STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS GOVERNING ALL IMMIGRATION ENGAGEMENTS
“UK Immigration Solicitors” “we”, “us”, “our” “the firm” means SABZ Solicitors LLP. By contacting us or otherwise using our service, websites, or accessing any content or material that is made available by SABZ Solicitors LLP through the Internet or via telephone (the “Content”) you are entering into a binding contract with SABZ Solicitors LLP.
1. About SABZ Solicitors LLP
1.1. This document covers our Standard Terms of Engagement regarding the work we will provide in relation to this matter.
1.2. SABZ Solicitors LLP specialise in all areas and aspects of immigration from business immigration law through to refugee law, nationality and human rights law. Any person acting on our behalf does so in their capacity as a partner or employee of ours, and not in any personal capacity. Any action by them, any communication from them, or any so from them, is taken, sent or given on our behalf.
1.3. In the interests of our clients, we maintain compulsory professional indemnity insurance the full details of which can be requested from our head office in Manchester.
1.4. Please note that these terms of engagement cover instructions to act in matters concerning, immigration, asylum and / or human rights law. For matters unrelated to immigration, please call our head office. Any delay or failure in the performance by us hereunder shall be excused if and to the extent caused by the occurrence of a Force Majeure. We are also not liable in the event of death, refusal of application and / or appeals, and in cases of undisclosed criminality we reserve the right to cease to act. We will also not be liable for the act and / or advice given by third parties, such as experts, agents, barristers and / or other representatives.
1.5. The work on the file will be either carried out under the authorisation or supervision of the partner. Should your allocated legal representative not be available when you contact the office, you can contact a managing supervisor or partner. If they cannot help then please leave a message and we will return your call as possible. Once a file has been created for your matter, you may be allocated a reference number which may be provided to you. Please quote this reference when you telephone the office or in correspondence with us.
2. What we will do
2.1. We will handle your affairs on a confidential basis, with due skill, care and diligence and in a timely manner.
2.2. Our partners and employees will only undertake work within their competence. We will work with you with the aim of obtaining a favourable outcome in any matters that we handle for you but success cannot and is not guaranteed.
2.3. SABZ Solicitors LLP aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service but should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy then you may raise the matter with the Director directly.
3. Agreed Fixed Fees and Disbursements
3.1 An agreed Fixed Fee Arrangement is an alternative to the standard hourly rate used by solicitors. Some of our immigration instructions are offered on a 100% agreed fixed fee basis. Under this type of agreement, We provide you with a fixed price quotation for legal representation for a specific matter. Agreed fixed fees are not dictated by time spent on a file and are not dependant on case outcome or stage reached. Our agreed fixed fee quotation will cover the cost of your legal representation up until submission of your application/representation on a retainer basis. This means that the fee you have been quoted will be for you to retain our services until conclusion of the matter and both parties will be obligated to one another until submission of your application/representation. This gives certainty of legal cost to the client thus allowing you to budget for your legal fees and also gives commitment to the firm thus allowing uninterrupted service.
3.2 .By default, all of our immigration instructions are offered on a 100% agreed fixed fee basis and in accordance with our collective terms of business. This is confirmed throughout our websites. We will also confirm this to you verbally at the time of taking your instruction and in some cases, may also send you a written proposal explaining the same. Once you have instructed the firm by accepting our quotation and making payment, this will also later be confirmed in writing in an email summarising the tasks undertaken up to the point of instruction and furthermore will confirm the next steps going forward.It should be noted that we are deemed to have been formally instructed at the stage at which you have accepted our quotation and made a payment for service to the firm. Where an agreed fixed fee quotation has been accepted, it cannot be varied in retrospect subject to to the following exception: We reserve the right to vary such a fee in the event of a material change in circumstances and or instructions such that the quote would have to be exceeded for the matter to be concluded; we will seek your consent in advance before costs are incurred exceeding the agreed fixed fee.
3.3. Your client care letter will confirm the fees and charges we have agreed for the work we will carry out on your behalf along with the basis of the fee taken and your attention will be drawn to the firms standard terms of engagement and our standard policies.
3.4. It must be understood that an ‘Agreed fixed Fee’ is one that is absolutely fixed in all possible eventualities. Not only is an ‘Agreed fixed Fee’ one that cannot be varied upwards, equally, it is a fee that is not capable of being varied downwards. Accordingly,the agreed fixed fee is non-refundable regardless of which stage the matter has reached and it is not dependent on tasks completed or case outcome. Once a payment is taken we are considered to have been formally instructed to progress the matter to conclusion and work carried out/planned by us will be carried out with a view to reach the desired objective namely a positive outcome. No refunds can be raised once work has commenced.
