1. Your Instructions
- You will provide your instructions in relation to your claim on our website debt-claims.com, you are able to follow our step-by-step guidance on-line, so that you can easily carry out the legal procedures for the collection of your undisputed debt. The debt-claims website is designed so that you can easily navigate and take all the necessary steps to collect your debt from the debtor, for instance by sending your letter before action, all the way through to enforcement of your debt;
- Your instructions will depend on the services you select on the site debt-claims.com;
- We accept no liability whatsoever should you provide contradictory information in respect to the debtor or debt claimed.
2. Advice & Next Steps
- Via a secure login, you can exercise full control over your debt matters. You can provide instructions online and view your case information, including fees and documents. Our online debt portal enables you to run an effective, automated, credit control system.
- We have agreed to prepare correspondence on your behalf via our site debt-claims.com We specialise in undisputed debt collection of debts where the debt arises in England or Wales, or where the English and Welsh courts have jurisdiction and enforcement by instructing the County Court Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer.
- If a defence is filed or an application to set aside the Judgment, we will write to you and send you a copy – but at that stage our retainer with you comes to an end, we are not obliged to continue to act further in the matter for you. However, at that stage you will have a choice to either, instruct our specialist litigation solicitors in Askews Legal LLP or for our specialist claims handlers to negotiate a settlement, take over the case personally or transfer to alternative solicitors of your choice. Neither you or we are obliged to continue with the litigation at such point in time your claim is disputed.
- “Debt-Claims Solicitors” is the trading name of Askews Legal LLP, and the Members of this firm will have overall responsibility/supervision for work done on your matters. Further information as to the members of Askews Legal LLP can be found at the The Law Society . Although the day-to-day handling will be by one of our debt claims team members. Depending on what stage your claim has reached, will determine which team is dealing with the matter.
- All employees and or contractors of Askews Legal LLP will have access to any of your cases. In the event that you are unsure what stage the case has reached we can be contacted by email only: email@example.com , we will endeavour to reply within 24 hours of receipt of your email. For information, our office working hours are between 9.00am – 5.00pm. Our working days are Monday to Friday.
4. What We Will Do
- Open a file and undertake a conflict check, this is to ensure the debtor is not a client of Askews Legal LLP;
- Prepare correspondence/issue court proceedings, or carry out any of the services provided via our site debt-claims.com;
- Distribute your correspondence in a timely manner and via your preferred method (email or post);
- We will promptly forward you any payments/notification of cheques payable to us, correspondence or telephone notes that we receive;
- We will update you with progress regularly via the debt portal;
- We will advise you of any relevant changes in the law;
- We will also advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.
Should your debt claim become disputed, and upon your written instruction for us to continue to represent you, we will:
- Represent you in any contested debt recovery proceedings under a new retainer;
- Enter into any negotiations;
- Comply with all Court directions orders.
5. What We Will Not Do
- Accept instructions which present a conflict of interest;
- Provide you with advice, including in relation to procedure and prospects of success;
- Send duplicate correspondence as a result of an error in the information you inputted into the Debt Portal;
- Be responsible for the use of our Debt Portal or any fees incurred by any member or former member of your workforce where you have failed to adequately monitor or manage their usage and access;
- Guarantee that full recovery will be achieved as there are various possible outcomes e.g. the financial position of your Debtor, an absconding Debtor who cannot be traced or any dispute they may raise amongst other things;
- We cannot advise on the commercial or financial decisions that you make on any matter that we are instructed on. You need to decide if it is cost effective to pursue the Debtor taking into account the value of the debt and the costs and fees you will incur in any event.
- Review your inputted data into the Debt Portal, we rely on you to provide accurate and complete instructions on each occasion.
