Terms of Business

 

TERMS OF BUSINESS 

 

1. Your Solicitor 

Your solicitor will identify themselves in a the letter that accompanies this form.  Your solicitor will have overall responsibility for the management of your file but from time to time other lawyers and on occasion unqualified staff will assist in preparing your case. All of the lawyers who work for The Castle Partnership specialize in Criminal Defence work.  Details of all our lawyers appear at the end of this form.

 

  1. Ensuring the quality of our work

We aim to provide you with a service that is not only effective and efficient but also one that gives you high quality legal advice, client care and good value for money.  If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about your bill, please contact our complaint’s manager, John Evans on 01483 300905 or john@castlepartnership.co.uk, or by post to our Guildford office.  We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available at our Guildford office on request.  We will then work with you to resolve it within an eight-week period.  If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.  

 

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, or of the way in which it I resolved, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint.  The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or 0300 555 0333 or by post to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.  Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within 6 years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside this period then within three years of when you should reasonably have become aware of it). 

 

  1. Timescale

We will endeavor to reply promptly to all correspondence and telephone calls and will always seek to provide a realistic estimate of how long your case should take. 

 

  1. Confirmation of Identity

We are required by law to confirm your identity.  This means that you may be asked for an identity confirmation, we may ask for photo ID. Under the Money Laundering Regulations, we reserve the right to stop work without giving reasons. 

 

  1. Storage of Papers

When we have completed your case the paper file will be confidentially shredded.  This usually happens within a month of the case being concluded.  We will ensure that any documents that you have given us that you want back are returned to you.  Prior to shredding the information that we hold on the paper file will be scanned and stored electronically within our case management system.  We will be able to recover an electronic copy of the file.  There is no charge for shredding or for the electronic storage of your data.

 

We will retain an electronic copy of your file for 6 years.  If you want us to retain the file for longer, we will endeavor to do so but we must receive your request in writing before the 6 years has elapsed.  In these circumstances we may send an electronic copy of the file to you for your safe keeping. 

 

There may be some circumstances in which we are required to retain your data for longer then 6 years, see below.  This may be because of the circumstances of your case or other professional or legal reasons.  Please ask your lawyer for more information about this if you have concerns about this.

 

  1. Data Protection: Data Protection Act 2018

 

Our full data protection policy is available to you on request and on our website. We use the information you provide primarily for advancing your interests

  • The data will be stored electronically on our case management system for 6 years from the conclusion of your case. In some circumstances this may be longer, see section 5 above.  We may retain some basic date, such as name and date of birth, beyond 6 years in order to fufil professional and statutory obligations.
  • We may be obliged to share some of your data with regulatory authorities such as the Law Society and the Legal Aid Agency. This will not affect the confidentiality of your instructions and we assume that we have your consent.
  • Save as indicated above we will not release your data to anyone else without your express permission. We shall assume that we have permission to share your data with agents, barristers, experts etc. where they are instructed by us to act in your interests.  We will ask them to destroy any information we transfer to them as soon as they no longer require it.
  • You may ask us to transfer your data to another Firm
  • You may make a subject access request to discover what data we hold about you.
  • If you wish to know what data we hold about you, you may make a Data Access Request. This should be made to the Partner who is supervising your case.
  • John Evans, Partner, has overall responsibility for Data Protection within the Firm

 

  1. Auditing of files

External firms or organizations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organizations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.

 

  1. Post and E-mail

We shall assume if you provide us with a postal and/ or an e-mail address that you are happy for us to communicate with you using those addresses.  Unless you confirm otherwise, we shall use e mail and will assume your agreement unless you advise us to the contrary in writing.  The firm’s e-mail address is: enquiries@castlepartnership.co.uk

 

  1. Fee Terms
i) Legal aid. Due to the nature of our work we anticipate that the majority of our clients will be represented under a legal aid certificate.  In these circumstances our fees for doing work will be covered by the legal aid certificate and will be charged to the Legal Services Commission and not directly to you.  We will keep you advised of your position in respect of entitlement to funding throughout you case.   

 

ii) If you do not qualify for legal aid (which may be the case if the offence you are charged with is not serious enough) then we will advise you of this fact in writing and will discuss with you whether or not you wish to continue to instruct us on a private client basis. If so, then you will be provided with a note of our charges which will either be calculated on the basis of hourly rates and letters/telephone calls made, or we may agree with you a fixed fee (payable in advance) for doing the case.  We will keep you advised throughout as to the fees that are being incurred by the firm in representing you. 

 

  1. Equality and Diversity

As a firm we take equality and diversity very seriously.  We undertake work for and treat equally all persons irrespective of their age, sex, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation etc.  In the event that you consider that you have any special requirements for any matter, please inform the person with conduct of your case and arrangements will be made to accommodate you. 

 

  1. Our Team

Partners (Solicitors):  David Castle, John Evans

Assistant Solicitors: Katie Quincey

Consultants:  Alastair McKelvie, Laura Bailey

Trainee Solicitors: Andrea Skov 

Police Station Representatives: Roxana Sampson