Abrahams Dresden LLP Business Terms

1.      Introduction

1.1   This document sets out the terms upon which we at Abrahams Dresden LLP undertake work for you. All work is undertaken by the LLP. Accordingly, you must consider that you have contracted with the LLP and not with the individual(s) within the LLP who provide the service. The signature by any individual of an item of correspondence or other document in the name of the individual who prepared that document is deemed to be a signature on behalf of the LLP.

1.2   Our services are provided to you in the utmost good faith and, as far as the law permits, we will act in your best interests at all times. All lawful instructions given by you will be carried out diligently, promptly and with reasonable skill and care.

1.3   Abrahams Dresden LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership. We use the term “Partner” to refer to Members of the LLP or to employees and consultants to the LLP of equivalent experience and qualifications.

2. Confidentiality and Instructions

2.1   All information that you provide to us regarding your business and affairs will be treated as confidential. However, if we are working on a matter in conjunction with other advisers, we shall assume, unless you notify us otherwise, that we may disclose any such information to those other advisers and discuss it with them where necessary.

2.2   You should also be aware that there is a statutory duty imposed on us to report to the relevant authorities any knowledge or suspicion of money laundering. This obligation overrides our duty of client confidentiality.

2.3   If there is more than one client instructing us (for example, partners, trustees, executors or joint owners of a property), we assume that we may act on the instructions of any one of you.

2.4   There is also no right of confidentiality between joint clients, meaning that the client file will be available to all joint clients.

2.5   If, at any stage, you find you cannot agree on a course of action, it may be necessary for one or more of you to be separately represented. If a conflict of interests arises between joint clients, we may have to cease acting for all joint clients.

3.   Duration of instructions

3.1   We expect to continue to act in any matter on which we accept instructions from you until the matter is completed.

3.2   You may, however, bring your instructions to an end at any time by written notice to the Partner in charge of the matter. We may also bring instructions to an end at any time by written notice to you.

3.3   On termination of instructions, regardless of who terminates, we shall be entitled to recover all charges incurred by us to the date of termination together with any fees or payments necessary to transfer the matter to another adviser chosen by you.

4.   Responsibilities, Outside Advisers and Delegation

4.1   We shall always designate a Partner to be in overall charge of your matter. However, in order that the work being handled for you is dealt with as economically as possible, we will delegate aspects of our work for you to a different Partner, a Solicitor, or Barrister or other person who has the necessary skills.

4.2   In the letter that accompanies these terms, we shall give you the names of the individuals in the LLP who will be dealing with your matter on a day to day basis.

4.3    If we instruct lawyers or agents in other legal jurisdictions to act on your behalf, we will exercise reasonable care in selecting such individuals. We will not, however, be responsible for any act or omission of those lawyers or agents.

4.4   Please note that we do not provide tax advice and you should seek specialist advice in relation to taxation matters prior to committing to the transaction in question.

4.5   Please note that tax relief may be available in the form of capital allowances on the acquisition or disposal of commercial property. It may be that certain enquiries made in the course of the transaction touch on capital allowances. That said, it is a complex financial area and not an area in which this firm has the expertise to advise. As such, we do not provide advice on capital allowances and you should seek specialist advice in relation to these matters either from an accountant or a surveyor specialising in capital allowances prior to committing to the transaction in question.

5.   Fees

5.1   Whilst we will generally give an estimate of the likely costs in any matter, the final charge may exceed the estimate, where the job becomes unduly protracted. If the job is not completed, our fee will be calculated on a time spent basis, at the hourly rates set out below.

5.2   Where a fixed quotation or estimate is not provided, we will generally provide an upper limit of anticipated costs. Our fees are based in large part upon the time spent by fee earners dealing with the matter, at the hourly rates set out below. We will, when preparing a bill in circumstances where an estimate has not been given, also take into account factors such as whether the matter is of especially high value, where we provide our services, at your request, outside normal office hours, the importance of the matter to all the parties, the complexity, difficulty or novelty of the matter and the skill, effort, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved.

