These Terms of Business, together with any Letter of Engagement which we may send to you confirming your instructions (“Letter”) and the marketing instructions (sales) form (if any) constitutes the contract between you and Brown & McRae LLP. Unless we agree otherwise with you in writing or by e-mail, it should be assumed by providing us with your instructions, you accept the terms of these Terms of Business in full and we shall proceed only on this basis.
Brown & McRae LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in Scotland (SO306885) and having its registered office address at Anderson House, 9-11 Frithside Street, Fraserburgh, AB43 9AB.
In these Terms of Business, or in any correspondence, reference to a “partner” of Brown & McRae LLP is to a member of Brown & McRae LLP, and should not be construed as indicating that the members of Brown & McRae LLP are carrying on business in partnership under the Partnership Act 1890. All correspondence sent, and advice given, by a member, employee or consultant of Brown & McRae LLP is sent or given for and on behalf of Brown & McRae LLP. Only Brown & McRae LLP and not any member, employee or consultant is legally responsible for the provision of services to you.
In these Terms of Business, “we”, “us” and “our” refers to Brown & McRae LLP and “you” and “your” refers to our client.
These are the Terms of Business which will apply to the services which we provide to you as our client in relation to any matter on which you consult with us, unless otherwise agreed. In the event of any inconsistency between the Letter and these Terms of Business, the Letter shall prevail.
TERMS OF BUSINESS
- Quality of Service: In all our dealings with our clients we aim to provide a high quality of service, to find out what our clients want, and to achieve it. We try to work quickly and efficiently and we hope you find us friendly and approachable. At the end of the transaction we hope you will think our fee represents good value for money.
- Contacting Us: We are open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Our telephones are answered from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday. If the person concerned is unable to take your call, or if we are closed for a local or statutory holiday, you can leave a message on our answering machine. Our fax line is open at all times and we can also be contacted on our e-mail address: email@example.com We are also available to meet with you outwith normal hours by prior appointment.
- Initial Meeting: We will be happy to have an initial telephone discussion or brief meeting with you to decide whether we can be of assistance to you.
- Instructions: Instructions may be given to us verbally or in writing. We may well ask you to confirm in writing the terms of verbal instructions given to us. If there is any change in your instructions you must notify us immediately. If you wish anyone other than yourself to give us instructions or information, we will require confirmation of this in writing.
- Conflict of Interest: In general, we cannot act for two or more parties if they have conflicting interests. Please advise us at the outset if you are aware of potential conflicts which may arise. If we decide that we can still act (i.e. if you are one of the exceptions to the general rule) we will confirm this to you in writing.
- Liability: Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we shall assume that where we act for more than one person but only one of them tells us what to do, that person has the authority of the other(s) to do so. Where we do act for more than one person, each person for whom we do work is equally responsible for the instructions given to us and for payment of our fees and outlays in connection with that matter. If you do not understand what this means, please ask us to explain.
- Private Limited Companies: If we are given instructions by a private limited company then, unless otherwise agreed with you in advance, it is a condition of our accepting these instructions that the Directors are jointly and severally liable along with the Company for payment of our fees and costs and any interest thereon.
- Confidentiality: Information passed to us is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties unless authorised by you or required by law.
- Copyright and Third Parties: All copyright in documents we produce is reserved to us. Advice given and documents prepared are for your use only and may not be copied or used by any third party without our express written consent.
- Law Society of Scotland: Like all Scottish solicitors, we are members of the Law Society of Scotland and subject to its professional rules at all times.
- How Long Will it Take: The nature of legal work, particularly court work, often makes it difficult to estimate precisely how long something will take to complete. When we discuss your requirements at the outset we will also discuss time scales. We do attempt to meet these – even to beat them – and always to deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible. Please remember that quite often the speed at which work can be completed is affected by the co-operation (or lack of it) we receive from other people outwith our control.
