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Straight Forward Legal Advice

Straight Forward Legal Advice

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Terms of Business


1. Introduction 

1.1 Legal Services that we provide are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). These terms and conditions are compliant with standards recommended by the SRA and the Law Society. Their other purpose is to indicate as clearly as possible the standard of service that clients can expect from us, the amount that we will charge for the work that we do and our methods of charging. 

1.2 These terms and conditions do not affect statutory and common law rules that govern solicitor’s business. However, if there is a conflict between these terms and conditions and those rules, these terms and conditions will prevail so far as it is possible for them to do so. 

1.3 If any provision or part-provision of these terms and conditions is or becomes invalid, illegal or unenforceable, it shall be deemed modified to the minimum extent necessary to make it valid, legal and enforceable. If such modification is not possible, the relevant provision or part-provision shall be deemed deleted. Any modification to or deletion of a provision or part-provision under this clause shall not affect the validity and enforceability of the rest of these terms and conditions.

1.4 When the words “we” and “us” are used in these terms and conditions, they mean Eldons Berkeley Limited (t/a Eldons Berkeley Solicitors). We are a licensed body registered in England and Wales as an Alternative Business Structure. Our registered number with the SRA is 572779. Our company registration number is 8028153 and our registered office is at 7 Ely Place, London, EC1N 2RY. A list of our directors is available for inspection at that address. 

1.5 These terms and conditions, any letter that we may send you confirming your instructions to us and any document referred to in that letter, together represent the terms and conditions of business on which we contract with you.

1.6 A copy of these terms & conditions can be downloaded from our website. 

2. Acceptance of these Terms

2.1 If you continue to provide us with instructions, having received our client care letter or these Terms and Conditions of Business, you are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions. 

2.2 An email confirmation from you upon receipt of these terms and conditions will constitute acceptance. 

2.3 Any money paid on account of costs and disbursements will constitute acceptance of these terms and conditions.

We may still require you to sign and return a client care letter or an acceptance of retainer.

3. Service Standards 

3.1 Our aim is to provide you with high standards of service at all times. If you have any dissatisfaction or concerns in future relating to the service being provided to you, please raise it with me or a Partner of this firm for quality purposes. We will:-

· keep you informed in writing of progress with your matter; 

· communicate with you in plain language; 

· explain to you in writing the legal work that is required as your matter progresses; 

· keep you informed on a regular basis of the cost of your matter; 

· keep you informed in writing of the estimated timescales for each stage of your matter and of any material changes in those estimates; and

· keep under review the possible availability of alternative funding methods for you. 

4. Responsibilities 

4.1 The person who will carry out all or the majority of the work on your matter is named in our client care letter. It may be appropriate for some work to be carried out by other members of staff, such as paralegal, secretarial or support staff. This allows us to provide an efficient and cost-effective service and to charge you the appropriate amount for the work done. All work by such staff is performed under the supervision of a solicitor. 

4.2 To achieve the best possible outcome for you, we need to work together. We will:-

· review your matter regularly; 

· advise you on the law; 

· follow your instructions; 

· inform you if it becomes apparent that the results you wish to achieve may not be worth pursuing in view of the amount of legal fees and other costs that you will need to incur. 

· advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware of consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter. 

4.3 You need to:-

· provide us with clear and timely instructions; 

· keep safe any documents that the court or the solicitors for any other parties may require and provide them to us promptly when requested; 

· fully disclose to us all facts, circumstances and documents relating to your case, especially any which you think might harm it. 

5. Hours of Business 

Our normal office hours are between 9am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday. You can contact us outside these hours by email or by leaving a telephone message. 

6. Data Protection 

6.1 You must supply us with information about yourself before we can provide you with legal services. 

6.2 Although the information is used primarily for the provision of legal services, it may also be used when we carry out tasks to support the legal services (such as administration, invoicing and keeping client records), including:-

· updating and enhancing client records;

· analysis to help us manage our practice;

· statutory returns;

· legal and regulatory compliance.

6.3 Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 (“the DPA”), the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679), and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

6.4 How we use this information depends on three factors:- 

· the instructions that you give us; 

· the requirements of the DPA and GDPR; and 

· the duty of confidentially that we owe to you. 

6.5 We use cloud storage for client files. Our cloud software provider is LEAP. LEAP’s cloud infrastructure is provided and maintained by industry leading cloud-platform provider Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services demonstrates a commitment to information security at every level of the organisation and complies with internationally recognised standards, the EU Data Protection Directive, and regulations and the DPA. If you object to your files/other details being stored in this way, please let us know. 