3.5. Disbursements will be charged in addition to our professional fees.
3.6. Where applicable, fees and disbursements are (where liable) subject to VAT or similar taxes in addition.
3.7. Any disbursement fees (e.g. Home Office fees, courier fees, Entry Clearance fees, translation fees, interpreting fees) are excluded from our fees. Any postage costs incurred for overseas mail that requiring a UK courier or exceptionally heavy items will also attract an additional fee.
3.8 Although the firm will always endeavour to make clients aware of payment deadlines for Government fees, it remains the responsibility of the client to ensure that they comply with any such requests at all times. No responsibility will be accepted by the firm for any applications which have been denied/deferred/rejected due to non-payment of Government fees.
3.9. Where, after consultation with you, other advisers or service providers are engaged (such as expert witnesses, interpreter fees, postage fees, expert fees etc.) They will be engaged by us acting as your agent and you will be responsible for their fees in addition to our own.
3.10. Please note, if disbursements increase for any reason between the date of advice and the date of submission, you will be responsible for the increase in payment.
3.11. To assist us in carrying out the work as efficiently as possible, you must ensure that all information provided is to the best of your knowledge complete, accurate and up to date. You must also notify us of any changes or variations to that information which may arise after the date it is passed to us and of any new circumstances that might be relevant to the work we are undertaking.
3.12. Notwithstanding any estimates which we provide, in matters where an hourly rate has been offered, our final bill will be a product of the amount of time our legal representatives spend on the transaction and our fee rates as set out below.
3.13. Should a (non agreed fixed fee) instruction be accepted and then subsequently be withdrawn for any reason following the provision of service including, but not limited to planning, legal strategy, legal advice, confirmation of documentary requirements, administration by way of calls, emails and/or bespoke correspondence, all work carried out will be billed at our minimum standard hourly rate of £250 +VAT. 3.14. If the instruction was accepted on an agreed fixed fee basis, once service has been engaged (by way of legal consultation, irrespective of the method of delivery or duration) no refunds will be issued in the event of withdrawal/variation of instructions. 3.15. All requests for termination of retainer agreement/withdrawal or variation of instructions/cancellation and or refund requests will only be recorded if made in writing via our Resolutions Ticket system. This request must be used for all cancellation/refund/variation requests and a ticket can be raised by visiting: www.ukimmigrationsolicitors.co.uk/resolutions – Any requests made externally to this process will be deemed invalid and will not be acknowledged as a valid request.
For matters accepted on an agreed fixed fee basis, the fee agreed between the firm and the client is fixed and therefore, both parties enter into a contractual agreement which is formed at the point a quotation is accepted and payment tendered. Accordingly, agreed fixed fees are non refundable irrespective of stage reached, work carried out or outcome of representation.
4. Basis of the agreed fixed fee
4.1. In relation to the agreed fixed fee, it is based on the following assumptions:
4.1.1. The ambit of work and true intention of the applicant/sponsor will not be materially different to that discussed during your free needs assessment;
4.1.2. The matter will proceed without undue difficulty;
4.1.3. No significant new issues will arise nor will the matter extend to any significant areas of work not contemplated when the instruction was accepted;
4.1.4. Meetings/telephone appointments with the client will not exceed thirty minutes on average; the matter will be capable of being carried out by designated legal representative and senior solicitor/partner involvement will not be required;
4.1.5. The agreed fixed fee quoted relates only to English Law advice to be given.
4.1.6. The fee does not include any non-standard steps including unexpected problems, instructions or complexities, further representations, a further application, an appeal and / or a challenge of the application should it be refused or rejected for any reason. The fee does not also include any material changes in instructions, circumstances or delays resulting in unforeseen work.
4.2. We are entitled to retain your file of papers and original documents while there is money owing to us for fees.
4.3. In cases where an instruction has been accepted on an agreed fixed fee basis but subsequently withdrawn, the agreed fixed fee will be retained in its entirety as the agreed fixed fee is non-refundable regardless of which stage the matter has reached and it is not dependent on tasks completed or case outcome.
4.3.1 Where an instruction is withdrawn prior to services being provided and a full refund is requested, a minimum administration fee of £75.00 will be applied in all cases to cover the administrative costs of setting up the file, administering the refund and covering merchant refund fees. Agreed fixed fees are non refundable once work has commenced on the file (work is commenced at consultation stage).
