Terms of Business

TERMS OF BUSINESS 

These terms are to be read in conjunction with the accompanying Client Care letter, Form of Authority and any other type of Agreement we have entered into with you.  This document forms part of the Agreement for legal services we provide to you. Where there is a conflict between any other Agreement and the terms herein the other Agreement takes precedence.  For details of the right to cancel your Agreement see the “Notice of Right to Cancel” on page 12 which forms parts of your Agreement.

Where you have not entered into a separate Agreement such as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), Damages Based Agreement (DBA) or Contingency Fee Agreement the terms within this document still form part of your Agreement for us to act and you may still have a right to cancel. See paragraph headed Ending Your Agreement / Right to Cancel on page 10 and the suggested notice on page 12.

OUR AIM

We aim to offer clients quality legal advice with a personal service. As a start, we hope it is helpful to you to set out in this document the basis on which we will provide our professional services.

OUR OBLIGATION TO YOU

We will:

  • ACT in your best interest subject to any legal obligation we have to others (including the Court) and our right to payment for work done.
  • EXPLAIN to you the legal work which may be required and the prospects of a successful outcome.
  • OUTLINE THE likely degree of financial risk which you will be taking on.
  • ADVISE YOU if legal aid might be available to you.
  • KEEP YOU regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us.
  • TRY to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you – tell us when we fail in this aim
  • DEAL with your enquiries promptly.

OUR HOURS OF BUSINESS / CONTACT DETAILS

The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on weekdays. The main contact details are: Telephone No. 0161 796 3000; Fax No. 0161 767 9770 and Email: info@sds-solicitors.com. The office address is 219 Bury New Road, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 8GW. Out of hours, messages can be left on the answer phone and appointments can be arranged at other times when this is essential. If the main reception telephone is out of order, we have an emergency telephone line: 0161 796 6345. Please note that all calls are recorded.

PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WORK

The person/s responsible for dealing with your work is/are named in the accompanying client care letter. The person/s assistant/secretary may be able to deal with your enquiries and will be pleased to take any messages for you.  We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will tell you promptly of any change and why it may be necessary. Our team consists of Solicitors and non-Solicitors who have been trained in the type of work we undertake.

LEGAL AID

It is important that we draw your attention to one of the means of funding your case is by way of Legal Aid. However there are financial limits for Legal Aid. Legal Aid is no longer available for the majority of personal injury cases. There are certain circumstances where Legal Aid may still be available, but only in very limited circumstances, i.e. very high value cases.  Legal Aid means that your fees or part of your fees are paid by the Legal Aid Agency. It also has certain advantages in the question of any costs awarded against you. Legal Aid can be given to you as a non-contributing certificate or a contribution certificate. We do not hold a Legal Aid franchise and are unable to offer you legal aid as a means of funding your case.  If you think you may be entitled to Legal Aid you should seek alternative advice from a firm that holds a Legal Aid franchise.

CHARGES AND EXPENSES

We are obliged by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to advise on the matter of costs. In the event that you are successful, or even partially successful, we will, where appropriate, submit details of our charges to the Third Party or their insurer for payment. Our costs for acting on your behalf form part of your claim against the other party.  We must point out to you however that, as our client, you are primarily responsible for payment of our bill of costs regardless of any Order for costs which is made against the Third Party or recovery of costs from your opponent.

Where you have the benefit of a Legal Expense Policy, and your legal expense insurer is prepared to extend cover for you to this firm (indemnify you) any costs we are unable to recover from the other party should be paid by your insurer subject to any limits they may place and there will be no contribution for costs against you personally other than on the occasion when you have chosen to ignore our legal advice or failed to comply with the conditions of your cover or your cover is inadequate.

Our charges will be calculated by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors/advisors and other staff in respect of any work, which they do on your behalf. This will include all work carried out on your case, for example, meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed care calculations, and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary. You will be responsible for our costs from the date you instruct us to the date the matter reaches conclusion.

  • Routine letters are charged as 6 minute units of time and we charge for the time spent on making and taking telephone calls in 6 minute units and considering incoming letters at units of 3 minutes per page.
  • We may arrange for work to be done on your behalf by a person or persons not directly employed by us (for example an enquiry agent to prepare a statement) and charge at rates that do not exceed those in these Terms of Business.
  • The current hourly rates are set out below. We will add VAT at the rate that applies when the work is done.

