Dundee Law Centre Terms of Business
We have set out below an example of our Terms of Business a client of the Dundee Law Centre would receive.
What You Can Expect from Us
WHO WE ARE
The Dundee Law Centre uses the law to defend and extend people’s rights. We are lawyers, working to help people realise their rights and to reduce inequality in Dundee. We work collaboratively with other Law Centres, private law firms and support services to address unmet legal need.
DundeeLawCentre is the trading name of Dundee North Law Centre, which is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Scottish Charity No: SC032226). We will be providing legal services to you through our limited liability partnership, DNLC LLP (Registered No: SC217688). Any income that we make from providing legal services, after payment of outlays, will be donated by DNLC LLP to the SCIO, DNLC.
You can find out more about us at our website www.dundeelaw.org.
We aim to:
- work with you to understand what help you would like from us;
- listen to your concerns and treat you with fairness and respect;
- give you high-quality advice and explain your options clearly, in a way that you understand;
- work quickly and efficiently, in a professional way;
- tell you about our progress regularly and tell you about any likely delays; and
- get back to you quickly when you have a question.
HOW WE WILL CONTACT YOU
We will discuss with you how you would prefer us to contact you: by letter, email, fax, phone or, if you prefer, through a professional who is working with you. If we are not able to communicate with you in the way you would prefer, we will tell you and will explain the reasons for this.
If your contact details change, please tell us as soon as possible: this is important.
IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH OUR SERVICE
If you are not happy with the quality of the service, we have given you, please discuss your concerns first with the lawyer responsible for supervising your legal case.
If you are still not happy, or if you prefer to do so, you can contact our Client Relations Partner, Joyce Horsman, at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a complaint. Joyce will make sure that any complaint you make is fully investigated and that you get a detailed response, normally within 10 working days. If your solicitor is Joyce, then please contact Stuart.Duffin@dundeelaw.org.
If you are still not satisfied, you have the right to take the matter up with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) at The Stamp Office, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG by ringing 0131 201 2130 or visiting their website https://www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk. Please note deadlines apply to complaints of this nature, details of which are available on the SLCC website or by contacting them.
WHAT WE ASK OF YOU
To help us deliver our best service to you, please:
- give us all relevant details of the work you want us to do for you;
- tell us about any changes or events important to your legal case when they happen;
- update us with your current address and contact details so that we can reach you quickly, especially if wemust meet important deadlines; and
- give us your instructions when we need them to move on with your work.
If you do not do this, your work may be delayed or it could affect your position (for example, if you miss a deadline you could lose your right to make a claim). We will not be responsible for anything that happens because of these delays, and we may have to stop working for you if we cannot get instructions from you.
WHO PAYS FOR OUR WORK ON YOUR BEHALF?
Scottish Legal Aid Board Funding
When we begin working for you, we will discuss with you whether you are eligible for legal aid from the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) in relation to the work you have asked us to do. If you are eligible for legal aid, and it is granted, you will not owe us any money for the work that we do for you. This means that in most cases, we will not charge you for any advice or representation that we provide to you.
However, it is important that you understand there may be a risk that you may be liable for the legal expenses of a court action and/or that a contribution may be taken by the Scottish Legal Aid Board in certain matters. The Scottish Legal Aid Board may also clawback any financial benefit obtained from the work that we carry out for you. Below is a summary of these procedures but we will also make it clear to you when there is a risk of expenses and/or of a contribution or clawback in your case.
Also, we are funded by The Dundee Partnership to address access to justice, legal information, advice, and representation to those living and working in the City of Dundee. These funds are exhaustive and therefore the Law Centre must assess the merits of your case, and our expertise before we consider taking your case on. If we take your case on, you may have to contribute to the costs of your case. If this is so we will keep you informed, and we will always ask you for instructions.
Solicitor and Team Time
Unless a contribution is due, or you are successful in obtaining a financial settlement, you will not need to pay us for any of the solicitor or other law centre team time spent on your case.
Unless a contribution is due, reasonable payments for expenditure on your case such as outlays on reports/experts and other case costs will also be covered by the funding from the Scottish Legal Aid Board or the Dundee Partnership.
Assisted Person Status
If we represent you in court, you may or may not be eligible for a legal aid certificate. If you are eligible for a legal aid certificate, then we will apply for this on your behalf. We will provide you with a handbook on Civil Legal Aid if we do so.
If you are successful, you will obtain a certificate that will mean you have Assisted Person Status. This means that if there is an award of expenses made against you in court, this may be reduced to nil because of the legal aid certificate being in place. This is however for the court to decide and an award of expenses may still be made. We will advise you if this applies to your case and if there is to be any change to this.
Where we apply for Assisted Person Status on your behalf, you may be assessed as being able to make a financial contribution to the funding of your case. This means that the Scottish Legal Aid Board may decide that you have sufficient income or other funds to pay a sum of money toward your legal representation. The sum you are asked to pay will depend on your financial circumstances. The Scottish Legal Aid Board will request and collect that sum from you directly.
It can take a period to apply for the legal aid certificate that will confirm that you have Assisted Person Status. Whilst we are waiting on this decision, we may still be able to carry out urgent work. Please note, however, that Assisted Person Status only applies from the date that your application for a legal aid certificate is granted. Therefore, if your application is not ultimately granted, you will not be able to apply to have your legal expenses reduced. This means that if you decide not to go ahead with your case, you may have to pay expenses to the date you decide not to go ahead. If you decide to go ahead with your case without Assisted Person Status, and expenses are awarded against you, you will not be able to apply to have these reduced and you will need to pay these. We will advise you about this situation if it applies to your case.
