- Also in this section:
If our business with you involves Court work, you should be aware of the following terms:
Communication – Getting in touch with us
(a) Contact – Your business will be handled by the personnel indicated to you, to whom your instructions should be addressed. He/she can usually be contacted during the office opening hours. Due to commitments to the Courts, from time to time it may be necessary for your matter to be progressed by another member of staff. If this situation does arise we will endeavour to give you prior notice.
(b) Availability – Please remember that our Court Solicitors are frequently away from the office attending Court on behalf of clients and may not always be available to take your calls. If this happens, you can contact the person dealing with your business by e-mail or please leave a message with a secretary or telephonist with a brief indication of the purpose of your call and in either event the person dealing with your business will contact you as soon as possible thereafter. Please note that this may not be until at least the following day depending upon the Solicitor’s existing commitments.
(c) Appointments – As mentioned above, our Court solicitors are requested to attend Court at very short notice. Under these situations it may be necessary to postpone appointments. In the unlikelihood this situation does arise, we will endeavour to give you warning and either rearrange your appointment, or recommend another member of our staff to conduct the appointment.
(d) Instructions – As your solicitors, we can only act on information and instructions given to us. You should not assume that we have knowledge of any factual matters. You can instruct us either verbally or in writing, although we may ask you to confirm verbal instructions to us in writing. If there is any change in your instructions, you must notify us immediately.
(d) General Correspondence – We will always try to keep you informed about the progress of your case. We will write to you or telephone you whenever there is anything significant to report. If matters arise which you wish to discuss with us, then please make an appointment to see the Solicitor dealing with your case, or alternatively contact that Solicitor by telephone. Please do be aware, however, that all meetings and telephone calls will be charged for by us. Often meetings or telephone calls which are not considered directly relevant or necessary to the conduct of a Court Action will not form part of the expenses of the Court case and so will be required to be paid for by you. They may not be recoverable from the opposing party, even if you are successful in your case.
(e) Court Expenses – If your case settles with each side paying their own expenses, you will pay our fees and outlays in full. These will be at the rate set out in the paragraph above headed “Charges – How do we charge for work?” In this context these fees are known as “agent and client” fees.
If you win your case and are awarded your expenses from the other side, this will mean you will be entitled to judicial expenses only. Please note that the Court can only award “judicial” expenses, i.e. those that are reasonably and necessarily incurred in taking the action to Court. “Agent and Client” or other expenses which are expenses and fees incurred by us in our dealings with you and which are not considered essential to the conduct of the Court proceedings will remain payable by you. Even if you succeed in your action and are awarded expenses, there may be a shortfall in the expenses recovered, which you must pay. If you lose your case and expenses are awarded against you, you will require to pay all our fees and outlays and the judicial (and any other) awarded expenses of your opponent.
(f) Actions for Personal Injury – If you are seeking compensation for personal injuries it is important that you are aware of the regulations regarding recovery of state benefits from your award. If you have received state benefits as a result of your injury, the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) will reclaim some or all of the benefits which you have received from any award made in your favour. This deduction is made before any payment is made to you. For example, if you are awarded £20,000 and the total relevant benefits paid amount to £15,000 over the relevant period, then only £5,000 compensation will be paid to you. The balance of £15,000 will be repaid by the other side/responsible party to the Benefits Agency. The only exception to this rule is when the compensation payable is £2,500 or less, in which case no benefits are repayable. We may be able to offer to undertake your case on the basis of a “no win-no fee” contract which we will be happy to explain further if you request this at the outset of the case.
(g) Time Limits for Personal Injury Actions – You will need to remember that (except in special cases which you will be advised at the outset apply) a three year time limit from the date of the injury exists within which either your case must be settled or a Court action must be raised. You will need to remember to ensure that any action is raised timeously. If we have not received your instructions to raise a Court action more than three months before the expiry of the three year period, you must contact us to discuss the position and to ensure that any action is raised in time or you may be barred from raising an action. We cannot raise an action without your instructions and in the absence of these you accept the risk that the Court action may not be raised in time.