We aim to give you a high-quality legal service. To do this, we will:
give you first-class advice in clear English.
We give advice on the laws of Scotland and England and Wales.
We are members of Interlaw, an international association of law firms. If we need to get advice about the laws of any other country, we may get this advice from a local lawyer. We will tell you if we need to do this and agree the costs with you beforehand.
We only give tax advice when we specifically agree to do so in writing. We do not give accountancy advice.
We may contact you by letter, e-mail, phone or fax. If you do not want us to use one of these methods, please let us know.
If your contact details change, you must tell us in writing as soon as possible.
We keep any information you give us confidential. We will not give this information to any other people or organisations unless you give us permission or we must do so by law.
If, for marketing purposes, we want to talk about the work we have done for you, we will ask for your permission first. This permission would apply to future marketing as well.
We will hold any funds we receive from you in our client account. If it is reasonable to do so (taking into account the amount of money and the length of time we are likely to be holding it) we will invest it as soon as is practical in an account which earns interest.
As we invest other clients' money together with your own, we may earn higher rates of interest than the rate we pay you. We will keep any difference to cover administrative and accounting costs.
We will not be responsible for any losses caused if a bank collapses. This does not affect any rights you may have under a Government protection scheme. If you want to know which banks we invest your money in, or if you want us to invest your money in a specific bank, please contact us.
If you are not happy with the quality of the service we have given you, or the amount of our fees, please discuss your concerns first with the partner responsible for your work. If you are still not happy, or if you prefer to do so, please raise the matter with our Client Relations Partner, John Barrie, who is based at our Edinburgh office. He will make sure that any complaint you make is fully investigated and that you get a detailed response, normally within 10 working days.
If you are still not satisfied, you have the right to take the matter up with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission at The Stamp Office, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG. For English work, you should contact the Legal Complaints Service at Victoria Court, 8 Dormer Place, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 5AE.
To help us deliver our best service to you, please:
If you don't 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 as a result of these delays, and we may have to stop working for you if we cannot get instructions from you.
We try to charge fees that are fair and reasonable for the work we have done. Unless we agree otherwise, the main factor in working out your fee is the time we have spent doing the work. The rate we charge will depend on the seniority of the lawyers involved. We also take into account other circumstances, including how urgent, complicated or unusual the work is.
If at any time you want to know the approximate value of the time spent working for you, we will be happy to tell you.
If a transaction does not complete, or if you ask us to stop acting for you, you will still have to pay our fees for the work done up to that point.
If you are not happy with any fees we charge, you can get an independent assessment of the cost of the work from the court. There may be a charge for this.
Outlays, also called disbursements, are necessary expenses that we must pay to other people or organisations on your behalf. These are charges for things such as registry searches, experts' fees (for example, surveyors) or registration charges.
Normally, we only pay outlays after we receive the funds from you. If we have to pay before getting the funds from you, you must pay us back when we ask you to.
Any reference to paying our fees also includes paying any outlays which you may owe.
You must pay our fees as soon as you get our bill. You can pay by cheque, debit or credit card, or by paying funds into our bank account direct.
If you do not pay our fees, we have the right to stop or suspend further work on the matter in question and any other work we are doing for you. In these cases, we will not be responsible for any delays or losses which may result from this. If we hold money that belongs to you, we will have the right to take our fees from that money before sending you the balance.
We also have a legal right to hold deeds, documents or any other papers until you pay the fees you owe.
If someone else agrees to pay our fees and then fails to do so, you will have to pay our fees yourself.
If we carry out work for a company or a limited liability partnership (LLP) and it does not pay our fees, we may require any of the principals to pay all or part of those fees ('principals' means the directors of the company, or the members of the LLP, at the time we issue our bill).
We have the right to charge interest on overdue amounts at the rate which is 3% over the Royal Bank of Scotland base rate.
When you ask us to do work for you, we may check your details with fraud prevention agencies (FPAs) or credit reference agencies (CRAs). We will use this information to check your identity and to prevent fraud and money laundering.
From time to time we may provide you with information such as news about legal issues which may interest you, and details of our services and events by post, phone or e-mail. If you no longer want to receive this, please let us know.
Access to information
You have the right to ask for a copy of any personal information we hold about you if you apply to us in writing. You may have to pay a fee for this.
Managing our files
We may scan files or papers and destroy the originals after 28 days unless we have to keep them by law. If you want us to return any document rather than destroy it, please let us know when you send that document to us. You should be aware that a copy of a document may not be as good as the original if it is later needed in court as evidence.
We will store files relating to your work for as long as we think is reasonable or as long as the law says is necessary. We cannot promise that files will always be held on our premises.
If you ask us for a paper copy of an electronic file, we may charge you for printing and postage costs.
We will not destroy documents you ask us to keep (for example, title deeds, wills, and so on), but we cannot promise they will always be held on our premises.
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.
These Terms of Business apply to all work that we do for you. Any Schedule of Work also applies to the work it was issued for. Together these documents make up our contract with you.
Our contract is governed by Scots law, unless you live in England or have your place of business there, in which case English law applies.
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.
Under UK anti-money-laundering law, we must:
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 Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) 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 SOCA and that they may be investigated. If we make a report to SOCA, we cannot carry on with your work without SOCA approval and we will not be responsible for the effects of any delay which may occur as a result.
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.
For Scottish work, we are regulated by The Law Society of Scotland.
For English work, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
We are also authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.