4.3.2 For non agreed fixed fee matters, a minimum standard hourly rate of £250.00(+vat) will apply for each hour of work billed. This also applies to all withdrawn instructions.
4.3.3 For non agreed fixed fee matters, if ,following a legal consultation, a bespoke document list and Client Care Letter is produced for the client, a minimum fee of £500.00 (+VAT) will be billed.
4.3.4 All telephone calls (in and out), emails and letters will be billed at a flat rate of £25.00 +VAT per item if the instruction is withdrawn by the client.
4.3.5 All Legal Consultations will be billed at a minimum flat rate of £250 + vat regardless of method of delivery or duration.
4.3.6 All consultations are offered on a strictly by appointment only basis and once booked, any consultations unable to take place as scheduled due to the client failing to present/making themselves available without a minimum of four hours advance notice in writing will remain billable at the flat rate of £250 + VAT.
4.3.7 Instructions accepted on an agreed fixed fee basis that comprises of more than one clearly defined task/application offer a discounted rate strictly on the basis that the firm has been retained to pursue all components to conclusion. If the basis of instructions subsequently change prior to conclusion, the work already completed will not benefit from any agreed fixed fee discount and thus at the sole discretion of management, will be billed for at a pre-discounted standard rate of £250 + vat per hour in line with time spent on the file.
5. Hourly Rate
5.1. If the fees for our services have not been pre-agreed and fixed, as set out above, we will charge for our work on an hourly basis. The hourly rates for a particular matter should be discussed with the person supervising the matter.The firm charges a minimum hourly rate of £250 + VAT in all matters. This rate may vary for matters handled at our London offices.
5.2. Where applicable, we will add VAT to our fees and disbursements. All fees and disbursements are payable in pounds sterling unless otherwise agreed and confirmed by us to you in writing.
5.3. Should the matter not be carried through to completion then a charge will be made in respect of the work that has already been completed. VAT or similar taxes will be payable on that amount and you will also be billed for any disbursements incurred.
5.4. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, our fees are payable irrespective of the outcome achieved or at which stage a matter has reached. If instructions are taken on an hourly rate basis, (which is not an agreed fixed fee basis), any matter that does not proceed to completion for any reason during the period in which we are instructed, then we will be entitled to charge for work done on an hourly rate of £250.00 + VAT per hour for the work incurred from time of file opening (£25.00 per standard letter/email, standard telephone calls in and out, consideration, attendances, research, drafting, preparation and perusal).
5.5. Following the conclusion of your matter, we are entitled to retain your file of papers and documents while there is money owing to us for fees.
6. Fee Guide
7. Payment of our invoices
7.1. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, our invoices are payable in pounds sterling within 7 days of date of invoice. Failure by you to pay one or more invoices by the due date in cleared funds may result in us suspending further work on any matters that we are handling on your behalf. This may lead to additional costs being incurred or rights being lost.
7.2. Please ensure that all payments made to us are accompanied by an identification of the payer. You must ensure that we are notified if funds are being transferred to our bank account, and that the name of the applicant (or appellant) is clearly identified. The sender of the payment will be responsible for ensuring that they have complied with these instructions and the firm accepts no responsibility for any loss or delays occurring due to non compliance with these instructions.
7.3. If we have asked for a payment prior to commencing work, we will require confirmation from our bank that the payment has been credited to our account in cleared funds. If funds are transferred to our bank account in such circumstances but we do not receive advice of payment from our bank, there is a risk that additional charges will be incurred or rights lost .The firm accepts no responsibility for any loss or delays occurring in the absence of payment confirmation.
7.4. We reserve the right to refuse payment in cash of sums exceeding £500.00 in accordance with our regulatory and anti money laundering obligations.
7.5. If available at the time of writing, we may accept payment by credit card or debit card. If we accept payment by credit card, a surcharge may be added to the sum payable to cover our costs in providing the credit card facility. If applicable, you will be notified in advance of this surcharge, and typically it would be 2.5% of the total invoice value or amount paid inclusive of VAT.
7.6. We reserve the right to charge interest on any amount that is overdue for payment as well as any costs or expenses incurred in recovering such amount. The rate of interest shall be 2% per annum above Barclays Bank PLC’s base lending rate from time to time in force. Such interest shall accrue on a daily basis from the due date until the date of actual payment of the overdue amount, whether or not we start proceedings for recovery of the amount due and before or after judgement in the event of such proceedings.
7.7. We are entitled to charge interest on unpaid bills at the rate payable on judgement debts from one month after delivery of the bill in accordance with Article 5 of the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009.
7.8. Notwithstanding clauses below, we may in the alternative claim interest at our discretion under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (as amended). We are entitled to use the statutory rate of interest that applies for the time being. As at 1 January 2010 the statutory rate of interest payable is 8% above the statutory reference rate, which is set twice a year on 31 December
and 30 June as the Bank of England Base Rate. In the event that these provisions do not apply by statute to our dealings with you, they shall be deemed to apply and to be incorporated into these Terms of Engagement.
7.9. In the event of a payment not being made either in respect of a bill or on account on time we reserve the right to decline to act any further and/or to exercise a lien for unpaid costs. In the event we are not paid our costs on time, we may seek to issue proceedings to recover the same.
8. Confidentiality and money laundering
8.1. In some cases, a matter that we are handling for a client is of such a nature that we must comply with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000, the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and similar legislation.
8.2. In such cases, we may need to carry out checks on the identity of individuals, companies or the owners of companies, even if we have acted for the client before or the client is known to us personally. If funds are to be transferred we may need to investigate the source or destination of those funds. Where it is appropriate to return funds that we have previously received, either from you or from another source on your behalf, we may refuse to return these to a destination that is different from the source from which they were received. Any costs incurred by us in making such investigations may be charged to you.
8.3. We are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception: recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. Where we know or suspect that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, we may be required to make a money laundering disclosure.
8.4. If we need to make a report to a relevant authority to comply with our statutory obligations, we may be required to do this without notifying you. 8.5. If a dispute arises over payments made to the firm or balances due, for example card holder chargebacks, we reserve the right to share confidential information with external parties who may have a legitimate interest in the information being shared without notifying you. Such organisations include law enforcement authorities, investigative services, financial institutions and parties involved in the processing of payments.
9. Funds held on your behalf
9.1. We do not normally hold money provided by a client or on behalf of a client, other than by way of payment of fees or disbursements or money paid in advance on account for fees or disbursements to be incurred and such will be held in a separate Client Account.
10. Scope of our advice
10.1. Please note that our advice and the action agreed is limited to the matters on which you have specifically instructed us as recorded above. Any other issues, whether or not directly related to the subject matter of your instructions are not covered. If there is anything else on which you would like our advice you must let us know.
11. Identification documents
11.1. We also require proof of your identification. This should be in the form of your current passport or a certified copy of it and/or a recent utility bill with proof of your address. Documents used for the purpose of identification include a valid passport, ARC card or driving licence.
12. Your obligations
12.1. As our client, you are responsible for payment of all costs in respect of work carried out on your instructions, including our fees and any disbursements incurred by us. Your responsibility extends to ensuring that we are paid on time in cleared funds. If there is any error, theft or fraud that results in the means of payment not coming into our possession, you remain liable even if, as a result, you suffer loss.
12.2. Your responsibility for payment of all costs applies even if you, in turn, have a client or third party who does not provide you with funds to pay these costs. If we agree to invoice a third party in respect of work done on your instructions, you will remain liable for all costs in the event of default by the third party.
12.3. You are responsible for any instructions that are sent to us by an employee, partner or officer of yours, or by any consultant, agent or other person from whom we have been authorised to accept instructions on your behalf, unless we have received prior written notice not to accept such instructions. If costs are incurred as a result of us acting in good faith on unauthorised instructions, you will remain liable for such costs. We shall not be liable for any loss you may suffer as a result.
12.4. If you wish to abandon a case or to transfer instructions from us to yourself or to another representative, you must inform us in writing as soon as possible. This is particularly important if we have been requested to keep a case open and we carry out continued or repeat work such as the payment of renewal fees in the absence of instructions from you. You will remain liable for all costs and
disbursements until we have received instructions in writing that you wish to abandon or transfer the matter and we have had a reasonable period to implement them.
12.5. You cannot transfer responsibility for payment of our charges to another party, and you will remain liable for our charges regardless of what you may decide to do with any rights we have acquired for you.
12.6. We do not operate conditional fee arrangements. Your responsibility for payment of all costs applies even if the outcome of a particular matter is unfavourable to you.
12.7. Additionally, you are responsible for providing us with all the necessary documents that we may from time to time request.
12.8. Should it become apparent at any time during the course of the matter that significant further work is required in addition to that mentioned above we shall inform you and / or your appointed agent.
13. Precautions you should take
13.1. It is your responsibility to check that instructions or other material sent to us by any means, including fax, e-mail, courier and post, has been received and are being acted upon, particularly where deadlines are imminent. You should bear in mind that public holidays may result in disruption to delivery of items by post or by courier or us being able to act on your behalf. We endeavour to divert incoming business e-mails where the person dealing with your matter is absent, but you should request an acknowledgement and monitor the receipt of any communication sent to check that your instructions are being carried out. You should confirm all oral instructions in writing to avoid any misunderstandings. If we communicate by e-mail you accept that e-mail is not a secure form of communication and the contents of an e-mail could be intercepted and read by a third party.
13.2. For so long as we continue to be instructed by you, we will advise you of any due dates for action to be taken. We will endeavour to remind you of these dates but you should keep a record of them yourself. If we have asked you for instructions, information, documents or other material required for action to be taken by a due date, we rely upon you to provide this in a timely manner. If you do not provide the full and correct material in reasonable time for us to comply with a due date, then you will be liable for any additional costs incurred by us for urgent handling of the matter or for obtaining an extension of time if that is possible. We accept no responsibility for the consequences if material is not received or is received so late or is incorrect or insufficient so that we are unable to take the appropriate action before a due date, which may lead to a loss of rights or to surcharges or other fees being levied
for late compliance.
13.3. Please notify us promptly if there is any change of name, address, telephone number, fax number, email address or similar information, or if there is a change in the person from whom we should seek instructions. If communications from us do not reach you, rights may be lost and we cannot accept responsibility for any such loss. Please also advise us promptly of any change of ownership of rights. It may be important to record a change of ownership by a due date to ensure that rights can be enforced properly.
14. Our files
14.1 Our files in respect of cases that we handle on your behalf are our property. However, we are willing at your expense and on your written instruction to provide you, or somebody acting on your behalf, with access to the files and/or copies of papers from the files, subject to removal of any information that may be confidential, covered by professional privilege, or contains personal data that
cannot be disclosed. If it is necessary for original documents to be taken from our files, we reserve the right to take copies at your expense for retention in our files.
14.2. Access to the contents of our files in the above ways is conditional on your account with us being up to date. We are entitled to keep all your papers and documents whilst there is money owed to us on any account. We shall have a lien over all papers as a matter of law, documents, money or other property held on your behalf until all sums due to us are paid in cleared funds.
14.3. We have a file destruction policy which is available to you on request. Unless specific terms are agreed with you regarding the retention of files when cases are no longer current, your files in our possession may be destroyed, in accordance with our policy, without reference to you.
15. Transfer of representation
15.1. You are at liberty at any time to transfer responsibility for a matter to yourself or to another professional representative. Additionally, circumstances may arise in which we find ourselves unable or unwilling to act for you, and we will then ask you to take on responsibility for the matter yourself or to nominate another representative. In either case we shall cooperate with you and any replacement representative in order to preserve your interests.
15.2. We reserve the right to charge you for any work we are asked to carry out in connection with transferring responsibility, such as providing schedules and status information and bringing attention to due dates. We also reserve the right to charge you for any work we need to do after the transfer of responsibility, such as forwarding correspondence received by us after the transfer.
15.3. In the event of a transfer of responsibility the provision of files or copies of papers shall be in accordance with Section 26, “Our Files”. In the event that your account with us is outstanding at the time of the transfer, if we are asked to carry out work in accordance with Clause 26.2 we shall nevertheless endeavour to advise you or your chosen representative about any critical due dates or other critical information that is not available readily from other sources. However, we cannot accept responsibility if you do not meet any critical due date.
16.1. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care and aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service. However, if you would like to discuss how the service provided to you could be improved, the level of your bill, or should there be any aspect of our service with which you are not satisfied, an informal chat can put matters back on track.
Please contact our resolutions team by calling 0161 872 6655 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing our resolutions ticket on https://ukimmigrationsolicitors.co.uk/resolutions/
Our resolutions team will deal with your concerns informally and try to resolve them as soon as possible.
16.2. Should you remain dissatisfied with the response of the resolutions team and you wish to make a formal complaint then are able to make a complaint in writing to Mr Sarfraz Roy who is the Senior Partner and Designated Complaints Handler at this firm. Mr Roy can be contacted by:
Calling: 0161 872 6655 between 9.00 to 17.00 HRS.
Writing: SABZ Solicitors LLP, 615-617 Stretford Road, Old Trafford, Manchester M16 0QA.