Fee Earner                                                                                           Hourly Rate

Russell Abrahams                                                                                   £400

David Joseph, Paul Shinwell and Jane Armstrong                             £375

Daniel Wicksteed, Philip Mole, Sarah Beney and Joe Herzog           £325

Trevor Hall, Liam Mulvee, Raymond Mansel and Joanne Fennessey      £300

Ian Herbert and Daniel Jenkins £250

Trainee Solicitors and Paralegals                                                         £175

5.3   The charge out rates are reviewed approximately every two years. You will be notified of any rate increase.

5.4    In addition, you are liable to meet the cost of disbursements, that is money due by us to third parties on your behalf, including, for example Court fees and costs of Counsel.

5.5    We do not ordinarily charge a fee for postage or photocopying, although we reserve the right to do so where such costs are unusually large. We charge a fee of £25 plus VAT for each CHAPS payment that we make on your behalf.

5.6   All fees are subject to VAT.

5.7   Price transparency as per SRA transparency rules, effective 6 December 2018.

        5.7.1   We generally charge fixed fees for residential conveyancing work, which are quoted at the inception of instructions and which vary by reference to the value of the property being purchased or sold, the complexity of the associated security and any other complexities, such as overage payments and title defects.

        5.7.2 We generally charged fixed fees for the preparation of wills and for probate applications. Our fee for a simple will is £750 plus VAT our fee and for a pair of matching simple wills is £1,250 plus VAT. We generally charge £10,000 plus VAT for a probate application, but simple cases attract lower fees, which are quoted at inception of instructions.

        5.7.3 We generally charge fixed fees for undefended debt recovery work, with indicative fees set out in the Schedule annexed to these terms. Please note that the examples given should be used as a guide only and actual fees will be agreed on a case-by-case basis. The cost of a letter before action is not included in quoted fees. The quoted fees do not include court fees or other disbursements. Defended debt recovery work is charged on an hourly basis, at rates set out elsewhere in these terms.

        5.7.4 Employment tribunal work is charged on an hourly basis, at rates set out elsewhere in these terms.

        5.7.5 Where fees are quoted, all legal services are included in the fee quoted. Disbursements, including the costs of local searches, water searches, court fees, land registry fees, SDLT and the like are charged, in addition to the professional fee charged.

        5.7.6 Where a fee is quoted, it assumes that the job will be completed. If instructions are terminated, for whatever reason, before the job is completed, a pro-rata fee will be charged for the work carried out up to termination of instructions.

6. Payments on Account, Interest Policy and Billing

6.1    We will issue you with an invoice on a regular basis whether three monthly or earlier, should the matter be completed or a natural break occur in the progress of the matter.

6.2    It is a requirement that you make a payment to us on account of the anticipated costs of a matter or for a proportion of the work required on that matter. As the matter proceeds we shall be entitled to request additional funds on account in order that we maintain sufficient monies to cover anticipated work to be done as well as disbursements. Payments on account will be deducted from invoices payable.

6.3    If you fail to provide funds on account, as required, we shall be entitled to cease acting for you.

6.4    It is our policy not to hold substantial sums on behalf of clients for lengthy periods. For this reason and because we no longer receive interest on current accounts and only derisory rates on deposit accounts, our interest policy is almost never to pay interest on monies held on client account.

        6.4.1    However, in accordance with rule 22 of the SRA Rules 2011, we will always pay interest on monies held on client account where it is fair and reasonable to do so, in all the circumstances.

        6.4.2    The interest that we will pay is the interest that we would have received, had we opened a designated deposit account in respect of that particular deposit for the entire time that the deposit was held, which is 0.15%. We are obliged to deduct and account to HMRC for a sum equal to basic rate tax on interest received.

        6.4.3    Where interest earned, after deduction of notional basic rate tax exceeds £200, it will be paid in full and where interest is notionally earned, after deduction of notional basic rate tax of £200 or less, it will be retained by us.

        6.4.4    Bearing in mind that, in both cases before deduction of basic rate tax, interest on £100,000 held for a whole year is only £120 (net of BR tax), and interest on £1m held for a month is only £100 (net of BR tax), it will be quite rare that we will pay interest.

        6.4.5    To the extent necessary to comply with our policy on the payment of interest, you agree that we may contract out of rule 22 of the SRA Rules 2011.

6.5    It is our general practice to issue invoices electronically, incorporating an electronic signature. By countersigning the retainer letter, you are confirming that you are willing to accept delivery of invoices in this manner.