If you are successful and entitled to recover your costs, details of our charges will be sent to the Third Party Insurers or Representatives for payment. If you are unsuccessful you will be responsible for your costs to us except in circumstances where you have entered into an Agreement with us to act on a No Win No Fee basis which remains in force. There may be circumstances where you are successful i.e. obtain a settlement/damages but do not receive your own costs, i.e., no Court Order for costs is made in your favour or you may not be entitled to all your costs due to the value of your claim.

Your right to recover legal costs from your opponent in addition to compensation will apply only in cases subject to the following:-

a)   A claim involving personal injury where the value of your injury claim alone exceeds £1,000.00. Most injuries, even minor whiplash, will attract an award of damages exceeding £1,000.00 in value. You should be aware however that this limit may increase from time to time and this may affect your entitlement to recover costs from your opponent.

b)   Claims for damages after the 1st April 2013 not involving personal injury where the value of your claim exceeds £10,000.00.

  • In circumstances where there is a claim for personal injury exceeding £1,000.00 or a claim not including damages for personal injury but where the value of the claim exceeds £10,000.00 and the insurers for the Third Party fail to agree payment of our costs and disbursements in full, we reserve the right to deduct such sum that would equal the balance of our costs from your settlement.
  • If your personal injury claim does not exceed £1,000.00 in respect of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity or is a claim that does not include damages for personal injury and does not exceed £10,000.00, your claim would be regarded as a “small claim”. Should it be necessary to litigate it would be dealt with on the small claims track whereby there is no entitlement to recover your legal fees from your opponent even if successful, other than a nominal sum for costs known as fixed costs which are those costs which your solicitor is entitled to enter on a claim form for the preparation of the document that is lodged with the Court for commencement of proceedings and costs of entering a Judgment if applicable. Nevertheless, we shall endeavour to negotiate settlement on condition that reasonable costs are paid. Should your opponent maintain no entitlement to costs, or agree to make a small payment by way of a contribution to costs, we reserve the right to deduct our reasonable and proportionate costs from your settlement and we will invite you to sign a CFA or DBA which permits this.

If, for any reason, your matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred. Any charges waived would be at our discretion or subject to such other Agreement that may vary these Terms of Business.

BASIC CHARGES

Grade of Fee Earner Hourly Rate
1 – Solicitors and Legal Executives with over 8 years post-qualification experience inc. at least 8 years litigation experience. £357.00 plus VAT
2 – Solicitors and Legal Executives with over 4 years post-qualification experience inc. at least 4 years litigation experience. £291.00 plus VAT
3 – Other Solicitors, Legal Executives, Advisors/Litigation Executives of equivalent experience. £257.00 plus VAT (non-Solicitors of equivalent experience)
4 – Trainee Solicitors, Paralegals and other Advisors £220.00 plus VAT (non-Solicitors of equivalent experience)

The above hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation.  The rates will be revised with effect from 1stJanuary each year and will increase by 4% on 1st January each year based upon the previous year’s rate.

LOW VALUE ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CLAIMS

  • In all Road Traffic Accident Claims (RTA’S) that settle without commencement of Court Proceedings, our hourly rates are all subject to a minimum charge equal to the amount of your entitlement to recoverable costs under the Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC’s) rules pursuant to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR).  The cost rules under the CPR can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at   justice.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/help.htm
  • In all Road Traffic Accident Claims (RTA’S) that pre-date the 31st July 2013, the CPR provides for Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC’s) in Road Traffic Accident claims that settle without the commencement of Court Proceedings where the agreed value of damages is between £1,000.00 to £10,000.00 and where the claim would have been allocated to the Courts Fast Track if proceedings had been issued. For instance, Road Traffic Accident claims where there is a Personal Injury with a value in excess of £1,000.00 and up to £10,000.00. Claims under the MIB Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999 are included.  Claims that would be allocated to the Small Claims Track, if issued are excluded.  Where you are successful in such a claim, other than in exceptional circumstances, you will only be entitled to recover a fixed amount of costs from your opponent in addition to the damages paid.  These costs are known as Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC’s)and are calculated by reference to the agreed value of your settlement.

