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Dawson Hart Terms and Conditions letter

Dear Sir/Madam

Our Terms and Conditions - Matrimonial Matters using Intelligent Divorce LLP

Thank you for instructing this firm to act on your behalf.  This letter explains the basis on which this firm will carry out all the work necessary to act for you on your behalf in relation to your instructions received in conjunction with Intelligent Divorce LLP.

Please read this letter and accompanying appendix carefully.  If you agree with the terms please sign and return this letter to Intelligent Divorce LLP who will forward it to me, and keep a copy for your own records. 

I would specifically draw your attention to the appendix to this letter which sets out further terms which will apply to our engagement.  Please note in particular paragraphs 12, 13 and 14 of the general terms and conditions Appendix 1, which may limit your rights against us.

People responsible for your work

I will have the overall conduct of your case although other members of this firm may assist in the day-to-day running of your case. 

Please note that I am the Partner (and Solicitor) of this firm with final responsibility for work done in this department.

Estimate of time to completion

I anticipate that the time to complete your matter will be 1-3 months (depending on the route chosen).

Charges and Expenses

The basis upon which this firm is instructed is limited to the parameters of the Intelligent Divorce LLP process.

This firm will charge a fixed cost for providing the following services only:

1.         Instructing a barrister to provide an opinion on your case as submitted on your behalf by Intelligent Divorce LLP (£50 plus VAT).

2.         Under the Intelligent Divorce LLP co-operative route, after you have reached agreement with your ex-partner, to prepare a Consent Order based on your instructions as provided to us by Intelligent Divorce LLP on your behalf (£200 plus VAT).

As you are aware the fee charged by the barrister to provide the opinion will be £400 plus VAT. 

These charges will not be paid directly by you but will be paid to this firm by Intelligent Divorce LLP from monies you have paid to them.   However if for any reason you instruct Intelligent Divorce LLP not to pay our fees, then you will be personally liable for the sums due.

We confirm that save for the above we are not receiving any payment from Intelligent Divorce LLP nor are we paying them in anyway.

We confirm that any advice given to you will be independent and that you are free to raise questions on all aspects of the work we do for you.  

When we draft the Consent Order any queries we or you have on that document will be forwarded to you or us via Intelligent Divorce LLP as part of the process you have agreed with them.

Your signature to this letter expressly provides your consent to the above until such time as you withdraw that consent in writing. If you withdraw that consent then this firm will cease to act for you.

Billing Arrangements

I will send our bill directly to Intelligent Divorce Limited within 14 days of the work being completed.  We will not invoice you directly.

Tax Advice

Any work that I do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies.  I am not qualified to advise you on the tax implications of the transactions that you instruct me to carry out or the likelihood of them arising.  I would recommend that you should always seek specialist advice from an accountant or a financial adviser on these issues.

Communication between you and this firm

This firm is confident of providing a high quality service in all respects.  However, if you have any queries or concerns about this firm's work or should there be any aspect of this firm's service of which you are unhappy and which you cannot resolve with me (the Head of the Family Department) you should contact Jacqueline Hardaway who is a Partner (and Solicitor) in this firm and ultimately responsible for the quality of all work carried out by this practice.

All solicitors must attempt to resolve problems that may arise with their services.  It is therefore important that you immediately raise any concerns that you may have with this firm.  This firm does value its clients and would not wish you to think that you have reason to be unhappy with us.

Terms of Business

This firm aims to offer all clients a friendly and efficient service and understand that may want to know the basis on which this firm acts for you.  I therefore attach a copy of this firm's Terms of Business which I would ask you to read very carefully.

Identification Requirements

In order to act for you we need to establish your identity.  We understand that you have supplied or will supply certified copies of the necessary documents to Intelligent Divorce LLP and these will be supplied to us.


This firm may decide to stop acting for you but only with good reason. This firm must give you reasonable notice that this firm will no longer be acting for you.

