Terms and Conditions
Terms & Conditions
1. Serving You Well
We want to give you the very best debt recovery service.
We are solicitors and are authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This gives you assurance and confidence because of the 7 Principles which the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Standards and Regulations imposes on us. They are:
1. Act in a way that upholds the constitutional principle of the rule of law, and the proper administration of justice.
2. Act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons.
3. Act with independence.
4. Act with honesty.
5. Act with integrity.
6. Act in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion.
7. Act in the best interests of each client.
The Directors aim for the very highest standards. We operate a policy of ‘putting people first’. It is company policy to treat everyone fairly with respect and courtesy. This includes staff, clients, suppliers, debtors and their representatives, court staff and anyone else we deal with.
We aim to give all clients an excellent and personal service and our staff the best working conditions. This includes full and on-going training and an environment where stress is minimised.
2. What We Do
Our job is:
• to identify your objectives;
• to advise you clearly on the issues involved;
• to advise you on ways of achieving those objectives and on appropriate courses of action;
• to carry out the job as quickly as possible;
• to ensure you are aware of what is happening at all times;
• to do our best to ensure the outcome is in line with your objectives.
3. What You Do
Successful litigation is a partnership between client and lawyer. We ask you to provide instructions, information or documents promptly and without the need for us to ‘chase’ you. Our costs estimates will be based on you doing this. If you don’t, your costs will go up and your chances of getting a good result will go down.
If you tell us the outcome of every letter before action or claim through our CaseManager website, you will have a very powerful management reporting tool at your disposal.
We recommend that before you take legal action you make credit and status checks on the debtor. We also recommend that you make these checks at regular intervals during proceedings and before incurring any steps which will incur significant costs.
You agree that when you ask us to take a step in proceedings which requires a document to be verified by a Statement of Truth, we are authorised to sign the Statement of Truth on your behalf. Authorising us to sign a Statement of Truth is a serious matter and you confirm that any of your staff who will be instructing us have read the guidance on our website.
You should check whether your business has any credit or legal insurance policies that may cover your legal costs. If so, please tell us immediately. If not, please ask us if you require advice on insurance policies (ATE ‘after the event’) as you may be able to purchase these to cover your costs or your liability for your opponent’s costs.
If the case is contested, we can discuss with you the cost/benefit in more detail.
4. Service Levels
• We will issue standard LBAs, LPDs and PreLegal letters the same day if we receive your instructions by 2.00pm
• We will issue standard Claim forms and Judgments the same day if we receive your instructions by 2.00pm
• We will commence standard Enforcements (including Insolvency) the next day if we receive your instructions by 2.00pm
• In Defended work, we shall be working to a court-imposed timetable. Subject to receipt of instructions from you promptly, we will meet the timetable
• Advice shall be given within 5 working days of the later of:
a) the file being passed to Commercial Litigation
b) you confirming the fixed price is acceptable
c) you supplying information / documents requested or promised; or
d) payment on account being paid
• We will normally reply to letters, faxes, emails and web messages within two days of your communication
• When the person you require is unavailable to take your telephone call, we will ring you back within 4 working hours.
The issuing of actions and enforcements is subject to the availability of Companies House and the Court Service. All timescales are references to working days.
5. Online Access to Cases
In this age of computers, our services are delivered via the Lovetts website. Via a secure login, CaseManager gives you full control over your cases. You can give instructions online and view all case information including costs and documents.
It contains all the reports you need to run an effective credit control system on Lovetts system and to measure your collections success.
Your staff will need usernames and passwords to view cases on the site. It is vital that you keep these up-to-date especially when your staff change, otherwise there may be a serious security risk for your business.
6. Recovering Costs/Paying Others’ Costs
You are responsible for paying our bills, regardless of any costs orders made against someone else. If you win, the court will normally award you costs. It is very rare for the costs order to cover more than two-thirds of your actual costs.
If the case, or an application, is not successful, you may be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs in addition to our charges and expenses.
We promise to listen to you carefully and sympathetically if you have a complaint. Lovetts treat all client feedback seriously and it is considered as an opportunity to improve client care. Our complaints procedure tells you how you can make a complaint and can be found here.
Please note that, if the query concerns the advice given, rather than the way we have provided the service, we may need to refer it to our indemnity insurers before replying. If a referral is required then we will contact you to agree on a new timescale if we believe the complaint will not be dealt with within fourteen days.
