Terms and Conditions
McNeil and Co. is the trading name of Philip Hanby Limited, a private limited company of which Mark McNeil is the director. (Company No. 6446733).
Our services are provided as solicitors of England and Wales and we are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Registration No. 472031 whose regulatory requirements are set out in the SRA Handbook which can be accessed using the SRA website.
We aim to offer our clients good quality legal services in a friendly, approachable, understandable way.
Our Hours of Business
The office is open between 9am and 5:00pm on weekdays. We are closed on public holidays and on one or two other days which are advertised. We operate a 24 hour emergency number, which is 01522 539111. Please only use the emergency number outside of office hours if your query cannot wait until the following day. Appointments outside of office hours can be arranged when necessary.
Our commitment and responsibilities:
We will do our very best: –
- To represent your interests and keep your affairs confidential.
- To explain to you the legal work that may be needed and your chances of success at every stage.
- To ensure that you fully understand the likely financial implications/risks in taking legal action throughout the course of the matter.
- To keep you informed of progress and to supply you with copies of all relevant correspondence and documentation.
- To deal with your queries promptly and effectively.
- Advise you of the law and any changes during the course of your matter
- Advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.
- Advise you if Legal Aid may be available to you.
- Update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances.
- Keep you updated as to costs
- Provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions.
- Provide all information and documentation required to complete your matter in a timely manner.
- Safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for discovery.
- Advise us of any specific requirements you have to enable us to try and tailor our service to you.
We strive to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service and we are confident we shall do so. However if you are dissatisfied with the way in which we handle any of your matters, you should not hesitate to discuss your concerns with me. I will do my best to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.
Charges and Expenses
Details of our charges and disbursements are enclosed with our covering letter.
Our VAT registration number is 939 9952 44
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. This helps to avoid delay in the progress of your case. Such payments will be offset against your final bill, but it is important that you understand that your total charges and expenses may be greater than any advance payments.
During the course of your matter we may have to pay out various expenses on your behalf. Examples include Court fees, Land Registry Fees, Barrister’s fees, other expert’s fees and travelling expenses. The payments are called “disbursements”. VAT is payable on many of these disbursements. We may not be able to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose.
These hourly rates may have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1st May in each year. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect and revise our estimate of fees accordingly.
If it is found necessary to transfer bank funds on your behalf by way of the CHAPS system (formerly known as “telegraphic transfer” or “TT”) then this will incur bank and administration costs totalling £35.00 excluding VAT.
Payment of any outstanding sum is due to us on delivery of our bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at 8% per annum from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made within 28 days of delivery.
Payments to you
Where we have to pay money to you, it will normally only be paid by way of a cheque in your favour or into an account in your name. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
Any monies we hold for you as a client of McNeil & Co. will be held in our general instant access client account which is held at Virgin Bank.
Any money received on your behalf will be held in our general instant access client account. Subject to certain minimum amounts in periods of time set out in the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, interest would be calculated and paid to you at the rate payable by the bank at such time. The period in which interest will normally be paid will run from the date on which cleared funds are received by us up to date of issue of any cheque from our client account. We will not pay you interest where the sum involved is less than £20.
We are required by the Law Society Rules to maintain a professional public liability insurance policy.
The liability of this firm (which expression includes its principal and its employees) in respect of breach of contract, breach of duty, fault, negligence or otherwise howsoever arising out of or in connection with our engagement by you shall be limited to advice provided in writing and to an upper limit of £3 million including interest and costs. Details of our insurers, their contact details and our policy number are available from our offices. The insurance covers that part of our Practice carried on from our offices in England and Wales and will extend to acts or omissions wherever in the world they occur.
Any advice we provide is personal to you the client and may not be used or relied upon by anybody else without our written consent.
We will not be liable for any loss or damage which you suffer whether direct or consequential in both contract and/or negligence however arising from the failure of the bank/financial institution with whom we have our client account in which we hold monies on your behalf in connection with any matter which we are conducting for you.