If you or this firm decide that this firm will no longer act for you, you will be liable to pay this firm's charges and expenses as set out earlier which we will receive from Intelligent Divorce LLP.


We hope that by sending this letter to you it has addressed your immediate queries about the day-to-day handling of your work and our terms of business.  However, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your Intelligent Divorce Case Manager who will contact me.

This is an important document.  Please keep it safe for future reference.

Yours faithfully


Mahie Abey



Client to complete


Signed ………………………………………              Dated ………………


Print your full name: ………………………………………………………….





The following terms and conditions apply to our engagement in addition to those set out in the attached letter.

1.           Application

These terms and conditions will apply to all advice and other services which we provide to you and your associates (including any advice already given) except where other terms are specifically agreed.


In the attached letter and this appendix an "associate" will include without limitation any subsidiary or parent company of you and any subsidiary of any such parent company and any other entity in which any such subsidiary or parent company has a material economic interest, whether direct or indirect, and any directors of any such companies or entities.

2.           Responsibility for work and our team of lawyers

The partner named in the covering letter will be the partner responsible for work undertaken by this firm on this matter.  We will try to avoid changing the lawyers who conduct work on your behalf, but at times this cannot be avoided and we will inform you promptly of any necessary change.

We will use lawyers of an appropriate degree of experience for the relevant parts of the work to be done to ensure (as far as we are able) that your matters are dealt with properly, promptly and, subject to those objectives, with a view to achieving overall cost effectiveness.

We can be contacted at any time during working hours and on working days, being weekdays and excluding bank holidays.  Our main switchboard telephone number 01825 762281 is open between the hours of 8.45 am and 5.15pm (5.00pm on Fridays).   You can in addition contact the secretary, who will be familiar with your file and who will be able to take a message.

3.           Our commitment to you

Timescale: This will depend upon the nature of your matter.  Where the matter is straightforward, then a timescale will be given at the outset.  Where, however, the matter is complex or lengthy OR  progress is dependent upon the actions of others, then timescale can only be estimated.  Please do not make arrangements based upon a timescale estimate without first checking with us whether it is sensible and safe to do so.  Any timescale given by us to you will depend upon our receipt of timely instructions and/or documents from you when requested by us.

Action To Be Taken: We have discussed and agreed the action to be taken by us in your matter.  There may also be action to be taken by you.  In particular it is important that we are given clear instructions and advised of any important time limits at the outset.

Keeping you Informed: We will communicate regularly with you about your matter and endeavour to keep you informed.

Checking Documentation: If your matter involves the preparation of any statements and/or documents on your behalf, we will check them with you before the final version is produced but you must check them yourself before signing them.  If we receive any material statements or documents in your matter from another party, if requested we will explain them to you and check the contents with you.

Enquiries: If you have any questions about the position or future progress of your matter, please contact us and we will let you have an answer, either immediately, or within a reasonable time.


4.           Charges and expenses

Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time spent by the solicitors, executives and other staff in respect of any work, which they do on your behalf.  This may include, but not exclusively: attendances on you and others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, telephone calls, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, research and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary or requested.

Work is calculated in multiple units of 6 minutes.  The current hourly rates and/or an estimate of costs are set out in the attached letter.  

These hourly rates are subject to review.  Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1st May each year.  If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate when it takes effect.

We also reserve the right to charge you an uplift if upon your request the matter is dealt with expeditiously or if the matter is unusually complex or involves property or a claim of high value, being over £1 million.

If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.

If we receive instructions to act on behalf of a limited company we may require a director and/or a controlling shareholder to sign a form of guarantee in respect of charges and expenses of this firm.  If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and require payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out in these conditions.

If we are dealing with court work on your behalf, separate information will be given to you to explain the more complicated subject of litigation costs.

5.                      Value Added Tax and Disbursements

Please note that all the fees quoted in this letter are exclusive of VAT and VAT (where applicable) will be charged at the rate (currently 17.5%) that applies when the work is undertaken, unless we are satisfied that the supply of legal services to you should be zero-rated or exempt.