The amount of Fixed Recoverable Costs are calculated by totalling the following:-

a) A basic fee of £800.00 plus;

b) An amount equivalent to 20% of the agreed damages up to £5,000.00 and;

c) An amount equivalent to 15% of the agreed damages between £5,000.00 and £10,000.00

all plus VAT, reasonable disbursements but excluding any success fee and insurance premium.

‘Agreed damages’ include interim payments made to the Claimant, but exclude payments required by statute to be made to a third party (e.g. payments to the CRU or NHS).  Where a discount for contributory negligence has been agreed the fixed costs are calculated by reference to the damages actually paid.

  • In Road Traffic Accident Claims (RTA’S) that occur on or after the 31st July 2013, the following Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC’s) apply:-
 

 

 

Pre-Issue:

 

£1,000 – £5,000

Pre-Issue:

 

£5,001 – £10,000

Pre-Issue:

 

£10,001 – £25,000

Issued:

 

Post Issue

Pre-Allocation

Issued:

 

Post-Allocation

Pre-Listing

Issued:

 

Post-Listing

Pre-Trial

Trial:

 

Advocacy Fee

 

 

Fixed Costs

 

 

Greater of £550 or £100

 

+ 20% of Damages

£1,100

 

+ 15% of Damages over £5k

£1,930

 

+ 10% of Damages over £10k

 

£1,160

 

+ 20% of Damages

£1,880

 

+ 20% of Damages

£2,655

 

+ 20% of Damages

£485 (to £3,000)

 

£690 (£3-10,000)

£1,035 (£10-15,000)

£1,660 (£15,000 +)

The process applies to all RTA claims in England and Wales where the value of the claim is between £1,000.00 and £25,000.00 and contains an element of personal injury.

The 30th April 2010 saw the introduction of the new Pre-action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury  Road Traffic Accident Claims together with Fixed Costs. This has been extended on the 31st July 2013 to include all Road Traffic Accident Claims up to a value of £25,000.00. This procedure aims to streamline the claims process in claims where liability for the accident has been admitted by your opponent’s insurer within 15 working day of notification of a claim.

  • The process applies to all RTA claims in England and Wales where the value of the personal injury claim is between £1,000.00 and £25,000.00.
  • The process is split into 3 Stages and each Stage of the process has Fixed Recoverable Costs as follows:

Stage 1   –    Providing early notification of a claim to Defendant and Defendant (opponent) insurers;

Stage 2   –    Medical evidence, requests for interim payments of damages, offers to settle and negotiation;

Stage 3   –   The procedure where the value of the claim cannot be agreed.

Each of the above stages attract FRC’s that are payable by the opponent’s insurers set out in the table below:

Fixed costs in relation to the Low Value RTA Protocol

Claims of £1,000 to £10,000

 

 

Claims of £10,000 to £25,000
Stage 1 fixed costs

 

 

£200.00 Stage 1 fixed costs £200.00
Stage 2 fixed costs

 

 

£300.00 Stage 2 fixed costs £600.00
Total: £500.00

 

 

Total: £800.00
Stage 3 fixed costs Type A fixed costs £250.00

 

Type B fixed costs £250.00

Type C fixed costs £150.00

Stage 3 fixed costs Type A fixed costs £250.00

 

Type B fixed costs £250.00

Type C fixed costs £150.00

“Type A fixed costs” means the legal representative’s costs;

“Type B fixed costs” means the advocate’s costs; and

“Type C fixed costs” means the costs for the advice on the amount of damages where the Claimant is a child.

“Advocate” means a person exercising a right to be heard in Court as a representative of or on behalf of a party.

  • You should note that the costs you will be obliged to pay us are unlikely to be fully met by the costs you are entitled to receive from your opponent or costs recovered from your opponent.
  • You will be given credit for your fixed costs entitlement recovered against the overall amount of the costs that you will be obliged to pay.
  • Whenever you have an entitlement to FRC’s, notwithstanding our hourly rates, the minimum charge for the work we have done on your behalf will be the amount of FRC’S to which you are entitled.
  • Where recoverable costs are insufficient to meet your costs of dealing with your claim you will be required to pay the shortfall.

