GOLDMAN KNIGHTLEY LIMITED TRADING AS GOLDMAN KNIGHTLEY SOLICITORS – TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
Our Firm’s policy encouraged by the Solicitors Regulation Authority is to explain from an early stage the terms upon which we act for you, the client. These terms are intended to apply to all works undertaken for you (now and in the future) unless otherwise agreed. In order for us to deal with your claim efficiently we would be obliged if you read the following carefully.
Objectives and Issues
We have been instructed by you to pursue a claim for damages and/or associated losses arising out of a claim for clinical negligence. We advise that for your claim to succeed you will need to establish liability, that is, fault (negligence and/or breach of statutory duty) on the part of your opponent, the other party, the cause of which resulted in you sustaining injuries/loss/damage and associated financial losses. Further, we advise that we would need to obtain medical evidence to substantiate your injuries and the cause thereof and to substantiate any potential negligence on the part of the third party. It will be necessary for you to prove that the standard of care that you received fell below that required of a reasonable medical professional which caused the injuries/losses that you have suffered. We will also need to obtain documentation to substantiate your financial losses claim and if a settlement of your case was not possible by negotiation, we would need to commence Court Proceedings.
Level of Service
You have provided detailed initial instructions and we shall revert to you with regular updates on the key aspects of your claim such as liability, the medical evidence, your financial losses claim, on any offers in settlement and if Court Proceedings need to be commenced.
We shall take all reasonable steps to pursue your claim against the other party (or parties) to include establishing liability on the part of your opponent(s) to include a breach of duty, obtaining medical evidence to support that your injuries/pain & suffering/loses were caused as a result of that breach of duty and to substantiate and value the injury/pain & suffering aspect of your claim, obtaining evidence to substantiate your financial losses claim, negotiating a settlement of your case and if necessary commencing Court Proceedings and we shall keep you informed of the progress of your case on a regular basis.
To co-operate fully with us in progressing your case, to provide prompt, honest and accurate instructions, to provide full disclosure of all information relevant to your case favourable or otherwise, to provide any documentation relevant to your case for example, motor and house contents insurance policies, to provide details of any witnesses, to provide receipts for any reasonably incurred expenses, to attend medical appointments, to return promptly any Court documents subject to your agreement duly signed and to attend any Court Hearings, if required to attend to give evidence.
In accordance with our internal client identification and verification procedures we are required to carry out client due diligence checks. If you have not already done so you are required to provide a copy of your passport or driving licence and proof of your address that is less than 3 months old. This may be by way of bank statement, utility bill or equivalent.
If you are awarded damages (“compensation”) in respect of your claim for your injuries/pain & suffering and associated losses of £6,000 or more and you or your partner, if applicable, are in receipt of means tested state benefits, it is possible that this may adversely affect your entitlement to these state benefits. Therefore, we advise that prior to you receiving your compensation monies you seek independent financial advice in relation to setting up what is known as a ‘Special Needs Trust’ to protect your entitlement to such state benefits.
People Responsible For Your Work
Mrs Natasha Banjo a Solicitor, specialising in personal injury and clinical negligence work will be responsible for your case and if they are not available their secretary will be happy to take any messages for you. However, they may delegate under their supervision certain aspects of your case to other members within their team during the progression of your case.
Mr Ayaaz Khan, (Director and Solicitor), will be responsible for the overall supervision of your case.
We try hard to avoid changing the people who are handling your case, if this cannot be avoided, we will notify you promptly who will be handling your case (and why the change was necessary) and we reserve the right to allocate other staff to your case where necessary. In order to deal with your queries efficiently, please always ensure you have to hand your file reference number, which is referred to on our correspondence to you, when contacting our office.
Charges and Expenses
Our charges are based on the time we spend dealing with your case. Time spent on your case will include meetings with you and perhaps others; time spent travelling; considering, preparing and working on papers and correspondence and making and receiving telephone calls. The firms charging rate will vary depending upon the nature and type of work involved and the level of the member of staff handling the case on a day to day basis.