Expenses known as "disbursements" may also need to be incurred on your behalf, such as photocopying, travel costs, courier charges, stamp duty, Counsel's fees and expert's costs, and you will have to pay these disbursements.  VAT is payable on some disbursements.  We will normally only instruct Counsel or other professional advisors or pay stamp duty or other taxes or duties on your behalf if we have been put in funds by you to pay such disbursements.  To the extent that we do not ask to be put in funds, you undertake promptly to indemnify us for all such disbursements reasonably incurred by us or agreed with you. If we act in conjunction with any other professional advisers in the United Kingdom, or elsewhere, you will remain responsible for paying their fees directly and to reimburse us if we settle their fees on your behalf. We will not incur any disbursement over the value of £300 without your prior authorisation and money on account.

6.                      Money on Account

Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account.  Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 1998, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on Barclays Bank plc Designated Client Accounts.  The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which we receive cleared funds until the dates(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account.

Following despatch of an invoice to you, we shall be entitled to apply all or part of this account from time to time in payment of our fees and disbursements and to account to you for any balance.  We reserve the right at any time to ask for funds or additional funds to be placed on account with us to secure the payment of our fees and disbursements. 

We will not be responsible for any loss occurring out of any default on the part of our bankers.  We have the right to decline to act or terminate our services with immediate effect if payment of the amount requested on account is not made.

7.                      Payment Terms

It is our policy to invoice you on a monthly basis unless other arrangements are agreed with you.  Our invoices are payable immediately on presentation.  If our invoices are not paid within 30 days, we shall be entitled to charge you interest on a daily basis at 3 per cent over the base rate of Barclays Bank plc from the date of delivery of the invoice until payment.  We also reserve the right to cease acting for you and claim interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.  If we are asked to advise any of your associates, you will be liable for the payment of any fees and disbursements invoiced to them.

If you have any query about an invoice, please contact us straight away.  Your rights to challenge the amount of fees charged will be subject to the Solicitors Act 1974 and as set out on the rear of our invoice.

Provided that we have already received from you satisfactory proof of identity, we will accept settlement by credit or debit card of our invoices or of payments requested on account of costs and/or disbursements but not in respect of payments for the purchase of property or major conveyancing disbursements.  Invoices settled by credit or debit card after 30 days from the date of presentation will be subject to a handling charge of 2%.

8.                      Acting for your lender

We may receive instructions from your lenders to act on their behalf.  If so, we will have to pass them information you give us that might be relevant to their decision whether to finance your transaction.  If you tell us things that you do not want the lender to know and they are relevant to the lenders, we may have to stop acting for the lenders and possibly also for you.

If you are borrowing money from a lender in a property transaction, we will ask the lender to arrange that the loan cheque is received by us 4 working days prior to the completion date.  If the money can be telegraphed we will request that we receive it the day before completion.  This will enable us to ensure that the necessary funds are available in time for completion.  You need to be aware that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of their loan cheque or the telegraphing of the payment.

9.                      Confidentiality and Ownership of Information

Except under compulsion of law, compliance with professional indemnity insurers requirements, regulation of the Professional Rules of the Law Society or in accordance with the Law Society's monitoring and/or relevant quality mark inspections such as Lexcel, we shall keep your affairs confidential and will not without your express or implied consent disclose to any third party the fact that we are advising you or the matters on which we are advising you or the content of our advice.  In the case of the latter inspections, you can withhold or withdraw your consent at any time by notifying the Senior Partner in writing.  You may disclose our identity to any third party but you agree that you will not, without our consent, use our name in any document intended to have legal effect or represent that we have agreed to its issue.

