Terms & Conditions for Paul Martin & Co


Thank you for instructing Paul Martin & Co. Solicitors.

We at the Practice will do our best to see that everything proceeds as smoothly as possible in resolving the matter in which you have instructed us.

You may find it helpful to have the following information which we send to each client when we begin acting setting out the service we will provide.

SCOPE OF WORK

Your Instructions

Our Advice

Plea

Bail

Action to be taken

Counsel Instruction

This practice will instruct Counsel to attend Court on our behalf to represent you. We will ensure that you are provided with a good service and suitable representation.

When instructing any barrister, we will look to ensure that you are provided with a good service and suitable representation. You are reminded that you have a right to complain about the service provided by a barrister and this includes a right, at the conclusion of the complaints process, to refer that complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (for more information about the Legal Ombudsman, we would refer you to our own complaints' process, as referred to below). In this respect therefore, the barrister may request at the time they are instructed that we pass on your contact details in order that they may provide you with details about their service levels and the manner in which you may raise a complaint about their services. If a barrister is instructed then we will discuss with you whether it is appropriate to pass your contact details directly to the representing barrister and, if not, we will liaise with the barrister on your behalf in order to provide you with the relevant information.

Fee Earner Dealing

I, Mr Paul Martin have overall responsibility for your case, however Miss Kay Spurden or Miss Lee Barton will be working on your case throughout and will have day to day running of your case. Please feel free to contact any of us throughout should the need arise.

We do try to avoid changing Fee Earner dealing with your case but if this cannot be avoided, you will be notified promptly and given the new Fee Earner's details.

Our offices are open from 9.15 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday. Should you require emergency assistance outside these hours, you may reach us still by telephoning our office number which will re-direct you to an emergency contact number or, alternatively, telephone the following emergency contact number direct:-

07816 6668740

Time Estimate

How long a case takes depends on the amount of work involved. A matter/case/dispute can often end up taking quite a different shape from that envisaged at the time when it starts and legal advisers are instructed. Accordingly, it can be difficult at this early stage to give you an accurate prediction of the time it will take to conclude.


At this stage, if the matter proceeds in the usual manner and without undue difficulty, I would expect the matter to be completed within [insert estimate of the time it will take to deal with the matter, which could be based on your experience of dealing with cases of this nature and/or on assumptions taken such as that the ambit of work is not materially different to that set out above and your anticipation of the action/steps which need to be taken. Set out the basis of the estimate whether based on experience, assumptions taken and/or any other factors.


As matters progress, we should be in a better position to advise you of the likely timeframes.

Telephone Calls

It is not always possible to speak to the person dealing with your matter when you telephone.

The criminal department however operates as a team and any member of that team will be pleased to assist you in their absence.

Alternatively our secretaries will be available to take messages or you may leave a message on voicemail which is checked daily.

Please be assured that all messages are passed to the person concerned as soon as it is convenient.

If you do leave a message, please make sure that you leave your full name and a telephone number at which we can contact you.

Standards of Service whilst we represent you:-

Whilst we are acting for you, we are required to ensure that you are kept regularly informed of all material developments that may occur in relation to your case.

To ensure that this is done, we agree the following:-

We will update you either by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter following a material development in the case or, at the latest, every six weeks from when we begin acting.

In our letter we will communicate with you the position in plain and simple language.

We will explain to you either by telephone or in writing the legal work that is required to be done as your matter progresses.

If appropriate we will update you on the cost of your matter having provided an estimate at the outset which will occur at least every six months.

As the case progresses we will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely cost and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material development in your case or in your own personal circumstances.

We will update you on the likely time scales for each stage of the matter following an initial estimate and will advise you should there be any important changes in those time estimates.

We will also keep under constant review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded which are more beneficial to you particularly where your case is one that is being heard in the crown court.

Responsibilities

Our Responsibilities to you

During the course of our representing you, we regard ourselves as having the following responsibilities to you :-

• We must review your matter regularly.
• We must advise you of any changes in the law.
• We must advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of the matter in which you have instructed us.

Your Responsibilities as the client

• You must provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions.
• You must attend all and any appointments that we give to you on the date and at the time requested. If you are unable to attend the appointment on the date and time that has been fixed, you must telephone our offices and fix a mutually convenient alternative appointment.
• You must provide us with all documentation that we require to complete the transaction in a timely manner.
• You must safeguard any documents which are likely to be required during the course of the proceedings.

Complaints

Paul Martin & Co. is committed to high quality legal advice and client care.

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, please contact Paul Martin on 01708 380210 or via email at sandra@paulmartinlaw.com or by post to our office at :

10 Western Road, Romford, Essex RM1 3JT


We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care and aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service, and I am confident that we will do so in this case. However, if you would like to discuss how the service to you could be improved, the level of your bill, or should there be any aspect of our service with which you are not satisfied, please contact. If you would like to see a copy of our complaints procedure at any other time, please let me know and I will arrange for a copy of our complaints procedure to be sent to you.


We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us within that timeframe, then you may ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. The Legal Ombudsman may be contacted at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your having received a final written response from us about your complaint. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring; or within three years from when you should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint. However, the Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010. For further information, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk.

File Storage

At the conclusion of this matter, your file will be closed and all relevant documents will be placed in storage.

Before we place your file in storage we will return to you any documents or any other material that may have come into our possession during the course of representing you.

If you require any other documentation from the file, it is important that you inform us at once when the matter is concluded to avoid the file being placed in storage with material in that file that you require access to.

