April 2013
PHC LAW LTD t/a PHILIP H CUERDEN SOLICITORS
SOLICITORS CODE OF CONDUCT RULE 2 & TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS

Thank you for visiting www.phc-law.com and www.phclaw.co.uk, (“the Website”). The Website is operated by PHC Law Limited. We are a company registered in England and Wales under company registration number 07214601 and have our registered office situated at 107 Garstang Road, Preston, PR1 1LD..

References in this document to “we”, “us” and “our” shall mean PHC Law Limited.

The Terms of Website Use and the Privacy Policy together with any documents referred to within form the terms and conditions of use of the Website, whether as a guest or a client. Please read these terms and conditions carefully before you start to use the Website. By accessing or using our Website, you are accepting the terms and conditions of use. The terms and conditions of use may change from time to time but by browsing the Website you are agreeing to the terms and conditions of use at the time. If you do not agree to these terms of use, please refrain from using our Website.

By accessing this Website you are agreeing that English law will be applicable to any disputes which may arise.

The Website is for your use only and shall only be used in connection with services which we may supply via the Website. You shall not copy, use, alter or tamper with any content of the Website except for printing off pages for your own personal reference.

Any communication or material which you transmit to us via facsimile, telephone or via the Website, or otherwise via the Internet will be treated as non-confidential unless such communication or material includes personal information, which we will use in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Any communications and other material which you send to us shall remain our property and by sending the same to us you agree that we may use the same for any purpose whatsoever, without any compensation being payable by us to you.

  1. Accessing our website 

Access to our Website is permitted on a temporary basis, and we reserve the right to withdraw or amend the service we provide on our Website without notice. We will not be liable if for any reason our Website is unavailable at any time or for any period.

If you choose, or you are provided with, a user identification code, password or any other piece of information as part of our security procedures, you must treat such information as confidential, and you must not disclose it to any third party. We have the right to disable any user identification code or password, whether chosen by you or allocated by us, at any time, if in our opinion you have failed to comply with any of the provisions of these terms of use.

You are responsible for making all arrangements necessary for you to have access to our Website. You are also responsible for ensuring that all persons who access our Website through your internet connection are aware of these terms, and that they comply with them.

2. Content of the website

Any material on the Website, including but not limited to images, text, advertising and/or promotional indents and/or audio and other intellectual property rights existing in the Website, are owned or licensed by us.

You may print off one copy, and may download extracts, of any page(s) from our Website for your personal reference, provided that you keep all copyright and other proprietary notices intact. You must not modify the paper or digital copies of any materials you have printed off or downloaded in any way, and you must not use any illustrations, photographs, video or audio sequences or any graphics separately from any accompanying text.

3. Accuracy of the Information Posted

Commentary and other materials posted on our Website are not intended to amount to advice on which reliance should be placed. We therefore disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on such materials by any visitor to our Website, or by anyone who may be informed of any of its contents.

We work diligently to ensure all information is accurate and complete, but we cannot be liable for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of the Website or any information contained on the Website. The material displayed on our Website is provided without any guarantees, conditions or warranties as to its accuracy. All warranties whether expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on the Website or in respect of materials or products are hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

We aim to update our Website regularly, and may change the content at any time. If the need arises, we may suspend access to our Website, or close it indefinitely. Any of the material on our Website may be out of date at any given time and we are under no obligation to update such material.

4. Viruses, Hackings and other offences

You must not misuse our Website by knowingly introducing viruses, trojans, worms, logic bombs or other material which is malicious or technologically harmful. You must not attempt to gain unauthorised access to our Website, the server on which our Website is stored or any server, computer or database connected to our Website. You must not attack our Website via a denial-of- service attack or a distributed denial-of service attack.

5. Links to third party websites

There may be links on the Website that lead to third party websites. We cannot accept any responsibility for the contents of these websites as they are out of our control nor do we endorse the contents of such third party websites. Any dealings or information contained on such third party websites are subject to their terms and conditions of use and not the terms of use for the Website.

