FEES AND OUTLAYS

JD Clark & Allan’s default hourly rate of charge for client work is £200 per hour plus VAT and outlays. The hourly rate is apportioned in accordance with the actual time spent, but no unit of charge for any piece of work is lower than £10.00. 

Unless an estimate of fee, VAT and outlays, appears in Part 1 above, the stated hourly rate will be the basis of charge in your case (and potentially the basis of charge for unforeseen additional work, even where an estimate is stated above, for the reasons explained there).

Any estimate of our legal fee, where supplied, assumes that the transaction or matter follows a typical path for similar transactions or matters which JD Clark & Allan have undertaken in the past and the estimate is based on the information available to us at the outset. If during the transaction or matter, new information or complications arise which entail material extra time being spent on your file, we would inform you and attempt to provide a revised estimate of costs if possible. 

Where it is not possible to estimate fees or outlays, the default rate of charge would operate from the date upon which we notify you of the difficulty.

In many cases, modest outlays associated with a transaction or matter may be met on your behalf before the completion of the matter, where completion is likely to occur within a short period.

However in all cases, regardless of the level of outlay or timescales involved, we reserve the right to obtain the required funds from you in advance of instructing work, products or services from third parties on your behalf.

While we will never process professional fees in advance of the completion of legal work, we reserve the right to obtain sufficient funds from you in advance of undertaking the anticipated work (and/or incurring anticipated outlays) and to apply those funds upon completion of the work and/or receipt of third party invoices to which the advance payment relates.

In ongoing matters without a defined completion date occurring within a reasonable time-frame we reserve the right to render interim invoices for work undertaken and to suspend further work until payment has been  effected.

In relation to property sale transactions any outstanding fees and outlays at completion will be a first charge upon the sale price.

In relation to property purchase transactions, any outstanding fees and outlays must be paid (along with the property price) before completion of the transaction and failure to provide such funds will entitle us to refrain from completing the purchase transaction on your behalf.

In many cases modest outlays associated with a transaction or matter may be met on your behalf before the completion of the matter, where completion is likely to occur within a short period.

However in all cases, regardless of the level of outlay or timescales involved, we reserve the right to obtain the required funds from you in advance of instructing work, products or services from third parties on your behalf.

Upon the termination of the solicitor/client relationship between you and JD Clark & Allan by any means other than the natural completion of the work, case or transaction to which this letter relates, we shall, subject to the provisions below as regards dissatisfaction/arbitration, calculate and advise you of the professional fees, VAT and outlays payable by you, up to the date 

of such termination (or beyond such date if including the sending at your expense of files or papers to new solicitors). Such professional fee shall be calculated in accordance with the default hourly rate specified above notwithstanding any original estimate of fees or outlays. 

By your acceptance of these terms of engagement you acknowledge the existence of and our entitlement to insist upon, a lien (right to retain) in respect of your files or papers, held by us at the termination of the relationship, against payment of our fee, VAT and outlays.

OFFICE OPENING HOURS AND COMMUNICATION

The usual office hours (save for public, bank or other holiday periods) are Monday to Friday, inclusive, 09:00 to 12:30 and 13:00 to 17:00hrs. Please note that the office is closed over lunch from 12:30 until 13:30hrs.

Communication is of vital importance, in terms of JD Clark & Allan passing information and advice to you, but also receiving information and instructions from you. In addition, we may require to obtain your signature on deeds and other documents.

If we contact you seeking instructions or action, it is important, for your own benefit, that you respond as promptly as reasonably possible. If you are unsure what you are expected to do in response to any letter or e-mail you receive from us, please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification.

Passing messages to your designated solicitor or another member of staff need never be difficult. 

For clarity and for record-keeping purposes, the best method of communication is e-mail, where that is possible for you and the e-mail address options for you are as follows:-

A list of support staff and email addresses is shown below.

Sara Hall (Trainee solicitor)   

sara.hall@jdca.co.uk

(Clerical support)    

agnes.mccormack@jdca.co.uk

louise.brand@jdca.co.uk

Reception                  

property@jdca.co.uk

Property matters         

janet.martin@jdca.co.uk

If any matter which you regard as important or urgent is sent to us, or purportedly sent to us, by electronic means, you should not assume its receipt by us, or that is being dealt with, in the absence of an acknowledgement. If you send instructions or information to us by e-mail, it will be your responsibility to ensure that your intended communication has in fact been received. 