6.6 In particular circumstances, we may disclose the information that you have provided or that we have collected or retrieved about you to other persons and organisations. For example, this information may be disclosed to:-

· other suppliers of professional services, such as other lawyers, barristers, accountants and expert witnesses. For instance, if we are helping you negotiate a contract we will need to disclose information about you to the other party’s lawyer in discussions about the contract; 

· suppliers of administration, financial, banking and technical services. For example, some of the typing, document preparation and photocopying necessary to deal with your matter may be handled by persons not directly employed by us. Where we do this, it will mean that the contents of your file (including information about you) will be provided to them. If you do not wish us to allow persons not directly employed to carry out such tasks, please tell us as soon as possible. 

· governmental and regulatory authorities. For example, if we are applying for a permit or a licence on your behalf, we must disclose relevant information about you to the organisation that is granting the permit or issuing the licence; 

· external firms or organisations who may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit/quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business; and

· organisations that regulate the legal profession, such as the SRA, which has the right to examine or audit our systems and files for compliance purposes. In this situation they are under a duty to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. 

If you do not want your file to be used in this way, please tell us as soon as possible.

6.7 On occasions, we would like to send you information that we think might be of interest to you. This information may not be connected with a matter for which you instructed us. If you would prefer us not to contact you with such information, please let us know by email or in writing. 

6.8 You have the right to access any personal data that we hold about you. Further details about how to do this can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website at

7. Proof of Identity 

7.1 We are required by law to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity (which can include people who are related to you).

7.2 To comply with our duties, we must have the evidence of your identity as soon as possible. If our client care letter does not state that you have provided satisfactory evidence of your identity, please complete our “Client Identification Form”. Please supply the documents listed in the form. 

7.3 Please complete the Client ID Form and supply a copy of the following requested documents to us by return:-

· a current valid full passport, or

· a signed employers’ identity card bearing a photograph, or

· an Armed Forces identity card, or 

· a full UK driving licence

and in addition, a recent one of the following bearing your current address:-

· bank statement

· credit card statement

· utility bill

· National Insurance Card

· Building Society pass book

· paid Council Tax bill

· Government benefit books

7.4 Please provide us with one document from each of the above groups (that is to say two documents in all). 

7.5 If you are a company or other type of organisation, each individual who will deal with us on your behalf (such as a director, manager or employee) and every shareholder and beneficiary entitled to a share of 25% or more in the company or other type of organisation must complete our form and provide evidence of their identity. 

7.6 In some cases, we may need to carry out checks or make searches with third parties to identify you properly. We may make a charge for doing so which will be listed under the disbursements section of your bill. 

7.7 If you do not provide satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to:-

· act for you; and/or 

· receive any money from you; and/or 

· pay any money to you or to a third party on your behalf. 

8. Confidentiality, Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime etc. 

8.1 In all communications between us, we shall endeavour to preserve confidentiality at all times. You will, no doubt, appreciate that all forms of media communication do have their individual limitations. In this age of electronic conveyancing we prefer to communicate with you by email and kindly ask you to respond by email whenever possible. However, please note that we do not encrypt our email.

8.2 We are under both a professional and legal obligation to keep your affairs confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception which may require a solicitor who knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client may involve money laundering or terrorist financing, to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). 

8.3 If we are required to make a disclosure to SOCA in relation to your matter, this is likely to mean that:-

· we cannot inform you that a disclosure has been made; 

· we must cease acting in your matter for a period of time; and 

· we cannot tell you why we have stopped working on your matter. 

8.4 The Money Laundering Regulations require solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and, where there is a beneficial owner who is not the client, the beneficial owner. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be targeted by criminals attempting to launder money.

8.5 To comply with the law, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to request identification documents from you at the outset of your instructions to us (see section 7 above). 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.

8.6 In accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations and where circumstances dictate we are obliged to pass on information to organisations involved in money laundering prevention to protect ourselves, you and other clients from criminal activity.  Under the current Regulations law firms like ours are obliged to share any false or inaccurate information with other agencies.

8.7 If you and another person jointly instruct us on a matter, you agree that there will be no confidentiality between you and the other joint client and that information that you disclose to us can be shared with the other joint client. We can also share information that you provide in relation to a matter with a third party (such as an accountant or estate agent and so on) who is helping with the matter, unless you instruct us otherwise. You also permit us to disclose to our insurers, auditors and the regulatory bodies governing the work of solicitors, information about matters on which you instruct us. We will only do so in confidence. 

