These Terms and Conditions of Business, accompanied, where applicable, by our client engagement letter govern the lawyer-client relationship, which will exist between This document is also available on our website www.krw-law.ie
By continuing to instruct this firm we shall be entitled to assume you have agreed to the terms and conditions therein. If you do not agree to our Terms of Business, please contact us in writing within 7 days outlining the areas you do not accept.
We will then arrange a meeting with you and attempt to agree terms with you. If we do not hear from you, you will be deemed to have accepted our terms of engagement and these terms shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. Nobody is authorised to alter these terms other than in writing.
. Acceptance of Instructions
We will agree the scope and objectives of your instructions with you and agree these in an initial Letter of Engagement, where appropriate. Any subsequent change will be discussed with you and where appropriate, a new Letter of Engagement will be agreed. We shall proceed on the basis of the instructions we have received from you and rely upon you to tell us as soon as possible if anything occurs which renders any information previously given to us incorrect or inaccurate.
Instructions will be accepted or declined in accordance with legal requirements and our obligations to the Law Society. You have been informed of the details of the solicitor with overall responsibility for your case. We will be free to use such members of our staff, counsel or experts in connection with your business, as we consider appropriate.
We shall not be responsible for any failure to advise or comment on any matter which falls outside the scope of your instructions. We cannot accept any responsibility for any event, loss or situation unless it is one against which it is the express purpose of those instructions to provide protection. Advice given by us is provided in light of the instructions to which it relates and is for your benefit only. It may not be used or relied upon for any other purpose or by any person other than you without our prior written consent.
On occasion, we may be asked to advise a client in a similar line of business. In accepting these Terms of Business you agree that we will not be precluded from acting on behalf of other clients, whether current of future, who are in a similar line of business to you either during the conduct of this matter or after our retainer has been completed, unless there is a clear conflict of interest arising from the specific work that we do for you. Unless otherwise agreed, we shall not be under any continuing obligation to advise you of changes in the law, which may affect advice previously given.
- Conduct of Proceedings
We will not institute legal proceedings without first obtaining your express authority, but once legal proceedings have been instituted it is important that you understand that we are entitled to take steps which are usually taken in proceedings of this nature. Apart from our duty to you, we have obligations to the Court as Officers of the Court. It is important that you respond promptly to request for information or instructions as failure to do so could harm your case. It is also important that you abide by any advice given by us or by your barrister.
- Who to Contact
You have been advised of your nominated solicitor. From time to time other members of staff may/will deal with some aspects of the work as appropriate. If it is necessary to reallocate your work to another member of staff you will be advised accordingly.
It is important that you keep your contact details up-to-date. Please therefore notify us of changes to telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and postal addresses. Again we think as a precaution, you should follow up any telephone calls about these changes in writing.
- Concerns and Complaints
At all times we try to deliver a high quality, client focused service in accordance with legal requirements and our obligations to the Law Society. If at any time you are worried about how your case is being processed, please contact the solicitor primarily responsible for dealing with you. If you do not get a satisfactory explanation, then you may invoke our formal complaints procedure. In the event that you need to complain, please write to the Practice Manager setting out your concerns and you will receive a reply as soon as practicable. We anticipate that we will be able to resolve your concerns through our internal procedures.
- Costs, Expenses and Disbursements
During the conduct of your case we may incur routine expenditure which will be passed on to you where applicable such as police and medical reports. We will, however, revert to you as regards incurring any expenditure of an unusual nature such as retaining junior and senior counsel or the services of an expert or specialist.
Expenses such as Counsel’s fees and/or Expert’s fees which are incurred will also attract VAT which will be payable by you.
Your instructions authorise us, unless you instruct us to the contrary, to incur such disbursements and expenses as we consider necessary to comply with your instructions. You will be required to reimburse them to us on request either by payment on account or against submission of a bill. Examples of common disbursements and expenses are Company, Land Registry and other search and registration fees, stamp duty, stamp duty land tax, accountants’, medical and experts’ fees, Court fees and Counsel’s fees. Disbursements and expenses are charged at cost. We reserve the right to charge you for:
- expenses of travel, accommodation and meals when travelling away from the office (and exceptional costs of in-house provision of food, subsistence items, or other amenities) in fulfilling your instructions;
- photocopying and scanning expenses incurred on your behalf;
- CHAPS transfers on your behalf by our Bank.
The above list should not be regarded as exhaustive. Unless you instruct us otherwise we will assume that we have your authority to incur this expenditure. There may be additional expenses such as retaining leading counsel (a QC) or retaining expert witnesses such a valuer, forensic accountant or pension actuary but we will not incur such expenditure without firstly obtaining your authority to do so. Some non-standard technologies may be the subject of specific charges, but if we anticipate the need to deploy such technologies in discharging your instructions this will be agreed with you in advance.
Our payment policy is that we require payment of costs and outlay in advance of any work done. Any bill of costs or disbursements raised by us is due for payment on delivery.
- Our Fees
Subject to the certain exceptions such as where your case is covered by legal aid or where we have agreed a fixed/scale fee, our professional fees are based on the time we spend dealing with your instructions.
