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A guy who is stressed with his hand on his head, he is wearing a grey shirt, Child Disputes, Civil Litigation, Cohabitation & Disputes, Construction Disputes, Debt Collection, Divorce and Claims Against Deceased's Estate, Employment Law, Drafting Wills & Lasting Power Of Attorney​, Terms and fees

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terms and fees

1. The client shall pay Morris and Co solicitors at the rate of £272 an hour for a solicitor, £170.00 an hour for a Paralegal/Legal Executive/Trainee. This shall change each year and shall be the rate until 1.1.24 at which point the rate will increase to £292 per hour. Each year there will be an increase.

2. The client agrees to pay money on account as requested so that there are sufficient sums on account available to do work, to attend hearings, conferences, attending Counsel, for payment of Court fees, for travel fees etc. The client agrees and understands that if they do not pay the money on account that Morris and Co Solicitors can determine to cease work at their absolute discretion. The Client understands that without money on account for Counsel that Counsel will not attend hearings and that the Solicitor will not attend hearings. If money is not available for hearings the Client accepts that it is not reasonable to expect the solicitor to attend a hearing.

3. The client agrees that Morris and Co solicitors shall not be responsible for incurring disbursements without money on account.

4. The client agrees that Morris and Co solicitors shall not have to attend any Court hearings unless they have paid sufficient money on account for a representative of Morris and Co solicitors or Counsel to attend and be paid in full. However if they have to attend as the client has not signed a Notice of Acting in Person then the client agrees that Morris and Co solicitors will be paid for attending the hearing for the purposes of being removed from the Court record. The client agrees that at the absolute discretion of Morris and Co that no Counsel and no disbursements will be incurred without money on account, unless Morris and co agree to do so in writing.

5. The client agrees to pay all invoices within 7 days of receiving any invoice.

6. The client agrees to pay interest at 8% per annum on any sums not paid whatsoever,
within 7 days of rendering an invoice.

7. The client agrees that if Morris and Co solicitors, makes any deduction from a bill whatsoever, that if the client does not pay the reduced bill or indeed any other bill or challenges the bill at a later date, the bill will be reinstated to the original figure automatically. Hence, the client agrees that you cannot accept a deduction and not pay the bill as it was presented. If the client does not pay the bill which contains deductions then the client cannot be said to have accepted the deductions and the solicitor can re-instate all times if he has to issue proceedings to get paid. This is in part as a deduction is often made globally across a whole bill to help a client. Further, if work is done for nothing it is done on the basis that the client will pay the remainder of the bill. So therefore, the client accepts that if for instance the solicitor attends a site meeting or attends a witness or goes to a cohabitees house for nothing on a bill and the solicitors bill is then challenged or not paid the solicitor can then charge for that work as the solicitor has made a deduction globally to help the client.

8. The client agrees to sign a litigant in person form on request and if they do not do so they give Morris and Co Solicitors permission to sign such a form on their behalf, if Morris and Co determine to lodge this at their absolute discretion. They also give permission for Morris and Co Solicitors permission to fill in any blanks on such a form including the date if any sum of money on account requested by Morris and Co solicitors is not paid and to lodge the litigant in person form with the court.

9. The client agrees to provide a copy of their driving licence and/or their passport within 7 days of this agreement. They also agree to provide a copy of a bank statement and a bill for money laundering purposes within 7 days of any request being made.

10. The client agrees on signing this agreement to written consent to any credit reference agency to undertake a credit search against them.

11. The client agrees not to ask Morris and Co solicitors to do work if they do not have the funds to pay them. In the event that this occurs they agree to pay the court fees and the costs of enforcement of the outstanding bills and interest.

12. The client agrees that in the event that they cannot pay a bill or a request for payment on account that they will notify Nicholas Morris and that they will discuss matters with Mr Morris in a reasonable way and to try to enter into a sensible payment plan.