6. Privacy and Cookie Policy

At PHC Law Ltd, we are committed to protect and respect the privacy or all our customers and visitors. To read further about our website cookie policy please see here: www.phc-law.com/privacy-and-cookie-policy/

Your concerns

If you have any concerns about material which appears on our Website, please contact info@phc-law-co.uk

Levels of Service

We aim to achieve the highest possible levels of service. In particular we aim to ensure that: –

(a) The person dealing with the claim whenever possible will deal with your telephone calls, but if that person is unavailable your call will be directed to an assistant to deal with, or for a message to be taken. All requests for returned telephone calls should be dealt with on the same day, or as soon as possible thereafter.
(b) Your letters will receive a substantive reply within seven working days.
(c) You will be informed of any material developments by post or telephone as soon as possible. In any event we will keep you regularly updated as to the progress of your claim and you should normally hear from us approximately every three or four weeks.

  1. Charges and Expenses

It is important that you understand your responsibilities for the other side’s legal costs and ours. A person pursing a claim is responsible for his own legal costs and must recover those costs from the other party at the conclusion of the claim if he wins. If he loses the case he is responsible not only for his own, but also his opponent’s legal costs.

We have agreed to pursue your claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement. A Conditional Fee Agreement is an agreement whereby [except for certain situations] we agree not to charge you a fee if you lose your claim. The Conditional Fee Agreement may allow for a success fee, whereby we are paid an additional fee for winning the claim.

It is important that you read and understand the Conditional Fee Agreement and the Law Society Conditions which you will receive should you become our client.

If you win your claim you are liable to pay our basic charges, expenses and disbursements, a success fee and, if appropriate an Insurance Premium. Normally you will be able to recover from your opponent part of our basic charges expenses and disbursements but not the success fee and the Insurance Premium.  However, if the amount agreed by your opponent does not cover all our basic charges, expenses and disbursements and Insurance Premium, you will be responsible for the difference.

If you or your opponent cannot agree the amount of our basic charges, disbursements success fee or insurance premium you have the right to have our fees and expenses assessed by the court. The procedure for doing this is available from our office upon request or from the office of the County Court. It involves making a request to the court for our fees to be the subject of a Detailed Assessment by the court.

Although we will act for you on a ‘no win no fee’ basis there are some situations in which you could be liable for our fees. If you do not comply with your responsibilities as detailed below we have the right to terminate the agreement and to seek payment of our costs from you. We can also end this agreement if we believe that you are unlikely to win your claim or to better any offer but you disagree with us and at your insistence we proceed with the claim. If this happens you will pay our costs. You can terminate the agreement at any time but in such circumstances we will require payment of our fees.

Our charges are based on the time we spend dealing with a case.  Time spent on your claim will include meeting with you and perhaps others, any time spent travelling, considering, preparing and working on papers, correspondence and making and receiving telephone calls.  Our charges are calculated for each hour engaged on your matter.  Routine letters and telephone calls will be charged as units of one tenth of an hour.  Other letters and telephone calls will be charged on a time basis. Our hourly rates will be discussed with you directly should you wish to make a claim.

When calculating our charges, we may in addition to the time spent on the matter take into account a number of other factors, which include the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge that the case requires and, if appropriate, the value of the claim.

The hourly rates will be reviewed on 1 January each year and you will be notified in writing of any increased rates.

If you win your claim we will in addition to our basic charges and disbursements, seek a success fee.  The basis of the success fee and the method of calculation are set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement and the Schedule thereto.

We add VAT at the current rate of 20% to the total of the basic charges and success fee.

Due to the nature of your claim, it is impossible to estimate our final charges.  However, the information presently available to us suggests that you have reasonable prospects of success in pursuing your claim and recovering part or all of our basic charges, expenses and disbursements from your opponent, but not the success fee or any Insurance Premium.

2. Other parties charges and expenses

If you lose your claim you do not have to pay any of our basic charges, expenses disbursements, success fee or insurance premium except in the very limited circumstances detailed in the Conditional Fee Agreement. However, in the unlikely event that you lose your claim after starting Court Proceedings, you will be required to pay your opponents charges and expenses but only to an amount equivalent to any damages that you are awarded. However, should your claim be fundamentally dishonest, you will pay both our charges, expenses, disbursements, success fee and insurance premium and your opponents charges and expenses in full. On the information presently available to us, we expect to win your claim and in those circumstances you will not be liable for your opponent’s costs.