You will be entitled to use and copy all documentation created by us for you in connection with the work we undertake for you.  However, all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the documentation and all original ideas created by us and relating to or connected with the work we undertake for you remain the property of Dawson Hart.  We will be free to use any of the documentation to form the basis of any other work which we do and to use the intellectual property and original ideas to give any advice to other clients, provided that we do not breach our duty of confidentiality to you.

10.                  Data Protection

We are registered data controllers under the Data Protection Act 1998 in England and Wales.  Subject to paragraph 9 of this appendix, we will process personal data to enable us to provide legal services to you, and to make you aware of the services we provide, legal developments, and/or events which we think may be of interest to you.  To do this we may disclose your details to those who perform functions on our behalf.  Either we or they may contact you by e-mail, fax, telephone, in writing or in person.  If at any time you do not wish to receive marketing materials from us or if your details require updating or you identify any inaccuracy in your details, please inform us in writing. 

By signing and returning the copy of this letter you consent to us processing sensitive personal data about you and, subject to paragraph 9 of this appendix, to the transfer of your data to other countries including those outside the European Economic Area where necessary for the above purposes.   

You have the right to ask for a copy of the information held by us in our records (which are subject to the Data Protection Act 1998) in return for the payment of a fee. 

11.                  Storage of Papers

After completing work for you, we are ordinarily entitled to keep all your papers and documents while money is owing to us.  We will keep our file of papers (except for any of your papers which you ask to be returned to you) in accordance with the Law Society guidelines, currently being at least six years after sending you our final bill and on the understanding that we have your authority to destroy the file at any time after the expiry of this period (including any papers which are your property).  We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody. 

We do not normally make a charge for retrieving stored papers or deeds in response to continuing or new instructions to act for you. 

We may choose to store correspondence and other documents (but not originals of other documents supplied to us by you) electronically.  If you ask us for copies, we reserve the right to charge for supplying them at our rates current at the time.

12.                  Proportionate Liability

Where we (or any of our partners or employees) are liable to you and another person (such as a professional adviser) is also liable to you for the same matter or item, our liability (together with that of our partners and employees) to you will not be increased:-

·        by any limitation of liability you have agreed with that other person; or

·        because of your inability to recover from that other person;

·        beyond what it would have been had no such limitation been agreed and if that other person had paid its share

Without prejudice to the above provision of paragraph 12, if, as a result of any exclusion or limitation of liability agreed by you with any other person, the amount for which we are able to claim contribution against such other person in connection with any claim by you against us arising out of or in connection with the engagement is reduced, our liability to you for such claim shall be reduced by the amount by which the amount for which you are entitled to claim from such other person is reduced.

Any partner or employee of ours (either individually or collectively) may enforce the terms of this paragraph 12 against you under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.  The consent of such partners and employees is not necessary for any variation (including any release or compromise in whole or in part of any liability) or termination of this paragraph.

This paragraph 12 shall have effect only so far as it is not prohibited by law or under the rules of any regulatory body having jurisdiction over Dawson Hart and any relevant partner or employee.  This paragraph 12 shall survive the termination of our engagement under this agreement.

13.                  Reliance

Our advice is given exclusively for the purpose of the matter described in the attached letter (if the relevant matter is so described)  (and, as appropriate, exclusively for the purpose of any subsequent matter on which we advise you) and for your benefit and, without our prior written consent, may not be used for any other purpose, or disclosed or distributed to any person other than your other advisers (who may not rely on such advice), or otherwise as may be required by law.

Unless expressly stated, nothing in these Terms of Business confers any rights on any person pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

14.                  Professional Liability and Limitation of Liability

The following provisions of this paragraph 14 set out our entire financial liability (including any liability for the acts or omissions of our employees and agents) to you in respect of:

·        breach of the terms set out in this letter (including this and any other appendix); and

·        any representation, statement or tortious act or omission including negligence arising from or in connection with the services we provide to you.

All warranties, conditions and other terms implied by statute or common law are, to the fullest extent permitted by law, excluded from this agreement.

