Steen & Co. Employment Solicitors
Call us: +44 1865 784101

Terms & Conditions

Here you can find a sample copy of our Term & Conditions of Business.  A letter containing these terms and conditions will be provided to you at the outset of any business relationship. 

Charges are based solely on the time spent dealing with your matter or case. We maintain a detailed record of the time spent. This includes advising, attending on you and others where necessary, dealing with papers, correspondence, telephone calls, attendance at court or tribunal, travelling and waiting time. This is not an exhaustive list as other categories of time spent may arise. The additional standard terms attached provide more detail. There may be other expenses including payments we may make on your behalf, such as court fees, experts reports, travelling expenses and barrister’s fees. We will discuss and agree such fees (other than minor charges such as travelling costs) with you before incurring these charges. As with any firm of solicitors, there are times when the main solicitor responsible for you work is unavailable and/or it is appropriate for another solicitor to do work on the file. Necessary legal work carried out by a paralegal will be charged however, administrative work carried out by a paralegal will not be charged. We do not charge anything extra for urgent or weekend work and record all our time accurately and properly. We would be pleased to provide a detailed record of the costs incurred to date at any time. Sometimes we are asked for informal estimates of the time spent. We try not to give these and will not be bound by any such informal estimate only by printed time records which we will supply at any time on emailed or written request. Such a time record is only accurate to the point at which it is produced. We never agree to work for fixed costs nor do we work on a 'no win no fee' basis as we don't think that these work in Client's interests.

For the purposes of clarity, we can confirm that the advice we give is based entirely on your instructions and the information and documentation that you have provided at any given time. New information and/or documentation may therefore change our opinion. If this is the case we shall, of course, notify you.

Billing

To enable you to monitor and budget for costs we shall deliver bills to you regularly, usually at monthly intervals. All bills are payable within 14 days. If a bill remains unpaid we reserve the right to charge interest at 2% over base rate per annum until payment is made and also to charge for our costs of recovering the debt. It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account, because of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. This helps to avoid delay in providing advice. If such a payment is required we will let you know and discuss it with you.

It is important that you understand that you will be responsible for paying our bills. We will discuss with you whether another person might pay your charges or whether in litigation matters you are at risk of paying the other side’s costs. In tribunal cases the general rule is that each party is responsible for paying their own legal costs whatever the outcome, whether you win or lose. The tribunal only has power to award costs in very limited cases. You should, therefore, expect to be solely liable to pay our legal costs. In the unlikely event that a case proceeds beyond the Employment Appeal Tribunal costs are dealt with as in any other court.

Indemnity

The limit of our indemnity is £2,000,000 and we do not accept any liability whatsoever beyond this.

Communication

We always aim to offer a service which is of the highest quality. Please let me know if we fall short of your expectations and I will immediately ensure that we take appropriate corrective action. In the unlikely event that this does not satisfy you, you should contact me and I will ensure your complaint is dealt with in accordance with our complaints procedure. You may also wish to discuss matters with our office manager Claire Woodyer.

Conclusion

Unless otherwise agreed, the contents of this letter and the enclosed Terms apply to this matter and any future instructions given by you (or in the case of companies by any of your associated companies). Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these terms and conditions.


SCHEDULE OF TERMS OF BUSINESS


1. Introduction

1.1. These terms of business should be read in conjunction with the attached letter, which together form the entire agreement between us. Should you instruct us in respect of another matter a separate letter of appointment may be issued. Until then, these terms also apply to the new matter.

2. Fees

2.1. We keep a detailed record of the time spent on this matter our charges are calculated primarily by reference to the time spent. This includes advising, meeting with you and others, dealing with papers, drafting and dictating letters and file notes, research, correspondence, telephone calls, travelling and waiting time. Time is charged by the minute not in 6 minute units (as with other law firms). The firm’s rates are subject to review each year. We will let you know in advance of any increase. We always have a detailed breakdown of time recorded available. Some clients want these breakdowns sent as a matter of course, others do not. Please let us know if you do.

2.2. In addition to the firm’s own professional charges, any bills delivered may include disbursements and out-of-pocket expenses incurred or to be incurred on your behalf during the conduct of the matter. We do not normally charge for incidental day to day photocopying but substantial photocopying, such as preparation of tribunal bundles, is charged to you at cost.