- Cost: The basis upon which we will charge you fees for a particular matter will mainly depend on the time spent carrying out the work (including travelling time) and will be charged on the basis of time spent by the people providing the work, by reference to an hourly rate and/or with reference to a unit charge. The hourly rates of those people vary according to the level of seniority of the people and the nature and complexity of the work. Time will be recorded on a unit basis where 1 unit is equivalent to 6 minutes. The minimum amount that can be recorded for any single activity is 1 unit. Letters, including emails, will be charged at the rate of 1 unit per page of 100 words or part thereof and the drafting of documents, including deeds, writs, inventories & accounts and financial statements will be charged at the rate of 5 units per page of 250 words or part thereof. We will advise you of any change in the hourly rate. We will also add a sum, normally not exceeding 5%, to cover posts, telephone & fax calls and minor outlays. In executry, trust and power of attorney cases our fees will be assessed and certified by external law accountant and will include commissions as per the attached schedule. In addition to fees, Value Added Tax and outlays such as search fees, registration/recording dues, land & buildings transaction tax, valuation fees and confirmation dues will be payable. Value Added Tax is charged at the current rate on all fees.
- Accounts: We will issue our account either at the end of a matter or at regular intervals. Payment is due within thirty days of the date of account. If not paid within this time we reserve the right to charge interest on the amount overdue at 4% over The Royal Bank of Scotland Base Rate. If you do not pay our account on time, we reserve the right to stop working for you and to charge you for the full amount of work we have undertaken for you.
- Expenses in Court Actions: If we act on your behalf in connection with a court action in which you are partly or wholly successful, it may be possible to recover expenses from your opponent. In practice only a proportion of your expenses are likely to be recoverable. You are liable for our fees and for outlays incurred on your behalf whether or not you are successful in an action but credit will be given for all expenses recovered from your opponent.
- Deduction of Fees and Outlays at Source: Where we receive sums which belong to you we shall be entitled to deduct from those sums all outstanding fees and outlays before sending you the balance.
- Sales and Purchases of Property: When you are selling property, we will deduct all outstanding costs together with our fees from the sale proceeds as soon as practicable after the date on which the sale is completed. In the event that there are no sale proceeds, then outstanding costs and fees will be payable prior to the date of the sale of the property. When you are buying property, fees and costs will be payable by you by agreement, but no later than the date on which you become the owner of the new property. In all property transactions where an Advance Notice is to be entered on the application record of the Land Register or recorded in the Register of Sasines in terms of the Land Registration Etc. (Scotland) Act 2012, by signing and returning to us the duplicate Letter you will be deemed to have provided your authorisation to us to sign any Advance Notice on your behalf. In the event that you do not return the duplicate Letter, as requested, your continuing instructions to us will confirm your consent to sign.
- As per the Law Society of Scotland Account Rules, in the event that both the Seller and the Purchaser are represented by our firm, we require written consent from the Purchaser to transfer the purchase price for the property from the Purchaser’s ledger to the Seller’s ledger. By signing and returning to us the duplicate Letter you will be deemed to have provided your consent in terms of the Accounts Rules. Please note that any delay in receiving the duplicate Letter, will result in a delay in the settlement of the transaction.
- Costs paid on your behalf: Where fees, outlays or expenses are to be paid by us on your behalf, we will endeavour to give you details of these in advance in order that you may place us in funds before the sums are due. If however we are unable to do so, we will require to be repaid by you within seven days of your receiving a request for payment of the appropriate sum.
- Clients’ Money: Any money belonging to you and received by the Firm in the course of dealing with your business which is not required for fees or outlays shall be either (1) held by us in an account with The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Fraserburgh Branch, in accordance with the provisions of the Solicitors (Scotland) Accounts Rules (in which event we shall, if applicable, account to you for any interest thereon in terms of these Rules) or (2) if you so direct, remitted to you or otherwise applied as you may direct. If requested by you to make payment of any money belonging to you by Telegraphic Transfer, there will be a fee of £20.00 (excluding VAT) deducted from the money remitted to you to cover the cost of making this payment. Interest is paid on clients’ money held in bank deposit accounts at The Royal Bank of Scotland plc Business Instant Access Reserve Rate. We make no charge for the collection of interest on clients’ deposits but we are entitled to retain interest or commission paid to us by the Bank. We are entitled to retain commission paid to us by Professional Searching Companies and any other agencies we require to instruct in the course of a transaction.