CONDITIONAL FEE AGREEMENTS (CFA) AND DAMAGED BASED AGREEMENTS (DBA).

Where your instructions are on a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a Success Fee will be payable in addition. The Success Fee is to reflect the fact that we will not be entitled to charge you anything for our costs if you lose your claim.  Where you are not on a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) or Damaged Base Agreement (DBA) you will be liable to pay our costs even where you lose. Please refer to Schedule 3 of the Conditional Fee Agreement.

DISBURSEMENTS AND EXPENSES

During the conduct of your claim, we may at our discretion cover any outlay for disbursements, unless we advise you to the contrary. These are payments such as engineer’s fees, medical report fees, hospital administration charges, Court issue fees. We will usually recover these disbursements from the opponent’s insurer on the successful conclusion of your claim together with our costs. Please note that you will at all times remain responsible for reimbursement of our outlay for disbursements irrespective of the outcome of your claim.

The following are typical examples of disbursements you may expect in your claim:-

  • In non-Personal Injury cases DVLA Search £2.50; Police Accident Report (where liability is in dispute) £80.00; Engineers Report approximately £105.00 + VAT.
  • In Personal Injury cases release of copy Medical Records £50.00, copy Hospital Records or Notes £50.00, Medical Examiners Report £250.00 – £400.00; Barrister’s fees £75.00 to £500.00. After the Event Insurance Policy (ATE) prices range between £95.00 + IPT to £1500.00 + IPT depending on the type of case, complexity and risks involved. You should note that unlike the other disbursements, the cost of any ATE policy will not be recoverable from your opponent and will have to be paid by you upon the successful conclusion of your claim. You are referred to the section headed ‘INSURANCE MEDIATION ACTIVITY’ for further details.
  • If Court proceedings are necessary, the Court Issue Fee ranges between £35.00 to £1,670.00 depending on the value of your claim. A typical claim of between £5,000.00 to £15,000.00 has a Court issue fee of £245.00. If defended an allocation fee of £220.00 is payable.  There are further pre-trial checklist and hearing fees of between £655.00 and £1,200.00 payable again depending on the value of your claim and the track to which it has been allocated at Court.

OPPONENTS LIABILITY FOR YOUR COSTS AND EXPENSES

In some cases you may be entitled to payment of costs by your opponent. This is commonly referred to as a ‘cost bearing claim’. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances, your opponent may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with us. You are responsible for payment of our charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them. If the other party is in receipt of legal aid no costs are likely to be recovered. In most cases your opponent will not have Legal Aid but may be covered by insurance.

If you are successful and a Court orders your opponent to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from your opponent from the date of the Court Order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest up to a limit of £150.00.

You will also be responsible for paying our charges and expenses of seeking recovery of any costs that the Court orders your opponent to pay to you.

If you are unsuccessful in your claim you may be ordered to pay the opponents legal fees. Those fees would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses.  This is even the case where you have instructed us to act for you on a CFA and irrespective of there being no obligation to pay our charges.  Arrangements can be made to take out ATE insurance to cover your liability for your opponent’s legal expenses.  We will discuss this with you when we consider how your claim is funded.

Should your claim for personal injury be worth no more than £1,000.00 and/or you are awarded no more than £1,000.00 then you will have no entitlement to recover your legal costs from your opponent. Your opponent may also object to payment of the cost of the medical evidence obtained on your behalf.  You remain responsible for these costs and we reserve the right to deduct such costs from any damages you are awarded as well as our normal basic charges and success fee if applicable.  