The charge rate or “basic charge” for the persons handling your case is as follows – Solicitors and Legal Executives £265.00 per hour, Trainee Solicitors, Paralegals and Other Fee Earners £220.00 per hour. The charges are subject to V.A.T (currently 20%).
Routine letters that we write and routine telephone calls that we make and receive will be charged at rates of 1/10 of an hour. Other letters and calls will be charged on a time basis.
In cases such as this, it is extremely difficult to estimate how many hours of work will be necessary. At the present time, we estimate that in the region of 40 hours will be required which equates at £265 per hour to “basic charges” of £10,600.00 plus vat, plus disbursements, plus any success fee, if applicable. However, this estimate is a guideline figure and is likely to change as the matter proceeds depending upon the response of the parties involved and if Court Proceedings are necessary. We shall try to let you know if it becomes apparent that we should have to spend substantially more time on the case than currently estimated. We shall keep you updated as to the up to date costs in your case at appropriate intervals as the case progresses and will continue to assess the merits of your claim.
It appears from your instructions to us that the other party breached their duty of care to you and caused your injuries/pain & suffering/losses. If your claim is successfully concluded in your favour, then we will look to the other party to pay your basic charges and disbursements excluding the success fee and the non-recoverable “after the event” legal expenses insurance policy premium if applicable which are not recoverable from the other party. We shall continue to assess the merits of your claim and should any concerns arise about the extent of the recoverability of your costs from the other party, we shall advise you accordingly. In the unlikely event that we present you with a bill, you are entitled to complain about the bill. You may also object to the bill by making an application to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 or you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. If all or part of the bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest.
We will make arrangements for the funding of the disbursements in your case, as appropriate. Disbursements, as referred to above, are any payments we have to make to others to progress your case, for example, medical expert fees, barrister’s fees and court fees, which inevitably have to be incurred from time to time to progress your case and in routine cases range typically between £500 to £5000 each. In the event of you winning the case, such sums for disbursements should be paid for by the other party or the other party’s insurers excluding the non-recoverable “after the event” legal expenses insurance policy premium if applicable which is not recoverable from the other party.
If you lose the case, the insurance policy (as detailed below) should reimburse the disbursements incurred including the “after the event” legal expenses insurance policy premium if applicable. This is conditional on you co-operating with us in progressing the claim, providing accurate instructions and if subsequently it is established that you have pursued a fraudulent claim or exaggerated any part of your claim having been fundamentally dishonest then you will not have any protection under your legal expenses insurance (“before the event” for example any pre-existing motor, house contents, credit card or trade union insurance policies or “after the event” policy) and will be personally responsible for your own and the opponent’s legal costs which may be quite substantial.
The success fee, if applicable, namely the percentage uplift that we add to your bill if you are successful in bringing your claim for clinical negligence and associated losses is not recoverable from your opponent even if your claim is successful. The success fee, if applicable, is payable by you. We shall charge you a success fee, if applicable of 50% of our basic charges.
There is a maximum limit on the amount of the success fee which we can recover from you. That maximum limit is 25% of the total amount of any: (i) general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (the injury element of your compensation); and (ii) damages for pecuniary loss (the financial losses element of your compensation), other than future pecuniary loss; which are awarded to you in the proceedings covered by this agreement. The maximum limit is applicable to these damages (“compensation”) net of any sums recoverable by the Compensation Recovery Unit of the Department of Work and Pensions. The maximum limit is inclusive of any VAT which is chargeable. The maximum limit includes any success fee payable to a barrister who has a Conditional Fee Agreement (“CFA”) with us. However, this maximum limit applies only to a success fee for proceedings at first instance and not to a success fee on other proceedings (such as, for example, an appeal against a final judgment or order).
We must advise you that you may have the option to pursue your claim for injuries/pain and suffering and associated losses via a Damages-Based Agreement , a type of ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, whereby on your claim being successful instead of charging you a “success fee” your instructed Solicitors would charge you a “Contingency Fee” of up to 25% of your compensation inclusive of VAT in respect of their charges giving credit to you for the basic charges and disbursements received by them from your opponent. However, Goldman Knightley Solicitors do not operate claims for clinical negligence on a Damages Based-Agreement basis and if you wish to pursue your claim on this basis you will need to instruct another firm of solicitors.