Nothing in this agreement shall exclude, restrict (or prevent suit in respect of) any liability arising from fraud or reckless disregard of professional obligations or other liabilities which cannot lawfully be limited or excluded.

Your attention is in particular drawn to the following sub-paragraph.

Subject to the other provisions of this paragraph 14:

·        our maximum total liability in contract, tort (including negligence or breach of statutory duty), misrepresentation or otherwise, arising in connection with the performance or contemplated performance of our contract with you (including interest and legal costs) shall be limited to £10 million per claim (being the current limit on our standard professional indemnity insurance) – unless agreed to the contrary and for this purpose all claims arising from the same act or omission or one series of related acts or omissions will be regarded as one claim; and

·        we shall not be liable to you for any indirect or consequential loss or damage (whether for loss of profit, loss of business, depletion of goodwill or otherwise), costs, expenses, or other claims for consequential compensation whatsoever (howsoever caused) which arise out of or in connection with our contract with you.

Unless and to the extent that they have been finally and unconditionally determined (including by the conclusion of any appeal) to have been caused by the fraud, wilful default or negligence of Dawson Hart, you will indemnify on demand and hold harmless Dawson Hart, its partners, employees and agents against all losses, claims, demands, damages, costs, charges, expenses and liabilities (and actions, investigations and other proceedings in respect thereof) whatsoever and howsoever caused relating to or arising directly or indirectly out of or in connection with this engagement, and will reimburse us and such persons for all costs and expenses (including legal and other professional fees) which are incurred by us and/or such persons in connection with investigating and/or defending any such claim or proceeding.  You will not make any claim or exercise any other remedy (including set-off) against us relating to or arising directly or indirectly out of or in connection with the engagement except to the extent that you have suffered loss resulting from our negligence.

We will not be liable for any loss, damage, claim, costs or expenses due to the provision of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation or due to any acts or omissions of any person other than any partner or employee of Dawson Hart.

Nothing in this paragraph 14 shall impose on Dawson Hart any liability additional (in amount or nature) to that which we would have if this paragraph 14 were not present.  Furthermore, the presence of this paragraph 14 will not preclude any defence which Dawson Hart would have if this paragraph were not present.

You agree that you have fully considered the provisions of this paragraph 14 and that they are

reasonable in the light of all the factors relating to this engagement.

This paragraph 14 shall survive the termination of our engagement under this agreement.


15.                  Electronic Communication and INTERNET based dealrooms and datarooms

In the course of dealing with your matter, we may communicate with you and others by e-mail unless you notify us that you do not wish us to do so. We may also use Internet based dealrooms or datarooms.  There are risks in sending information electronically and in using Internet based dealrooms or datarooms (including but not limited to the security risks of interception, unauthorised access and viruses).  Accordingly, the firm (including our partners and employees) will not be liable for any unauthorised interception, use or disclosure or error, loss, damage or omission arising from or in connection with the electronic communication of information between us or the use of Internet based dealrooms or datarooms or our reliance on information received by e-mail except in the case of our wilful default or dishonesty.

16.                  Investment Business

This firm is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority.  However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts.  This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by The Law Society.  The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at

Generally the scope of our engagement does not include giving you advice on the merits of entering into any particular transaction in investments, as our role is ordinarily limited to providing legal advice.  We will assume that you (or any associate) have made or (will make) the decision to enter into any transaction on which we are advising on the basis of your (or their) own evaluation and such investment, financial or commercial advice as you (or they) have taken or may decide to take.  It is not part of our role to communicate any invitation or inducement to engage in any investment activity either to you or on your behalf and nothing we may write or say should be taken as such an invitation or inducement.

17.                  Money Laundering

For the protection of all our clients and to meet regulatory requirements, we operate a money laundering prevention policy. 

In order that we may do this, we ask you to produce identification at the beginning of our relationship with you, and/or at such other times as seems to us appropriate and are required of us by law and we may carry out checks.