INSURANCE MEDIATION ACTIVITY

  • We can provide certain limited services in relation to the provision of insurance, provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you, such as arranging, or making arrangements, with a view to a person entering into a contract of insurance for legal cost protection and advising on the merits of obtaining such insurance. For example, advising upon and arranging After The Event (ATE) insurance incidental to litigation services.
  • There are a limited number of insurers who provide and specialise in the provision of legal costs protection insurance cover. We only select products from a limited number of insurers but we are not contractually obliged to conduct business in this way.  Details of other insurers are available upon request.
  • We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct 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 Conduct Authority website at fca.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 the Law Society whose details can be found on page 9.
  • You may already be covered for legal expenses under a Before the Event Insurance policy (BTE), for example, motor insurance; home insurance; credit card insurance. We will ask you to provide us with details of any cover that you may have and will also make certain enquiries on your behalf. If we identify that you are covered we will endeavour to confirm that your insurer will allow us to act for you with the benefit of the cover provided and also check whether you are adequately protected in relation to the cost of making your claim.
  • Provided your BTE Insurer agrees to us acting on your behalf, if your claim is unsuccessful, providing you have complied with the terms and conditions of your BTE Policy, then you should not have to pay us any fees and the disbursements we have incurred on your behalf should be met by your BTE Insurer.
  • If you do not have any BTE cover we may recommend that a Policy of After the Event Insurance (ATE) is arranged in order to protect you against the risk of any costs and disbursements of your opponent and in addition your own disbursements with us.
  • Premiums for an ATE Policy are likely to range from £110.00 to £1500.00 plus Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) currently running at 10%. The premium will depend upon the type of policy and risk involved. However, in certain cases where there are exceptional circumstances or there is a greater risk, the premium could be higher.
  • The premium for an ATE Policy is usually deferred until the conclusion of your claim. The premium will become payable upon the successful conclusion of your claim. Your opponent will not be responsible for the premium and this will be paid by you. If you are unsuccessful you will not have to pay the premium. The ATE policy will fund the cost of the premium in the event that you are unsuccessful.

SEPARATE BUSINESSES

We sometimes work with Access First LEI Limited, Access Hire & Finance Limited, Access Repairer Funding Limited and other separate businesses who are not regulated by the Solicitors Regulations Authority and the statutory protections attaching to clients of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors under SRA regulation are not available to you as customers of those businesses. We do this as it enables us to work with service providers we trust and know.

Whilst we may make a recommendation to you in respect of additional services such as car hire and/or repair with a provider with whom we have a link, you are at all times free to use whoever you choose. These are separate businesses and your consent to use them will be sought expressly prior to their instruction.

ACCESS FIRST LEI LIMITED

With regards to insurance mediation activity outlined above, you may already have purchased a Before the Event Insurance Policy (BTE), or we may recommend that you obtain an After the Event Insurance Policy (ATE) through a legal expenses insurance company called Access First LEI Limited. This company is an approved representative of Paul Davidson who is authorised by the FCA under FCA registration 306794. Paul Davidson is a family member of the Managing Director in Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited and further both Sheldon Davidson and Paul Davidson are shareholders in the company Access First LEI Limited.

Should you wish to clarify further or wish to raise any objection to this firm utilising the services offered by any company please bring this our immediate attention.

ACCESS HIRE AND FINANCE LIMITED

We work closely with Access Hire & Finance Limited (Access Hire) who is a credit hire replacement vehicle provider. You may have provided us with your permission and authority to contact Access Hire to provide you with a replacement vehicle whilst your vehicle is unroadworthy or where you are without your vehicle due to the same being ‘off the road’ for repair as a consequence of your accident. The Shareholders in this company include Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited, Beverly Davidson (the Managing Director’s wife), Paul Davidson (a family member) and Belinda Davidson (a family member).

Should you wish to clarify further or wish to raise any objection to this firm utilising the services offered by any company please bring this our immediate attention.

ACCESS REPAIRER FUNDING LIMITED

We also have an arrangement with Access Repairer Funding Limited who may be used to finance repair costs of vehicles or recovery and storage charges. The Shareholders of this company include Beverly Davidson (the Managing Director’s wife), Paul Davidson (a family member), Philip Comerford (an employee of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors) and Christopher McCormack (who is also a Director and shareholder in Access Hire & Finance Limited).

Should you wish to clarify further or wish to raise any objection to this firm utilising the services offered by any company please bring this our immediate attention.

GARAGES ADVERTISING UK LIMITED

Garages Advertising UK Limited facilitate the marketing of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors, the shareholders of this company are Philip Comerford (an employee of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited), Sheldon Davidson (the Managing Director of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited) and Beverly Davidson (the Managing Director’s wife).