We advise that you will not be eligible for public funding via the Legal Services Commission, previously referred to as “Legal Aid” in respect of pursuing your clinical negligence case unless your claim relates to a child who has suffered severe disability due to a neurological injury sustained during the pregnancy of the mother, during the child’s birth or during the first eight weeks of the child’s life. If you believe you may be eligible for public funding you should contact us immediately. We also advise that there are circumstances where we may be entitled to exercise a lien for unpaid costs, for example, if you instruct another firm of Solicitors to take over conduct of this case, we are entitled to payment of our basic charges and any disbursements incurred on your behalf up to that date before forwarding your file of papers to the newly instructed firm of solicitors.
In the more straight forward uncomplicated cases, we anticipate a settlement of your case within 12 to 18 months of instructing us. However, if there are likely to be delays in the settlement of your case, we shall notify you of the reasons for any delays.
In English Law pursuant to the Limitation Act 1980 with regards to pursuing your claim for injury/pain and suffering you generally have 3 years from the date of the incident or date of knowledge of the incident or from when you ought to have reasonably known about the incident that you allege caused you injury and/or pain and suffering to commence legal proceedings. For the associated non-injury financial losses claim you have 6 years from the date of the incident or date of knowledge of the incident or from when you ought to have reasonably known about the incident that you allege caused you injury and/or pain and suffering within which to commence Court Proceedings failing which your claim will be “statute barred”, that is you will be out of time to pursue your claim thereafter.
We are committed to providing legal services of the highest standard and part of that commitment involves encouraging you to complain if you feel that we have not met the high standards that we have imposed upon ourselves. Whilst we expect that you will be satisfied with our work, if you feel that you have cause for criticism or complaint in respect of any aspect of the service provided by this firm to include a complaint about our bill, you are entitled to complain and we would invite you to address your complaint initially, in writing, to Mr. Ayaaz Khan, (a Director) or by telephone for immediate consideration so that any appropriate action can be taken without delay. On receipt of your complaint we shall automatically invoke the firm’s Complaints Procedure which includes writing to you to notify you of how the complaint will be handled and within what timescales you will be given an initial or substantive response and thereafter we shall conduct an internal investigation handled by a senior member of the firm resulting in a full written response to you in compliance with the firm’s Complaints Procedure. On occasions, we may invite you to attend a meeting to explain the outcome of our investigation in more detail, in an effort to ensure that you will receive an adequate summary of the steps taken to resolve any problems. We emphasise that any such complaint or criticism will be regarded as an opportunity to improve our service both to you and to other clients. However, on concluding our investigations into your complaint, if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman so long as the complaint is made within 6 months of you receiving our final response to your complaint and in any event within 12 months from when your complaint was first raised with us. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman via their website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to P. O. Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
A copy of the firm’s Complaints Procedure is available upon request from our offices and we shall handle any complaint promptly, fairly and effectively in accordance with the firm’s Complaints Procedure.
Legal Expenses Insurance Cover
In English Law, if you are successful in bringing your claim for injury/pain and suffering and associated losses against your opponent, the other side will make a contribution towards payment of your basic charges and disbursements but excluding recovery of (a) the non-recoverable “after the event” legal expenses insurance policy premium (see below) if applicable and (b) any success fee if applicable, which are both not recoverable from your opponent.
If you are unsuccessful in bringing your claim for injury/pain and suffering and associated losses against your opponent as a general rule you are not responsible for payment of the opponent’s legal costs to include their disbursements, albeit you will still be responsible for your own disbursements which you may be entitled to recover under your legal expenses policy (“before” or “after the event” policy – see below). However, only if Court Proceedings were commenced, you may in certain circumstances, for example, if the Court finds that you had no reasonable grounds for bringing a claim or if you failed to beat an offer that had previously been made by your opponent, be personally responsible for payment of all or part of the opponent’s legal costs to include their disbursements, as well as being personally responsible for payment of your own reasonable legal costs and disbursements.