13. The client will inform Mr Nicholas Morris if they intend to become bankrupt or enter into an IVA.

14. The client agrees that they are only entitled to the first half hour free if this has been agreed by Morris and Co in advance in writing. The client agrees that they cannot demand a free half hour interview unless this is agreed in writing in advance of any meeting. Half hour free interviews are only offered in limited circumstances and only if agreed in writing in advance. You will not be entitled to a free half hour interview if you have already had a free half hour interview with any other firm. This offer is only available to those who spend more than a £1000 including Vat for Morris and Co’s legal services. If you are given the deduction and then do not spend this amount the full fees are recoverable and the half hour free will not apply.

TRAVEL AND WAITING

15. The client agrees to pay petrol expenses at £1.00 per mile.

16. The client agrees to pay travel costs, taxis, train fares, car parking charges and
underground fares incurred by Morris and Co solicitors.

17. The client agrees to pay VAT on travelling expenses.

18. The client agrees to pay the hourly rate for travel and waiting at the above rate per hour
plus VAT.

ATTENDANCE AT COURT

19. The client agrees that time will be charged at the rates above plus VAT whether or not sitting behind Counsel.

ATTENDANCE AND PREPARATION

20. The client agrees that this will be charged at the rates above plus VAT.

PHOTOCOPYING FEES

21. In circumstances where a lot of photocopying e.g. trial bundles, directions bundles, Form E’s etc has to be undertaken the client agrees to pay for photocopying at 20 pence per copy.

22. All sums payable under this agreement unless otherwise stated are exclusive of VAT and other duties. Any VAT or other duties or taxes payable in respect of such sums shall be payable in addition.

23. If Photocopying fees are not charged in a bill this is a deduction that can be re-instated if fees are not paid or bills are challenged for the same reasons as above.

LETTERS AND TELEPHONE CALLS

24. It is agreed that letters and telephone calls will be charged according to how long they take and the client accepts that the minimum fee is charged on a 6-minute unit.

25. The client agrees to pay for reading time of any incoming letters, letters of instruction and emails at a minimum 6-minute unit. The client accepts that if the solicitor has to digest information on letters in and e-mails in, has to think about matters and has to then take actions it is chargeable. If for instance there is a letter in which contains information or instructions and it takes time to read this and consider this the client accepts that this is chargeable.

HOURS OF WORK

26. The solicitors normally work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday but are unavailable between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The Solicitor however may take time for a break from time to time particularly on a Friday. The solicitors however also go on holiday each year and the office closes from the 23 December at 12 noon to the first working day after New Year whichever is the later. From time to time it is necessary for the solicitor to go to Court or attend other clients at their homes or in hospital and he will not be available when he does so. The client confirms that they understand this and also understand and accept that a solicitor is entitled to holiday.

27. The client understands that the office is not open at weekends.

COSTS

28. The client understands that litigation is both expensive and time consuming and that if they lose the case or any point or any application then the Court has power at its discretion to order that a party has to pay costs.

29. The client understands that they are advised not to spend money arguing about matters that will cost more money to argue about than they will get back.

30. The client understands that any legal opinion whether given by a solicitor or Counsel is only an opinion and that the Court may reach a different opinion. The client understands that in entering Court proceedings that the ultimate decision maker will be a Judge in a Court room. The client accepts that there can be no guarantee of success. The solicitor is not paid for success but rather for legal representation. If you lose you will still have to pay all costs incurred, including your own.

31. The client accepts that a Judge may order that any party pay costs at the discretion of the Judge. This may mean that even if the clients win that even in litigation cases that they may not get an order for all or indeed any of the client’s costs to be paid and indeed it is common for only a portion too be ordered depending on the case to be ordered. A Judge can order no costs and even if you win costs you will be assessed down on costs.

Commonly you may only get 50%- 70% of the actual costs incurred. The client understands that you never get back the full costs, even if you win every point in Litigation and that costs are at the discretion of the Courts and you often get back considerably less than you pay.

32. In family cases the parties generally pay their own costs but costs are at the discretion of the Court or Tribunal but if the client pursues bad points or proceeds on points when unnecessary or fails to beat offers and if the client loses applications this can result in costs orders.

