Terms Of Engagement

Northrop McNaughtan Deller is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Number 404 267

In accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority guidelines, we are required to set out in writing the terms upon which this firm bases its charges for legal services.

We will advise you in writing at the outset who will be the partner in charge of any matter we undertake on your behalf although when he/she is unavailable for any reason you will be able to discuss your matter with any other partner within the firm.

This firm's charges are calculated by reference to the time actually spent by the fee earner or fee earners working on the matter and are in line with Central London firms of a similar size to this firm. The current hourly rates (exclusive of VAT at 20% where applicable) are:

  1. Tim Northrop £250.00
  2. Christy McNaughtan £250.00
  3. Martin Deller £250.00
  4. Stephen Fisher £250.00

These rates will be reviewed from time to time in line with prevailing economic conditions. Any changes will be notified to you when they occur. On some occasions we may agree to cap our charges for a particular piece of work or discuss a payment schedule by which part of our fees are deferred and in these circumstances we will advise you in writing at the time of the terms agreed.

In general, the use of staff will be decided by the partner who is primarily responsible for the conduct of the matter, the intention being to make the best use of available staff having regard the type of matter and the skill and experience required. Although you will appreciate that it is often difficult to give an estimate of the charges involved in a particular matter, if specifically requested we will be happy to do so. You are entitled at any time to ask us to give you details of costs incurred as at a particular date.

As with most firms providing professional services, this firm charges for the hours spent on work by its professional staff. In emergency cases involving work at weekends or in unsocial hours or where the case is of unusual complexity, great financial value or extreme importance, a higher mark-up may be applied.

We operate a computerised time recording system which (as approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority) records the use of time in multiples of units of 6 minutes.

Normally you will receive bills during the retainer at intervals of 3-6 months. Bills are payable within 14 days. In the event that our invoice remains unpaid after the expiry of fourteen days from its delivery, we reserve the right to charge interest on the amount outstanding.

Where appropriate, costs and disbursements will be subject to VAT. The firm operates an "agency" arrangement in respect of VAT on third party disbursement. The gross cost of any disbursement item will be passed on to you without a further charge to VAT. The relevant costs will be accounted to you in the firm's invoice without separate treatment of VAT. If you are registered for VAT you should be able to recover the VAT on disbursements that we incur as your agent.

On occasion the firm may ask for a payment on account of costs prior to the firm beginning work on behalf of any client. We do however appreciate that this may not be possible and we will in such circumstances endeavour to work out a mutually acceptable method of payment.

In the event that you have any questions regarding an invoice you should contact the partner in charge. If having discussed the charges with them you are not satisfied with any aspect of the invoice you have the following rights:

  1. You may require us to obtain a "remuneration certificate" from the Solicitors Regulation Authority as to whether the sum charged is fair and reasonable. You must apply for the remuneration certificate within one month from the date of our invoice. (Article 33 of the Solicitors Remuneration Order 1972).
  2. You may submit our bill to a Taxing Officer of the Court in order to determine whether the amount charged is accurate, fair and reasonable (Solicitors Act 1974).

In the event that you are not satisfied with any aspect of the service provided by the firm, you should first contact the partner responsible for your file. If that person is unable to satisfactorily deal with your complaint, you should refer the matter to Tim Northrop who is responsible for the firm's complaints procedure.

You are of course entitled to end this firm's retainer at any time. If there are costs outstanding we are not required to pass the file of papers back to you or to new solicitors until those costs have been paid.

At the conclusion of the matter, we can either return your files and papers to you or continue to store them for you. If you do however leave your papers with us, we will customarily destroy them after a period of 8 years. You should therefore notify us prior to that time should you wish to preserve the file and have it returned to you. Failing this your file may be destroyed without further notice.

Your personal details will be kept upon our computer system and form part of our database. This firm is registered with the Data Protection Registrar and we confirm that none of your details will be released to any third parties without your express authority.

As a result of the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 all solicitors practices are now required to ensure that the identity of every client of the firm is satisfactorily established as soon as reasonably practicable. With regard to individuals, this requires us to establish identity by reference to an original current passport, driving license or similar, and current address by reference to an original documentation such as a utility bill or bank statement. With regard to company clients, we will need to see the original Certificate of Incorporation, list of directors and shareholders and evidence of the company's registered office. We would accordingly be grateful if you could provide us with such evidence as soon as possible.

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