Mr Roy will investigate your concerns and revert to you with his findings within 8 Weeks of your date of complaint.
16.3. Should you remain dissatisfied with response of our designated complaints handler, or we fail to provide you a response within the agreed timeframe, then you may ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them by.
Calling: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00 HRS.
Writing: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
16.4. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). SRA can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
17. Data protection
17.1. We are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998.
17.2. In order to deal with your affairs, we may store and process information comprising personal data. This personal data will concern you as our client if you are an individual. The personal data will be entered into our database and/or written records. By accepting these Engagement Terms you are giving consent for us to obtain, store and process information about you as our client and are agreeing that we may use the information we hold about you to contact you from time to time to bring to your attention services which may be of benefit to you or to advise you of information such as developments in the law or other news. You have the right to object to direct mailing and you may withhold (or at any future time withdraw) any consent given by you for this purpose by contacting us in writing. We will inform you and seek your prior consent if it becomes necessary for us to supply such personal data to any third parties in connection with our service.
18.1. Occasionally, our files may need to be examined by our insurers, external auditors (for quality purposes) or external advisers (who assist the firm in maintaining quality and risk). In particular, our files may need to be assessed for quality purposes by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Your file may be one of a sample which is to be assessed.
19.1. Advice that we provide to you is for your use only and should not be disclosed to or relied upon by a third party without our prior written approval. We accept no liability to third parties who rely upon advice that we have given to you.
19.2. No employee, associate or consultant of SABZ Solicitors LLP will have any personal liability for work undertaken for you.
20. Conflicts of interest
20.1. At present there is no evidence that there is any conflict in us acting for you.
20.2. Except with the approval of the parties concerned, we shall not act for a client on a particular matter if, having acted for another client on a conflicting matter, our professional duty to either client may be compromised.
20.3. We do not undertake not to work for another client whose general interests may conflict with yours.
20.4. If in the course of acting for you, or in the course of discussions in the context of prospectively acting for you on a matter, we acquire knowledge of you, your affairs or your technology which is confidential or at least has not been widely disseminated to the public, we shall not disclose that knowledge to any other client and we shall not rely upon that knowledge in acting for any other client without your express consent.
21. Cancellation Rights
21.1 The service provider and payment facilitator is Sabz Solicitors LLP who is a Limited Liability Partnership with its registered office at 615 – 617 Stretford Road, Manchester, M16 0QA. Telephone: 0161 872 6655.
21.2 Sabz Solicitors LLP provides legal advice, guidance and representation in person and online / via telephone through distance selling.
21.3 Prices are dependent on your individual requirements and prospective clients would be provided with a bespoke quotation in all cases prior to being accepted as a client.
21.4 Service is routinely provided remotely and as the service is not tangible, delivery of service will be by remote provision of professional legal assistance, guidance and representation.
21.5 Sabz Solicitors operates a Fixed Fee pricing model. This means that all clients are provided with a bespoke Fixed Fee quotation prior to delivery of service.
21.6 A Fixed Fee quotation represents the fee that Sabz Solicitors LLP will charge the client to provide representation for a specific pre-agreed matter.
21.7 All Fixed Fee matters are exclusively accepted on a retainer basis – This means the client will pay a fixed fee, agreed in advance, to retain the professional services of the firm until the conclusion of the matter. -This, at minimum, means until the matters instructed for have been completed.
21.8 Fixed Fee matters must be paid for in full prior to the firm accepting the instruction.
21.9 The firm may, at its sole discretion, accept, arrange or enter a payment plan with the client.
21.10 The point at which a client formally instructs the firm will be determined by when the client has accepted our offer of service and quotation by making payment.
21.11 Ordinarily, under the Distance Selling Regulations, the client would have a 7 day ‘cooling off’ period beginning at the point at which payment has been made to the firm during which the client could cancel their contract without penalty and be entitled to a full refund.
21.12 It should be clearly noted that by instructing Sabz Solicitors LLP, you understand and agree that Sabz Solicitors LLP will commence service within 7 days of payment and therefore no ‘cooling off’ period will exist for the purposes of cancelling services following instruction.
21.13 The point at which our first chargeable service is delivered is during legal consultation between the client and a senior solicitor/partner at the firm.
21.14 If no legal consultation has been delivered, you will have a 7 day cooling off period following payment to cancel the contract for a full refund.