6.6    We reserve the right to deduct amounts due to us and sums due or contingently due in respect of fees and/or disbursements from funds held by us which are due to or belong to you. Such funds may be held as payments on account of costs, where we have recovered costs or monies otherwise due to you from a third party or the proceeds of sale of an asset. Your prior approval to such deductions shall be given by your acceptance of these terms.

6.7    Funds should be remitted to us electronically. Please contact us for our bank details.

6.8    It may be that in the ordinary course of our engagement we are required to give undertakings to account to third parties out of monies provided by you to us either on account of such undertakings or generally or out of the proceeds of sale of an asset owned by you. If we give such undertakings, we reserve the right to withhold from you such sums as we may determine, acting reasonably, may be required in order for us to discharge our obligations pursuant to such undertakings.

7.   Payment, interest on late payment, Personal Liability and Limitations on Liability

7.1    Our invoices are due for payment within 7 days of presentation to you, which, ordinarily, will be by email only to your email address.

7.2   If any invoice remains unpaid for more than 28 days, we reserve the right to apply the provisions of the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (as amended). This comprises the right to charge interest from the date of the invoice to the date of payment at 8% above the bank rate of the Bank of England and the right to seek compensation for late payment and costs of recovery.

7.3   You should note that you will remain personally liable to pay our costs even if you are entitled to reimbursement from another source, for instance, from your insurer or should the Court order your costs to be paid by another party.

7.4   You agree to us retaining your files and documents until all sums due to us have been paid in full.

7.5   Where you are a company or an LLP, the directors of the company or the members of the LLP jointly and severally personally guarantee the client’s liabilities to us. By countersigning the retainer letter, the signatory(ies) personally accept these liabilities.

7.6   Where you comprise two or more joint clients, your liabilities to us are joint and several liabilities. This means that we can require any one (or more) of you to meet all liabilities to us.

7.7    Where you receive an email request from us, either to pay a bill or to transmit client money to our account, you must, due to the high incidence of email fraud, verify the account details by telephoning our accounts department, on the number appearing on our website, rather than on any other number that you may have for the firm. We exclude any liability for lost funds in circumstances where you have failed to take this precaution, regardless of whether the email fraud originated either in your email system or in our email system.

7.8    To the extent permitted by law, our liability to you for all claims, for negligence, or otherwise, is limited to £3,000,000. This is the limit of the professional indemnity insurance carried by us. A copy of our PI Insurance Certificate of Insurance for the relevant period is available to clients upon request.

7.9   Where, during the course of our retainer, we hold monies on your behalf, these will be credited to our client current account or to a designated deposit account in your name. We will take care to ensure that such monies are lodged with a mainstream bank. That said, we can take no responsibility for the failure of any such institution. It follows that where any such institution is unable to refund to us all deposits and interest earned, any such shortfall will be borne by you.

8.    Data Protection

8.1   The expressions “Data Protection Officer” (DPO), “data subject”, “personal data”, and “process” shall have the meanings given to them in the GDPR.

8.2   Russell Abrahams is the Data Protection Officer. If you require any details regarding our treatment of personal data, please contact Russell or Alex Protopapas at our office by telephone or by email.

8.3   We shall only process client personal data, that is any personal data provided to us by you, or on your behalf:

         8.3.1 in order to provide our services to you and perform any other obligations in accordance with the provisions of our services to you;

         8.3.2 in order to comply with our legal or regulatory obligations; and

         8.3.3 where it is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests and those interests are not overridden by the data subjects’ own privacy rights.

8.4    Our privacy notice (found on our website at http://www.ad-solicitors.co.uk/compliance) contains further details as to how we may process client personal data.

8.5   For the purpose of providing our services to you, we may disclose the client personal data to members of our regulatory bodies or to other third parties (for example, our professional advisors or service providers).

        8.5.1 The third parties to whom we disclose such personal data may be located outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

        8.5.2 We will only disclose Client personal data to a third party (including a third party outside of the EEA) provided that the transfer is undertaken in compliance with the GDPR.

8.6   We shall maintain commercially reasonable and appropriate security measures, including administrative, physical and technical safeguards, to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing of client personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to client personal data.