6. Your Obligations
You are obliged to:
- Give us lawful and accurate instructions that enable us to undertake the agreed work;
- You must not instruct us on any disputed matters unless you consider there is no genuine dispute;
- The debt that you are claiming must be no older than 6 years as it is statute barred;
- Co-operate with us in the provision of information to enable us to prepare correspondence on your behalf and/or progress your proceedings;
- Provide accurate and up to date information and proof read your correspondence before proceeding with any of your instructions and paying our invoice;
- Verify the correct legal name and registered address of your debtor(s), in certain circumstances you may become liable for the costs of other parties, for instance this may arise where proceedings are commenced against the incorrect party or you have issued proceedings incorrectly or prematurely;
- Ensure that any member of your workforce is authorised to use the Debt Portal and to remove their access and permission upon leaving your business;
- Pay our invoice regardless of the outcome or success of the action you take against your debtor(s);
- You may be required to agree to a form of alternative dispute resolution, which is a non-court related forum for resolving disputes, usually by mediation or arbitration. Failure to agree to undergo this process may prejudice your claim and may result in you incurring cost penalties, for which we will have no liability. Such dispute resolution procedures may also increase your costs liability.
We recommend that you:
- Undertake credit and status checks on your debtors before proceeding with our instruction;
- Monitor the success of debts recovered as a result of use of our Debt Portal
- We will issue late payment demands, letter before action, and any other instruction within the timeframes stipulated on the website debt-claims.com;
- If matters are complicated for whatever reason or if we need to take instructions, and your letters cannot be sent within that timeframe, then we will let you know.
- Our fees for the use of the debt claims services are contained on our website, debt-claims.com under the section “pricing” and the document “Debt-Claims Price List”. Those are the costs and disbursements for preparing documentation on the debt claims website, based on the information and data you input and dealing with your matter;
- If this matter becomes more complex or if you ask us to carry out any other work in addition to the work specified above (for clarity, this is any instruction that cannot be carried out by you on the website), this will be charged in accordance with our hourly rates, set out under the heading “Commercial Litigation – All Other Disputed Debt”. We/the file handler will keep you updated about costs throughout the matter.
- In addition to our fixed costs, we will from time to time require you to pay disbursements, these are for example, serving agents, counsel/advocate fees, court fees, or any other third party fees, such as costs for enforcement agents, these being “anticipated disbursements” – any such costs will be payable upon you selecting the service and will be non-refundable, as such cost are deemed to have been incurred by the firm immediately.
- Additional charges will apply should you require us to rectify any incorrectly submitted data.
9. Limiting Liability
We will perform the work which we do for you with reasonable skill and care. We acknowledge that we will be liable to you for losses, damages, costs or expenses (Losses) caused by our negligence or wilful default, subject to the following provisions:
- the aggregate liability, whether to you or any third party, of whatever nature, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, of us for any losses whatsoever and howsoever caused arising from or in any way connected with each matter upon which we are instructed and/or advice on it, shall not exceed £2 million;
- Your rights in respect of any breach on our part of this engagement shall only be enforceable if notice in writing giving all material details of any claim shall have been given to us on or before the second anniversary of the date of this engagement;
- Our liability, whether to you or any third party, in contract or tort or under statute or otherwise shall exclude, any indirect or consequential economic loss or damage (including loss of profits) suffered by you or any third party arising from, or in connection with, the matter on which we are instructed and/or advice on it, however the indirect or consequential economic loss or damage is caused, including our negligence but not our wilful default;
- Nothing in these terms and conditions shall impose on us any liability of any kind or for any amount which we would not have but for this section;
- Nothing in these terms and conditions shall have the effect of restricting our liability in respect of any kind of loss, damage or liability which cannot or must not be excluded or limited under English law.
- We will not be so liable if such losses are due to the provision of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation or due to the acts or omissions of any person other than us.
10. Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017), ID checks and Due Diligence
- Under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”), we may be required to make a report to the relevant authorities if at any time we become aware of or suspect (whether from you or any other person) the existence of the proceeds of crime in relation to any services on which we are engaged. Our obligation to make such a report will, in certain circumstances, override our duty of solicitor/client confidentiality and we may not be permitted to inform you whether or not we have made, or might intend to make, such a report;
- We may terminate the provision of any services to you, or be instructed to do so by the relevant authorities, if you fail to comply with your obligation to provide evidence of identity or we suspect that you or any other party connected with you or with the Matter is involved in activities proscribed by POCA;
- The law sometimes requires solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and sometimes people related to them, this will mean that an Anti Money Laundering (AML) search with a credit reference agency is necessary to verify your identity. By proceeding with your matter, you hereby consent to the AML search which will leave a digital footprint on your credit file;
- Each search we undertake leaves a footprint on your individual credit file. This is because for audit purposes, a credit reference agency is required to record the check has taken place. However, this footprint is not the same as a credit check footprint and has no negative impact on your credit file. It is just shown as an ‘identity search’ which is effectively a soft footprint, simply showing an anti-money laundering (AML) search has taken place. An individual can have many identity footprints and it still won’t affect their credit file;
- MLR 2017 requires Solicitors to verify their client’s identity. On some litigation matters, we are able to operate a simplified due diligence process. By completing our online registration form and by electronically signing these terms and conditions, you will be confirming:
- You are the client/creditor and/or have authority to act on behalf of the client/creditor;
- If you are an individual, your personal information completed within the online registration form, is true and accurate;
- If you are a Company, the information completed within the online registration form is in the same format as the information held with Companies House UK.
- We accept no liability for any errors or omissions made by you in respect to your identity.
- If we require evidence of your identity, you agree to provide us with certified copies of all original identity documents we require to verify your identity and to comply with MLR 2017. Failure to provide identity documents when requested will result in these terms and conditions coming to an end.
- Joint Money Laundering Steering Group, the anti- money laundering guidance which UK banks and other finance services firms must adhere to is issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (“JMLSG”). The JMLSG considers all clients with funds deposited in a law firm’s pooled client account to be beneficial owners of that account. The JMLSG does not require banks to routinely identify the beneficial owners of law firm’s pooled accounts, as they do with most other accounts they issue. Pooled client accounts are granted this exemption on the proviso that this information is available upon request. In the event of our bank requesting information about the beneficial owners of our pooled client account, you agree to us disclosing your details to them.
11. Payment of interest
- If we are holding any monies for you (whether on account of our fees or otherwise) these will be placed in our client account. You will receive interest on these monies subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules. Monies held by us on account may be used to pay outstanding invoices we have delivered to you;
- The Solicitors Accounts Rules require us, in certain circumstances, to pay you money in lieu of interest on general client account funds that we have held for a period on your behalf, on sums of monies held by us for more than four weeks accruing interest of more than £50.00 or more we will credit the sum to you. Where these rules are applicable, we will pay you a sum equivalent to interest as directed by guidelines. This payment will be made to you without the deduction of tax so it is your responsibility to account to the Inland Revenue for tax (if any) due on this payment. Alternatively, we may arrange at your written request for money that we hold for you to be placed on deposit with our bank, in which case our bank will pay interest net of tax whilst the money is on deposit and we will provide you with a statement in respect of this, when forwarding the net interest payment to you. Please note we will charge you an administrative fee of £30.00 plus Vat for transferring your funds.
12. Distance Selling
- If we have not met with you, or this contract is concluded away from our office, the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 apply to this work. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within 14 (fourteen) days which commence the day immediately following the date of this agreement. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by post, email or fax to this office;
- If you have confirmed verbally or by email/post that you wish us to start work on your file, you may be charged for the work undertaken up to the point of cancellation, even if you then cancel your instructions or fail to return this signed agreement.
13. Electronic Communication
You and we understand and acknowledge that the electronic transmission of information by e-mail on the Internet or otherwise has inherent risks and that such communications may become lost, delayed, intercepted, corrupted or be otherwise altered, rendered incomplete or fail to be delivered. We shall use our reasonable endeavours to ensure that electronic communications that we send are free from viruses and any other material which may cause inconvenience or harm to any other computer system and you undertake to do likewise with any electronic communications you may send to us. As a result, neither you nor we shall have any responsibility or liability to each other on any basis other than your or our bad faith or wilful default in respect of any error, omission, claim or loss arising from or in connection with the electronic communication of information by us to you or any third party or to us by you or any third party (or their or our reliance on such information).
