Terms of Engagement
The terms and conditions of my engagement of service are as follows. It is important, to prevent any misunderstandings at a later stage, that you know what to expect and understand what my service involves. Please read the following terms and conditions carefully. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
1. Discussing your expectations
I will discuss your expectations and tell you whether I think they are realistic. It is important to me that you understand at all times what is happening in your case. To help prevent any confusion or stress on your part, I will give you general information and explain any procedures regarding your case as it progresses.
2. Instructing your Solicitor
It is important that you give me clear and accurate instructions from the very beginning and when you get any new information as the case develops. I will do my best to carry out the agreed instructions and to give you a confidential and friendly service.
When I receive your instructions, I will explain your legal options to you. If there is anything you do not understand, please tell me right away so that I can answer your questions. I will then agree with you the actions to be taken.
3. Updating your instructions
I may need to update your instructions from time to time, for example, if:
- New issues or information arise;
- Events take an unexpected turn:
- I need more information from you:
- Fees or expenses have not been paid
It is important that you give me instructions when they are needed. If you fail to do this, I cannot make progress. This may affect the outcome and, in some cases, may mean I have no choice but to stop acting for you.
4. Acting on your behalf
When you give us instructions, we assume that you are giving me permission to take various actions on your behalf. For instance, my role as your solicitor may involve:
- Making a repayment to a Bank or Building Society for you;
- Holding information for our records, including “sensitive data”, such as your Personal Public Service (PPS) Number or medical reports;
- Making a claim for personal injuries under the terms of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB);
- Employing barristers and other experts, such as doctors and engineers, on your behalf;
- Obtaining information from third parties to help me with your case, without seeking your permission in advance; and
- Using information technology (IT), including e-mail, to guarantee the best quality and most efficient service.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE
- If you instruct me to repay money on your behalf, you cannot change these instructions later, if I have given a professional promise to others to do so;
- I will hold any money I receive on your behalf strictly in line with the Solicitors’ Accounts Regulations;
- I will only use any personal or “sensitive” information to help your case;
- I will only employ experts with your permission. I will select professionals who I believe to be competent, but I am not responsible for the negligence of anyone I employ on your behalf.
Cost of Service
At the beginning of your case, as required by law, I will give you information, in writing, about my fees and other expenses that may be incurred. If I fail to agree the fees for my services with you, I will not act on your behalf.
If I agree to charge you based on the time spent on your case, remember that there will be a charge for all tasks carried out on your behalf, including letter writing, phone calls and so on.
I will tell you if I believe that you, the client, could appropriately carry out some of the tasks. The law allows me to keep a client’s file as security for any costs until I have been paid for my services. I will issue my bill of costs to you without delay.
Time scale of case
I will estimate how long your case is likely to continue, including, as your case proceeds, what stage I have reached and what and when the next steps will be. This will save you having to inquire about your case. If any event occurs that will delay your case, I will let you know and give you our best estimate of a new timescale.
Please note that time limits may apply in the following two situations, so please make sure that I have all the correct information in good tine to take any necessary actions:
- Litigation Cases
- Certain actions must be taken by you or by me within a particular period or else your case will fail.
- Actions under the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004
- If you are making a claim under this Act, you may write a letter outlining the details of your claim within two months of the date of the accident. Failing to do this may have a bad impact on your case and may also lead the court to award you only part, or none, of your costs.
Under anti-money-laundering regulations, I need to be sure of your identity and source of assets before I can take on your case.
- Identity You will need to give me evidence of your identity, such as your driving licence or passport, even if I already know you. I will also need you to give us a document showing your permanent address, for example, an ESB or telephone bill or a bank statement.
- Source of Assets Any funds or property that you ask us to deal with must have been legally obtained. If I become aware or suspect that these assets come from an illegal source, I must notify the Gardai and the Revenue Commissioners without telling you, except in limited circumstances. I will immediately stop acting for you if I have to report illegal assets.
Even when I am not obliged to report to the authorities, I cannot transfer any assets or property funded by the proceeds of crime. This includes funds that have not been declared for tax purposes or that have been obtained by false means. In this situation, you would have to legalise your position before I could act on your behalf.
Obtaining your file
Once you pay me for my services, and provided that I have done everything I promised to do, you can take your original file. I am entitled to copy this file to comply with solicitors’ regulations. Usually, I keep a client’s file for at least 6 years and then destroy it. However, I never destroy Deeds and Wills.