8.8 If a conflict of interest occurs (for example, where your interests conflict with those of another joint client on the same matter or another client), we may have to stop acting for you. A conflict of interest can arise for a number of reasons. For example:-

· If you are not agreeable to our disclosing to another joint client information that you have provided to us (such as where you are buying property with a mortgage and do not wish us to disclose certain information to the lender who is a joint client with you); 

· If you provide information to us which we must disclose to another client in order to act in their best interest as well as yours, but you do not wish us to do so; or the other client provides information which we must disclose in order to act in your best interest, but they do not wish us to do so; or

· If another situation develops where it would be a breach of professional rules for us to act for both you and another client. 

9. Financial Arrangements

9.1 We will only accept cash up to £500 from clients. If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may charge you for any additional checks that we consider necessary to prove the source of funds. 

9.2 Payments which we make on your behalf will be by cheque or bank transfer. Payments will not be paid in cash or to anyone not party to the transaction. 

9.3 We will usually ask you to pay certain sums in advance of our commencing work and incurring expenses on your behalf. From time to time during the course of your matter we will ask for further sums in advance. We will offset such payments made in advance against the bills that we send you from time to time and the final bill. However, you should be aware that the total charges and expenses are likely to exceed the advance payments that you have made to us. 

9.4 We reserve the right to clear any cheques or other forms of payment that you provide to us before carrying out work on any aspect of your matter.  

10. Charges and Expenses 

We charge for the work we do in a number of ways. Our method of charging in your case is specified in our client care letter and will be one, or a combination of any, of the following:-

10.1 Fixed Fee arrangements 

· Where we agree to charge you a fixed fee, then unless stated otherwise in our client care letter you must pay that fee regardless of whether your matter proceeds as expected or envisaged, or whether you achieve the result or objective that you wish. For example, if you are asking us to help you buy a property but the proposed transaction does not complete (because the other side in the transaction does not sign the contract or you fail to obtain the funds to purchase the property), you must still pay us the fixed fee unless our client care letter states otherwise 

· If we agree to work for a fixed fee, we make a number of assumptions or we specify the work that we will or will not do. Where the assumptions are no longer met or we need to do work outside the scope of that specified, it will be necessary to charge you more. We will then agree with you to charge either a further fixed fee or on a time basis (as described in Paragraph 9.3 below); otherwise, the retainer will be terminated. The assumptions that we make or the work that we specify we will do are (or will be set out) in our client care letter or other correspondence sent to you. 

10.2 Estimated cost arrangements 

· Where we provide an estimate for our fees, the estimate is normally based on our view of the amount of work that is necessary to deal with the matter. We will make certain assumptions for this purpose. For example, if you are asking us to help you buy a property and you have a seller and source of funds, we would then estimate the amount of work involved based on those factors to deal with the purchase of the property through to completion. If the seller refuses to sign the contract or the source of funds is no longer available, more work than originally planned will probably be necessary to deal with a new seller or source of funds. This will make the amount of work required to conclude the matter exceed our estimate. Our client care letter will set out the relevant assumptions where we are charging an estimated amount. 

· If the assumptions change or the estimated amount that we are charging is no longer realistic, we will inform you promptly and discuss what the next steps will be. We will then agree to charge either a further fixed fee or on a time basis (as described in paragraph 9.3 below); otherwise, the retainer will be terminated. 

10.3 Fees based on the amount of time we spend in dealing with your matter 

Where it has been agreed that we will charge you based on the time that we spend in dealing with your matter, this will include:-

· attending meetings and negotiations; 

· reading, preparing and working on papers;

· research; 

· making and responding to telephone calls, emails, faxes and letters; 

· preparation of cost estimates, schedules and bills; 

· attendance at Court and travel time 

Our current hourly rates are set out in our client care letter.

· Routine letters or emails that we write (and receive) and routine telephone calls that we make (and receive) are charged as units of 1/10 of an hour, otherwise charges for these items are based on the time involved. 

· We reserve the right to review our hourly rates on 1 January in each year. We will let you know the new rates. 

· In addition to the time that we spend, we take into account various other factors including the complexity of the issues involved, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge that the matter requires and, if appropriate the value of the property or subject matter involved. Our rates may be adjusted upwards if, for example, the matter becomes more complex than expected or must be carried out in an emergency or out of hours. In these circumstances, the increased rate will not exceed 50% above the usual hourly rate. 