You have the right to challenge our bills. You have 12 months in which to challenge a bill and, if necessary, ask the court to assess it. The court will only order assessment of the costs in special circumstances once the bill has been paid if more than 12 months have passed since it was delivered or we have obtained a judgment. The court will not order assessment more than 12 months after the bill has been paid.
If at the end of our procedures you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint on 0300 555 0333 or at [email protected] or write to PO BOX 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ.
8. Our Prices
UK PreLegal Department
We charge on a contingency basis in accordance with the terms set out in the UK Prelegal price list which can be found here.
International PreLegal Department
We charge on a contingency basis in accordance with the terms set out in the International Debt Collection price list which can be found here.
We charge in accordance with our price list, which can be found here.
Commercial Litigation Department
We charge on a time basis and will give you appropriate estimates of costs. We record time as the work is being done. Routine letters, faxes, emails and telephone attendances may be charged as 6-minute units. We are always happy to provide copies of detailed time records if requested.
You may wish to set a limit on the charges and expenses to be incurred. If you do, we may do work up to the limit without referring back to you. If more work is needed, we will let you know.
9. Bills and Payment Terms
We will invoice you at the end of each month for work done in that month. We may invoice you at more frequent intervals. Each bill will be a final bill in respect of the items included in it. We may ask for payment of disbursements in advance or reasonable payments on account of future costs.
All invoices must be paid within 30 days of the date of invoice.
If for any reason an invoice is unpaid at the expiry of the credit period of 30 days we may:
• exercise our statutory right to claim interest and compensation under the Late Payment legislation.
• invoice you for work done or disbursements paid on your behalf but not yet billed.
• immediately claim payment of all invoices despatched including those within the credit period.
• suspend the supply of services to you. If suspension occurs, no further work will be carried out for you until all invoices have been paid and we have sufficient funds from you on account to cover the likely costs of future work.
• be paid our legal costs on an indemnity basis i.e. the full costs of legal action against you. If we do any of the work ourselves, we are entitled to be paid on an indemnity basis for the time spent at our normal hourly rates
• exercise a lien i.e. a legitimate ‘hold’ over any money, property or goods held by us now or in the future and nett off our invoices when raised.
We can accept payment by credit or debit card.
“You have the right to challenge our bills. You have 12 months in which to challenge a bill and, if necessary, ask the court to assess it. The court will only order assessment of the costs in special circumstances once the bill has been paid if more than 12 months have passed since it was delivered or we have obtained a judgment. The court will not order assessment more than 12 months after the bill has been paid.”
Please note that a £25 correspondence fee may be charged if the debtor makes contact with us.
10. Ending Our Relationship
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time.
We may decide to stop acting for you but only with good reason. Examples of this would be non-payment of one of our invoices within the credit period, failure to comply with our request for a payment on account or failure to give acceptable, temperate or viable instructions. In the situation where a client uses unacceptable language or threatens violence towards a member of staff, Lovetts reserve the right to terminate the business relationship.
You will be responsible for payment of all costs and liabilities we incur.
11. Insurance Mediation Services
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, and the Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints-handling body of the Law Society.
Lovetts Ltd is 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 Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at register.fca.org.uk
12. Other Legal Matters
We operate a client account in accordance with the SRA. Accounts Rules ensuring that your funds are completely safe. This is underwritten by the Solicitors Compensation Fund.
If we hold funds for you in excess of £1,000 for a period exceeding 1 month, we will pay interest at the rate Barclays bank are paying on Lovetts client account. This policy is subject to a minimum interest amount payable of £25.
We normally pay out money received and cleared after six working days direct to your bank account by BACS. Where payment is subsequently dishonoured, we have the right to recover this from you. Payment from overseas will take longer to clear.
We may not be able to adhere to these timescales if Money Laundering legislation requires it.
From time to time we will make a search of a credit reference agency for the purpose of assessing your credit standing. The agency will keep a record of that search. We will monitor and record in a secure IT situation information we receive about you, or your payment performance with us.
Data Protection & Privacy
All routine emails, faxes and letters are scanned and stored electronically by us for a minimum of 6 years. The originals are securely destroyed after one year. If you require documents to be held by us or returned to you, please ensure you request this in writing when sending them to us.
Auditing and Vetting of Files
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit/quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.
Jurisdiction and Governing Law
These terms and conditions and any act or contract to which they apply shall be governed by English Law and any dispute arising out of any act or contract to which these conditions apply shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales.