1. By accepting these terms and conditions you will be entering into a binding legal contract with us. Where you accept this agreement online or provide us with your email address, you agree to receive information about this agreement and service electronically, such as by email.
2. In these terms and conditions “us”, “we” and “our” mean the QualitySolicitors firm offering this service and “you” and “your” means you – the person agreeing to these terms and conditions.
3. You must be aged 18 or over – otherwise you must ask an adult to consider accepting these terms on your behalf.
What you are buying
4. For the fixed cost of £49 (including VAT) you are buying the right to a telephone advice service (TAS).
5. It will be provided to you by one of our lawyers, who is a specialist in the general area of law but not necessarily having previous experience of your particular legal problem or situation.
6. It will take place by telephone and can be arranged to take place when our offices are open during our usual office hours between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
7. It will last up to 30 minutes.
8. You will have the right to arrange your TAS for six months from the date you pay for the service.
9. Once you have paid, your money is not refundable (subject only to your rights under clause 50).
10. You cannot pass the right to the TAS to someone else without our agreement and they will also have to agree to these terms and conditions.
11. It is an important condition that you understand and accept the nature and limitations of the TAS service.
Benefits of the TAS service
12. You can use our Free First Advice service, to provide background information in advance – to maximise the use you get out of the 30 minutes.
13. As part of the TAS service, the lawyer will express his or her view as to how the law affects you based on their general knowledge and experience of the area of the law.
14. You can use the time to explore the legal options available to you, with the lawyer answering your questions and addressing your worries.
15. You will receive expert insight based on the lawyer’s experience of the area of law, this could include advice on the strength of your case, the evidence you would need to gather and the realistic value or award you might achieve at court.
16. You can use the service to help you decide what further action to take – either on your own or by instructing a lawyer. This may include advice on whether your dispute is suitable for mediation.
17. You will receive practical advice in plain English. With any legal jargon explained.
18. You can choose to use the time perhaps to receive help writing a complaint letter or completing a legal form or document.
19. We aim to leave you knowing more about where you stand and how to get the best out of the legal system.
Limitations of the TAS service
20. The advice given by us is limited to what can be achieved in 30 minutes.
21. The advice is only available for legal issues governed by the laws of England and Wales.
22. The service is not the same as instructing a lawyer to spend all the time needed to find out all the relevant facts from you, your documents and any other party and then providing comprehensive and specific advice, which could take several hours.
23. The advice given is based on the information you provide in the limited time available.
24. Given the limited time, the advice will be not be comprehensive but should leave you more knowledgeable of the general area of law, even though it may not solve your problem.
25. The advice will be of a general nature, based on the lawyer’s general experience of the area of law.
26. In 30 minutes, the lawyer will not have the time to conduct a detailed review of any documents you provide. This service is not designed for cases requiring a review of documentation.
27. The lawyer will not be able to test the strength of the evidence of any witness or the opponent.
28. The lawyer will not be able to conduct further enquiries or investigations as part of this service.
29. The lawyer will only be able to take account of the facts and evidence provided by you.
30. If you do not provide the complete picture or miss out any facts or evidence that goes against you then the lawyer will not be able to take these matters into account when advising you. So, if there is something important or relevant that you think we should know (even if it is unhelpful to your case) it is important that you tell us.
31. In 30 minutes, the lawyer will not have time to undertake research of relevant case law or statutes.
32. If you ask us to help you write a letter or complete a form, this will be in your name and cannot be on our headed notepaper.
33. If we provide you with any written summary of options available or action plan or draft letter during the TAS, this is strictly subject to these terms and conditions and can only be treated as a general overview based on what you told us in the limited time available.
34. With the TAS service, you will not be represented by us; instead the TAS is limited to a one-off session of legal advice, without the costs associated with instructing us to take on your case or transaction. However, after the TAS service you may decide to go onto instruct us, but that is separate from this TAS.
Feedback on the service
35. We are passionate about providing new and innovative legal services that are better than traditional law firms at meeting your needs. If you have any feedback on this service (even if it is a complaint) we would like to hear from you. Please contact Faryal Khurram who will put you in touch with our client care partner. Her number is 0116 204 4326 and she can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The client care partner will provide you with full details of our complaints handling procedure. You also have the right to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (www.legalombudsman.org.uk) within 6 months of the date of receiving our final response. In any event, you have a right to go to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 years from the date of the act you wish to complain about or 3 years from when you knew about it. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333, email@example.com or by writing to them at Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Our regulator’s code of conduct can be found at www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code/content.page.
Agreement to Mediation
36. For avoidance of doubt this section of this agreement (clauses 36 to 49) only applies if you decide to try to use mediation to resolve your dispute using Small Claims Mediation Ltd (SCML). Your lawyer will only recommend this if it is thought to be in your best interests. SCML is independent from us and we have no financial incentive in recommending the services of SMCL in appropriate cases.
37. If you agree to try to use mediation through SMCL, then you agree to us providing your details, a copy of this agreement and details of your dispute to SCML. You will then be liable to SCML for their administration fee of £20 (including VAT). On payment SCML will then appoint an independent Mediator and will contact the other parties to your dispute to try to facilitate the Mediation. If the Mediation goes ahead, this £20 fee will be refunded to you.
38. Before the Mediation both the Mediator and the other party (or parties) to the Mediation will also accept the same terms of Agreement to Mediation.
39. Where the other party or parties also accept the Agreement to Mediation, you will then be liable for your share of the fees and expenses of the Mediator (“the Mediation Fees”) in accordance with SMCL’s Terms and Conditions of Business. The Mediation Fees include VAT and are in addition to your £19 administration fee. Unless otherwise agreed by you and SMCL in writing, each party contributes the same amount to the cost of the mediation. On this basis your share of the full Mediation Fees would be as follows:
- Amount in dispute is £5,000 or less: £99 (£119 less your refunded £20 administration fee) for a mediation of up to 2 hours; in the rare cases more time is needed, £59 for each extra hour (or part hour).
- Amount in dispute is £5,001 to £15,000: £339 (£359 less your refunded £20 administration fee) for a mediation of up to 3 hours; £129 for each extra hour (or part hour).
- Amount in dispute is £15,001 to £50,000: £639 (£659 less your refunded £20 administration fee) for a mediation of up to 4 hours; £129 for each extra hour (or part hour).
- Amount in dispute is over £50,000: Fees by agreement with the Mediator.
40. You will be responsible for your own legal and other costs and expenses of preparing for and attending the Mediation (such as instructing us to provide you with further advice). You also agree that any court or tribunal may treat both the Mediation Fees and the legal costs of each party to the Mediation as costs in the case in relation to any litigation or arbitration (where that court or tribunal has power to assess or make orders as to costs, whether or not the Mediation results in settlement of your dispute).
41. You agree to attempt in good faith to settle your dispute at the Mediation and to conduct the Mediation in accordance with these terms and conditions and consistent with the SMCL Mediation Procedure and the CMC Code of Conduct for Mediators current at the date you accept these terms and conditions.
42. By accepting these terms and conditions you confirm that you have authority to bind yourself and all other people present on your behalf at the Mediation both to observe these terms and conditions and also the terms of any settlement.
43. The Mediator shall not be liable to you for any act or omission in relation to the Mediation unless the act or omission is proved to have been fraudulent or involved wilful misconduct.
44. You will keep confidential all information arising out of or in connection with the Mediation, including the fact and terms of any settlement, but not including the fact that the Mediation is to take place or has taken place or where disclosure is required by law to implement or to enforce terms of settlement or to notify their insurers, insurance brokers and/or accountants; and
45. You acknowledge that all such information passing between the you and the other parties to your dispute and the Mediator, however communicated, is agreed to be without prejudice to any Party’s legal position and may not be produced as evidence or disclosed to any judge, arbitrator or other decision-maker in any legal or other formal process, except where otherwise disclosable in law.
46. Where a you or any other party to the Mediation privately discloses to the Mediator any information in confidence before, during or after the Mediation, the Mediator will not disclose that information to any other person without the consent of the person disclosing it, unless required by law to make disclosure.
47. You will not call the Mediator or any other party to the Mediation as a witness, nor require them to produce in evidence any records or notes relating to the Mediation, in any litigation, arbitration or other formal process arising from or in connection with their dispute and the Mediation; nor will the Mediator agree to act as a witness, expert, arbitrator or consultant in any such process. If any party does make such an application, that party will fully indemnify the Mediator in respect of any costs incurred in resisting and/or responding to such an application, including reimbursement at the Mediator’s standard hourly rate for the Mediator’s time spent in resisting and/or responding to such application.
48. You accept that no terms of settlement reached at the Mediation will be legally binding until set out in writing and signed by or on behalf of each of the parties to the Mediation.
49. You accept that the referral of your dispute to the Mediation does not affect any rights that exist under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and if your dispute does not settle through the Mediation, the right to a fair trial remains unaffected.
General terms and conditions
50. Where we agree to provide this service by telephone or by video conference or at your home then you have the right to change your mind and cancel this agreement for 14 calendar days from the date of this agreement – and then within 14 days we’ll pay you a full refund by the same method as you paid us. Just let us know by calling 0116 204 4326 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by using this form. If the service is arranged with you to take place during this 14 day period, then accepting this agreement is your written request for us to provide the service at that time. Once it has been provided you are not then able to cancel the agreement.
51. We reserve the right to end the TAS promotion or alter these terms and conditions at any time, on giving you reasonable notice. This might be for legal, regulatory, business or policy reasons. If you go on to use the TAS following such a change, then you will be considered to have accepted the updated terms and conditions.
52. We reserve the right to either not provide the TAS to you (in which case we will refund the payment made within 14 days of notifying you) or to delegate the legal work to a lawyer employed by another QualitySolicitors firm of solicitors. This might be for reasons such as availability, expertise, conflict of interest or your convenience.
53. In addition to providing the TAS, the data collected by us from you in booking your TAS, where you agree, will only be used for the purposes of referring you to SMCL (as above) or for letting you know about the legal services, updates on legal matters and changes in the law; together with special offers offered by us and our partner businesses. The data will not be provided to any other third party.
54. We are members of the QualitySolicitors, a collective of independent law firms. We are independent from Quality Solicitors Organisation Ltd (QSO) who run the network. We have been selected for membership by QSO because of our high service standards and the excellent client feedback we have received. This gives you the reassurance that we are a quality-checked firm. To ensure the highest standards are maintained, if you accept this agreement, you are also agreeing to our records of providing this service to you being audited by QSO and to us supplying information to QSO about the service and charges. This is solely to enable quality control and your confidentiality will otherwise be completely protected. If you object to this disclosure, you must tell us and your objection will be honoured.
55. These terms and conditions shall prevail in the event of any conflict or inconsistency with any other communications, including advertising or promotional materials.
56. These terms and conditions replace all previous versions, are correct as of 04 August 2014 and shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales, and any disputes will be decided only by the English and Welsh courts.