8.7   Provided that we are legally permitted to do so in respect of client personal data, we shall promptly notify you in the event that:

         8.7.1 we are served with an information, enforcement or assessment notice (or any similar notices), or receive any other material communication in respect of our processing of client personal data from a supervisory authority as defined in the data protection legislation (for example in the UK, the ICO); or

        8.7.2 we reasonably believe that there has been any incident which resulted in the accidental or unauthorised access to, or destruction, loss, unauthorised disclosure or alteration of, client personal data.

8.8   Upon the reasonable request from another party, we shall each co-operate with that party and take such reasonable commercial steps or provide such information as is necessary to enable each of us to comply with the GDPR in respect of the services provided to you in accordance with your engagement of this firm.

8.9    In accordance with the provisions of article 5(1)(e) of the GDPR, we may only store client data for as long as is necessary.  We take the view that it is of significant benefit for you, as our client, for us to retain electronic documents relating to your matter for up to 20 years.  By countersigning the retainer letter, you are giving your consent to us storing your data for up to 20 years, should we deem it appropriate to do so, but without any obligation on us to store your data for any longer than 6 years.

9.    Chancel Liabilities - Property Matters Only

9.1    The LLP will carry out an initial basic chancel repair check at a cost of approximately £20 plus VAT. Chancel repair liability is an ancient liability, requiring owners of land within certain parishes to contribute towards repairs to the local parish church.

9.2    Although the liability has largely fallen away, there remains, in some parishes, a possibility that the owners of property located within the boundaries of the parish may at any time be asked to contribute towards this liability. The liability can potentially be extremely costly, with some contributions running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

9.3   You should be aware that if the initial chancel repair check confirms that the Property is in an area at risk of chancel repair liability, it is prudent (and essential, if there is a Lender) to obtain a chancel insurance policy. A policy for a one acre property, providing £250,000 of cover currently costs £155.88 including VAT.

10.   Environmental Searches - Property Matters Only

10.1    In addition to a local search, you may wish us to carry out an environmental search of the Property. By law, should environmental contamination be discovered at the Property during your period of ownership or occupation, the local authority could hold you responsible for cleaning up the site. This could potentially be extremely costly. The Law Society requires that we make you aware of this potential liability that can affect any property.

10.2   It is possible for us to do an environmental search, providing a Surveyor’s opinion on whether or not the land is likely to be contaminated or affected by any other environmental issues. The cost of this search would be approximately £165 plus VAT.

         10.2.1 If you would like us to carry out an environmental search on your behalf, please contact us to confirm this.

         10.2.2 It is not standard procedure for us to carry out an environmental search. If we have not heard from you within seven days from the date of our retainer letter, we will assume that you do not want us to carry out the search on your behalf.

11.   Loans

11.1    You should be aware that in the current financial climate there is a risk that financial institutions may no longer be able to provide, may renege or may otherwise withdraw their offer of loan monies.

11.2   If this occurs, where you have already exchanged contracts for the purchase of a business, property or asset and you have no available alternative source of funds, you will be in breach of contract and subject to financial penalties as stipulated in the contract and at law.

11.3    If you fail to meet your repayment programme with your Lender, your Lender is free to repossess the Property and, if applicable, to sell the business from under you.

11.4   If they do this and do not recover sufficient monies to recover the outstanding balance due from you plus interest and costs accrued, they can still pursue you for any balance outstanding.

11.5   If there is any excess left after they have paid the debt, interest and costs, they will of course account to you.

12.   Complaints

12.1    If you have any complaint about the service which we have provided or about your invoice and you are unable to resolve this with the individual dealing with the work, or with the Partner in charge of your matter, you should write without delay to Russell Abrahams, Senior Partner, setting out the nature of your complaint.

12.2   In the event that the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, the matter can be referred on. You should refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk). 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.

12.3   You are entitled to complain about our invoices addressed to you, in accordance with either subclause 12.1 or 12.2 above or sub-clause 12.4 below.

12.4   You may also have a right to object to our invoices addressed to you by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors’ Act 1974.

13.   General

13.1    If we receive money from you, other than in payment of an invoice or on account of costs and disbursements, we will hold such money in a separate bank account and we shall account to you for interest earned on such money.