In the event that you wish any such money to be held by us on your behalf on deposit with a bank or banks (the elected bank(s)) other than The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, it will be necessary for you to furnish us with specific written instructions to that effect and any interest you may receive on that money will be the rate of interest paid by the elected bank(s) from time to time on their instant access accounts.
- Independent Fee Assessment: Firms of Law Accountants are available to provide a completely independent assessment of a fair fee for any piece of legal work carried out for a client. On occasions, to ensure that a file has been correctly charged, we may voluntarily send the file to a Law Accountant. Unless otherwise agreed with you beforehand, we will in that event be responsible for payment of the Law Accountant’s fee. Should you at any time be dissatisfied with the amount of a fee charged by us, then you are entitled to ask us to have a Law Accountant review your file and set an appropriate level of fee for the work done. If the Law Accountant reduces the amount of our original fee we will only charge that reduced amount and we will pay the Law Accountant’s costs. If, however, the Law Accountant confirms that our fee is correct or undercharged, then you will be responsible for the Law Accountant’s costs and will be responsible for paying the higher fee as assessed by the Law Accountant.
- Money Laundering: The Money Laundering Regulations require us to be satisfied as to the identity of our clients and as to the source of any funds passing through our hands. In order to comply with these Regulations we may need to ask you for proof of identity and any other information in relation to these matters. We reserve the right to withdraw from acting for you if you fail to provide us with the information requested of you and required in connection with our Money Laundering procedures.
- Any personal data received from you will only be processed for anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing purposes. By signing these terms of business you consent to the data being retained for a maximum of ten years following the end of the business relationship with you.
- Cash Transactions: The maximum sum we are permitted by the Law Society, to receive from you in cash, in any transaction is £1,000.
- Records: On completion of the work and after payment of all fees and outlays, we will arrange for your file to be sent to First Scottish Group Limited, St. David’s House, St. David’s Drive, Dalgety Bay, Fife, KY11 9NB to be electronically scanned and stored on a secure server all in accordance with the Law Society of Scotland’s guidelines . The original file will be destroyed 3 months after the file has been scanned in. The scanned copy shall be retained for 10 years and shall then be deleted from the server at the end of that period. We are entitled to retain all files, documents and other papers held on your behalf until all outstanding fees and outlays have been paid in full. If a mandate is received for your file during the 10 year period we will be entitled to charge a fee to cover the costs incurred by us in providing a scanned copy of your file.
- Dissatisfaction: If for any reason you are unhappy about the quality of service provided, or the amount of our fees, then you should, in the first instance, take the matter up with the solicitor with whom you have been dealing. Alternatively, should you prefer or if you feel your initial approach has not resolved the point, we would invite you to raise the matter with Mr. D. G. Walker, our Client Relations Partner, who is based at our Fraserburgh Office. Mr. Walker will ensure that any such complaint is fully investigated, and that you receive a detailed response within ten working days. If you are still dissatisfied you are always entitled to take the matter up with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission of The Stamp Office, 10 – 14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: We recognise that Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations have implemented ADR/EDR Directive 2013/11/EU to promote alternative dispute resolution as a means of redress for consumers in relation to unsatisfactory services. We have however chosen not to adopt an ADR process, and if you have any concerns about the service you received from this firm you should contact the firm’s Client Relations Partner.
- Applicable Law: These terms and conditions are governed by the Law of Scotland and are subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.
- Supersession: These terms supersede any earlier terms of business we may have agreed with you and, in the absence of express agree to the contrary, shall apply to the services referred to in the Letter and all subsequent services which we will provide.
- From time to time, it may be necessary for us to amend or supersede these terms by new terms. Where this is the case, we shall notify you of the proposed changes and, unless, we hear from you to the contrary, within 14 days of such notification, the amendments or the new terms will come into effect from the end of that period.
SCHEDULE TO TERMS OF BUSINESS
A percentage commission based on the value of the estate and not to exceed the following amounts:-
Moveable Estate: 1.25%
Transfer of Heritage by Disposition 0.50%
(B) POWERS OF ATTORNEY / TRUSTS
A percentage commission based on the funds intromitted with throughout the period of the account and not to exceed the following amounts:-
Realising Capital: 1.50%
Realising Capital for Re-investment: 0.75%
Investing Capital: 0.75%
Collection of Income: 5.00%