If you need your file or information from the file, I can send this to you. I will charge you a fee for this service, based on the current rates at the time of your request.
Making a complaint
Good communication between us will guarantee the best possible outcome. If you wish to make a complaint about any aspects of my service, however, please send it in writing to me and I will review your file without delay. I will then send you a written reply to any requests for information, advising you of any actions that I will be taking in relation to your case.
Transfering to another
I hope to reach a successful result on your behalf. But if you decided for any reason to transfer to another solicitor’s firm, I will require payment of any work done up to that point.
This requirement includes certain litigation cases, even if I might have agreed to seek a fee only if your case was successful. If you change to another solicitor, this agreement automatically ends and I will require payment of the work I have actually done.
I confirm that I have the appropriate level of professional insurance in place, as required by law.
When I agree my fees or the basis of my charges with you, the terms and conditions described here will come into effect. Please note that I do not claim to have any particular expertise outside of a solicitor’s general expertise. In particular, I do not have any expertise in taxation, engineering or architectural matters and if any arise in the course of your case, it may be necessary to engage appropriate professional advisers.
Additional information regarding specific types of cases
- Litigation Case – A litigation case is one in which a person or group makes a complaint against another in court to enforce their rights. These cases aim to find a remedy, such as compensation, between the parties involved in the disagreement. The remedy may be decided by an agreement or a court order. You may have to accept, or the court may decide, less compensation that you had originally hoped for.
Often, the person you are complaining about will not cooperate and will constantly raise difficulties. As your solicitor, I will try to overcome these difficulties as much as possible.
Litigation cases always involve a financial risk for the person involved. I will tell you if the possible benefit of taking a case is worth the time and money involved. I will also discuss with you the risks involved in any action being taken, including the risk that you could lose the case.
- Family Law Case – A family law case involves a dispute between family members, often between a husband and wife or between partners. In family law disputes, relations between each side can be difficult and traumatic. My role is to help by advising you on the legal aspects of your case and by progressing the matter. Often, at the end of a family law case, neither side is completely satisfied with the outcome. I will try to make sure that any decisions are fair to you and are in the interests of your children, if any.
I advise all my family law clients to make every effort during the dispute to agree practical arrangements concerning their children with their spouse or partner and to avoid rows. This will allow everyone involved in the case to focus on the main long-term issues that need to be settled.
- Conveyancing Case – Conveyancing involves the legal steps to buy or sell a property. When acting for the buyer, I will investigate thoroughly the property’s title (ownership), raising all necessary questions with the solicitor acting for the seller. If I am not satisfied with the answers to my questions, or with any other aspect of the sale, I may advise you not to buy the particular property. When acting for the seller, I prepare all of the documents needed by the buyer’s solicitor.
In any property transaction, my job is to transfer the legal title from the seller to the buyer. Other matters may include planning issues or drawing or checking maps. You may be able to deal with these issues yourself or with the help of an architect or other professional.
When you sign a contract for the sale or purchase of a property, we will give you a date for when the sale should be closed. And the key handed over. However, unavoidable delays often arise and the sale may not close on that date. I will be able to advise you of an exact date completion date closer to the date staged in the contract so that you can make the final arrangements.
If you are purchasing a property, you will need to supply funds to pay Stamp Duty, if it is required, and, in all cases, to pay the Property Registration Authority (PRA) fees to register your property. You must pay these amounts before the sale is completed. If you are getting a loan from a Bank or Building Society, they will not issue the loan cheque unless I give them my professional promise to Stamp and Register your deeds after the sale closes. I cannot promise this unless I already have the funds needed.
- Probate Case – Probate is a legal process involving the transfer of the legal title of a property from the estate of a deceased person. Usually, the person’s Will appoints an executor to deal with their estate when the time comes. The first step that you, the executor, must take is to give the Revenue Commissioners details of all of the estate’s assets, including the value of each assent mentioned in the Will. In many cases, the Revenue Commissioners will only accept a professional valuation, for instance, by an estate agent. This valuation will result in an extra cost, but I can only proceed with your business when I receive it.
You may also need to employ professional advisors if the deceased person’s estate involves a lot of tax issues. Once again, this will involve an extra cost, but these issues may need to be resolved for us to continue with your case.