33. The client understands that if he loses a point that if the Court considers this point to be taken without merit that costs can be ordered against the client even in cases where costs are not normally ordered. The discretion is entirely with the Judge or Court or Tribunal.

34. The client agrees that costs estimates are approximate and that if the client requires a solicitor to continue to do work after a costs estimate is exceeded that they will continue to pay at the hourly rate stated above. A request for a sum on account of costs is only this and is not an offer to complete work for a certain amount. It is very difficult to be accurate on requests for costs and sometimes the firm may try to help by not asking for all monies that they need on account of costs. This does not mean that the full costs are not payable. If a breakdown is given this does not limit costs generally. Hence if the solicitor asks for £14,000 on account of costs and includes a conference that does not happen the estimate is global as some of the work that was to be done at conference will now have to be done by the solicitor.

35. Litigation and court proceedings are not a method to be used to punish a person, to conduct a personal vendetta, to obtain revenge or to act inappropriately in any way. 

Further you have an obligation to the court to act honestly and with integrity and with decency. You should understand that costs will increase if you do not act with honesty and integrity. You may have to bear costs incurred as a result of any action a Judge at their discretion thinks is unreasonable. You could be ordered to pay the other sides costs caused as a consequence of your actions.

36. The client understands that if they act unreasonably that costs consequences could follow. The Court can order you to pay costs if you exaggerate claims, pursue or defend points that are not reasonable, make unreasonable allegations or take issues that the Court does not approve of, or if you conduct yourself inappropriately. If you fail to follow Practice Directions, fail to follow a pre-action protocol, fail to mediate, fail to consider alternative dispute resolution or fail to follow Court Orders or any timescales set by the Court, you could be ordered to pay costs. Court Orders are not to be ignored and you must follow them. Your costs could increase above the costs estimate if you act in an unreasonable way and you could be ordered to pay the other sides costs.

37. The client accepts that it is normal in civil litigation but not family law for the loser to pay the winners costs subject to assessment at the Courts discretion but that in all litigation and more rarely in family law:-

(a) The Court can order the payment of costs in any event or to be reserved on any point.
(b) The Court can order costs you to pay costs if you have lost a point or if the Court thinks you have acted unreasonably.
(c) The Court has a wide discretion on costs.
(d) The Court can order no costs to be paid at all.
(e) The court can order that only a part of the costs is paid.

38. The client accepts that they have been advised to consider mediation, alternative dispute resolution and other types of settlement and that if a client fails to consider going to mediation or alternative dispute resolution the Court can order costs against them.

39. In Employment cases and/or private child cases costs are almost never ordered but there can be issues of costs where a person acts, in a way that the Court does not approve and costs can be ordered at the discretion of the Court.

40. If you fail to beat an offer the Court can at its discretion order you to pay the costs from the date that the Offer was made. The client accepts that they have been warned to giveall offers a reasonable consideration.

41. In the event that the other party is ordered to pay costs you have to pay our costs in the first instance even if you instruct us to seek to enforce costs. You cannot demand that we be paid from the other side.

42. The Solicitor also have to undertake courses each year. The client has no objection to them being unavailable during this period.

43. The client also accepts and understands that the person undertaking their work will be absent from the office whilst attending other work, working for other clients, attending Court, attending conferences etc. The client agrees that it is a normal part of a Solicitor or Legal Executives daily life for this to happen and agrees that they will not expect unreasonable levels of service.

44. The office phone number runs over to Mr Morris’s mobile and if he is out of the office, if you hold it will run through and he will where possible accept the call. He cannot do so if he is in court or at a conference, where he has no signal or where he is with other client’s.

Hence, where possible please correspond by e-mail.

45. The client agrees that in the event that they require in the judgement of Nicholas Morris unreasonable levels of service that Mr Morris is entitled to terminate the retainer.