14. Confidentiality, Data Protection and GDPR
- Askews Legal LLP is the data controller;
- Teerath Gill is the firms nominated Data Protection Manager;
- We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and related purposes, including legal and regulatory compliance. Our use of that data is subject to your instructions, the General Data Protection Regulation / Data Protection Act 2018 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;
- In order to comply with court and tribunal rules, all documentation relevant to any issues in litigation, however potentially damaging to your case, have to be preserved and may be required to be made available to the other side (‘disclosure’);
- The categories of personal data we process include general personal data (which includes normal personal data, personal identity, email addresses and personal financial data) and special categories of personal data if these have been voluntarily provided to us (which includes ethnicity, nationality and medical history).
- When your file is open, the personal data is necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally intended. We process your personal information to fulfil our contract with you, or where you or we have a legitimate interest in doing so, where otherwise permitted by law, or to comply with applicable law and regulation. We use your personal information for:
- Service provision and internal processing (i.e. to assess and/or provide and to service your matter).
- Management of relationship (e.g. to develop your relationship with us).
- Resolving queries.
- Training and service review (e.g. to help us enhance our services and the quality of those services).
- Statistical analysis (e.g. to help us enhance our products and services or delivery channels to keep costs down).
- Complying with legal obligations (e.g. to prevent, investigate and prosecute crime, including fraud and money laundering).
- When your matter is completed and / or your file is closed, we may still process your personal information where we have a legitimate interest in doing so, where we are permitted by law, or to comply with applicable laws and regulation. Examples of such instances will include:
- Complying with legal obligations for statutory and regulatory requirements including for example, HMRC Returns, complaint handling, anti-money laundering, reporting to our regulatory body – the Solicitors Regulation Authority;
- Archiving and Storage of your (archiving and storage of personal data is still classed as a processing activity even though it is not being regularly accessed and remains securely locked away); and
- Our legitimate interests to conduct conflict of interest checks, statistical analysis and research to help us enhance our products and services.
- How we share your information:
- We may share your personal data with a range of organisations which enable us to fulfil our contract with you, or where we have legitimate interests to do so, or otherwise are required by applicable law and regulation. We can provide more details specific to your personal data on request.
- You have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (https://www.ico.org.uk ), which regulates the processing of personal data. You may also seek a judicial remedy.
- We may also use it to ensure legitimate interests in the safety and security of our premises (where we may also use CCTV); for fraud prevention purposes (including verification checks for our money laundering obligations); to assess client satisfaction (such as by asking you to participate in surveys); and to help improve our services generally.
- Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/other administration duties on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We believe we have a legitimate interest in doing this. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers.
- We may store information about You, Your Matter or any other Documents and correspondence relating to Your file(s) using cloud-based technology. Again, we believe we have a legitimate interest in acting in this way and take every possible precaution to protect your personal information.
- If at any time you have any concerns or complaints, please contact either the person dealing with your matter or the complaints partner: E: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Our complaints procedure can be found on our website: Complaints Procedure – Debt Claims (debt-claims.com).
16. Terminating The Retainer
- You may terminate your instructions at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents whilst there is 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 this clearly in writing;
- If we decide to stop acting for you, for example, if you do not comply with your obligations set out above, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing. We reserve the right to terminate access to the debt-claims portal;
- We will keep your file and documents in storage for not less than six years in electronic format only. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. We are entitled to make a reasonable charge plus VAT for producing stored papers or documents to you in electronic format, at your request. If you require a paper copy, you will responsible for payment of our reasonable photocopying charges and postage, and reading time to comply with your instruction.
17. Standard Terms
- Unless otherwise agreed by us in writing and subject to the application of the current hourly rates, these terms and conditions of business set out in this letter and those on our website debt-claims.com shall apply to any future instruction given by you to this firm;
- Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms and conditions of business set out in this letter will be determined by the law of England and Wales;
- We look forward to working with you on this matter. Your continuing instructions and use of the debt-claims portal will amount to acceptance of these terms and conditions.
Should you have any queries with regard to any of the above, please contact us so that we can discuss the matter further.