Sample Client Care Letter
[Please note: this sample client care letter is based on the assumption of Direct Access instructions, with no intermediary, a civil case, no possibility of Legal Aid and where Consumer Rights Act 2015 is not applicable].
[Name and address of client]
Thank you for your instructions received by [letter, email, telephone, etc.] on [date].
This letter of engagement and the attached terms of engagement set out the basis on which I will act for you. ‘You’ in these documents means [name]. It is important that you understand these documents as they will form a contract between us.
The work I will carry out
The work you are instructing me to carry out is ………………….
If you wish me to do further work on this matter, such work will need to be agreed in writing, by email or otherwise, whereupon it will be either covered by the terms of this engagement letter or subject to another letter of engagement between us. Please note however that I cannot at this stage confirm that I will be able to accept instructions for all subsequent work that may be required by your case.
My fees for this work
My fee for this work will be …………………. [Payment of this fee is required in advance and therefore I will only be able to accept these instructions on the basis that this amount is received by me as cleared funds not later than ………………….] If you wish to pay by bank transfer my Chambers’ bank account details are as follows:
Sort code: …………….
Account name: ………………….
Account number: ………………….
[By way of an estimate I would expect the work to take [.]. Please note, this estimate is an approximation based on my general experience. The work may take more or less time depending on factors such as unforeseen complications, additional or amended instructions and the attitude of third parties involved.
In respect of any further work, or if it becomes apparent that that an estimate is likely to out by a significant margin, I will give further estimates to the best of my judgement.]
Please note that my terms attached include an express confidentiality undertaking, which will apply to all of our conversations and communications in addition to my general professional obligations of client confidentiality pursuant to the Code of Conduct of the Bar Council of England Wales.
If you are dissatisfied with the service you receive
If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the service you receive my Chambers has a complaints process that you may follow. Further details about what to do if you have a complaint are set out in the terms of engagement attached to this letter.
Sign and return a copy
Please read this letter and the attached terms of engagement carefully. If you have any queries or comments please do not hesitate to contact me. If you are happy for me to accept your instructions on the terms set out in this letter and the attached terms of engagement, please sign a copy of this letter in the space provided below and return it to me. If the person who signs this letter is doing so in a representative capacity (for example as an officer of a company) they confirm by signing below that they have authority to enter into this agreement on behalf of the client named in this letter.
For you to complete and return one signed copy:
[name of signatory] (on behalf of [name of
Terms of Engagement Chambers of J P de Mounteney
1. My name and professional title is Jonathan Patrick de Mounteney. I am registered with the Bar Standards Board under that name. I hold a current Bar Council practising certificate. I have professional indemnity insurance with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund, 90 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4ST. My practising address and contact details are as set out on my letterhead. You can also contact my clerks at the same address and telephone number or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. My VAT number is VAT No: 125 5426 28.
My professional obligations
2. I have carefully considered your instructions and can confirm that I have sufficient experience and competence to undertake the work necessary to carry out those instructions.
3. I am a self-employed barrister, practicing from my own chambers under the trading name of Chambers of J P de Mounteney. I am not employed by a regulated entity (which is defined as a BSB entity or authorised (non-BSB) body). My work may mean that I am not always in Chambers or that you are not able to contact me directly. You may find the best way to contact me is to leave a message with my clerks either by telephone or by email and I will respond as soon as I am able to do so.
4. A Barristers Chambers is not a firm. I am the only person you are instructing and I will be personally responsible for doing all the work needed under this arrangement.
5. As a barrister, I must follow the Bar Code of Conduct. I must also comply with the Scope of Practice and Authorisation Rules which govern barristers. The Code of Conduct and the Scope of Practice and Authorisation Rules are contained in Parts 2 and 3 of the Bar Standards Board Handbook. I can supply you with a copy of this Handbook on request or you can find it on the Bar Standards Board website at:
6. If I have accepted your instructions, the only circumstances in which I can cease to act for you and return your instructions are set out in rules C25 and C26 in the Code of Conduct. These include where I am prevented from completing work I have agreed to do by reason of my professional duties or where I have conflicting professional obligations. In these circumstances:
(a) I will either obtain your consent to my ceasing to act and returning your instructions or I will clearly explain to you the reasons for doing so;
(b) I will not pass your instructions on to another person without obtaining your consent;
(c) If I am unable to carry out work I have agreed to do due to a clash of professional commitments I will warn you as soon as possible. If that is so I will suggest the name of another barrister (of a suitable level of seniority and expertise) who is willing to accept your case under the same terms as this agreement. You would then need to decide whether you want to instruct that barrister.
7. My Code of Conduct requires me to consider whether a solicitor needs to be instructed in your own interests or the interests of justice. If there comes a point at which I consider you need a solicitor I will no longer be able to act for you without the involvement of a solicitor. If I foresee that situation arising, I will give you as much notice as possible.