MEDICAL REPORTS, TREATMENT, MEDICAL AGENCIES & OTHER AGENTS

If you have suffered a personal injury we will normally need to obtain a medical report from an independent medical expert.  We instruct a number of medical experts depending on the type of injury sustained and field of the expert required to report.  In order to facilitate the instruction of the expert we may instruct the expert direct or use an agency who acts as an intermediary.   All reports are prepared by independent and suitably qualified experts.

We will also instruct a treatment provider to assess your immediate treatment needs to aid and assist in your recovery.  The cost of treatment is your responsibility irrespective of the outcome of the claim.  You are under no obligation to take up the offer of treatment.

If you have your own treatment provider and wish to organise treatment through them then you are at liberty to do so and forward to us the cost of your treatment for inclusion in your claim.  All rehabilitation treatment is administered via suitably qualified experts.

Any non-attendance fees for failed treatment appointments or medical appointments incurred by you are your responsibility.

YOUR OBLIGATIONS TO US  

There are very strict time limits that have to be complied with by us on your behalf whilst dealing with your claim. These time limits apply whether throughout your claim and more so once legal proceedings have been issued at Court. You must therefore help us by attending to correspondence and any other forms of communication as soon as possible.

If you do not then your claim will be affected and it may well be that you will have to pay adverse costs to the other side.  You may also have to attend Court when we advise of any hearing dates. The Courts are very reluctant to adjourn hearings. Therefore, before you go on holiday or are not available will you please notify us well in advance.

We will also have to ask you for information to help us run your case. The time limits which we have referred to mean that it is important that you do not delay in supplying us with the information as soon as requested. You must not ask for us to work in an inappropriate or unreasonable way or deliberately mislead us or knowingly allow us to be misled or to mislead others including the Court.

You must also disclose to us, all paperwork, records and notes even if it does not always support your case. The Court rules state that we will have to notify the other side of all documents and you will have to sign a certificate that you have conducted a reasonable and proportionate search for all documents that could be relevant.   There are penalties and sanctions for failure to do so.  The Courts are getting stricter and may not allow you to proceed with your claim or part of it where you have been under an obligation to provide evidence and have failed to do so in accordance with the Courts Directions or Order. Your claim could even be ‘struck out’ which would mean your claim ends and you would have to pay your opponents and our costs as a result.  Your insurers may also refuse to pay costs if the claim has ended in this way.

You must not ask for us to work in an inappropriate or unreasonable way or deliberately mislead us or knowingly allow us to be misled or to mislead others including the Court.

If you are contacted by the other side or their insurers or a representative on their behalf you must notify us immediately and you must not in any circumstances accept any offers they may make to you without first obtaining our advice otherwise it may prevent you recovering any treatment costs you have incurred and our costs in which case we would have to look to you for payment.  In addition there is a significant risk that you may end up settling your claim for considerably less than its true value and overlook losses which you did not know you are entitled to claim for and recover.

INTEREST

Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rule, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on Barclays Bank Plc’s Designated Client Accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any payment from our Client Account.  Where the amount of interest does not exceed £150.00 we shall retain the interest accrued and where interest exceeds £150.00 we may ask you to sign a separate letter of authority agreeing that we may retain the first £150.00 of each amount of interest as and when calculated to help us cover the administrative expenses of arranging interest calculations and payments to you.

TAX ADVICE

Certain transactions may have implications for Revenue (HMRC) purposes. We do not hold ourselves out as competent tax advisors on matters of taxation or tax consequences that may be associated with your particular matter and you should seek independent tax advice from your accountant or other suitably qualified person.

STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS

After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our fees and expenses. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than six (6) years. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy your file after such period as we consider reasonable and/or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which may be specified in that notice. We reserve the right to scan your file of papers and retain an electronic record as an alternative to storing the physical file of papers and where we do so, reserve the right to destroy the paper file.

If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading correspondence, other work necessary to comply with your instructions together with our reasonable photocopying charges and postage.

TERMINATION

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.

Where liability is in dispute and we consider that there is no reasonable prospect of success with your claim then we shall cease acting on your behalf unless you are willing to assure us as to our costs personally from the date of such notice or we are satisfied that our costs will  be paid through other means such as a policy which provides legal expense insurance cover and continued cover under such a policy applies.

If we decide to stop acting for you, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing and we may suspend work as set out elsewhere in these terms without terminating our retainer altogether. 