46. The Solicitor is entitled to terminate the retainer if he or any of his staff are spoken to rudely, offensively, with contempt or in an insulting manner.

47. The fee earner dealing with your matter will be from time to time be ill as is the nature of human beings. The client agrees that the fee earner will get back to him/her when fit to do so upon his return to the office.

48. The fee earner undertaking the case will be Mr Nicholas Morris unless you are notified otherwise. He is a solicitor qualified in 1991.

49. In relation to all work, we are unable to give a estimate for the work until we have seen the papers and have taken some instructions. This will be an estimate only as we do not have a crystal ball and we cannot predict the way that a case will develop over a period of time.

50. We do not offer a fixed quote service unless agreed in writing.

51. You will be responsible for all disbursements that occur. Each case will incur different disbursements. Court fees change regularly from time to time and can be determined by examining HM Court service website and by looking at Form EX50. You will need to look at the .gov.uk site. In respect of transcribers, accountants fees, surveyors fees, actuarial fees and other experts reports their fees vary depending on the work we need
them to do. We will obtain an estimate but you are responsible for disbursement fees that have to be paid in advance before the work is done. We are not a bank and we do not pay fees for you and give you credit, unless we agree to this.

52. The costs rules are contained within the Civil Procedure Rules which can be accessed online and are also contained within various other rules and regulations which you must obey.

53. We can offer in certain cases subject to our discretion an arrangement for Legal fees to be paid through financial institutions but you will need to fill in their forms provide the
relevant information and get approval from them. You will be charged for the application. You should always consider the rate and often credit cards or other credit can be cheaper so it is your obligation to shop around for the best deal. We are not a bank or a financial advice service.

54. Family cases vary considerably as do Children cases. For court fees please see EX50, and a basic divorce, not the main suit on finances costs in the region of £1500 to £2000 plus Vat. This will go up if personal service or applications to the court are needed to say £3000- £3500. A children’s case can cost as little as £2500 plus Vat and as much as £45,000- £70,000 plus VAT, plus Counsels fees, plus court fees. We will provide an
estimate.

55. An Ancillary relief case varies considerably depending upon the parties, their behaviour and the assets. It is often highly difficult to give specific quotes as some people can argue
about what are small issues against advice, some people are reasonable but the other side are not, some people accept advice and others do not and some people are determined to take unreasonable stances or points whilst others do not, some cases have modest assets and others have complex issues to resolve. However, as a rough guide average ancillary relief costs for cases that settle without a Court hearing or Mediation is about £12000,
plus Vat. The range for Court cases or mediation or Private FDR cases is £15,000 to £75,000 plus Vat, plus Counsels fees, plus Vat, plus disbursements. A case involving a lot of work where the parties do not co-operate or where there are a lot of assets can easily cost £60,000 to £100,000 plus vat plus court fees plus counsels fees. We will provide an estimate of costs, once we know details of the case. Although Costs Orders do not often occur in family cases they can be ordered if you do not comply with court orders or you act unreasonably or you do not obey court orders. Costs are at the discretion of the court and where the court considers that you have to pay costs the court can order this.

Costs will increase if a lot of questions are raised and sometimes these questions will result in favourable answers and sometimes, they will not. We are paid to raise the questions and not on results of questionnaires.

56. The client understands that in ancillary relief cases Judges views vary a lot and we will not know which Judge we get, until just before any hearing The amount of spousal maintenance and by inference capitalisation of spousal maintenance will differ depending on the Judge’s views. It is very difficult to form an opinion and Judges opinions and the opinions of barristers and solicitors can vary considerably. Opinions given are only opinions. Opinions must be treated as such and not as a definitive view of what a Judge will do. Spousal maintenance is a lottery as different Judges have widely different opinions. This is also the case on capitalisation of spousal maintenance.

57. The Client agrees that in family cases that they have to give Form E’s containing all their financial information which they agree to give to Morris and Co Solicitors at least three weeks in advance of the date to exchange Form E’s. They agree that if they are late providing information and that they get a costs Order as a consequence, that they will have to pay these costs and will not seek to blame the solicitor for their failure to provide documents in a timely manner. Similarly, they will have to provide updating documents and these must be given well in advance of the date laid out in the court order for a hearing.