· If you require more information or have a concern about our rates after an annual review, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

10.4 Additional Work

If we need to carry out some unforeseen additional work, we will let you know about this (normally before we carry this out) and provide you with a cost estimate. This situation can arise because of unexpected difficulties, a change in your requirements or a change in circumstances during the course of the matter (such as an unexpected action or inaction by the other party or parties involved). 

10.5 Matter not concluded 

If your matter is not concluded, we will still charge the time that we have spent and the disbursements and expenses that we have incurred on your behalf. You 

must still pay our charges and expenses. 

10.6 Limits on our fees 

You may set a limit on the fees and expenses we can incur in relation to your matter. This means that you must pay fees incurred up to this limit, but that we

must ask your permission before incurring further fees. We will write to you before we reach this limit, explain why your matter is likely to incur further costs,

review our estimate of how much your matter is likely to cost and obtain your agreement to a new limit before we do more work on your matter.

11. Payment of Bills 

11.1 We will send you interim bills for our charges and expenses on a regular basis during the course of your matter. This will enable you to budget your costs. We will send you a final bill upon completion of the work. 

11.2 We reserve the right to charge interest at 15% on bills remaining unpaid after 7 days. 

11.3 We are entitled to pay your bill from any monies received by Eldons Berkeley on your behalf, regardless of the purpose for which those funds were paid to us. You authorise us to use any funds that this firm holds on your behalf to pay outstanding bills.

11.4 We are entitled to retain your file or any other property (including any money that we have received, or hold for you, or on your behalf, regardless of the purpose for which such monies were transferred to us) until payment has been made in full. We are entitled to exercise a lien for unpaid costs and expenses. This is a legal right over your assets in our possession. This means that we hold on to your papers and other assets in our possession pending payment of those costs. The right does not confer on us an automatic right to sell the assets. A lien will arise when there is any monies due to the firm and/or when any payment remains unpaid for seven days and/or for the reasons set out in these terms and conditions. 

11.5 Please contact us immediately if you have any queries about a bill. If you do not agree with the amount of any bill, you have the right to apply to the High Court. The Court will assess the amount payable. This process is subject to certain limitations. For further details of your right, please consult the Solicitors Act 1974, Sections 70-72. If you use the procedure under the Solicitors Act and any part of a bill upheld following that procedure remains unpaid, we have the right to charge interest on it (on the basis set out in paragraph 11.2).

11.6 You have the right to complain about the amount of any bill under our complaints procedure (see sections 18 and 19 below). If, for any reason, you intend to use the procedure under the Solicitors Act to have any part of this firm’s costs or disbursements assessed, or you wish to pursue Eldons Berkeley for any other claim, you irrevocably agree that before commencing any action, you will make a payment into the Court Funds Office or a joint escrow bank account (that Eldons Berkeley will set up), equivalent to the total amount of our bill that remains outstanding, including any outstanding disbursements.

12. VAT and Disbursements

12.1 We add VAT to our charges at the rate that applies when we carry out the work. Currently this is 20%. Our VAT registration number is 157 6439 78. 

12.2 You must also pay for the expenses that we incur on your behalf, commonly called “disbursements”. These include (but are not limited to): Court fees; Fees for experts’ reports; Barristers’ fees; Fees payable to governmental regulatory and other bodies (such as search fees, anti-money laundering reports and checks, land registry fees, company searches, filing and registration fees, probate fees and stamp duties; photocopying charges; courier costs; travel expenses; overseas telephone calls; fax charges; the cost of using the services of other professionals such as surveyors, accountants, process servers and bailiffs; and charges to transfer funds by electronic or other means and banker’s drafts. VAT is normally payable on these items.

13. Referral and Fee Sharing 

13.1 We sometimes obtain work from third parties who refer clients to us in return for our paying them a referral fee or sharing some of our fees with them. We will only accept such referrals where our professional judgement and independence are not prejudiced, and where your interests as a client are not affected in any way. If we have entered into an arrangement with a third party who has referred or introduced work to us in return for our paying them a referral fee or sharing our fees with them, we will confirm the arrangement in our client care letter. 

13.2 We will notify you if we receive a financial benefit arising from the matter for which you are instructing us. For example, we may receive a commission payment or a referral payment where a third party provides a service to you following a recommendation from us. We will not pay any financial benefit to you unless you request us to do so and, in any event, we may offset the amount that we receive against any amounts that you owe us.

14. Costs recoverable from or payable to another party 

14.1 If you succeed in court;

· the other party may be required to pay or contribute towards our charges and expenses incurred on your behalf (“your costs”). However, it is unlikely that the other party will be liable for more than two-thirds of your costs. If your claim was for less than £10,000, the likelihood is that you will recover nothing from the other party. 

