Legal and regulatory

Pitmans LLP

Pitmans LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (registered number: OC338183).The term ‘partner’ used in relation to Pitmans LLP, refers to a member of the LLP. The use of this term does not indicate that any relationship of partnership has arisen. A list of the members of Pitmans LLP is available for inspection at the registered office of 47 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7SR.

Pitmans LLP practises at:

Reading

The Anchorage
34 Bridge Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2LU

47 Castle Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 7SR

London

107 Cheapside
London
EC2V 6DN

Southampton

46 The Avenue
Southampton
SO17 1AX

Pitmans LLP and those of our lawyers who are admitted as solicitors in England and Wales, are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the independent regulatory body of the Law Society of England and Wales) under number 555642. You can access the professional Code of Conduct by which we are bound here. Our Scottish qualified solicitors are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.

Pitmans LLP is registered for VAT purposes with VAT number GB 199 4969 74.

About this site

Pitmans LLP (“Pitmans”) is a law firm with offices in Reading, London and Southampton. These pages contain general information only. Nothing in these pages constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

Warning

This website contains general information based on English law and, although we endeavour to ensure that the content is accurate and up to date, users should seek appropriate advice before taking or refraining from taking any action. The contents of this website site should not be construed as advice and Pitmans disclaims any and all liability in relation to its use.  Pitmans  makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about: any of the content of this website (including, without limitation, any as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content); or any content of any other website referred to or accessed by hypertext link through this website (a “third party site”). Pitmans does not endorse or approve the content of any third party site, nor will Pitmans have any liability in connection with any of them (including, but not limited to, liability arising out of any allegation that the content of any third party site infringes any law or the rights of any person or entity).

Copyright Notice

The contents of these pages are © Pitmans 2017. You may download to a local hard disk and print extracts from this web site for any non-commercial purpose. You may also copy materials on this site to third parties provided that any such copy is accurate and not misleading, is provided free of charge, acknowledges Pitmans as its source and prominently features both this limited right to copy and the http://www.pitmans.com/ web address. You may provide a link (but not a framed link) to this website from any other business information or business service website, but not (save with our prior written agreement) in any way which creates the impression that we are associated with or have approved such other site. Apart from this, you may not reproduce or store any part of this website on any other website without our prior consent.

Anti Money Laundering

The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017

The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (in force from 26 June 2017) and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 impose a number of obligations on law firms in the United Kingdom as part of the UK Government’s measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The combined effect of this legislation is to provide a stringent and comprehensive system of client identification procedures, record keeping and mandatory reporting. When first taking your instructions we are required to identify both our client and (if relevant) the ultimate beneficial owner of our client, and to verify that identity in a number of ways.  We may need your assistance to satisfy these requirements.  Without compliance with these obligations we will not be able to act for you.

Legislation in the UK may also place us under a legal obligation, in certain circumstances, to disclose confidential information we have about you and your affairs to law enforcement authorities.  Our obligations are not optional and we cannot override or avoid them. We will, of course, ensure that we only report information that we are obliged to report as a matter of law.  We may not be able to inform you of the report we have made unless and until permitted to do so by the law enforcement authorities.

Terms of Business

Pitmans LLP is registered in England and Wales under number OC338183 and authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 555642.  We use the term “Partner” to describe members of the LLP and other senior lawyers with equivalent standing and qualifications.  The use of this term does not indicate that any relationship of partnership has arisen.  A list of members is open to inspection at the registered office.

Pitmans LLP is the only entity or person contracting with you to provide services.  Any advice given or other work done for you by a partner, member, consultant or employee of Pitmans LLP will be given by that person on behalf of Pitmans LLP and not in his or her individual capacity and no such person will have personal responsibility to you for that advice or other work.  If, as a matter of law, a duty of care would otherwise be owed to you by that individual, it is excluded.

This agreement will not confer any benefit or the right to enforce any term of this agreement on any third party other than the, members, employees or consultants of Pitmans LLP.

Sentio Costs is a trading name of Pitmans LLP.

If one or several of the provisions of this agreement are or become invalid, the validity of the remaining provisions will not be affected as a result.

Our Service

We are committed to maintaining the highest levels of service.

You may request that particular individuals carry out your work and we will accommodate your request wherever possible.  We shall inform you of the name and status of the partner and members of our staff who will be engaged on a particular matter for you.  From time to time other members of staff may assist.  Some tasks may be carried out by personnel who do not hold formal qualifications.

Our standard office hours are 9.00 to 5.30.