In certain circumstances, if we suspect money laundering activity, we shall (as we are obliged by law) report such suspicions to the appropriate authorities in the United Kingdom.

18.                  Your Satisfaction

We are confident that we will be able to provide a high quality service and will try to keep you informed of the progress of the matters which we are handling.  If there is any aspect of our service with which you are not entirely satisfied, please contact us.  If you prefer, you may raise the matter with the firm's client care partner, Jacqueline Hardaway.

We will endeavour to resolve any difficulty or disagreement as quickly as possible.  If for any reason we are unable to resolve any problem, the Law Society provides a complaints and redress scheme, details of which will be supplied to you upon request.

19.                  Termination

You may terminate our services at any time by giving notice to us in writing. 

We may give written notice at any time that we shall cease to act as your solicitors if:

it becomes required or advisable by law or by our professional ethics for us to cease acting for you;

any of our invoices are not paid within 30 days of being rendered or we consider that payment of our fees and disbursements may be at risk; or

in any other case we give you reasonable notice.

Following termination of this agreement (for whatever reason) you will remain responsible to discharge our fees and disbursements incurred by us up to the date of termination, together with VAT (where applicable), and the provisions of this agreement relating to confidentiality and ownership of information (paragraph 10), proportionate liability (paragraph 12), reliance (paragraph 13), professional liability and limitation of liability (paragraph 14) and nature of this agreement (paragraph 24), shall continue to apply.

20.                  Notices

Any notice given in connection with this engagement shall be in writing (other than writing on the screen of a visual display unit or other similar device which shall not be treated as writing for the purposes of this paragraph).  Each such notice shall be delivered by hand or by post or by fax (notices sent by facsimile shall be confirmed immediately by post) duly addressed and sent to the party to be served.  Each such notice shall be deemed to have been duly given or made as follows:-

if sent by personal delivery, upon delivery at the address of the relevant party;

if sent by post, two business days after the date of posting if posted in the country of destination and otherwise after seven days; and

if sent by fax, when despatched, provided that if any such notice is given or made outside normal working hours, such notice shall be deemed to be given or made at the start of working hours on the next business day.

The relevant address of each party for the purposes of this agreement is, subject to the following paragraph, as set out in our engagement letter. Either party may notify the other party of a change to its name or address, provided that such notification shall only be effective on:-

the date specified in the notification as the date on which the change is to take place; or if no date is specified or the date specified is less than five clear business days after the date on which notice is given, the date following five business days after notice of any such change has been given.

21.                  Force Majeure

No failure or omission by us to carry out or observe any of the stipulations or conditions of this agreement shall give rise to any claim against us or be deemed a breach of this agreement if such failure or omission arises from any cause reasonably beyond our control.  In the event that we are unable to fulfil our obligations in the above circumstances, our obligations hereunder shall be suspended.  We shall give notice of such suspension as soon as reasonably possible to you stating the date and extent of such suspension and cause thereof.  We shall resume the performance of such obligations as soon as reasonably possible after the removal of the cause and shall so notify you.

22.                  Entire Agreement

This letter and this (and any other) appendix constitute the entire agreement between us.  Neither party may rely on any arrangement, understanding or agreement, which is not expressly set out in this letter or this or any other appendix.

Once signed by both parties, this letter and this (and any other) appendix supersede any previous engagement letter.  This letter and this (and any other) appendix shall not be amended, modified, varied or supplemented except in writing signed by both parties.

23.                  Invalidity

If at any time any provision of this agreement is or becomes illegal, invalid or unenforceable in any respect under the law of any jurisdiction, that shall not affect or impair:-

the legality, validity or enforceability in that jurisdiction of any other provision of this agreement; or

the legality, validity or enforceability under the law of any other jurisdiction of that or any other provision of this agreement.

24.                  Nature of this Agreement

This agreement shall be binding on you and ourselves and shall be interpreted and governed by English law and be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.