You have not advised us that you have any Before the Event legal expenses insurance (BTE) in place. We have asked you to complete a legal expenses insurance questionnaire to confirm this. You should ensure this is returned to us within the next 14 days. If it is not returned to us within this time period we will continue to assume that you have no relevant BTE insurance in place.
In the event that you do not have the relevant BTE cover available by signing these terms and conditions of business you instruct and authorise us to take out an “after the event” policy with Policy Excess Insure Ltd T/A Pex Insure on behalf of Evolution Insurance Company Limited who are authorised and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority via a broker Amrak which provides a limit of indemnity of £50,000 which we believe is at this stage appropriate to cover your potential liability towards your opponent’s costs and payment of your own disbursements in case you are unsuccessful in bringing your claim for injury/pain & suffering and associated losses or other losses. The above policy that we recommend will pay unless there is a finding of fraud or dishonesty on your part (a) your opponent’s reasonable legal costs to include their disbursements if your claim fails and you are required to pay these costs, (b) all your own reasonably incurred disbursements if your claim fails and (c) your opponent’s reasonable legal costs to include their disbursements if you fail to beat a “Part 36” Offer to settle your claim which you rejected following our advice.
We are not able to confirm the cost of the “after the event” policy for your Clinical negligence claim upfront until we have gathered more information on the prospects of success to include an initial report from an expert on the likely success of your claim, however we will advise you of the likely cost in due course. You will not be asked to pay for the premium upfront however, as it is a deferred premium payable by you only if you are successful in bringing your claim for injury/pain and suffering and associated losses against your opponent. As you are not entitled to recover this disbursement from your opponent even if you are successful in bringing your claim, by agreeing to be bound by these terms and conditions of business, you instruct and authorise us to deduct from any damages (“compensation”) recovered in respect of your said claim, the full amount of this said “after the event” policy premium and remit this to the “after the event” insurer or relevant insurance broker in order to discharge your liability to pay the said “after the event” policy premium.
However, if your claim is unsuccessful then this said premium is not payable by you as it is self-insured and you will be entitled to recover this under your “after the event” policy. If you do not want us to take out the after the event insurance policy and wish to risk responsibility for your opponents costs please telephone us before returning any documentation.
General insurance, such as legal expenses, is now regulated by the Financial Services Authority. We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of Law Society and the Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.
Please note that we can only provide certain limited services provided always that these are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide. In any event, as we are not an insurance broker, we will refer you to an authorised broker who will advise you independently and impartially as to your insurance needs. We do not give advice on or indeed sell insurance and, therefore, our services are limited to introducing only. It is necessary therefore that we arrange for you to be contacted by a broker.
We do not recommend any specific policy and as such have no interest in any policy you acquire. Equally, we do not have any interest in introducing you to the broker. We can confirm that we are panel members of the insurers engaged by the broker.
If at any time we feel that the insurance arrangements made for you are insufficient or inadequate for whatever reason, we will contact you to discuss the reasons and options available to you. Your broker will provide you with a copy of your insurance policy which you should read carefully and keep in a safe place.
We must inform you that the terms of the “before” or “after the event“ legal expenses insurance policy and/or any funding agreement may impose constraints, limitations or conditions upon us when acting for you in respect of your case, for example, needing to obtain prior permission from them before issuing Court Proceedings, before incurring any disbursements, obtaining a barrister’s advice on the merits of your case, notifying them of any Part 36 offers in settlement and if the prospects of success become less than 51% and providing a copy of your file to them on request and unless you instruct us otherwise, we may share information about your claim with the said insurer and/or relevant funders and the introducer agent (if applicable).
Confidentiality and External Audits
Our regulator the SRA, if applicable to your claim the legal expenses insurer (“before the event “or “after the event”) or their appointed agent or if applicable to your claim the introducer agent may request an audit of your file. We shall assume that you have no objections to your file being audited by any of the above parties unless you instruct us otherwise. Your legal expense insurer and/or their appointed agent will also require us to provide them with regular updates as to the position of your claim. Again, we shall assume that you have no objections to our providing them with requested updates unless you inform us otherwise.