We shall identify your objectives in relation to your instructions, explain the issues and the options available to you and keep you informed about progress.  We shall agree an appropriate level of service with you and explain our and your responsibilities in relation to your instructions.  You are responsible for providing instructions which will allow us to satisfy your requirements.  You should feel free to contact us at any time.

If you encounter any problem please contact the Head of the Department identified to you.  We are committed to resolving issues quickly in accordance with our Complaints Procedure, a copy of which is available upon request.    In addition, once our internal complaint procedures are exhausted, the Legal Ombudsman may be able to assist further.www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

Any barrister or other professional we instruct on your behalf should have their own complaints process.  So if you are not happy with their service you can complain to them directly.  But please let us know and we may be able to assist you.

Costs

Details of our estimated costs are set out in our retainer letter and updated in correspondence to you from time to time. Estimates given are for guidance only and will be subject to increase to reflect actual time spent and any unknown contingencies or complexity. You have been notified of the hourly rate (excluding VAT) charged for the partner or staff members carrying out your work.  The hourly rates will be revised at intervals and you will be notified of any changes.  We do not undertake any publicly funded work.

Where fees are charged on an hourly basis, we reserve the right to vary the rates to reflect discretionary factors such as unusual urgency, complexity, the responsibility involved, transaction value and/or out of hours working.  In other matters the fee may be based on an agreed percentage of the value of the transaction.  In appropriate cases we may be able to agree a fixed or a maximum fee.

Unless otherwise stated, we do not allocate the everyday cost of telephone calls, stationery, printing, postage, archiving, computing and IT consumables (“Matter Expenses”) as individual charges.  However, such costs are chargeable to each client matter.  The charge is reflected by adding a composite charge of 3% to the time costs incurred.  In the case of such charges being materially more than 3% of our fees we reserve the right to charge the actual cost incurred.

We will pass on to you other third party costs (referred to as “disbursements” in our invoices) such as search fees, photocopying, barristers’ and experts’ fees as well as other expenses such as travel and accommodation costs and transfer fees.  A charge will be made for the cost of photocopying and scanning for all copying or scanning in excess of 10 A4 pages required to be undertaken on your matter and which are not properly recoverable from any other party as well as costs of retrieving an archived file from storage (in paper or in electronic form).

Insolvency/Central Index Searches made by telephone will be charged at cost or £3 per search result, whichever is the higher.

In contentious matters and any other matters where you may incur a liability for costs to a third party, you will be advised about that exposure.  Our fees to you will not be limited by any applicable limit on recovery of costs from any other parties.

We will charge a fixed fee of £100 plus VAT per company for replying to enquiries raised by your auditors in relation to work we have carried out for you.

Billing, Payment and Interest

We shall invoice at least once per month, unless otherwise agreed with you.  Our invoices are payable immediately upon presentation.

Payment of all invoices should be made to our Office account, details of which are provided on our invoices.

We do not accept cash from clients.  If clients deposit cash direct with our bank, we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks we deem necessary regarding the source of the funds.  Neither do we accept monies from clients pending instructions or for forwarding to third parties, unless pursuant to a transaction or matter on which we have been instructed.

We reserve the right to carry out a credit check against you or any party connected with or associated with you together which such other checks as we, in our sole discretion, consider are necessary from time to time to meet all our regulatory, legal or other obligations.

We shall always require payments on account to be made for all disbursements and expenses to be incurred on your behalf. We also require payments on account of our estimated fees to be made at the outset of any matter and from time to time.  .

In the event that you are unable to make these on-account payments then we may provide you with details of one or two possible funders for the payment of these fees. These referrals are not, in any circumstances, recommendations by us and we shall not be advising you on any applications for credit which you may make, via us, to such funders. You remain solely responsible for considering the suitability and affordability of any credit offered to you.

In the event that payments on account are not made as requested, or our invoices are not paid upon presentation, we may (on the relevant matter and any other matters on which we are engaged for you):

  • Immediately cease work;
  • terminate our retainer and come off the record at Court in appropriate cases;
  • charge interest on all invoices not paid in full within 30 days of presentation at the rate of 8% per annum until payment is made in full; and
  • levy a fixed fee £100 plus VAT per invoice towards our internal costs incurred in collecting sums invoiced by us (in addition to any legal costs which we may incur in collecting debts due to us).

You have a right to object to a bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and/or by applying to the court for an assessment of a bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.  Contact details may be obtained by contacting the Head of Risk, Quality and Compliance at the LLP.  This right will also apply where our costs, about the amount of which we will inform you at the relevant time, are to be deducted from any settlement we agree on your behalf.

Commissions

If we earn a commission, the amount will be disclosed to you and we shall seek your approval to retain all such commission received by us.