If during this matter you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not. However, as we are regulated by the Law Society, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contacts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
If it is necessary during the course of a conveyancing transaction for any insurance to be put in place eg. defective title insurance, lack of building consent we would usually arrange such insurance through Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions or Conveyancing Risk Management but we are not contractually obliged to conduct business in this way and we receive no commission for doing so.
Money Laundering Precautions
Unless you have been known to us for more than two years, we are required by law to apply procedures to guard against the risk of money laundering. Therefore we must verify the identity of all our clients and sometimes people related to them. Normally the documents we requite sight of are your passport or photographic driving licence and one other document to establish your address, such as a recent utility bill, council tax statement or bank statement. Proof of address must be dated within the last 3 months. Could you kindly forward copies of these please? If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.
At the start of your matter we will normally ask you to advise us as to the source of any funds you will be using. It is simplest for us if the source of those funds is an account in your name in a UK bank or building society. We are normally only able to accept cash up to a limit of £500.00 in any 28-day period.
Whilst we are generally obliged to keep clients’ affairs confidential, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 can oblige us, in certain circumstances, to report information about (suspected) financial offences. If we make a report we are unable to tell the client concerned. Any report may result in an investigation by the police, H.M Customs and Revenue or other authorities.
We may carry out checks to satisfy ourselves as to your identity and in this respect this may involve an electronic check through a number of providers. By signing the terms of the business agreement you agree that we may use the Personal Information provided by you in order to conduct the appropriate anti-fraud checks. Personal Information that you provide may be disclosed to a credit reference or fraud prevention agency, which may keep a record of that information.
We may need to carry out additional checks if we have cause to believe you are a ‘Politically Exposed Person’ or a relative of such a person.
We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic. There may be alterations to the services we provide. Any alterations will be based on the scientific advice prevailing at the time and the level of risk involved with operating certain services.
During times of national lockdown and other heightened restrictions it is likely that:
- Our offices will be closed to the public and we will be offering remote video/telephone appointments only.
- We will be attending Court remotely if possible and where appropriate.
- When we reopen our offices to the public:
- We must ask anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, has symptoms, or lives with someone who has been diagnosed with it or has symptoms, to refrain from attending our office until they have completed a period of self-isolation in line with the prevailing health advice at the time.
- One or more staff may be working from home to reduce the numbers of people in our offices.
- We may require people entering our offices to wear a mask and answer questions to assist us in determining whether they pose any risk to our staff or other clients.
- We may ask clients to submit to a contactless temperature check.
- We must ask clients to adhere to social distancing at our offices. This may mean that in some circumstances you are unable to bring a chaperone into an appointment if the size of the room does not allow us to keep an appropriate distance.
There may be other changes which we need to make from time to time. We will do our best to communicate these changes to our clients but as the Government and health advice changes rapidly, it may not always be possible to do this in advance.
We are still able to provide a full service to our clients but we have necessarily had to adapt our working methods due to the pandemic.
If any of our members of staff are diagnosed with COVID-19, we will do our best to ensure that any clients who might be affected are notified and we will inform NHS Track and Trace as appropriate. By instructing us you must allow us permission to provide such information as NHS Track and Trace may require in the event that we need to contact them about you.
Equality and Diversity Policy
We operate a policy whereby we will treat each other, all our clients, collaborators and competitors with equal dignity and respect irrespective of their race, creed, sexual orientation and physical or mental impairment. If any person takes issue with the above or believes that their own dignity or needs have not been fairly addressed, we wish to know immediately and will take steps to remedy their concerns. We will also ensure that our principles are followed by all agents engaged by us and we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind against client or staff. Our recruitment policy will follow the above policy.
In addition and if possible and necessary we will engage the services of a translator (as communication is essential) and/or provide home visits.
Please contact us if you require a copy of our Equality and Diversity policy.
If you have an e-mail facility we may correspond with you using e-mail, unless you instruct us that you do not wish us to use e-mail. Our e-mails are not encrypted and in deciding whether you wish to communicate by e-mail you should bear in mind that an e-mail is an insecure method of communication. You will agree that we will not have any liability to you if a properly addressed e-mail is read by someone else. We charge for e-mails in the same way that we charge for letters.