13.2   In the event that you win your case the Court may order the other party to the action to pay your “Taxed” or “Assessed” Costs. It is important that you realise that these costs are invariably less (typically 20-40% less) than the true costs, which will be incurred on your behalf. You will be liable for the difference between the actual costs and the Assessed Costs awarded by the Court.

13.3   In the event that you lose your case, the Court may award costs against you and you will be liable for the other party’s costs, in addition to those incurred by us on your behalf.

13.4    It is our practice to store your file at the end of the retainer.  File storage is not chargeable to you.  We reserve the right to destroy files on the date 6 years following the end of the retainer.  If you do not wish us to destroy your files, you must request that they be forwarded to you within this 6 year period.

13.5   We charge (at our standard hourly rates) for time spent by us in recovering and copying files following termination of the retainer and for addressing issues raised by you following the end of the retainer. If you require us to forward files to you prior to the expiry of the 6 year period, we are required, for insurance purposes, to retain copies of the contents of the files. In such circumstances, we will charge you for the time spent by us in copying the files.

13.6   The relationship between you and us is governed by and construed in accordance with English Law and any dispute will be dealt with in the English Courts.

13.7   Unless you notify us to the contrary in writing, the majority of communications between us will be by email. We will not, however, be liable for misdirection, interception, corruption or failure of any communication sent by email.

13.8   These terms constitute a non-contentious business agreement in relation to your retainer of the LLP.

13.9   You authorise us to sign Sale Agreements and other documents as your agent and on your behalf.

13.10   All copyright which may exist in any work produced for you by us shall at all times belong to us. To the extent that this may require the assignment by you of copyright to us, your acceptance of these terms constitutes a current assignment of current and future copyright from you to us.

13.11   Our registered VAT Number is 657 0145 43.

Schedule: Examples of charges on undisputed debts

Amount of Claim                   Without Proceedings                Amount of Claim                    With Proceedings

Less than £150                        £35                                                Up to £100                                £25

£151 - £200                             £40                                                 £101 - £200                             £40

£201 - £300                             £50                                                 £201 - £300                             £50

£301 - £400                             £60                                                 £301 - £400                             £75

£401 - £500                             £75                                                 £401 - £600                             £85

£501 - £800                             £80                                                 £601 - £800                             £95

£801 - £1,000                          £90                                                 £801 - £1,000                          £120

£1,001 - £1,500                       £100                                              £1,001 - £3,000                       £155

£1,501 - £2,000                       £140                                              £3,001 - £5,000                       £250

£2,001 - £3,000                       £160                                              £5,001 - £7,000                       £280

£3,001 - £4,000                       £170                                              £7,001 - £9,000                       £300

£4,001 - £6,000                       £200                                              £9,001 - £11,000                     £330

£6,001 - £8,000                       £220                                              £11,001 - £13,000                  £360

£8,001 - £10,000                     £240                                              £13,001 - £15,000                  £390

£10,001 - £12,000                   £260                                              £15,001 - £16,000                  £420

£12,001 - £14,000                   £280                                              £16,001 - £17,000                  £470

£14,001 - £16,000                   £300                                              £17,001 - £18,000                  £500

£16,001 - £18,000                   £350                                              £18,001 - £19,000                  £530

£18,001 - £20,000                   £390                                              £19,001 - £20,000                  £550

The above examples are to be used as a guideline. They are not a definitive scale. Charges could be higher or lower, reflecting the general work involved in a particular case. Examples exclude the charge for a letter before action.

Current Court Fees

Description                                                      Court fee Payable                         Online Court fee

Money Claim up to £300                                  £35                                                    £25

Money Claim £300 - £500                               £50                                                    £35

Money Claim £500 - £1,000                            £70                                                   £60

Money Claim £1,000 - £1,500                        £80                                                    £70

Money Claim £1,500 - £3,000                        £115                                                  £105

Money Claim £3,000 - £5,000                        £205                                                  £185

Money Claim £5,000 - £10,000                      £455                                                  £410

Money Claim £10,000 - £200,000                 5% claim up to £10,000                  4.5% of the claim

Money Claim over £200,000                           £10,000                                             n/a

  • Please note that this is only a list of court fees payable upon the issue of a claim form.

  • A full list of court fees can be provided on request.