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SRA Transparency Rules

Read the full rules here

Introduction

Price and Service Information - Rule 1.1

Complaints Information - Rule 2.1

These rules set out the information authorised firms, and individuals providing services to the public from outside authorised firms, should make available to clients and potential clients.

The rules aim to ensure people have accurate and relevant information about a solicitor or firm when they are considering purchasing legal services and will help members of the public and small businesses make informed choices, improving competition in the legal market.

 

Price and Service Information 1.1 

An authorised body [or an individual practising in the circumstances set out in regulation 10.2(b)(i) to (vii) of the SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations,] who publishes as part of its usual business the availability of any of the services set out at rule 1.3 to individuals or at rule 1.4 to businesses, must, in relation to those services, publish on its website cost information in accordance with rule 1.5 and 1.6.

1.2 Rule 1.1 does not apply to publicly funded work.

1.3 The services in relation to individuals are:

  1. The conveyance of residential real property or real estate which comprise:
    1. freehold or leasehold sales or purchases; or
    2. mortgages or re-mortgages;
  2. the collection and distribution of assets belonging to a person following their death, where these are within the UK and the matters are not contested;
  3. the preparation and submission of immigration applications, excluding asylum applications;
  4. the provision of advice and representation at the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in relation to appeals against Home Office visa or immigration decisions, excluding asylum appeals; 
  5. the provision of advice and representation at the Magistrates Court in relation to summary only road traffic offences dealt with at a single hearing;
  6. the provision of advice and representation to employees in relation to the bringing of claims before the Employment Tribunal against an employer for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.

1.4 The services in relation to businesses are:

  1. (a) the provision of advice and representation to employers in relation to defending claims before the Employment Tribunal brought by an employee for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal;

  2. (b) debt recovery up to the value of £100,000;

  3. (c) the provision of advice and assistance and representation in relation to licensing applications for business premises.

1.5 Costs information must include:

  1. the total cost of the service or, where not practicable, the average cost or range of costs;

  2. the basis for your charges, including any hourly rates or fixed fees;

  3. the experience and qualifications of anyone carrying out the work, and of their supervisors;

  4. a description of, and the cost of, any likely disbursements, and where the actual cost of a disbursement is not known, the average cost or range of costs;

  5. whether any fees or disbursements attract VAT and if so the amount of VAT they attract;

  6. details of what services are included in the price displayed, including the key stages of the matter and likely timescales for each stage, and details of any services that might reasonably be expected to be included in the price displayed but are not; and

  7. if you use conditional fee or damages based agreements, the circumstances in which clients may have to make any payments themselves for your services (including from any damages).

1.6 Cost information published under this rule must be clear and accessible and in a prominent place on your website.

 

Motoring offences: Fixed fee

We are required to provide price information for assistance in relation to summary only motoring offences under Part I of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and s89 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Example (fixed fee)

Drink driving offence, guilty plea - fixed fee £1,500 + VAT

Fee includes:

  • 2 hours attendance/preparation
  • considering evidence
  • taking your instructions
  • providing advice on likely sentence
  • Attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court

In cases involving special reasons, these are charged at the same rate as a trial. 

Our hourly rate is £325 to £500 depending on level of fee earner.

The same rates apply to actual representation at hearings.

The fee does not include:

  • instruction of any expert witnesses
  • taking statements from any witnesses
  • advice and assistance in relation to a special reasons hearing
  • advice or assistance in relation to any appeal

The key stages of your matter are based on the presumption that you have entered a guilty plea and have a date for your hearing.

Meet with your solicitor to provide instructions on what happened.

We will consider initial disclosure, and any other evidence and provide advice.

Arranging to take any witness statements if necessary (this will have an additional cost, at our hourly rates).

We will explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the court.

We will conduct any further preparatory work, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have.

We cannot provide a timescale of when your hearing will take place, as this depends on the court listing for that day.

We (or our agreed appointed representative/ Counsel) will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the court. How long we have to spend at Court is entirely dependent on the Court listing, other cases in the Court list and the complexity of your case.    

We will discuss the outcome with you. 

If advice is required on appeal, this will carry an additional cost to be agreed.

 

Debt recovery: Range of fixed fees

When providing costs for debt recovery, it is common for firms to provide a fixed fee based on the value of the debt to recover.

Example (Range of fixed fees) for a business to business debt that is undisputed

Court Claims

These costs apply where your claim is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and enforcement action is not needed. 

If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary, which could be on a fixed fee (e.g. if a one off letter is required), or an hourly rate if more extensive work is needed. 

Debt valueOur fee (excl. VAT at 20%)
Up to £5,000 £1,500 - £2,500 (+ £300 - 500 VAT)
£5,001 - £10,000 £2,500 – 4,500 (+ £500 – 900 VAT)
£10,001 - £50,000 £4,500 (or X% value of the claim) (+ VAT)

 

Court fees are based on the value of the claim and whether the claim is issued on paper or if it is a claim that is suitable to issue online. 

https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/court-fees

[Please note this is an external third party link and is correct as at October 2018.  It is subject to updates.  This firm are not liable to the accuracy of the information on this link].

Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:

  • The VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from your debtor.
  • Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
  • The costs quoted above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as the bailiff, is needed to collect your debt.

Our fee includes:

  • Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation
  • Undertaking appropriate searches (capped at £100)
  • Sending a letter before action
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing claim (the Court fee is separate and in addition to our fee)
  • Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the court to enter Judgement in default
  • When Judgement in default in received, write to the other side to request payment
  • If payment is not received within 14 days, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs

How long a matter will take from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side depends on whether it is necessary to issue a claim and whether the other side pays promptly on receipt of Judgement. 

If enforcement action is needed, the matter will take longer to resolve.

 

Complaints information 2.1

2.1 An authorised body [or an individual practising in the circumstances set out in regulation 10.2(b)(i) to (vii) of the SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations], must publish on its website details of its complaints handling procedure including, details about how and when a complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman and to the SRA.

Our complaints handling procedure

  • details about how and when a complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman
  • details about how and when a complaint can be made to the SRA.
  • The rule requires us to publish information on our website.

 

Complaints Handling Procedures

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. 

If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure [see below].  Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

 

Complaints Procedures

 

How do I make a complaint?

In the first instances, you should raise your complaint in writing or by speaking to the person you have been dealing with. 

If you do not feel that is possible or you have tried that and are not satisfied with the outcome, you should then raise your concern with one of the senior partners, David Janes or Robert Berg.

To help us make sure we have properly understood your complaint, please tell us:

  • your full name, contact details and any reference number you may have for your case (if you are making the complaint to someone other than the person dealing with your case;
  • what you think we have done wrong;
  • what you think we should do to put things right.
  • If you need any help making your complaint, we will do our best to help you.

 

How will we deal with your complaint?

 

Stage 1

In most cases, the best person to respond quickly to your complaint is the person you have been dealing with or their manager, who will be one of the senior Partners, David Janes or Robert Berg.

We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receiving it and the department you've been dealing with will respond to you within 10 working days of acknowledging your complaint. 

We may be able to deal with the matter in a phone call, or we may need to carry out a detailed review of your case. In all cases we will write to you to tell you the outcome of your complaint and to give you the opportunity to have your complaint reviewed by a senior partner if you are not satisfied with the outcome. 

Stage 2

The senior partner will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receiving it. It may take them up to 20 working days to respond to your complaint from the date they acknowledge it.

In some cases, the department you have been dealing with may pass your complaint directly to the senior partner. (If they do this, we will tell you why.)

 

What if my complaint is justified?

 

If your complaint is justified, we will apologise to you and explain what went wrong and how we plan to put things right. We will learn from our mistakes to improve how we work. In serious cases, we may consider offering a special payment for failures in our service.

 

What if I am not satisfied with the response from the senior partner?

 

If you are still unhappy with our response, you can ask the independent reviewer to review your complaint. The independent reviewer is independent of us, and you can either tell us that you would like to refer your complaint and we can do this for you, or you can do it yourself. You must do this within 20 working days from our senior partner sending you its response.

The independent reviewer will only be able to investigate your complaint after we have completed all the stages of our complaints procedure. They have specific conditions for accepting a complaint, and will decide whether to carry out a full review by considering, among other things, whether:

  • we have already dealt with your complaint fully and responded appropriately
  • it would be unreasonable to carry out a full review, for example if the complaint is a minor one
  • there is an opportunity for you and us to sort out the complaint.

 

What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint?

 

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. 

Most of the time, complaints about poor service should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman. 

If the Legal Ombudsman thinks your case involves a breach of the SRA Principles, the Legal Ombudsman will refer your case to the SRA. 

The SRA may investigate matters such as complaints of dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic or if you think our firm has breached an SRA Principle.

http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page

Phone

0370 606 2555 inside the UK (Call costs guide from Ofcom)

International callers

+44 (0)121 329 6800

Postal address

Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN (map of location) or DX 720293 BIRMINGHAM 47

 

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint for free and independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

 

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

 

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
  • and
  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

 

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.

Contact details

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

 

Alterative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’)

Alternative complaints bodies such as ProMediate exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should you (and our firm) wish to use such a scheme. 

Please note that there are different timescales for dealing with complaints when using ADR and you should contact the company below to discuss these. 

Contact details

Brow Farm Top Road, Frodsham, WA6 6SP, United Kingdom

Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: http://www.promediate.co.uk

Phone: 02036213908

For expert legal advice and representation, call Janes Solicitors today 020 7930 5100 or complete our online enquiry form and one of our lawyers will be in touch as soon as possible.

We are there when you need us. Available seven days a week, you can call us on our out-of-hours service number on 07789 622 430.