58. Please note that in family cases it is very easy to get carried away with wanting to achieve what you want from a settlement and to run up costs. The Client is advised in each case to consider the amount of money you will get back from a point as opposed to winning a point. It is not a competition. Costs mount up and there is no point spending money where the costs outweigh the benefits. The Client accepts that they have been advised that they must consider what they can live with rather than turn a case into a battle where often the only winners are the lawyers.

59. Personal Injury and Debt Recovery costs vary considerably from case to case. You will be notified about costs in a separate letter for your case. We are not a budget debt collection firm. We offer a bespoke service in each case. You will be given an estimate when we know the exact details of your case. Some cases can be dealt with at a very low level say £1500 to £3000 plus VAT. Other cases may cost £15,000 to £40,000 plus VAT plus Counsels fees plus court fees plus disbursements and some difficult cases can be as much as £100,000 plus Vat, plus Counsels fees plus disbursements. An Average, is say £18,000.00. It is fairly obvious that the costs relating to a serious brain injury will be more than a minor injury. Once you give us details of your case, we can assess the amount of your costs. The reality is we cannot be specific about the amount of your costs until we know something about it. In debt collection work you will be required to pay as you incur costs and to provide money on account. In Personal Injury cases you will be required to agree to the terms of this contract and if an uplift is to be required, we will confirm this in writing and you will be required to sign an agreement which will vary from case to case, but will be subject to court rules. No win no fee arrangements are available by agreement in writing.

60. In relation to employment cases the costs vary widely. Some cases can be dealt with at an hourly rate and by way of a settlement agreement. In the case of a settlement agreement an employer may make an offer to pay a contribution towards costs. This is simply a contribution and you will pay at the hourly rate. If you come in with a settlement agreement most cases can be done provided no alterations re required by you for between £500 and £1500 plus vat. The more complicated cases cost nearer £1500 to £3000 plus vat. To take a case to the employment Tribunal is an average of say £15,000 but these vary between £5000 and £35,000 plus vat plus Counsels fees and disbursements.

61. All costs estimates, are only estimates. It is impossible to predict every way a case can go. At first a case may seem simple but become more complicated. Furthermore, if you chose to argue points which are not reasonable, or if you enter into correspondence which is inflammatory or you undertake any action which causes costs to increase, then obviously the costs will increase and any costs estimate is made on the basis that you act reasonably at all times. Hence costs estimates are indications only. If Morris and Co are misled about the case or if you make any representations to the court that are not true then costs estimates will automatically increase as a consequence and the original costs estimate will not apply.

PART 36 AND CALDERBANK OFFERS

62. If the other side make an offer this must be considered. If ultimately you fail to beat the other side’s offer the Court can order you to pay the other side’s costs and make costs
penalties and may add interest. There are punitive costs for failing to beat a Part 36 offer.

You can be ordered to pay costs if you do not beat an offer. The Court has a wide discretion on costs.

SOLICITORS REGULATION AUTHORITY

63. Morris and Co solicitors are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The firm’s number is 404419 and Mr Morris’s number is 150172

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

64. In the event of a complaint being made it is to be drawn to the attention of Mr Nicholas Morris, in writing.

65. Mr Morris will consider the matter and will try to respond within 14 days but may need additional time due to holidays, sickness or if the matter is complicated. He will however respond within 28 days in all but the most complex matters. He may need to ask the professional ethics branch of the SRA what their view is, or we may need to ask the SRA generally or the Law Society, or Counsel about matters on occasions. It is therefore not the case that we can always respond within 14 days. This is also the case if the solicitor is on holiday or ill or if they have to go through a file and make a detailed response.

66. You will then be asked to respond within 14 days.

67. A meeting will be offered on a date to be arranged or a reply within be made in writing within 14 days (except where practically impossible such as holidays).