Costs-Benefit and Risk
We can confirm that we advised on the basis of your instructions that you have reasonable prospects of success, that is more than a 50% chance of successfully pursuing your claim against your opponent and that the likely outcome justifies the legal expense and risk involved in this case to include the risk of having to pay the opponent’s legal costs.
Privacy and Data Protection
The privacy and security of your personal information is very important to us. Any personal information submitted to us will be subject to the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“GDPR”) and any legislation enforced within the UK in order to comply with GDPR, unless required to do so by law or a professional body, we will not disclose any personal data to any other person or organisation without the required consent unless otherwise agreed to by you and as stated within these terms and conditions.
We want to assure you that your client information will be properly managed, protected and respected. You can be assured any information you provide us will be used strictly in accordance with the terms laid out in this statement. This privacy statement explains how we collect and use your client personal information, what choices you have and other important information. You can find our full privacy statement on our website www.goldmanknightley.co.uk
Equality and Diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees and are required to produce a written equality and diversity policy which we are able to provide to you on request.
Your Authority For Us To Make Deductions From Your Compensation
By agreeing to be bound by these terms and conditions of business, you authorise Goldman Knightley Solicitors on successfully pursuing your claim for clinical negligence and associated losses to deduct from your damages (“compensation”) sent to us by the opponent the amounts referred to above in respect of the (i) success fee if applicable and any unrecovered basic charges, (ii) the un-recoverable “after the event policy” premium if applicable and with the balance of the compensation monies being sent to you thereafter.
I confirm that I have read and understood these terms and conditions of business for Goldman Knightley Solicitors as set out in this document and my signature below is my agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions in relation to Goldman Knightley Solicitors acting for me in pursuing my claim for personal injury and/or associated losses against the opponent in this matter. I understand that my continuing instructions in this matter will amount to acceptance of these terms and conditions of business.
Signed …………………………………………………… Dated …………………………………………………
NOTICE OF THE RIGHT TO CANCEL
CANCELLATION NOTICE PURSUANT TO SECTION 29 OF THE CONSUMER CONTRACTS (INFORMATION, CANCELLATION AND ADDITIONAL CHARGES) REGULATIONS 2013
I Mr John Smith have entered into a retainer (“contract”) with Goldman Knightley Ltd trading as Goldman Knightley Solicitors for the provision of legal services in relation to a clinical negligence incident suffered on or around ………/……./……….
Under the above stated regulations you have a right to cancel this contract if you wish.
If you wish to cancel the contract that you have entered into with Goldman Knightley Solicitors then you must give Goldman Knightley Solicitors written notice within 14 days of the signing of the contract either by delivering, or sending (including by electronic mail) a cancellation notice to Goldman Knightley Solicitors. The address for delivering or sending the cancellation notice is Goldman Knightley Solicitors, Ground Floor, Newspaper House, 40 Churchgate, Bolton BL1 1HL and the applicable e-mail address is email@example.com
If you wish to cancel the contract that you have entered into with Goldman Knightley Solicitors then you may use the detachable cancellation slip below to provide Goldman Knightley Solicitors with your notice of cancellation. Please sign and detach the form below and deliver or send it to Goldman Knightley Solicitors via one of the means identified in the above paragraph.
The cancellation notice is deemed to be served as soon as it is posted or sent to Goldman Knightley Solicitors or in the case of an electronic communication from the day it is sent to Goldman Knightley Solicitors.
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If you wish to cancel the contract you MUST DO SO IN WRITING and deliver personally or send (which may be by electronic mail) this to Goldman Knightley Solicitors named below. You may use this form if you want to but you do not have to.
(Complete, detach and return this form IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT.)
To: Goldman Knightley Solicitors of Ground Floor, Newspaper House, 40 Churchgate, Bolton BL1 1HL.
I, hereby give notice that I wish to cancel my contract in respect of a clinical negligence incident suffered on or around …../……/………