Legal Estate Agency Services:- Baird & Company provide services as Solicitors and Estate Agents. We are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.
Terms of Business:- This Statement sets out the terms on which we accept instructions from clients.
Remuneration - Private Clients:- The basis of our remuneration is fees charged according to time spent on your case and letters and telephone calls are charged at one tenth of the hourly rate. All solicitors and staff keep an accurate record of time spent on each client’s work.
We may charge our account according to the circumstances of the matter. The fixing of every fee is a balanced judgement rather than an arithmetical calculation. Where we charge any item of business according to the circumstances or by reference to units there shall be charged such sum as fair and reasonable both to ourselves and to the client taking into consideration all of the following factors where relevant:
(a) the importance of the matter to the client
(b) the amount or value of any money or property involved
(c) the complexity of the matter or a difficulty or novelty of the question raised
(d) the skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved on the part of the Solicitor or assistant
(e) the time expended
(f) the length, number and importance of any documents or other papers prepared or perused and
(g) the place where and the circumstances in which the services or any part thereof are rendered including the degree of expedition required.
As the sum to be charged is such sum as is fair and reasonable taking into consideration all the seven factors, it is not necessarily always correct to start by assessing the time spent on the matter to be charged. The first step in assessing the fee is to consider the overall effect of all seven factors on the matter.
(a) In a case where “time expended” can be regarded as the dominant factor we shall be entitled to assess the seven factors in the following way:
(i) the time expended on the matter shall be totalled and the total shall be reviewed to confirm that it is fair and reasonable. The total time, adjusted if necessary to a fair and reasonable amount, shall then be multiplied by our usual hourly rate which shall be assessed so as to take account of the cost of having the work carried out either by reference to the hourly rate or by applying a rate calculated to reflect the justifiable cost rate which should be a reasonable margin or multiplier to compensate and reflect the remaining factors. If the work done includes preparation or perusal of documents, writs, titles etc there shall also be taken into account the length, number and importance of these.
(ii) the percentage of the amount or value of the money or property involved may be added in order to compensate for the risk or indemnity element in carrying out the work. In many cases, an appropriate percentage may be 0.5% of the amount or value with lower percentages of higher amounts. The following percentages would be considered appropriate:
First £100,000.00 0.5%
Next £200,000.00 0.4%
Next £100,000.00 0.3%
Next £100,000.00 0.25%
Next £500,000.00 0.2%
Next £500,000.00 0.15%
Next £500,000.00 0.1%
Over £2,000,000.00 0.1%
(b) One of the factors other than “time expended” may be regarded as the dominant factor. This will usually be “value” in a conveyancing transaction or an executry where the value of the subject matter is high, or indeed low. The sum charged in these cases shall be reasonably proportionate to the value of the property involved.
(c) The resulting figure reached in either of these ways (a) or (b) shall be subjected to a general test of whether it is fair and reasonable, taking into account all seven factors and that the sum charged should be fixed as a matter of balanced judgement and not of arithmetical calculation.
(d) Taking into account all of the above we may have our files and fee independently assessed by an external auditor or law accountant and charge the cost of this to the client.
Invoicing:- The invoicing for general Legal work is monthly in arrears or otherwise as we may from time to time determine. Invoices for residential conveyancing work are submitted prior to the date of entry to the property.
Payment:- Payment of invoices for residential conveyancing work is required at or prior to the date of entry. Payment of invoices for general Legal work is required within one month. Interest is chargeable at the prevailing base rate of THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND plc. on all balances outstanding beyond one month. All outlays to be incurred on behalf of clients are payable on demand. It is our practice to require payment for Stamp Duty, Recording Dues, Property Inquiry Certificates and advertising costs to be paid to us prior to these to be paid out by us. We shall be entitled to recover fees and outlays out of sums held on your behalf and in particular out of the sale proceeds of property transactions.