3. Estimates & Third Parties

3.1. We will where possible provide advance estimates and/or updates at reasonable intervals of the likely cost of our services. You will understand, however, that changing circumstances and facts, which are unknown to us at the outset of a particular matter, can affect the final cost of the work done. Accordingly, such estimates are intended only as a general guide and are not firm quotes. In certain cases, you may set a limit on the costs, which may be incurred, and, if so, we will not exceed the limit without your prior approval.

3.2. In Tribunal proceedings, the general rule is that each party is responsible for paying their own legal costs whatever the outcome of the claim. The Tribunal only has power to award legal costs in very limited circumstances. This exception is very rarely made out and you should not expect that it would apply unless we have advised you otherwise. This means that you will almost certainly be liable for paying our legal costs whether you win or lose.

3.3. Where we engage other professionals on your behalf we do so as your agent. When we engage other professionals will do so with care but we will not be held responsible for any act or omission of those professionals, unless otherwise agreed in writing.

4. Payment of bills

4.1. All bills are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate, where applicable. Our bills are due for payment 14 days from issue. If a bill remains unpaid, we reserve the right to charge interest at 2% over base rate p.a. until payment is made.

4.2. If we have rendered a final bill and we are or become liable to a third party for fees or expenses incurred on your behalf, we reserve the right to render a further bill or bills to cover such disbursement items.

4.3. At your request, we may agree to deliver bills relating to this matter to third parties for payment. Please note that we will only be able to deliver non-VAT bills to them and they will still be addressed to you. You will remain responsible for discharging any indebtedness to this firm.

5. Conflict of Interest

5.1. We have checked our records and we are not aware of any basis on which we have a conflict of interest, which would preclude us from acting for you.

6. Termination

6.1. We expect to continue to act in any matter on which we have accepted instructions from you until the matter is completed. However, either of us can bring the instructions to an end at any time. We will not terminate our retainer with you except for good reason and upon giving you reasonable notice. If instructions are terminated, you will be liable for fees and disbursements to the date of termination of the instructions, plus any fees and disbursements for work necessary in connection with the transfer of the matter to another adviser of your choice and/or removing ourselves from the Court record, as applicable. We will give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. If you or we decide that we should no longer act for you, you will remain liable to pay all our outstanding charges and expenses.

7. Insurance

7.1. In the case of individuals in contentious claims we recommend that you check the terms of any insurance policies you maintain to see if they provide cover for your legal fees in respect of this dispute. Sometimes, insurances like household contents included cover for some types of dispute and it is easy to overlook these

7.2. It is also sometimes possible to acquire 'after the event' insurance. This is a policy that will help to cover the cost of litigation once a dispute has arisen. Please let me know if you would like me to make further enquiries on your behalf.

8. Client’s Money

8.1. We aim not to hold any money belonging to any client.

9. Papers and Documents

9.1. Copyright in any document created by us will be and remain vested in us and will not be transferred to you. We assert the right to be identified as the author of any such document.

9.2. If for any reason at any time (whether during this retainer or after it has terminated) we are required compulsorily to disclose documentation or give information orally or in writing relating to this matter or your affairs pursuant to a court order or a notice or demand served by any person who has the authority to compel disclosure by law, then we shall comply with such requirement and be entitled to be paid the cost of doing so by you at our then prevailing hourly rates. If any such documentation or information is subject to legal professional privilege we will inform you of the requirement made upon us and give you the opportunity to waive privilege.

9.3. After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. We are prepared to keep your file of papers (except for any papers which you ask to be returned to you) for a small number of years after the matter has finalised but reserve the right to destroy files if they are not required.

10. Governing Law & Jurisdiction

10.1. The engagement of this firm and the terms on which we do business shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and the parties submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

11. Confidentiality

11.1. Information of a confidential nature will be kept strictly confidential. However, if we are working on a matter in conjunction with your other advisers, we will assume, unless you notify us otherwise, that we may disclose any such information to and discuss it with such other advisers as appropriate. We cannot guarantee the confidentiality of communications which will be sent to you via the internet and that any communications sent in this way are at your own risk. We store information used for billing and our marketing purposes on computer databases. Please let us know if you have any objection to this.