If you have Assisted Person Status, then it is important that you keep us updated as to your financial circumstances. Any change in your financial situation may impact on this status. It is important that we are made aware of this immediately as we may require to let the Scottish Legal Aid Board know. It is also important that you are aware of any change to your expenses risk.
If we represent you in court, and you are not eligible for a legal aid certificate, then you will be responsible for the payment of any award of expenses made against you in court. We will however always draw any expenses risk to your attention and provide advice on this before we proceed.
If we represent you in a case and we obtain a financial or property settlement on your behalf, then the Scottish Legal Aid Board will seek payment of the work we have carried out on your behalf that led to this financial gain.
If we represent you in court and an award of expenses is made in your favour, then this award will be paid in full to the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
These provisions are called “clawback”. They are mandatory and are contained within legislation. There are some exemptions, and we will advise you if these apply to your case. The rationale behind them is because public funding has been utilised to obtain a financial gain for you and it is important that the Scottish Legal Aid Board recoups this to be able to utilise the funds to support other cases. If we think clawback will apply in your case, we will advise you of this separately and before we agree to act on your behalf.
HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
When we request personal information from you, we will explain why we have asked for it, and what we will use it for .
We may request personal information from you, for example, such as your name and contact details, to provide you with legal advice. We might also request sensitive personal information, such as your racial or ethnic origin, or details of your health, or of harm you may have suffered, if this is relevant to your legal case.
You have the right to withhold information if you wish.
We will not use your personal information for any purpose other than the purposes we told you about at the time you agreed to share it with us unless we are required to do so by law.
Your Rights in Relation to Your Personal Information
You have several important rights in relation to the data we hold about you, which you can exercise at any time:
- To ask to see a record of all the personal information we hold;
- To ask that we amend any incorrect or incomplete data that we hold;
- To withdraw consent and request that we permanently delete any data we hold; and
- To complain about how we have taken or processed your data.
For more information or to exercise any of these rights, please see our Privacy Notice at Web Address or contact our Data Protection Officer email@example.com
OUR WORKING PRACTICES
Managing Our Files
We use electronic scanning and archiving in respect of our files: AdvicePro. This is done in accordance with guidance from the Law Society of Scotland.
As a result, your original documents will either be scanned and returned to you or destroyed after we have scanned them. This may be immediately after we receive the documents, or later. We do not operate a “buffer”
system where originals are held for a period before they are destroyed, and we assume you agree with this process unless you tell us otherwise.
We will scan birth, marriage, death certificates for filing purposes only, and scanned copies of these documents are never substitutes for the originals.
It is important that you understand that if there is a subsequent dispute or court case, an electronic copy of a document may not have the same status as an original document and may be treated as having less evidential value. Therefore, if you have original documents that you do not wish to be destroyed, please discuss this with your solicitor. We will then arrange for these to be kept and returned to you at the end of your case.
If you, or another firm of solicitors, ask us for a paper copy of an electronic file, we may charge a fee for printing and postage costs.
We will store files relating to your work for as long as is necessary, or if we are required to do so by law. We may hold your files at our offices, or at a secure storage facility elsewhere.
We own the copyright in any materials we produce for you. The advice we give and the documents we prepare are for your use only, and you must not allow anyone to copy or use them without our written permission.
RELEVANT LAWS AND REGULATIONS
These Terms of Business apply to all work that we do for you. They are attached to our Client Care Letter which also applies to any work that we agree to for you. We will ask you to sign a Consent Form at the start of our work with you, to confirm that you understand and agree to these Terms of Business. Altogether these documents make up our contract with you.
Our contract is governed by Scots law. Any legal action relating to our contract may be brought in the country whose law applies, or in any other country whose courts may have authority under general law.
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 way of reaching a solution when clients are not happy with the service they have received. We have however chosen not to adopt an ADR process, and if you have any concerns about the services you receive from this firm you should contact our Client Relations Partner Joyce Horsman.
Under UK anti-money-laundering law, we must:
- gather information about your identity and check that information;
- gather information about the identities of people who are related to you, if relevant, and possibly check thatinformation; and
- continue to monitor the transaction and keep all the information up to date.If we do not receive satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to work for you.
We also have a duty to report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) if we know or suspect that any funds or assets involved in a matter were made through criminal activity. This duty may take priority over our duty to keep your information confidential.
It is an offence to tell someone that a report has been filed to NCA and that they may be investigated. If we make a report to NCA, we cannot carry on with your work without NCA approval, and we will not be able to tell you the reason for this.
Anti-Bribery and Corruption
We are committed to the highest standards of professional behavior in our business. We will not accept any form of bribery or corruption.
Conflicts of Interest
In most cases, we cannot act for you if your interests, conflict with the interests of any of our clients, or of the firm itself. If we become aware of a conflict of interest or think that one may arise, we will discuss with you about how we will proceed. Depending on the circumstances, we may decide that we must stop acting as your solicitors.
We are regulated by The Law Society of Scotland and authorised by them to act as solicitors (Registered No). You can contact the Law Society of Scotland on 0131 226 7411, at Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8EX or through their website http://www.lawscot.org.uk.
We thank you and we are pleased to be working with you.