Money Laundering Procedures:- We require to comply with the regulations relating to money laundering. Our procedures are such that we require private clients to produce documentary evidence of their identity and address by way of, for example, Passport, utility account, Health Card, European Driving Licence. Further we require to be satisfied as to the source of any funds used in connection with the business on which we are instructed and which pass through our hands. Our statutory obligations require us to report to NCIS any circumstances which we consider give rise to suspicion having regard to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Fee Estimates:- Any fee estimate given is based on the work to be provided being of standard type and duration. We shall be entitled to make an additional charge if there is (a) a material change in the nature of business; (b) a difficulty in obtaining information; or (c) unforeseen work such as planning difficulties or title complexity (Reference is made to Remuneration – Private Clients – as above).
Any fee estimate given by us is entirely subject to payment being made immediately on the submission of our invoice and in residential conveyancing transactions at or prior to the date of entry. If payment is not so made, then the estimate will fall and an invoice based on the time taken on the work will be submitted to you. That invoice will be payable immediately.
Remuneration - Legal Aid Cases:- You may be entitled to Legal Aid or Legal Advice & Assistance. This is not a free service and depending on your means, you may be asked to pay a contribution towards the costs of your case. If that contribution requires to be paid to us in terms of the scheme, full payment must be made prior to us taking action on your behalf. In the event that money is recovered or preserved for you as a result of the steps we take on your behalf, the Scottish Legal Aid Board may require that the money is applied to your Legal costs. Regulations relating to Legal Aid are very complex indeed and if you are in doubt about things, you require to speak to the solicitor dealing with your case.
Litigation:- All Court-related work carries risk. We will give advice on the Legal issues and conduct of the case but we can give no guarantees of the outcome of the case or of the time scales involved. If you lose the case, you may have to pay all or part of the other party’s expenses. If you are successful, you may be entitled to recover all or part of your Court related costs but you are responsible for payment of our fees and outlays regardless of the outcome of the case. Prior to commencement of Court related work you are required to make an initial payment towards costs of at least £250.00. We invoice litigation matters on a monthly or other basis taking into account any Court costs. For the avoidance of any doubt, failure to make payment of our monthly invoices will result in our withdrawing from acting for you.
Clients’ Funds:- All sums held by us for you will be retained in our Client Bank Account in terms of the Solicitors (Scotland) Accounts Rules until we require to make payment on your behalf. Payments by cheque should be received by us seven days before the funds are to be used to allow clearance through the banking system. In the event that funds are directly transferred into or out of our Bank Account in connection with your business, we require to charge £35 to cover Bank Charges.
Files and Business Records:- All client records are treated as confidential but may require to be examined by our auditors or auditors appointed by the Law Society of Scotland. On termination of our instructions, copies of papers will be provided to you on request provided all sums due to us have been settled and subject to a copying charge. Otherwise, we retain all records in accordance with the guidance given to us by the Law Society of Scotland. In the event that guidance permits destruction, then it shall be at our option to destroy files without further reference to you. In the event that you require us to deliver papers to you, we will be entitled to make a reasonable storage and delivery charge.
Termination:- You or we may terminate authority to act on your behalf at any time. Notice of termination must be in writing.
Professional Indemnity Insurance:- We maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance under the Law of Society of Scotland Master Policy. The level of cover is considered by us as adequate to cover our liabilities and this is kept under review. Our liability to you will be restricted to the level of that Professional Indemnity Insurance cover.
Disputes:- Should a dispute arise between us, the matter will be dealt with under the Law of Scotland and jurisdiction will be prorogated to Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
These are the terms on which we are prepared to accept instructions to act for clients. Please retain your copy. The nature and demands of client business are such that we will invariably be taking action immediately upon receiving instructions. Therefore, if you have any queries about our terms, please speak to us right away. Any action taken on your behalf is deemed to be in accordance with the terms of this statement and your instructions will be considered an acknowledgement of your acceptance of our terms.