21.15 All cancellation requests must be made in writing within the 7 day cooling off period via our Resolutions Ticket System available by visiting the following webpage: https://ukimmigrationsolicitors.co.uk/resolutions. Please be advised that if you provide incomplete or incorrect information which prevents us from locating your details, your cancelation request will be deemed invalid.
21.16 All cancellation requests must provide your full name, address, telephone number and email address along with the reasons for your cancellation request.
22. Cancellation Charges
22.1 By default, Sabz Solicitors LLP offers fixed fee representation for all immigration cases. This means that the firm will provide its clients with a binding fee quotation for taking on the client’s case.
22.2 All fixed fee matters are exclusively accepted on a retainer basis. This means that at the point of instruction, you are agreeing to retain the firms services until conclusion of the case or, at a minimum, until the agreed scope of work has been completed.
22.3 The agreed scope of work is generally considered to be for the firm to either provide regulated advice, lodge an application on behalf of a client or to submit written representations on behalf of the client.
22.4 Sabz Solicitors LLP does not warrant, imply or guarantee the outcome of any such advice, submissions or representations and by instructing the firm, you accept that the firm does not accept any responsibility for the any decisions made by any Government department or independent third party.
22.4 All instructions are accepted in good faith and based on a provisional assessment of your circumstances routinely carried out by a member of our assessment centre. Assessment centre staff are unable to provide regulated legal advice as the information provided should be considered the personal opinion of the Assessment Officer only. Under no circumstances should you assume or otherwise infer that any information provided to you is legal advice unless it has been provided by a regulated solicitor at the consultation stage unless you otherwise explicitly advised to the contrary in writing.
22.5 Sabz Solicitors LLP will only charge you legal fees for work carried out once you have received legal representation. The first point at which our clients receive representation is when they are provided with a legal consultation irrespective of method of delivery.
22.6 The fees charged by the firm in the event of cancellation are as follows:
*If you are unsure about which type of fee arrangement your case has, please refer to your proposal of service and or confirmation of instruction emails which are routinely sent to clients by the Assessment Officer who has taken your instructions or, if the instruction was taken face to face, you should refer to your Instruction Agreement
i) Cancellation Prior to Engagement (Pre Consultation)
Where a client has provided an instruction to the firm (by requesting and paying for a service following a proposal/quotation) and subsequently decides to cancel their instructions prior to engagement of legal representation i.e. pre legal consultation, the client will be required to pay an administration fee of £75 GBP. This fee is applied to cover our costs of administering the file, payment and refund processing.
ii) Cancelling an Agreed Fixed Fee Instruction
Where a client has instructed the firm under an agreed fixed fee retainer agreement, that fee has been paid to exclusively retain the firm’s representation until conclusion based on the anticipated scope of work agreed to by the firm. This type of agreement cannot be varied retrospectively and therefore neither the firm nor the client can vary the terms or fees once service has been engaged. This type of agreement can be cancelled upon the explicit request of the client however, regrettably no refunds can be offered in such cases.
iii) Cancelling an Fixed Fee Instruction (May 2020 onwards)
In response to the uncertainty and financial issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced a new variation of our “Agreed Fixed Fee” fee model which was rolled out between April and May 2020. The new fixed fee model is identical to the agreed fixed fee model (in that it is still an exclusive retainer agreement for which the firm agree and fix a price prior to proposal of service) however, the fixed fee model will allow clients to cancel their instructions and terminate the retainer and will allow clients to be refunded for any unused funds paid on account.
Where a client has instructed the firm under a fixed fee retainer agreement, that fee has been paid to exclusively retain the firm’s representation until conclusion based on the anticipated scope of work agreed to by the firm. This type of agreement can be cancelled upon the explicit request of the client.
Where the instruction is cancelled prior to conclusion of the case, the client will be entitled to be refunded any portion of unused fees that they may have paid on account.
22.7 All work carried out will be billed at the following fixed rates in the event of cancellation:
- Pre Consultation Cancellation – £75.00 (providing the client has provided at least 3 hours prior notice of cancellation which has been confirmed as received by a member of the Sabz Solicitors LLP team), a one time fixed administration fee of £75 will be applied to the file. If a minimum of 3 hours prior notice has not been given and consequently, the firm is required to reserve a 1 hour consultation slot, the consultation fee of £300 will remain chargeable on account of the firm not being able to accrue billing elsewhere.