3. Other funding arrangements

Whilst we have agreed to act under the terms of the Conditional Fee Agreement other methods of funding may be available, including private funding, community legal service funding, legal expenses insurance and trade union funding. For personal injury claims community legal service funding is generally no longer available except for very high cost claims. The information presently available to us suggests that your claim does not fall into this category. You have advised that to the best of your knowledge no other form of funding is available to you. We have asked you to consider whether the risk of incurring liability for costs in respect of the proceedings to which this agreement relates is insured against under any existing contract of insurance including that provided by your household insurers, motor insurers, life insurers or any other insurers including your credit card providers. You have informed us that you are not a member of a Trade Union or other Society or organisation, which will provide funding for your legal fees, or they have not taken up your case.

We believe that in the absence of any other funding, the Conditional Fee Agreement is the most appropriate way for you to fund your case.

4. 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 whilst there is any 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 clearly in writing.

In some circumstances we may consider that we ought to stop acting for you, for example, if conflicts of interest were to arise or you failed to provide us with clear or proper instruction on how we are to proceed.  We will only cease to act for you with good reason and only after giving reasonable notice.

If you or we decide that we will no longer act for you, you will pay our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement and the Law Society Conditions, which will be discussed with you should you become our client.

5. Data Protection

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including: updating and enhancing client records, analysis to help us manage our practice, statutory returns and legal and regulatory compliance

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing..

We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why. In reality however such a situation is very unlikely to occur.

6. Laundering Regulations

As with other professional services firms we are pursuant to the Money Laundering Regulations required to confirm the identity of all new clients.  Accordingly we must request that you provide photographic evidence of your identity i.e. passport, or driving licence and evidence of your address i.e. copy utility bill. In any event we will as a matter of course obtain copies of your medical records for use by our medical expert which will confirm your identity for the purposes of the Money Laundering Regulations.

Under the Regulations we must report any suspicions that we have regarding Money Laundering to the Authorities. There are severe penalties if we do not comply but it is highly unlikely that the need to make a report will ever apply to you, but you should be aware of our obligations.

7. Right to Cancel

You have the right to cancel a Contract within 14 days without giving any reason.

The cancellation period will expire after 14 days following the date upon which you receive our Terms of Business in the post. To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform PHC LAW Ltd at 107 Garstang Road, Preston PR1 1LD, telephone 01772 203303, fax 01772 203603 email phc@phc-law.co.uk of your decision to cancel this Contract by a clear statement (e.g. a telephone call, a letter sent by post, fax or email). To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.

8. Effects of Cancellation

If you cancel this Contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you. However, should you expressly request us to start work on your behalf within the cancellation period, you will be responsible for paying our reasonable costs incurred prior to receipt of the Notice of Cancellation.

9. Financial Services

We are not authorised by The Financial Conduct Authority. If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone else who is authorised to provide the necessary advice.

However, we may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are members of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The Solicitors Regulations Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints-handling arm of the Law Society. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.

As stated above, 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 may 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 www.register.fca.org.uk/

The Law Society of England and Wales is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling arm of the Law Society. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.

10. Grievance Procedure

We are confident of providing a high quality service in all respects.  If however you have any queries or concerns about our service, please raise them in the first instance with the Fee Earner handling your claim.  If that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction, then please contact our Mr Cuerden, who is the Principal, and he will endeavour to resolve any grievance to your satisfaction. In the unlikely event that we are unable to satisfy any grievance to your satisfaction you are entitled to refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the legal Ombudsmen. Further details will be given upon request.

11. Your responsibilities

It is essential that we can contact you at all times until your case is settled.  Please inform us in writing of any change of address or telephone number, as failure to do so could delay and prejudice your claim.  You must give us instructions that allow us to do our work properly and you must not deliberately mislead us or ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way.  You must attend any medical, expert examination or Court Hearing that we or your opponent arranges on your behalf.  Finally, please note that we cannot deal with any other person on your behalf, without your prior written instruction.

12. Agreement

Having regard to the Conditional Fee Agreement these Terms and Conditions and the oral explanation provided by ourselves we trust that you fully understand the terms upon which we shall act for you and that you do not require any further explanation, advice or other information about these matters. Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Even so, if you choose for us to be your legal representative in a case then we will ask you to please sign and date a copy of these terms and conditions and return it to us.  We can then be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you.

PHC Law Ltd – thank you for visiting our website.