Neilsons Solicitors and Estate Agents – Executry Terms of Business
Our Terms of Business set out the terms governing the firm/client relationship. This is mandatory as a Law Society of Scotland regulated firm.
We have layered our General Terms of Business below so that you can easily navigate to relevant sections as appropriate however all clients are advised to read the Terms of Business in full as our Terms form the contract between the client and the firm and accordingly is very important.
The firm of Neilsons Solicitors is authorised by The Law Society of Scotland. We are also authorised to conduct investment business by The Financial Services Authority. We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Our head office is at 138 St Johns Road, Edinburgh EH12 8AY. Our Head office contact number is 0131 316 4444 and our main email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The Partners of the Firm are: Steve Spence, David Marshall and Marjorie Townsend.
Neilsons abide by the professional practice standards set forth in the Law Society of Scotland’s Standards of Conduct Practice Rules, which may be inspected by accessing the Law Society of Scotland’s website – www.lawscot.org.uk.
When we are acting on behalf of a couple, particularly in a purchase or sale transaction, then unless you advise us to the contrary or unless it is clearly inappropriate in the particular circumstances, we will proceed on the basis that instructions from one party have the implied approval of the other. If that arrangement is not acceptable to you, you are asked to make that clear in writing at the earliest possible stage.
You are required to:
a. Give instructions and information timeously when requested.
b. Give us instructions and information either by email, telephone or fax.
c. Be available to sign legal documents so that we can process your instructions.
d. Remain in regular contact.
e. Keep your Solicitor advised of any change of contact details, e.g. address, email address or telephone number.
f. Comply with our compliance procedure as part of the Anti-Money Laundering (2017) regulations that we are bound by.
We will provide you with a fixed price fee for Wills and Powers of Attorney. Fees for executries, trusts and other private client services are prepared on the basis of: – chargeable time spent in carrying out your instructions; giving advice; responsibility for the work undertaken and the timescale agreed for completion if appropriate. The hourly chargeable rates vary depending on experience and skill of our personnel handling your instructions; the nature and complexity of the work involved, including the importance of the work to you; the amount or value of the money or property involved; the difficulty or novelty of the issues addressed and the length, number or importance of documents or papers considered, all in accordance with the guidelines published by the Law Society of Scotland.
Where you are entering into a fee-charging agreement with us, the rates applicable to your instructions will be those specified in the schedule which will be provided to you when you instruct us.
Rates are exclusive of VAT and so are other outlays we may have to pay on your behalf. Our rates are subject to review in April each year. We will normally render an invoice for fees and any outlays due on a quarterly basis or when the amount outstanding exceeds £1,000. In respect of Executry administration, it is our practice to issue an interim Fee on Confirmation being granted and at regular intervals thereafter based on the work completed. On the completion of the Executry administration our file can, if considered appropriate, be forwarded to Law Accountants/Auditor of Court to set a fee based on the work carried out.
Payment of all sums due in terms of any invoice for fees or account of outlays rendered to you is due and payable to us within 14 days of its rendering. In the event of settlement not being received within 14 days of the date of issue of our invoice or account of outlays then we shall charge interest on the balance outstanding from the date of issue until final settlement is made at the rate of 3% per annum over the base lending rate for the time being of the Bank of Scotland. We reserve the right to suspend acting on your behalf in the event of non-payment of sums due on these terms.
For all transactions we require to have on file evidence of who you are (a valid, in-date photographic passport or driving licence and where you live (according to Law Society of Scotland regulations this must be a utility bill, Council Tax Demand, mortgage or bank statement in the name of the client(s) dated within the last three months). Please note a driving licence is not acceptable as proof of address as it is not dated within the last three months however it can be used as proof of identity.
When this identity check is processed with Amiqus, it will enable you to submit your documents securely online at the start of your transaction. If you do not wish to do this, you can of course bring the original documents into one of our offices and a member of staff will photocopy your documents, verify who you are and upload them to Amiqus.
If we do not receive satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to act as your Solicitors.
If you fail to provide the necessary documentation, your transaction or the administration of the estate may be held up as we cannot proceed unless we have this documentation in order as we have to adhere to the laws and regulation.
We also have a duty to report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) if we know or suspect that any funds or assets involved in a matter were made through criminal activity such as money laundering. This legal duty and obligation takes priority over your rights to insist that we keep your data information confidential under UK law.
It is an offence for us as Solicitors to tell someone that a report has been filed to NCA and that they may be investigated. If we make a report to NCA, we cannot carry on with your work without NCA approval and we will not be responsible for the effects of any delay which may occur as a result.
Your compliance documentation will be held securely on the system for as long as required to meet our legal and statutory requirements and thereafter will be securely destroyed. This is in line with the Law Society and ICO guidance.
In accordance with the Solicitors Accounts rules, all monies held for clients are maintained in separate designated client account. We bank with Clydesdale Bank. Note that any request to send money due to us to an account other than Clydesdale is likely to be evidence that our request for payment may have been intercepted by fraudsters. Do not agree to such a request and contact us immediately in those circumstances.
Information of a confidential nature concerning you will be kept strictly confidential. However, if we are working on a matter in conjunction with your other advisors we will assume, unless you notify us to the contrary, that we may disclose any such information to and discuss it with such advisors as appropriate in order to provide you with a service. We have a legitimate interest on passing your data in some circumstances on to certain third parties in order to ensure your transaction runs smoothly.
Almost any legal transaction whether of a private or business nature can affect the amount of tax or other government duties which you may have to pay in either the short or long term. However, we will not give tax advice unless otherwise agreed in writing. Consequently, unless agreed in writing, we shall not be responsible for any failure to offer tax advice or any incorrect opinion passed on a tax matter. Accordingly, if you wish to obtain a formal opinion on a tax matter then unless we have specifically agreed to provide this ourselves you should seek advice from a specialist tax accountant.
If after investigation by the Client Relations Partner, you are still not satisfied, you are at liberty to refer the matter to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) who are the single gateway for all legal complaints in Scotland. Visit the SLCC website: https://www.scottishlegal complaints.org.uk/.
The SLCC can be contacted at the following address:
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
The Stamp Office
10-14 Waterloo Place,
Phone: 0131 201 2130
Fax: 0131 201 2131
The right to reply: In the unlikely event that you consider it necessary to criticise our handling of a matter on a public forum such as social media, we shall be entitled to assume that you have authorised us to respond to any comments we consider to be unjustified in the same public forum notwithstanding the fact that this may normally be regarded as a breach of our duty of confidentiality. It is hoped, however, that any issues can be resolved privately and not in a public forum.
We expect to continue to act on any matter on which we have accepted instructions until the matter is completed, unless either of us bring those instructions to an end earlier. We will not normally withdraw from acting unless a conflict of interest arises or we consider that it would not be in your best interests for this Firm to continue to represent you, for example if there was a breakdown in the essential element of trust and confidence between us. If instructions are terminated you will only be liable for the payment of our fees to the date of termination of the instructions together with any fees or payments for work necessary in connection with the transfer of the matter to another advisor of your choice. We will be entitled to retain all files, documents and other papers held by us on your behalf until all outstanding fees and outlays have been paid in full.
We will be happy to accept and act on instructions from you or any duly authorised party by e-mail except bank details. You will be bound legally by any such instructions and will be liable for all fees and outlays which flow from them. Bank details must always be verified over the telephone or in person to avoid the risk of email interception or hacking, see point 14 below.
If your contact details change, you must inform us immediately in writing.
It should be noted that the internet is not a secure environment and may be open to abuse and accordingly we will not be liable to you for any losses suffered by you in any way as a result of our communicating with you or anyone purporting to be you by e-mail.
We must point out to you that there is a very high risk posed by cyber fraud, specifically affecting email accounts and bank account details. Emails are always at high risk of interception and hacking. Cyber criminals are in particular known to target e-mails to and from Solicitors’ firms in the UK in a cynical attempt to divert funds to criminal accounts.
We suggest that you make a test payment of £1 which our Cash Room Department can confirm has reached our account safely before you transfer large sums of money to us electrically in connection with your transaction.
Neilsons will not accept responsibility or liability if you transfer funds to the wrong account.
If you are in any doubt or if you receive any apparent new bank details from us by email then you should check our account details with us over the phone at one of our registered numbers or in person.
We cannot accept bank details via email. We will only accept notification of a change of your bank details by letter or in person and with additional documentation or confirmation being provided.
We will never treat a client differently because of any characteristics defined in the Equality Act (2010). We are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for clients with a disability. Should you require us to make our policies or meetings more accessible, notify us and adjustments can be made.
These Terms of Business are of contractual affect and should be read carefully. If you are in any way unsure as to the nature and effect of the Terms of Business please notify us immediately and we will be happy to provide clarification.