If possible, upon receiving your instructions, we will provide you with an estimate of the likely costs involved and an estimate of any disbursements likely to be incurred.
Any estimate provided as to fees is only a guide and must not be taken as a firm quotation, unless we have confirmed it in writing that we shall charge a fixed fee. Our estimate will aim to give you a breakdown between likely fees, disbursements and VAT. In respect of any matter in which our fees are calculated primarily by the time expended we will try to give you as accurate an estimate as possible of the time likely to be expended but you must bear in mind that in some legal transactions and litigation matters it can be very difficult to be precise as to the time which actually will be expended as there can be very many unknowns which will only come to light as the matter progresses.
We will try to keep you informed as to the likely impact on the expenditure of time of any development in the relevant matter, but it will be up to you to draw the attention of the relevant fee-earner to the fact that any estimate given has been or is likely to be exceeded. It is likely that our estimate will be expressed as a range. Our estimate will include, where possible, details of any third parties to whom you will need to make payments and when those payments are likely to be needed. Bills of Costs will be produced on a bi-monthly basis and will attract a 5% discount if paid within 24 hours. Interest of 8% per day will accrue if same is not discharged within 30 days.
Where, in our judgment, it is not possible to provide you with a fixed or realistic estimate of fees and disbursements, we shall, at your request, give you the best information about the total cost of the next stage of the matter. We shall review the original estimate regularly and provide you with written revised estimates, where applicable, giving the reasons for any changes made.
- Cap on Fees
If a cap or limit is agreed on the level of our fees, then our fees will not exceed the amount agreed with you. However, the application of the cap or limit is agreed only on the specified business identified and any time limits identified on the basis of the instructions and information supplied to us and is subject to no unforeseen extra work becoming necessary.
- General Provisions about Bills
Bills will contain a brief description of the work performed during each billable period but not a detailed narrative. Bills are due for payment upon delivery and must be paid within 30 days of delivery, unless the payment period is otherwise agreed and confirmed in writing, one of our Partners. lf you wish to make payment by way of Bank Transfer, we will provide you with our bank details with each bill or at your request.
Unless waived by us interest on any sum which remains outstanding for more than 30 days after delivery of the bill will be charged at the rate of 8%. Any costs which remain unpaid shall be a first charge on any money or property recovered or preserved for you. This is known as the Solicitor’s lien. If a third party undertakes responsibility for payment of some or all of our charges and expenses on your behalf, and payment is not made as set out above, then you will be responsible for settling any outstanding amount. In the unlikely event that a bill remains unpaid for more than 30 days, or if you decline or fail within 14 days to meet a request for a payment on account of costs, we must reserve the right to decline to act any further. lf our instructions are given by, or on behalf of, more than one person or company each person or company for whom we are acting will be responsible for the payment of the full amount of our fees, disbursements and expenses regardless of whether our bills are addressed only to one or some of such parties.
- Legal Aid
You agree that you will keep us and the Legal Services Agency informed of any change in your financial circumstances once in receipt of legal aid. Please note that although your own costs will be covered by legal aid, if you lose your case you could be ordered to pay the other side’s legal costs. If you are financially eligible for legal aid and we feel having considered the case that there are merits in applying, we will apply for legal aid on your behalf. Please note we do not automatically apply for legal aid. If you require legal aid to remove all risk of costs being awarded against you please serve written notice on the practice.
In any case where you gain or keep money or property with the help of legal aid in a civil case you may have to repay all or some of your legal costs out of that money or property. In this way legal aid acts as a loan. The money you repay will be put towards what the Legal Services Commission has spent on your case. This is known as the statutory charge.
- Legal Expenses Insurance
You may find that your Home Insurance Policy provides Legal Expenses Insurance cover. In that event, we can write to your Home Insurance providers, seeking authority to act on your behalf under the Legal Expenses Cover they provide. If you are unsure as to whether your policy provides Legal Expenses Cover, we can examine your policy and advise as to whether the cover is available. If you are prosecuted for road traffic offences involving a collision or accident which you are disputing, your car insurance provider may consider covering your court expenses. We can contact your insurance provider to check whether such expenses may be covered.
Our V.A.T. Registration numbers are 192728380 (KRW Advocates Limited) and192730009 (KRW Law LLP)
- How We Handle Data and Records
The information which you provide to us is confidential. It is also likely to be covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended) and GDPR requirements. Inevitably we may have to disclose some information to third parties and we accept instructions only on the understanding that we have the authority to do so when reasonable and necessary for the purposes of dealing with this matter. lf we have any doubt as to whether you might object to the disclosure of any information we will seek to obtain your consent before doing so unless disclosure is required as a matter of law. If we instruct Counsel on your behalf, we may keep a copy of an opinion given by Counsel but we will ensure that client confidentiality is observed.
It may be necessary for us to retain personal data about you on our files and/or computer records. Examples can include financial information, bank details, sensitive personal data and medical records/reports. In appointing us as your solicitors you confirm that we may receive and hold confidential and/or sensitive personal data in relation to you and that, where appropriate, this may need to be disclosed to others, such as counsel/solicitor advocates, experts and other parties. If you have a concern about disclosure of any particular sensitive personal or commercial data please raise this with us at an early stage.