To enable us to carry out your instructions it will be necessary for you to provide us with personal data from time to time eg. name, address, telephone number, bank details, GP details, employment details. We will only request such data as is necessary to progress your matter. We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
- updating and enhancing client records
- analysis to help us manage our practice
- statutory returns
- legal and regulatory compliance
Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the General Data Protection Regulations and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us (after consultation with you) to provide your personal data to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers.
You have a right under data protection legislation to:-
- access the personal data that we hold about you
- have us rectify any incorrect data we hold
- request we delete any personal data we hold.
- restrict our use of your personal data.
All such requests should be made to the Firm’s Principal Mark McNeil.
We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office at any time.
We also perform some processing of personal data for purposes required by law eg. money laundering checks. In some cases we will need to process sensitive personal data for the above purposes. As part of our risk management strategy, we reserve the right to make a search with a credit reference agency to which the provisions above in the section on money laundering will apply. We may also keep your details for a reasonable period for marketing purposes.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to police, government or financial agencies where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
If you wish any other person to be given access to your information, or details of your case (for example a relative) then please contact us and we can discuss the implications of this and advise you further.
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our organisation. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
In some circumstances you may consider we ought to stop acting for you, for example you may decide you cannot give us clear or proper instructions on how to proceed, or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we carry out your work. You may end your instructions to us at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
If we have not met with you personally or we have met you other than in our offices, the Consumer Protection (Information Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to the contract between us for the supply of our legal services. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us by contacting us by post or fax to this office within 14 days of receiving this letter. Where such notice of cancellation is received we will not make any charge for work done and will refund any monies paid by you on account of costs
To exercise the right to cancel or to terminate your instructions you must inform us of your decision by a clear written statement (eg. a letter sent by post or fax but not an email).
We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated as set out in these terms and conditions.
The Storage of Papers and Documents
After completing your matter, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us in respect of outstanding charges and disbursements. In addition we will store your file of papers in our archives for a minimum period of six years. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them 6 years after the conclusion of your case. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody. If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. If papers are requested then you are responsible for their collection.
Legally funded matters: If your matter is transferred to another solicitor we are still required to maintain a copy of those papers unless any new solicitor signs an undertaking to make them available for Legal Aid Agency audit.
McNeil & Co is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. However we do have a Complaints Procedure for those hopefully rare occurrences when you feel we have not lived up to our high aspirations. This is set out below:
1. We aim to handle all complaints promptly, fairly and effectively.
2. You are always entitled to complain if any aspect of our service causes you to question whether we have acted inefficiently, improperly or other than in accordance with your instructions.
3. You should complain initially to Mark McNeil, preferably in writing. Please contact me on 01522 539111 or by post to our Lincoln office.
4. A complaint can include dissatisfaction over a bill.
5. If I cannot resolve your complaint, and I undertake to let you have a decision within 14 days of its receipt, you have the right to have it considered by one of my senior colleagues provided you give me written notice to that effect within 14 days. He/she has the right to overrule my decision and find in your favour. They will give you their decision within 14 days of the referral to them. I undertake to accept their decision.
If you are still unhappy at the decision of my colleague upon his or her review, you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman within 14 days of written notification to you of the review. His address is PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. Telephone 0300 555 0333. Normally you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.
Whilst I would hope that these time limits would be adhered to, it may be in certain instances, that the investigation of the complaint, operational/ domestic commitments of the Firm or its personnel, or indeed your own circumstances, may require an extension of these times. I recognise however that time is of the essence in the nature of matters such as these and will thus strive to comply with them so far as possible.
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by English Law and will be submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
Terms and Conditions of Business
Unless otherwise agreed and subject to the application of then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions give by you to this firm.
We are based in Lincoln and are happy to serve the whole of Lincolnshire.
141-142 High Street, Lincoln LN5 7PJ