· even though another party may be required to pay or contribute to your costs, they may refuse to pay or not have the funds to pay. If another party is legally aided or has community legal funding it is unlikely that he or she will be required to pay or contribute to your costs even if you succeed in your case. In all these circumstances you will be responsible for paying all or any of our charges and expenses incurred which are not, in fact, paid by another party. 

· interest can also be claimed from the date of the court order on costs awarded to you by the Court. We will apply such interest in or towards payment of our outstanding charges and expenses and will account to you for any remaining balance. 

· you will be responsible for payment of our charges and expenses of trying to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay.

14.2 A court may also require you to pay the costs incurred by another party, usually when you are not successful in legal action against them or they are successful in legal action against you. Such payments would be in addition to our charges and expenses incurred. 

14.3 We will discuss with you whether it is possible that your costs and any liability to pay another party’s costs can be covered by insurance. Also, we will discuss with you whether you should have insurance to meet any liability to pay another party’s costs. It is possible that you already have an insurance policy which will provide cover for some or all of your legal costs. You should immediately check your policies to see whether this is so. If you do have cover it is essential that you immediately notify the insurer(s) about your matter. If you delay in informing them, they may refuse cover. 

15. Emails (and other forms or electronic communication) 

Emails and other forms of electronic communication (such as texting and voicemail) enable us to communicate more quickly with our clients (and also enable 

clients to correspond with us more quickly). However, not every client finds one or more of these methods of communication acceptable. Some have concerns 

about who might see the contents of such communications and not every client has systems in place to ensure that only the addressee of a form of electronic 

communication will see it. The client care letter which accompanies these terms and conditions allows you to indicate whether you agree to letting us 

communicate with you be email or other forms of electronic communication. 

16. Insurance and Liability 

16.1 Under the Indemnity Insurance Rules firms are required to maintain qualifying insurance. Details of our insurance can be found at our registered office, or you can contact us to request this information. 

16.2 Our maximum liability for loss or damage, breach of contract, breach of trust, negligence or otherwise (with the exceptions of fraud and of death or personal injury caused by our negligence) is £3 million for any one transaction/matter or series of connected transactions/matters, unless a higher amount is stated in our client care letter.

16.3 If you have previously instructed another firm of solicitors (or another legal representative) in connection with the matter or transaction that you now instruct Eldons Berkeley, you may be responsible for their fees and disbursements. Eldons Berkeley does not accept any liability to settle or discharge fees owing to your previous firm of solicitors. Similarly, you acknowledge and agree herein that you have no right of set off against any fees that are or may be due and owing to this frim. You further acknowledge and agree herein that Eldons Berkeley will and cannot be held liable for any loss or damage caused by any act or omission (negligent or otherwise); or any other breach (howsoever caused); resulting from your instructions to another firm of solicitors or legal representative. 

16.4 You further acknowledge and agree that if you wish to make a claim relating to or in connection with the services provided by us, the claim can only be brought against Eldons Berkeley Limited and not against its individual directors, officers or employees. Where a person is called a “partner”, the purpose is to indicate that person’s status. It is not to be assumed that the person is holding himself/herself out as a partner for the purposes of partnership law. Persons referred to as partners are directors of Eldons Berkeley Limited. 

16.5 We will not be liable for any loss, damage, costs or expenses of an indirect or consequential, special or exemplary nature, including without limitation any loss of turnover, profits, opportunities, business or goodwill or other economic loss. 

17. Storage of Papers

17.1 All files are stored electronically. After completion of your matter, we will be entitled to keep all your files while there is still money owing to us for charges and expenses. Our computer system is securely encrypted and can only be accessed by employees of Eldons Berkeley Solicitors. We will keep our electronic file of your records (except any of your papers that you ask us to be returned to you) for no more than six years. We will keep the file on any matter on the understanding that we have the authority to destroy it six years after the date of the final bill we send to you for that matter. 

17.2 If we retrieve files from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may charge you for time spent in producing stored papers requested; and reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved files. 

18. Ending our Services 

18.1 You may end your instructions to us in writing (or by email) at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your files and documents while there is still money owing to us for charges and expenses.

18.2 We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason. For example, if you do not pay an interim bill or make an advance payment promptly when it is requested or if there is a conflict of interest or if you provide instructions that are unreasonable or would require us to breach a professional rule or duty to the court or involve the commission of a criminal offence. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. 

18.3 If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you must pay our charges and expenses incurred up to that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis plus expenses or by proportion of the agreed fee as set out above. 