All of our documents are kept at an archive depot where they can be retrieved.

If however we are required to retrieve papers from our storage facility, we will be charged £30.00 for retrieval per file and therefore this is a charge which we will have to pass on to you.

We will keep your papers in storage for a period of six years after the time we write and tell you we are closing the file.

After six years we will destroy the file unless you have advised us to the contrary in writing.

Equality and Diversity Statement

Paul Martin & Co. are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees.

Please contact us if you would like a copy of our Equality and Diversity policy.

Data Protection

Like any other supplier of a service, we are required to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of any information that we hold in relation to you, our client.

To this end, our data protection registration number is Z8985013.

We confirm that we use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including :-

• Updating and enhancing our record of you as a client.
• Analysis to help us manage our practice statutory returns.
• For legal and regulatory compliance laid down by law.

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the duty of confidentiality that we have towards you as your solicitors.

We would ask you however to note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses, other professional advisers, the Legal Aid Agency, the courts and any ancillary bodies working with the court.

You have a right of access under the Data Protection legislation to all and any personal data that we hold about you.

Outsourcing Work

During the time that we are representing you, we have throughout that time an absolute duty to keep all of the information you provide us with confidential.

This duty of confidentiality extends beyond that imposed by the Data Protection Act 1998.

Sometimes however we have to ask other companies or people to do work on our behalf in connection with your case. This can from time to time involve either our files being sent to these third parties or having to disclose some information that you have given to us to that third party as part of the work that we are undertaking on your behalf.

An example of this is where we instruct an expert witness on your behalf during the course of us acting for you.

Under these circumstances to enable the expert witness to provide us with an accurate opinion that is of benefit to you, we may be required to disclose a certain amount of information that would otherwise be required to be kept confidential.

Under these circumstances, we will always seek a Confidentiality Agreement with these outsourced providers.

If however you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

If you do not wish us to continue to act for you

If you wish us to stop acting for you, the following is required:-

• You must tell us that you do not wish us to act for you any longer and why. If the reason is because there is a complaint about our service, then we will deal with that complaint as we have set out above in accordance with our complaints procedure.
• If you have been granted a Representation Order and you wish that Order to be transferred to your new solicitors, they will have to write to both us and the court stating :-
That you wish them to represent you, and
Why you no longer wish us to continue to act on your behalf.
Please be aware that the court will only agree to transfer your Representation Order if it can be shown that we have failed to act properly on your behalf in the matter in which you have instructed us.
Please also be aware that until such time as your Representation Order is granted to any new firm of solicitors, we are not allowed to release any of your case papers to those new solicitors until the Order has been transferred.

If we wish to stop acting for you

We can only decide to stop acting on your behalf if we have a good reason.

There are a number of reasons why this may occur.

These include:-

• A conflict of interest arising, i.e. a situation in which we cannot act in your best interests either because someone involved in your case is a person with whom we have an existing relationship, or
• Because, in acting for you to the best of our ability, we would have to disclose confidential information that we hold belonging to another party involved in your case, or
• Because you have failed repeatedly in those responsibilities you have to us as we have set out above.

This is not a complete list of the good reasons that we may have to stop acting for you but they represent those that are most common.

If we do have to stop acting for you or decide to stop acting, we must notify you of the fact in writing and state our reasons.

If you have a Representation Order that needs to be transferred to other solicitors, then we can make arrangements on your behalf for you to be represented by another firm or you can make your own arrangements by instructing other solicitors.

The extent to which we represent you and the end of your case

Please be aware that we only represent you in connection with the matter that we have set out in the accompanying letter that has been sent to you in addition to these Terms and Conditions.

If you have been granted a Representation Order for publicly funded representation, then the Order itself sets out the matters in which we are representing you.

Please do not assume that because we are acting for you either in the matter we have agreed to represent you upon or in the matter set out in your Representation Order, that we are therefore representing you on all and any other problems you may have or experience while we are retained.

If other problems arise, these will need to be addressed separately from this matter in which we are acting for you and you must make further arrangements for us to attend to that matter.

Please also be aware that us acting for you is strictly limited to those matters that we have agreed to undertake or for which you have been granted publicly funded representation.

Please note, as an example, that if property has been taken from you by the police or other statutory body during the time of the proceedings conducted against you, we are not responsible for obtaining or seeking the return of such property. We will however be happy to provide you with any information you need to seek on your own behalf the return of personal property.

When the case we are instructed upon is concluded, irrespective of the outcome, further and separate arrangements will need to be made if you wish us to continue to act on your behalf.

Such an arrangement will only exist if we notify you in writing again of what you have asked us to do, who will be undertaking that work and how we will carry out the instructions that you have given to us to complete that task.

Applicable Law

Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by either the English or Welsh courts.

Summary

Should you require further explanation of any of the matters mentioned, please do not hesitate to contact the member of staff responsible for your case.

Help us to Help You

If you have any ideas about the way you feel your case should be dealt with, please say so. If you have any queries about the progress of your case, please ask the member of staff dealing with it to provide you in writing with the up to date position.

If there are any changes in your circumstances or if any event occurs relevant to your case which changes the position, please advise us of the same immediately.

We are here to assist you but wish to be clear from the outset of exactly what it is that you wish us to do and how you wish us to achieve that objective.

To ensure that there is no misunderstanding between us in that respect, could we please ask you to sign the copy of the letter that we are enclosing and return it to us either by post or delivery to our offices when we next attend upon you.

Yours faithfully,
Paul Martin & Co. Solicitors