Interest

Our priority is to keep client funds safe and available to our clients for the purpose for which they were provided.  We maintain separate accounts for holding client monies and, subject to certain minimum amounts and periods and in appropriate circumstances, we shall account to you for notional interest (where such interest earned is in excess of £50 net of tax).  The rate of interest may be less you could obtain if you had held and invested the money yourselves.  Where more than one amount is held for a client relating to separate matters, the amounts will be treated as individual deposits for the purpose of calculating interest, if any.

When interest is payable, it will be calculated from the date we receive cleared funds to the client account, up until the date the funds are paid out to you.  The relevant payment date is either the date it is entered into HSBCnet for electronic payment, or if by cheque the date on which the cheque is raised (not the date it is presented for payment.)

Investment & Insurance

Pitmans LLP is not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.  However we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority to enable us to carry on insurance mediation activity, broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts.  This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints and redress, is also regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  The register can be accessed at www.fca.org.uk/register/.

We can provide advice on conveyancing, wills, tax and financial planning, establishing Powers of Attorney, administering deceased’s’ estates, matrimonial advice, and company and commercial property matters to offer a limited range of investment services to clients provided they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.  If you require more substantive investment advice, we shall refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Confidentiality

Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential.  This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception.  Solicitors are under a legal duty, in certain circumstances, to disclose information to the National Crime Agency.  Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure.  If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.

We may also disclose confidential and legally privileged information to our professional brokers and insurers and to our auditors.

If you require us to communicate with you in any particular way in order to maintain confidentiality within your organisation, please inform us.

Anti Financial Crime

You may be asked to provide certain documentation and information in verification of your instructions and identity and that of any corporate representative, without which we will be unable to act or to continue acting for you. Additionally, you should be aware that we may carry out our own Anti Money Laundering database searches from time to time.

Lien and Retention of Papers

There are circumstances where we may be entitled to exercise a ‘lien’ for unpaid costs, disbursements and expenses, meaning we may be able to withhold your original documents and other documents (whether held by us in paper or in electronic form) to which you are entitled, pending payment in full of all of our unpaid costs, VAT, expenses, disbursements, interest and collection costs.

Subject as above, at the conclusion of a matter, we will return on request all paper documents to you. We will retain and store

  • Paper copies of wills and property deeds indefinitely (and for which we may levy an annual or one-off charge);
  • Core documents and correspondence for matters involving minors for six years from their 18th birthday after which they will be destroyed; and
  • Core documents and correspondence for all other matters for six years, after which they will be destroyed.

Storage of any paper files and related documents is outsourced to an offsite provider which operates to nationally recognised standards.  We shall not accept any liability for loss or damage.  If you require bank-vault safety standards for your documents, you should make separate arrangements.

All files may be kept by us fully or partially in electronic form.

Documents retained by us will be retrieved from storage at your request, subject to a charge.  Where retrieval involves review of files, correspondence or other work, we shall charge for the time spent.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

We maintain compulsory professional indemnity insurance, details of which can be found here.

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.

Use of E-mail

E-mail cannot be guaranteed to be totally secure as messages must pass via external service providers.  Unless you request us not to do so, we may use e-mail to communicate with you and third parties.  We do not accept service by email.

Data Protection

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, and analysis to help us manage our practice statutory returns, and legal and regulatory compliance.

However, we also aim to provide clients and contacts with periodical updates, seminars, and training workshops and may do so through communications from us for which purpose we may maintain and use client’s contact data.  Further details of the type of data we maintain and how it is used can be found in the Privacy Policy on our website at www.pitmans.com.  Please notify us if you do not wish your data to be used for these purposes.  In the absence of such notification, your consent to these activities is inferred.

We may outsource certain services including IT support, our ‘front office’ and ‘back office’ functions, photocopying and word processing to carefully selected service providers, with whom we have agreed confidentiality provisions and undertakings; some of these outsourced service providers may transfer your personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA).  By accepting the terms of this agreement, you consent to these outsourcings and the transfer of your personal data outside the EEA.

Limitation of Liability

We draw you attention to the limitation of liability provisions contained within our retainer letter (to which these terms apply). We have set a limit on our liability to you in the amount expressly stated. You will also note that there is an express time period provided in the terms of our agreed retainer for making any claim against us.

English Law

These terms of business are governed and construed in accordance with English law and the English Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all or any dispute which arises out of or in connection with them and/or in respect of any matter on which the LLP is engaged pursuant to them.

Complaints procedure

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to our clients. We endeavour to ensure that everything runs smoothly but if something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. You can find a full copy of our complaints procedure, which ensures your concerns are handled quickly and effectively, here.