19. Fee and Costs

All legal, valuation, commitment and other fees, charges and disbursements incurred by us in connection with the work upon which we are instructed, or work that we are required to carry out to enforce all or any part of our client care letter and/or these terms and conditions, including all costs incurred to recover payment of our fees and disbursements, is payable by you on a full indemnity basis. 

20. Our Service and Complaints 

20.1 Our aim is to provide you with a high quality and personal service. However, if you have a query or concern or are dissatisfied with the service we provide, you are entitled to complain. Our written complaints procedure is available on request. 

20.2 If you have a dispute, or you are unhappy, you should not hesitate to raise it with the Solicitor dealing with your matter; failing which, you can contact Peter Muswell, who is a Director in this firm and the nominated Complaints Officer. He will endeavour to deal promptly with its resolution in an appropriate way. 

20.3 We are committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive, or about the bill, please contact the Solicitor dealing with your matter immediately on 0207 440 7777, or via email or post, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. 

Legal Ombudsman

20.4 If we are unable to resolve your complaint, then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers. 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. If you would like more information about this service, including the time limits for taking a case to them, please contact the Legal Ombudsman directly.  You can find out more about their service by visiting or contacting them on 0300 555 0333.

20.5 You are entitled to complain if you are dissatisfied with our service or bill. Our complaints procedure is available on request.

20.6 If you are unhappy with the conclusion of our complaints procedure you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman if you are:

1. An individual (including sole traders)

2. Micro enterprises (less than 10 employees and a turnover of less than €2 million. 

3. Small charities and clubs / associations with an annual income net of tax less than £1 million.

4. Trustees of a trust with an asset value of less than £1 million.

5. Beneficiaries of an estate. 

20.7 See Section 128 (3) (a) of the Legal Services Act 2007, and the Legal Services Act 2007 (Legal Complaints) (Parties) Order 2010. The timescale for complaining to the Legal Ombudsman is within 6 months of our firm concluding its complaints procedure. The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are as follows:

PO Box 15870


B30 9EB

Telephone number: 0300 555 033

Email address:

Web address: 

20.8 Eldons Berkeley is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please feel free to contact either myself or Peter Muswell.

20.9 We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

20.10 You also have the right to challenge or complain about your bill and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the bill if you have applied to the court for an assessment of the bill.

Complaints about bill 

20.11 You also have the right to challenge or complain about our final bill and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the bill if you have applied to the court for an assessment of the bill. We reserve our rights to charge interest at 8% on an unpaid bill.

20.12 There are time limits for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. A complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must be made no later than:-

· 6 years from the date when we have done or not done something which is the subject matter or your complaint; or 

· 3 years from the date when you should have reasonably known that you could complain. 

20.13 You also have 6 months to complain to the Legal Ombudsman from when you receive a final response from us. The Legal Ombudsman has indicated that this time limit and the time limits in paragraph 19.4 must be met for a complaint to be accepted.

20.14 If you require us to explain, or provide further details about, any of the points set out above please do not hesitate to contact us. Although our written complaints procedure sets out in detail how we handle complaints, as a first step we hope that you would raise any concerns or complaints with the person named in our client care letter. If you cannot resolve the matter to your satisfaction or do not wish to speak to the person named, please contact one of our directors, Peter Muswell or James Swead. If one of them is the person dealing with your matter your complaint can be taken up with the other. 

20.15 If you are unhappy with or have a complaint about the amount you have been charged, you can use the assessment procedure (see paragraph 10.4 above) in addition to our complaints procedure. 

21. Equality and Diversity 

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of 

our equality and diversity policy. 

22. Online Access 

22.1 If we have agreed that you can access online progress reports concerning your matter through our website, the password that we provide to you must be kept safe, secure and secret. 

22.2 If you no longer require access to online progress reports, please let us know by email or in writing.

22.3 If you have given permission for any other persons to have access to the online progress reports concerning your matter, they will be given a separate password. This will restrict their access to only one matter and will not enable them to see information about other matters on which you have instructed us. 

23. Third Parties 

23.1 For the purposes of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, our contract with you is not intended to, and does not, give any person who is not a party to it the right to enforce any of its provisions. 

23.2 Only the person(s) named as our client or clients in our client care letter can rely on any advice or assistance or other work that we provide. If any information given as part of our advice, assistance or other work is revealed to a third party, you must inform the third party that we accept no responsibility for it. 

24. Applicable Law 

Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms or business will be determined by English law and will be submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English