LIMITED COMPANIES

When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a Director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.

COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND US

Our aim is to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service at all times. We hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, please raise your concern in the first place with the person with day to day conduct of you matter.

If the person with day to day conduct is unable to help then we operate an internal complaint’s procedure and we shall provide details upon request.

QUALITY STANDARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

Sheldon Davidson Solicitors is accredited with the Lexcel quality standard awarded by the Law Society.  We also have corporate accreditation with APIL who are the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a representative body for Claimants.   As a result of this we are or may become subject to periodic checks by outside assessors. This could mean that your file is selected for checking, in which case we would need your consent for inspection to occur. All inspections are conducted in confidence. If you prefer to withhold consent, work on your file will not be affected in any way. Since very few of our clients do object to this we shall assume that we have your consent unless you notify us to the contrary. We will also assume, unless you indicate otherwise, that consent on this occasion will extend to all future matters which we conduct on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need us to explain this further or if you would like us to mark your file so as not to be inspected. If you would prefer to withhold consent please confirm the same to us in writing.

DATA PROTECTION

This section explains how we will process your personal information when you make a claim for compensation or you instruct us in relation to any other business.

We will collect and maintain personal information in order to enable us to act on your behalf.  All personal information is treated with the utmost confidentiality and with appropriate levels of security.  We will not keep your information longer than is necessary.

The personal information that you supply may be used by us and our representatives for the purposes of claims administration, crime prevention, management information, staff training, providing financial services and guidance.

Your personal information may be disclosed to third parties, including, but not limited to insurers, law enforcement bodies, government departments, local authorities, investigators and other public or private bodies, where we are authorised to do so by you or permitted by law to do so.  This includes disclosures to third-party-managed databases of insurance claims used to help prevent fraud and to regulatory bodies for the purposes of monitoring and/or enforcing our compliance with any regulatory rules/codes.

Your personal information may be transferred to any country, including countries outside the European Economic Area where the transfer is necessary for the purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights, obtaining legal advice, or in connection with any legal Proceedings in connection with your claim.

Your personal information may include medical information in the event of you claiming for personal injury. This will need to be shared in pursuit of your claim. If you object to this please contact us in writing so we can revise further. We will only reveal your information if it is allowed by law, authorised by you, to prevent fraud or in order that we can liaise with our agents in administration of your claim.

You have the right to ask for a copy of any information we hold on you and to require a correction of any incorrect information held.  Any inaccurate or misleading data will be corrected as soon as possible.

The above principles apply whether we hold your information on paper or in electronic form.

Enquiries in relation to data held by Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited should be direct to Mr Davidson, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors, 219 Bury New Road, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 8GW.

COMPLAINTS AND COMPLAINTS HANDLING

We aim to offer our clients a friendly and efficient service.  During the course of the matter, if there is any aspect about which you are concerned or require clarification, then please raise it with the person who is handling the matter or their Supervisor, Sara Green, with a view to the matter being resolved quickly.  If you remain concerned or we could not agree an appropriate course of action, then your complaint would be referred to Phill Comerford, the firm’s Client Care Manager who will contact you, and attempt to resolve the matter to your satisfaction. The firm has a Complaints Procedure document, which is available on request from our offices, and which will be sent to you should you make a complaint.  Your right to complain might relate to the way in which your matter is being handled, or about a bill that we issue. However, we would point out that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest, such entitlement being set on the bill. We have eight weeks to consider your complaint.

If you remain dissatisfied at the end of our complaints process, you would then be at liberty to contact the Legal Ombudsman, provided you are an individual, a personal representative of a deceased person, a “micro-enterprise” (having fewer than 10 employees and annual turnover or assets not exceeding 2 million Euros), a charity or club/association with annual income of less than £1 million, or a trustee of a trust with assets of less than £1 million. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints up to six years from the date of the problem happening or within three years of when someone should have found out about the problem.   However, if we send a final written response to your complaint within eight weeks of receiving it, the time limit for you to refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman would be six months from the date of that final response.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, their contact details are as follows:-

  • Website – legalombudsman.org.uk
  • Telephone – 0300 555 0333 between 8.30am to 5.30pm (calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02) from both mobiles and landlines.  Calls are recorded and may be used for training and monitoring purposes.
  • E-mail – enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
  • Postal address – Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.