The basis on which I carry out professional work
8. Barristers can advise on the law, draft documents for their client or send letters on their behalf and represent them before courts or other tribunals or in settlement discussions. Barristers do not handle client money or undertake the management or general conduct of a client’s affairs. The Bar Standards Board’s Guidance for Lay Clients gives more information about the sort of work that barristers do and your relationship with your barrister. I can provide you with a copy of the Guidance for Lay Clients on request or you can find it on the Bar Standards Board’s website at:
9. The work you are instructing me to carry out and the fee I will charge are set out in the covering letter of engagement. If you wish to instruct me to do further work and I agree to do it, such work will need to be agreed in writing, by email or otherwise, whereupon it will be either covered by the terms of this engagement letter or subject to another letter of engagement between us. Accordingly, unless otherwise agreed in writing, the terms set out in this attachment will apply to any other work you instruct me to carry out in the future.
10. I am not authorised to conduct litigation and I cannot handle money on your behalf. That means if your case involves proceedings before a court in England and Wales:
(a) You will have conduct of your case as a litigant-in-person;
(b) I am not undertaking the general management of your case or taking on any arranging role in respect of the case;
(c) I cannot be expected to perform the functions of a solicitor or other person who is authorised to conduct litigation. That means I will not, for example, do any of the following: issue proceedings; acknowledge service of proceedings; serve formal documents; go on the court record or give my Chambers’ address as the address for service; fulfil limitation obligations, disclosure obligations or other obligations arising out of or related to the conduct of litigation.
(d) You must be able to do whatever is necessary for the general management of your case and you must be able to perform the functions, with appropriate help if necessary, that a solicitor or other authorised litigator would normally carry out when conducting litigation.
11. If I have required my fee to be paid in advance or you have agreed to do so then it is a condition of our arrangement that I cannot do any work for you until that payment has been made. For the avoidance of doubt, therefore, I am not instructed by you until I have received from you a signed copy of the letter of engagement and, if payment has been required in advance, that payment has been received by me.
12. If you owe me any fees and do not pay them for more than three months after those fees become due, interest will be payable at 2% above the Barclays Bank base rate from the date that the you became liable to pay those fees.
Confidentiality and documents
13. I will use the information you provide me with for the purposes of carrying out your instructions, providing legal services to you and in order to maintain client records and produce management data. Insofar as I obtain personal data from you I will handle it in accordance with my Privacy Notice, which is available at https://www.demounteney.com/privacy/. I will comply with my professional duty to keep that information confidential and any legal duties I have in relation to that information (such as under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018). I will only disclose the information you give me if:
(a) you consent to me doing so;
(b) it is necessary for me to do so in order to carry out your instructions (for example, providing information to a court or another party to a case);
(c) it is already in the public domain; or
(d) I am under a legal or professional obligation or entitlement to do so.
14. You and I agree that:
(a)I am entitled to keep any documents you give me for my own professional records and/or make copies of those documents.
(b) I will normally retain any documents you give me, or a list of them, for at least seven years from the date of the last work I do for you. After that period I may destroy them securely. If any of the documents contain personal data for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation I will destroy them after any need to retain them has passed.
(c) You will provide me with copies of documents rather than originals. In the event that a document is not capable of being copied you will contact my clerks to make arrangements for the delivery and safe return of the document.
(d) I am not obliged to return documents to you and therefore you should keep copies of the documents that you provide me with.
(e) If I need to make copies of documents that you supply me with for any reason or I agree to copy documents for you I may charge you a reasonable amount for doing so.
15. In certain circumstances, the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require me to obtain evidence to verify the identity of my clients and people related to them (such as beneficial owners). If this applies in your case I will ask you to provide the necessary evidence and I will be obliged to keep copies of it for at least five years.
16. This contract and any disputes relating to it will be governed by the law of England and Wales.
17. I hope you will be happy with the professional services I provide. However, if you are not satisfied, you should first refer the matter either to me or to my Chambers in line with my Chambers’ complaints procedure. A copy of my Chambers’ complaints procedure is available at on my Chambers’ website at https://www.demounteney.com/complaints/ or I can send you a copy by email or post if you wish me to do so.
18. If you are not satisfied with the way my Chambers’ handles your complaint you may be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman is a free, impartial and independent service set up by the Government to help resolve disputes about legal services. However you should note that not all clients have the right to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and those excluded from the scheme include:
◦ most businesses (unless they are defined as micro-enterprises)
◦ charities or clubs with an annual income of more than £1m
◦ trustees of trusts with an asset value of more than £1m.
19. Normally you must bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from myself or from my Chambers (provided the response specifically notifies you of your right to complain to the Ombudsman and of the six month time limit). A complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must also be made not more than six years after the act or omission complained about or not more than three years from the date when you should reasonably have known that there were grounds for complaint.
20. Further details about how to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, including details of those eligible to bring a complaint and the relevant time limits, can be found on the Legal Ombudsman’ website (www.legalombudsman.org.uk) or by contacting:
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Email: email@example.com Phone: 0300 555 0333