E-mails which are safely received by us will be accorded the level of attention and priority which in our discretion they require but not to the detriment of work or communications which are earlier in time or higher in inherent priority.

For telephone calls or messages, the main office landline is shown as the top of this letter. There is a recorded message menu which allows you to select option 1 for Reception; 2 for property matters; 3 for Fiona Gaddes; 4 for Elliot McQuarrie; 5 for Amy Dickson and 6 for Pat King.

If at any time you anticipate being abroad or otherwise unable to send or receive messages or to sign paperwork whenever that may be required during your transaction or matter, please let us know in advance.

MONEY LAUNDERING AND PREVENTION OF CRIME REGULATIONS

JD Clark & Allan, in common with all other solicitors, must comply with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (and any subsequent revised or new regulations). We are thus obliged to undertake identity checks on all prospective clients and in the case of existing 

clients, renew or update identity records. We are obliged to verify your identity, your date of birth and your address by checking official documents  and in many cases we are simply not allowed to do any work until we have verified your identity and address, at the very least.

In addition, where your matter or transaction involves the movement of meaningful amounts of money or the transfer of assets with a reasonably substantial value, we require to verify the origin and source of the funds or asset(s).

There are criminal and other penalties for non-compliance. Staff here administer these arrangements and are trained on the legal obligations. 

By instructing JD Clark & Allan, you accept these requirements and accept that no work will be undertaken on your behalf until they have been satisfied. 

It is also important that you understand that these processes take varying lengths of time and while commonly they are capable of being dealt with quite quickly, in other cases, they can be time-consuming and convoluted. For example, if you are not an existing client and not able to attend personally at our office with your identity documents the usual requirement is to obtain certified copy documents from a suitable professional person (often solicitor or accountant) who also issues a letter in accordance with regulations verifying that their input can be relied upon for these purposes. This process can take some time.

Further, compliance with the Regulations means that we must also have written confirmation from our prospective client that (a) they are not a “Politically Exposed Person” as defined in the legislation, ie an individual who has, within the past year been entrusted with prominent, public, functions and (b) they are not an immediate family member or close business associate of a Politically Exposed Person.

Identity and address

The checks involve two parts:- (a) your personal identity and (b) your usual place of residence.

(a) The best and simplest document to verify personal identity is current passport. (An expired passport is not acceptable) Other acceptable forms of photographic ID are photo-card driving licence or bus pass. Other photo-based items may be acceptable and can be discussed. Otherwise, an official communication addressed to you from HMRC may comply.

(b) Utility bills, bank or mortgage statements addressed to you at your current main residence and dated within the last 3 months are acceptable. Although many or most accounts are administered on line nowadays, it is usually possible to obtain a print of a statement or document showing your address (and your name).

(If you supply any documents showing, in addition to your name and address, the name and address of a third party who is not also providing the same information for the same purpose, it is your responsibility to ensure that the third party consents to the provision of their personal data).

In relation to new clients, we must ensure that the photographic image on the document which you supply, is an accurate likeness and for these purposes  we must either meet with you personally (the Receptionist can carry out this task) or we must obtain, with your help, a certificate from another professional person whom you can consult more easily, who has met you and can verify the document and the photographic likeness. 

Funds

JD Clark and Allan’s Bank The Royal Bank of Scotland plc
Sort code 83-18-40
Account name JD Clark & Allan’s clients’ account
Account number 00125366

 

Where your matter or transaction involves the movement of meaningful amounts of money or the transfer of assets with a reasonably substantial value, we are obliged to verify the origin and source of the funds or asset(s) in order to guard against the risk of the laundering of proceeds of crime etc.  

We must report to the authorities, any transaction or activities we regard as “suspicious” and this obligation overrides the normal duty of client confidentiality (subject to “privileged” circumstances). 

We will not accept or make payments of more than £500 in cash.

You will be provided with a form for completion, stating the nature, location and original source of the funds or asset. In the case of money in a bank account, we would for example expect to see a bank statement and an explanation (and possibly additional evidence) as to where the funds originally came from. This is simply one illustration.