68. The complaint will be properly and reasonably considered.

69. Mr Morris will endeavor to agree a reasonable response.

70. Mr Morris will otherwise offer an appeal against any decision he makes, at his discretion.

71. In the event that it is not possible to resolve the complaint then the client is to be referred to the Legal Ombudsman.

LEGAL OMBUDSMAN AND THE SRA

72. We wish to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become
unhappy or concerned about our service you should use the above complaints procedure.

If you remain unhappy the client has the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
Their address is PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Their phone number is 03005550333. Their e-mail address is enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk. Their web page is http://legalombudsman.org.uk. Before accepting a complaint the Legal Ombudsman will check to see whether you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have tried this then you must bring your complaint to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and no more than six years from the date of act/commission; or no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

73. The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour.

This could be things like dishonesty, taking or losing money or treating you unfairly 
because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.(web page: Solicitors Regulation Authority ( consumers/problems/report-solicitor))

COURTS FEES


74. The client is responsible for the payment of Court fees that vary from time to time. We do not pay your Court fees or indeed your disbursements for you.

BILLS

75. The client will note that the Solicitors Act 1974 allows certain applications to the Court in respect of income.

a) You have the right to apply to the Court for an Order that any invoice may be assessed (i.e. checked by an officer of the Court) but you should note that you may lose your right to do this unless you make an application to the Court within one month of receipt of this invoice.

b) Alternatively, in non-contentious matters, you have the right to require us to obtain from the Law Society a certificate stating that, in their opinion, the amount claimed by us is fair and reasonable, or as the case may be, what other sum, would be fair and reasonable.

You should note that your right to do this will be lost unless you make the request to us within one month of the receipt of this invoice. You should also note in exercising this right unless we hold full money to cover this you must first pay half our fee and all the disbursements and VAT shown in this invoice. This requirement may be waived where you can show us or the Law Society that exceptional circumstances apply to your case.


c) Full details of these rights are set out in Article 4 of the Solicitors Remuneration (non-contentious business) Order 1994

d) Article 14(1) of the Solicitors Remuneration Order 1994 provides that after the expiration of one month, from the delivery of an invoice for non-contentious costs, we may, under certain circumstances, charge interest on the amount thereof at the rate which is from time to time prescribed for judgement debts under Section 44 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970. We reserve our right to do this.

e) There are powers to ask the court to detail assess solicitors bills contained in Sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974.

COUNSEL

76. You agree to pay money on account before we instruct Counsel.

77. Counsel’s clerk will on most occasions inform us of Counsels fees. If however, they do so they can sometimes charge a greater fee later if more work has to be done. You agree to be responsible for any sums Counsel charge if instructed.

78. If Counsel’s clerk refuses to give a fee without seeing the brief then the solicitor may still require you to pay an estimated sum and may require the balance before Counsel does the work or may ask for this later.

79. If you do not pay Counsels fees on account then no representation will be available at a hearing and you will need to represent yourself.

COURT ORDERS

80. The client accepts that they have to comply with Court orders and that they know that if they do not do so that they may have to pay the other side’s costs. Alternatively, the Court has a range of sanctions including not allowing evidence to be heard which is served late. This includes Witness Statements. By signing this you acknowledge your obligation to provide us with all papers and monies on account in order to undertake the work.

81. Copies of all relevant documents have to be provided to the solicitor in advance of any date they have to be disclosed. You are not allowed to not disclose relevant documents to the other side.

YOUR OBLIGATION TO US AND THE COURT

82. You agree by signing this to act in an honest manner towards Morris & Co and to the Court. You also agree that you will deal with correspondence promptly and that you will not withhold relevant documents and that you will comply with Court Orders and will give solicitors documents in advance in enough time to deal with the case. You also agree to act politely and with respect.

FORM E’s

83. By signing this document, you the client will agree to look at the Court Order in matrimonial cases and provide all Form E documents at least 21 days before the date that a Form E has to be lodged so that it can be drafted in time.