Alternative complaints resolution bodies also exist and are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme at the end of our internal complaints process. They provide Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services. Small Claims Mediation is one such body, details of which can be found at www.small-claims-mediation.co.uk ; and another is Ombudsman Services, details of which can be found at www.ombudsman-services.org .  Under the provisions of the EU Directive on Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution, to pursue this process you would have to be a “consumer”, namely an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside your trade, business, craft or profession.

We are obliged to inform you from the outset of your claim of your right to complain about our bill and to apply for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.  Should you wish to complain about our bill you should do so by contacting the Legal Ombudsman.

PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited holds a primary level of professional indemnity insurance cover with W R Berkely Insurance (Europe) Limited, 2ndFloor, 40 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7AW under policy number IKO090A41490. The territorial limit of cover is worldwide. The amount of this cover is £3,000,000. We also hold an excess layer of insurance of £7,000,000 with Chaucer, therefore hold total cover of £10,000,000. 

PROFESSIONAL RULES

Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Our SRA number is 519502. The SRA is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society. The professional rules which are applicable to Solicitors are set out in the Solicitor’s Code of Conduct which can be found at www.sra.org.uk/rules/. There is also a section on the SRA’s website for consumers which can be found at www.sra.org.uk/consumers/consumers/page.

ENDING YOUR AGREEMENT / RIGHT TO CANCEL

You agree that we may commence work for you immediately despite your right to cancel during the cancellation period.

You have a right to cancel this Agreement as per page 11 and should you do so within the 14 day ‘cooling off period’, you will not be charged for any work undertaken within the first 14 days of the signed Agreement. This is an extra right over and above the rights contained within the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

You will be responsible for any work undertaken after the 14 day ‘cooling off’ period as per the terms of the Agreement.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS

Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the current hourly rates, these Terms of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms of Business.

A large print version of this document is available upon request

Sheldon Davidson Solicitors and SDS are both trading names of Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited Company Reg. No. 6958532

Any reference in this document to the firm, practice or company relates to Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited.

Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA No: 519502

Sheldon Davidson Solicitors Limited is VAT registered under number 981 8650 78

Introduction

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APIL Accredited  Specialist in Personal Injury
Motor Accident Solicitors Society Associate Member
Lexel
  • I would recommend Sheldon Davidson 100% as you can be assured you will always get the best service possible.

    Mr C

  • I'm very pleased with the quick and excellent service provided

    Mr G

  • Jill was very professional from the moment she took over the case

    Mr M

  • Extremely helpful throughout the process, very polite & courteous, explained in detail anything I needed to know, would definitely recommend them to my family & friends.

    Miss B

  • I can honestly say that Victoria's help, support and guidance were a God send and truly welcome! I was able to reach an acceptable outcome. I would recommend SDS and Victoria in a heartbeat

    Mr M

  • All of your staff have been very friendly and helpful in every way and keeping me up to date with my claim

    Mr B

  • I have been very happy with all the help your staff have given me during my claim.

    Mr B

  • The service I was given was excellent. I had no problem with getting in touch with my solicitor or a member of staff at any time. They were always extremely helpful. I would like to thank all the staff for their time and effort they have put in for me.

    Mr H

  • You have done an outstanding job in dealing with my claim and treated both myself and my wife in a totally professional manner

    Mr P

  • Jill has been fantastic. I felt I could speak to her at any point and she explained the facts very well to me .always polite and pleasant. thankyou Jill

    Mrs E

  • Excellent service from start to finish

    Mr L

  • You truly exceeded my expectations with your superb service, knowledge and smooth completion of my difficult situation.

    Mr M

  • Both Victoria and Michelle have been a massive help to me, more like family.

    Mr S

  • Thank you to your company. I will be recommending Sheldon Davidson's as I have found you more than helpful and very quick

    Mr M

  • Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant, whenever I needed advice they were always available!

    Mr B

  • Excellent advice always kept me up to date with everything I would recommend them to anyone

    Miss E

  • I would like to thank you for all your work on my claim and would definitely use you again

    Mr M

  • Thank you for the handling of my claim! You exceeded my expectations. Great service. Great outcome.

    Mrs B