Funds sent by you to us

Funds passed by you to J.D. Clark & Allan WS must ideally be routed from a bank account in your name with a UK mainland bank. 

If absolutely necessary funds could be sent for you by a third party, however this is not ideal and we would be obliged to check the source of those funds very carefully and the identity of the sender.

We would require to receive an explanation from you at the outset of the matter and not part-way through, as to why funds are coming from a third party and not from you and such explanation would require to appear to us to be reasonable and credible. We would then have to carry out the same rigorous money-laundering checks in respect of the sender of the funds and the source of the funds, all of which would inevitably create delay and uncertainty. 

Nothing can or will be done to accelerate any such process, which would take precedence over anything connected with your anticipated transaction.

You might reasonably consider, therefore, that if some or all of the funds which you need to send to us for your transaction require to come from a third party then, although we will still need to have from you a satisfactory explanation and evidence of the source, it would (or could) nevertheless save some time if the funds are at least sent first to you by the third party and then by you to JD Clark & Allan.

You will be provided with a form for completion, stating the details of the bank account from which your funds will be sent to JD Clark & Allan. These details will be studied and assessed as suitable, or not. 

Further, if our cashier sees that funds arrive with JD Clark & Allan which are designated for your transaction but which have not been sent from the account described by you in the form at the outset, the funds received are liable to be treated with suspicion and action taken on that basis, which may delay, interrupt, or effectively terminate, your transaction.

If you transfer funds to us online using your own online banking service or by instructing your bank or other financial institution to make the transfer on your behalf, the bank account to which the funds require to be directed, is described in the table below.

This information is provided to you either in paper form or by PDF attachment to email. In both cases the perceived risk of interception and abuse of this information by criminals is reduced. 

We will not alter these details and if you receive a communication from a person, body or agency which purports to provide you with different account details to receive your funds, you must under no circumstances utilise those new details and instead contact JD Clark & Allan immediately.

Before making a transfer of funds, you may be best to speak (not e-mail) directly with your nominated solicitor or with the Receptionist or cashier here to verify and double-check the account information.

The Law Society of Scotland, which is our governing body, has issued guidelines to all solicitors on the matter of the clearance of funds. If we receive funds by cheque (or bank draft) whether from you or a third party, we require to allow 7 banking days for clearance of the cheque or draft before being in a position to send any cleared funds elsewhere. As soon as funds are cleared in our account, we can transfer funds electronically, via the banking (CHAPS) system to the nominated account under deduction of the Bank charge incurred (currently up to £20). 

A banker’s draft is not cleared funds. 

If we hold any funds on your behalf at any time, these will be held either in The Royal Bank of Scotland plc or the Scottish Building Society.

If you wish your funds to be held with any other institution, you will require to provide us with written instructions to that effect.

We can give you no advice on the investment of funds.

Funds sent by us to you

If we pay funds to you, that payment would normally be made to you as our client and the funds would be passed to you either by means of a cheque payable to you or by electronic bank transfer to a UK bank account in your name. 

If you nominate a third party to receive funds which would, otherwise, be expected to be paid to you, you would be provided with an opportunity to issue those instructions in writing. You will receive a form for completion. However, any instruction to pay your money to third parties must:-

1)  be provided in writing at the outset of the matter or transaction and

2)  be compatible with our assessment of a reasonable and non-suspicious

     action

IMPORTANT

Once you have completed the form with your instructions for payment, at the beginning of the transaction, we will not accept an alteration to those instructions.

CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY

Neither JD Clark & Allan nor any of its employees will disclose to any person any information relating to the business you have entrusted us with, except as required in the proper conduct of that business and subject to any over-riding requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations already referred to, or of justice.

USE OF INFORMATION and GDPR

JD Clark & Allan, as a Data Controller, are bound by the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, the UK Data Protection Act 2018 and all relevant EU and UK data protection legislation.  You agree that we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data to enable us to carry out the services we have agreed to perform for you, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance.

Information, including personal data, which we obtain from you will be stored securely during the currency of your case, transaction or matter and can, if appropriate and lawful, be destroyed thereafter.

If however you are happy for your data to remain in our secure and confidential possession without being destroyed, your signature of the duplicate of these terms of engagement will serve as your permission to that effect.