Terms of Business
TERMS OF BUSINESS
By post: Fife Law Centre, Ore Valley Business Centre, 93 Main Street, Lochgelly, KY5 9AF.
By phone: 01592 786710
By fax: 01592 786711
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are normally open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Thursday and from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Friday.
Scope of our Services
The terms of our funding requires us to give advice and representation in areas of unmet need. We generally provide assistance where local solicitors in private practice are unable to help; this may be because of the specific nature of the problem or due to issues of affordability or accessibility. If we are unable to assist directly we may be able to provide a list of local law firms which deal with the area of law you require. Where you need non legal advice in a particular area, we may also be able to refer you to an appropriate local agency.
Cost of our Services
We generally do not charge fees for our services and in some circumstances we may apply for civil legal aid. The Law Centre cannot meet costs such as court and tribunal fees which are not provided for in our funding and you may have to pay these. You may likewise have to cover the costs of any reports.
Where it is appropriate and legal aid is available we will explain your eligibility and assist you in completing the forms. It is very important that you fully co-operate with your solicitor and the Scottish Legal Aid Board in following through an application. If you fail to respond to requests for information from us or the legal aid board then we may withdraw from acting for you.
Expenses in Court Action
Payment of court expenses usually follows success. Therefore if you are successful in pursuing or defending court proceedings, the likelihood is that the court will order the other party to the action to pay your expenses. The court expenses are the professional fees payable to your solicitor and will include certain outlays. They will not include such things as your travel costs to professional appointments or to court or your loss of income for attending court. If, on the other hand, you are substantially unsuccessful then the court may order you to pay your opponent’s court expenses. If you are in receipt of a legal aid certificate then it is unlikely that the court would make an award of expenses against you.
If acting for two or more people we must receive written authority from each person to confirm that we can accept instructions from one named individual on their behalf. The person giving us instructions is responsible for informing us of the true position of the group. We shall assume that in such circumstances the instructing client is accurately representing the views and circumstances of all the clients they represent.
In accordance with Para 5 of the Schedule to the Solicitors (Scotland) (Standards of Conduct) Practice Rules 2008, all information provided to us shall remain confidential and will not be disclosed without your permission, unless required by law.
Conflict of Interest
Generally we cannot act for two or more clients where there is a probable or actual conflict of interest. You must notify us of any potential conflicts at the start of our dealings and we will advise you if we can continue to work for you. If we already act for one of the people concerned, preference will be given to their case.
Data Protection Act
We will handle and protect your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Copyright and Third Party
All copyright of our documents is reserved to us and so any advice or documents must not be given to third parties without our consent.
Concerns – If You Are Unhappy
If you are unhappy with any aspect of our service you should write to our Principal Solicitor at our office address outlining your complaint. You will be sent a response within ten working days of our receipt of your written complaint and the issue or issues you are complaining about will be investigated as soon as reasonably practicable.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
We recognise that ADR/EDR Directive 2013/11/EU promotes Alternative Dispute Resolution as a means of redress for consumers in relation to unsatisfactory services. Fife Law Centre has chosen not to adopt an ADR process and if you have any concerns about the service you receive, you should contact the principal solicitor as above. If you are not satisfied with their response, you should contact the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. Details can be provided on request.
Keeping in Contact
To allow us to act for you we require your co-operation in responding to our letters and making and keeping appointments. We undertake to keep you informed of all important developments in your case and to send you copies of any documents required. The solicitor/adviser dealing with your case will review your file regularly.
We will aim to revert to your phone calls, correspondence or e-mails within reasonable time limits. Please bear in mind that our resources are limited and we may not be able to respond to you immediately. If you wish to discuss your case or check on progress, please do not hesitate to write or telephone, however we ask that you only contact us when we request information from you or there is something significant to report.
If you receive any formal correspondence or court documents you must advise your solicitor/adviser as soon as possible. Should your address and contact details change (including your mobile phone number), please advise us immediately.
If you persistently fail to respond to our written requests for information and/or instructions, we reserve the right to withdraw from acting for you and to close your file accordingly.
In cases where we appear in court on your behalf, if we have been unable to obtain instructions prior to the hearing, we may have to withdraw from acting at court. This decision will be intimated to the sheriff and to your opponent and we will write to you to confirm the position of your case and the outcome of any proceedings as soon as possible. Please note, where we have had to withdraw, we may be able to accept re-instructions, but this will be at the discretion of the Principal Solicitor.
How we expect you to behave
We ask you be polite and respectful in your dealings with us. Remember, we are trying our best to help you! However, we reserve the right to withdraw from acting for a client where they display aggressive, intimidating, threatening or any other inappropriate behaviour towards any member of our staff.
We are committed to providing a service which is open to all and in which no person will suffer discrimination or disadvantage on the grounds of sex, marital status, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin or of any other personal attributes, including beliefs or opinions such as religious beliefs or political opinions. We will ensure that this commitment extends to all areas of our operations, policies and procedures. We will ensure all workers involved in the delivery of our service understand, embody and promote the ethos of equal access for all.
Assessment and Evaluation – Outcomes
Our funders require us to provide statistical information in respect of the work we do and the outcomes of that work. You may therefore be asked to complete a questionnaire to assist us with our statistical returns.