law.com) setting out the nature of the urgency and your contact details. Work undertaken at your request outside working hours will be charged at x1.5 of the agreed hourly rate. 

Charges and Disbursements

We charge on a 1/60th-time basis.  We will keep time records of the time spent on your case and how we spend it. Those time and activity records will be summarised for you as part of our normal billing arrangements. 

We add VAT to our charges at the rate that applies when we carry out the work. Currently, this is  20%.  

You must also pay for the expenses that we incur on your behalf (commonly called 'disbursements'). These include photocopying charges, courier costs, travel expenses, overseas telephone calls, facsimile charges and the costs of using the services of other professionals and other persons (such as barristers, accountants and forensic experts). Also payable may be fees to central and local government, regulatory and other bodies (such as court fees, search fees, company searches and so on), charges to transfer funds by electronic or other means and banker's drafts. VAT may be payable on these items.

We reserve the right to ask you to make a reasonable payment on account of the costs and disbursements that are likely to be incurred on your case. In the event of substantial disbursements such as Counsel or Expert fees, these will normally be incurred by us as your Agent, and you will be directly responsible for the payment of these fees.

At any time during the currency of your case we will be happy to allow you to inspect the time records relating to your case.

We will normally render our fee accounts to you on a regular basis, most usually quarterly. We will also render, on the same basis, disbursement only invoices as, and if, significant disbursements are incurred on your behalf.  We will discuss with you the incurring of disbursements in respect of counsel or expert witnesses before instructing them.

Our invoices are payable within 30 days.  If an account is overdue for payment, without reasonable justification, we may suspend or terminate our services to you and retain papers belonging to you.  

Routine office expenses are included in our hourly charges but in addition we will charge for any substantial office expenses such as photocopying which exceeds 100 pages during the currency of the case at 25p per page for A4 black and white and 70p per page for A4 colour and travel expenses at cost price of the train fare or 45p per mile if we are required to travel by car.  

We will endeavour to give estimates where this is practicable but the type of work in which we specialise does not usually lend itself to precise estimation as so much depends on the conduct of other parties, official agencies and the Court system.

Your Rights to Assessment 

If you do not agree with the amount of any of our invoices, you have the right to complain under our complaints procedure.

If the matter is a contentious one (i.e. the matter has been dealt with by a Court, the Lands Tribunal or Employment Appeals Tribunal, on appeal to the Privy Council or House of Lords, in an arbitration, or work done preliminary to the foregoing, including advice and preparation provided the proceedings were subsequently begun) there are provisions in sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974 relating to taxation of costs which give you the right to have the bill checked by an Officer of the High Court.

Recovery of Costs / Other Parties' Costs and Expenses

If you win any litigated or arbitrated case in which we represent you, and we are able to recover all or part of your legal costs and disbursements from the opposing party or from other public funds, we will of course account for the monies so recovered, but subject to our right first to deduct any costs and expenses which are still owed to us together with interest.

If you lose a case (or part of a case) it is very likely that you will be ordered to pay other parties’ costs. This would be in addition to your own costs.  Whether, and if so in what circumstances, your own or other parties’ costs might be covered by your insurance arrangements we do not know and we suggest you seek the advice of your insurance department/insurer or your brokers on that question.

Storage of Papers and Documents

After completing the work, and upon payment of any costs owing to us, we will return the case papers to you. If you prefer, we will retain the papers for no more than six years. Upon the expiry of six years from the date of our final bill, we will be entitled to destroy such papers unless you give us notice that you wish to collect them and do so within a reasonable time.

Termination

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. However, if you have not paid all the sums owing to us, we are entitled to keep your papers and documents until you do so.

In some circumstances, we may take the view that we cannot continue to act for you, but we can do so only for good reason. If we cease to act for you in any matter, whether as a result of your decision or ours, our fees and expenses incurred up to that date will remain payable by you.  We will where possible give you reasonable notice and an explanation if such circumstances arise, though in very rare instances we may be under a legal duty not to provide you with the reason for our being unable or unwilling to act further for you.

Limitation of Liability

To the extent allowed by law, Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP only accept instructions on the condition that:

  • our maximum liability in respect of any claim howsoever so arising (including but not limited to negligence and / or any breach of duty) is limited to the sum available under our then current Professional Indemnity Policy and

  • our liability shall not exceed such loss as is directly caused by our own negligence and/or breach of duty

  • we shall not in any circumstances be responsible for the negligence and/or breach of duty of any barrister, expert or agent instructed on your behalf. 

Our limit of Indemnity under our Professional Indemnity Insurance is £3,000,000.   A copy of our current Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy is available for inspection here or on request. The limitation of liability set out above shall so far as the law allows also apply to any liability that may be found against any Member, Consultant, Associate, Director, Agent or Employee of Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP.  

Client Identification and Reporting

Since you are a client of the firm, the law requires us to have confirmation of your identity before we can proceed to act for you. We have therefore carried out a compliance check with Companies House.

The firm has a legal obligation to report to the relevant authorities any suspicion it may have of certain criminal activities on the part of clients and in certain instances must make such a report without a client’s prior knowledge or consent.

Diversity and Equality

Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.

Data Protection

Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. For us to provide you with legal services, you will need to provide us with information about yourself.  Although the information you provide is used primarily for the provision of legal services, it may also be used when we carry out tasks to support the legal services (such as administration, invoicing and keeping client records, etc.).

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as the courts and governmental and regulatory authorities, expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under the data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

While we are performing the legal services, we can also collect or retrieve information about you from third parties. How we use this information depends on three factors:

a) the instructions that you provide;
b) the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998; and
c) the duty of confidentiality that we owe to you.

You have the right to access any personal data that we hold about you. Further details about how to do this can be found on the Information Commissioner's Office website at www.ico.gov.uk.

Payment of Interest on Money Held in Client Account

Any money received on your behalf will be held in our client account. We pay interest over £20 earned on client account in accordance with the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.  A copy of our policy is available on request.

Financial Conduct Authority

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to carry on regulated activities under FSMA. Instead, we are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the “SRA”). The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of FSMA, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The SRA is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints about lawyers registered in England and Wales.

In the light of this, we can provide investment-related services (including insurance mediation activities) if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide, if they can reasonably be regarded as a necessary part of our professional services such as assisting you with information in order for you to purchase  - After The Event (ATE) insurance.   

Outsourcing 

For us to deal with your matter promptly, we sometimes arrange for certain tasks to be carried out by persons not directly employed by us. The tasks usually consist of administrative or clerical work (such as digital dictation, photocopying, IT and secure data destruction). Where we do this, it will mean that the contents of your file (including information about yourself) must be provided to them to perform the tasks. We will always try to have a confidentiality agreement in place with such persons.  Further details will be provided on request.

Complaints Procedure

Our aim is to provide a service with which you will be satisfied. In the unlikely event that you have cause for complaint about our service, please raise the matter promptly with the Senior Partner (Charlotte Waters waters@fsw-law.com or 0207 993 6917) and ask her for a copy of our complaints procedure which explains our quality control and customer service systems. 

If you remain unsatisfied at the conclusion of our complaints procedure, you have the right to make a complaint to : 

Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806,  Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ 
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333 
Email address: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk 
Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

There are time limits for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman: you should make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than: 6 years from the date when we have done or not done something which is the subject matter of your complaint; or 3 years from the date when you should have reasonably known that you could complain.

 

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