We will communicate with you by the most effective means but we shall not be responsible for the security of the data. If you have concerns about the confidentially of any information sent by electronic means, please let us know so we can discuss appropriate arrangements.
In order to ensure that the firm offers top quality service to all our clients, we comply with the Law Society Lexcel quality standard. As a result we are subject to periodic checks by Law Society advisors/assessors. You have the option to withhold your consent for your files to be included in these reviews and should inform us in writing if you would like to exclude your file from this external quality assurance process.
- Termination: Ending the Solicitor Client Relationship
On giving reasonable notice, we will be free to refuse to act or continue to act in circumstances such as:-
- any bill of costs raised by us in respect of fees or disbursements has not been paid
- any request for an interim bill of costs or disbursements incurred or to be incurred has not been complied with
- we are or may be in breach of the law or professional conduct by accepting or continuing to accept instructions we consider there is or may be a conflict of interest or risk of a conflict of interest between you and any of our other clients
- you did not respond to any requests for information
- you did not abide by or accept any advice given.
We may also discontinue acting on other reasonable grounds or where the solicitor/client relationship is broken down.
You may terminate our engagement on this matter in writing at any time. However, if you or we decide that we can no longer act for you, you are liable for our charges down to the date of termination. You shall pay all outstanding fees, expenses and disbursements incurred up to the date of termination. We may retain all documents, deeds and other securities until payment of all monies due to us.
We may retain any monies standing to any account you have with us until payment has been made of all outstanding costs and disbursements together with VAT and costs and disbursements incurred in connection with the termination. On the termination of the retainer we will notify all relevant parties accordingly and if appropriate, apply to the court to come off record on your behalf.
- Limitation of Liability
We, like all solicitors, have the benefit of Professional Indemnity insurance. That insurance is provided under a block policy organised by the Law Society of Northern Ireland. This policy covers all claims brought against the firm arising out of legal work undertaken in Northern Ireland. We shall not be liable for an indirect consequential loss or for loss arising out an action necessary for us to take to comply with Money Laundering Regulations.
- Third Parties
Except as expressly agreed in writing, no person other than a party to our agreement may enforce any terms of such agreement by virtue of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 (“the Act”). Notwithstanding any benefits or rights conferred by such agreement on any third party by virtue of the Act, the parties to such agreement may agree to vary or rescind any of its terms without any third party’s consent.
These terms of Business are governed by and construed in accordance with laws of Northern Ireland, England & Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
- Money Laundering
We abide by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Our policy is one of strict compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and associated legislation and therefore we shall not be able to act upon your instructions until we have completed those procedures we deem necessary to comply with applicable legislation and regulations to which we are subject.
We shall communicate with you separately in respect of the procedures referred to. We shall only be able to accept instructions, once these procedures have been completed. lf we are able to accept your instructions, we reserve the right to recover fees (calculated on a time basis), expenses and disbursements which accrue or which we incur in complying with the legislation and regulations to which we are subject.
- File Destruction Policy
Our File Destruction Policy concurs with The Law Society guidelines and legislative requirements.
- Electronic Communication
We are able to communicate electronically with our clients and other parties using electronic mail (both direct and via the internet) and using computer disks. lf we communicate electronically with or for you, you acknowledge and agree as follows:
(i) There are some delivery risks in using electronic mail and you accept the risk of interception by third parties or of non-receipt or delayed receipt of the message.
(ii) Computer viruses and similar damaging items can be transmitted through e-mails and by introducing computer disks into your system; we use virus scanning software to reduce these risks and ask that you do the same; however, it is not possible completely to eliminate the risk of introducing viruses.
lf we communicate electronically with or for you, you release us from all claims, losses, expenses and liabilities caused by any of the risks referred to above and arising directly or indirectly out of that communication.
As your solicitors it is our duty to use our professional skills and expertise to advance your case. We will use our professional judgement to take steps to protect your interests. This means that we will receive letters, e-mails and phone calls which we will be obliged to consider and respond to if it is in your interests.
We will also have to write to and make telephone calls to try and advance your case. We cannot contact you for instructions every time we receive communication or we need to make an enquiry, as this will unnecessarily increase the costs of your case. We assure you that every effort will be made to keep you informed about the main developments in your case and will contact you immediately for your instructions if anything significant or unusual occurs. We will also contact you if we receive information that affects your current views. We will seek your instructions and give you a review on the issues at that point. You should bear in mind that as a case develops the length of time it takes to resolve and the way in which it is progressed, is influenced not just by what we decide to do together but also how others decide to deal with your case.
If there is any new information that might affect your instructions, it is important that you tell us about it as soon as possible. It is useful to receive written confirmation of that information, either by letter or electronic means.
In the event that any of these Terms of Engagement should become invalid, illegal or unenforceable then any remaining terms and clauses shall survive unaffected.
We will not be liable to you or any third party if we are unable to perform our services as a result of any cause beyond our reasonable control.