- Legal Consultation Only + £300 Legal consultations taking place between clients and a solicitor at Sabz Solicitors LLP whereas the solicitor has discussed the client’s circumstances and provided professional advice in respect of whether the client’s objectives can or indeed cannot be met alongside an explanation of the basis for the same and or other professional guidance concerning laws, regulations, immigration practices, feasibility assessments etc will be billed at a fixed rate of £300 irrespective of method of delivery and duration. Although each client is allocated a maximum of 1 hour to conduct a consultation, it must be understood that this time restriction is an allowance as opposed to a target. Dependent upon your circumstances and the complexity of your case, the duration of your consultation is entirely dependant on the solicitors professional assessment of the requirements and therefore the consultation will last until the solicitor, in their professional capacity is satisfied that they have obtained all required information to enable them to produce a detailed client care pack which is discussed in the next point. (It is possible to have more than one legal consultation, specifically this is particularly relevant when the clients wishes or instructions may have changed e.g perhaps the client now wishes to pursue an entirely different visa route and requires advising on an alternative – each consultation will be billed as a standalone service at the standard fixed rate of £300)
- Client Care Pack + £300 For all fixed fee instructions, a Client Care Pack will be produced following a legal consultation. A Client Care Pack firstly provides a formal letter of instructions whereas it will clearly set out a written record of your circumstances, your instructions, our professional advice, identification of the relevant laws and regulations, our terms of engagement and next steps in the process. Secondly, the Client Care Pack will be accompanied by a tailored documentary requirements list. This list will advise you on what supporting documents you need to collate in order to tender as supporting evidence as part of your case. The list is typically exhaustive and advises you on documents that you should ideally be able to produce (if you have any concerns or queries regarding the documents list, these should be raised with the author of your Client Care Pack). (It is possible to have more than one Client Care Pack, specifically this is particularly relevant when the clients wishes or instructions may have changed e.g perhaps the client now wishes to pursue an entirely different visa route and requires advising on an alternative – each Client Care Pack will be billed as a standalone service at the standard fixed rate of £300)
- Miscellaneous Work + £300 hour All work falling outside of the above fixed tasks, including, but not limited to legal research, third party enquiries, liaison with third parties or representatives, file work, written or oral representations and communications with you or on your behalf including emails and telephone calls will be billed based on the amount of time the task takes to complete. Sabz Solicitors LLP will bill for all tasks completed for the client at a standard rate of £300 per hour a derivative unit thereof. Our minimum billing unit is 15 minutes. Hourly rates for each of our offices can be found below:
London Offices: – Hourly Rates Instructions taken our London offices may be billed at a fixed hourly rate of £400 with incomplete or miscellaneous work billed on a pro rata basis. E.g. 1 Hour is billed at a fixed a rate of £400. This hour, i.e 60 minutes, can be divided into four units of 15 minutes and each unit will be billed at the respective rate of £100 thus four units equate to 1 complete hour.
Birmingham Offices: – Hourly Rates Instructions taken at our Birmingham offices may be billed at a fixed hourly rate of £300 with incomplete or miscellaneous work billed on a pro rata basis. E.g. 1 Hour is billed at a fixed a rate of £300. This hour, i.e 60 minutes, can be divided into four units of 15 minutes and each unit will be billed at the respective rate of £75 thus four units equate to 1 complete hour.
Manchester Offices: – Hourly Rates (Default Service Centre & Head Office ) Instructions taken at our Manchester offices may be billed at a fixed hourly rate of £300 with incomplete or miscellaneous work billed on a pro rata basis. E.g. 1 Hour is billed at a fixed a rate of £300. This hour, i.e 60 minutes, can be divided into four units of 15 minutes and each unit will be billed at the respective rate of £75 thus four units equate to 1 complete hour.
23. Acceptance of terms
23.1. Your continuing instructions amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Engagement. All instructions are governed by our standard terms of engagement and notification of this, along with a link to the same can be found at the bottom of emails sent out by the firms authorised representatives. These terms are available to all parties irrespective of whether you instruct us or not and therefore should be considered as pre-advised terms.
23.2 Dependant on the method of instruction, clients will routinely receive a written proposal of service confirming these terms prior to the creation of any official instruction.
23.3 Clients instructing via non face to face channels will also routinely be referred to our full terms at the point the instruction is formally accepted represented by the client considering the firms offer and accepting it by making payment for the services offered.
23.4 Clients wishing to cancel services or obtain clarity regarding any aspect of our terms or service are advised to do so prior to engagement of legal representation as all clients will be deemed to have been served with our full terms prior to instructing and will assume full responsibility for ensuring that they have read, understood and agree with the full terms by continuing to engage service.