In accordance with good practice, we operate on specific terms and conditions to ensure we render world class legal services to our esteemed clients at a reasonable and competitive Professional fee and cost. It is in our good practice to:
- Have a member of our Team keep close contact and who will be responsible for liaising with the client.
- Give detailed explanation of the legal work as conceptualized and the probable outcomes
- Keep the client informed regularly of any progress and also respond promptly to client’s calls.
- Explain in details our fee rates for any work done and the basis of such calculations.
- Value client’s instructions with particular emphasis on details, in order to ensure that our services meet the desires of the clients.
Scope of Instructions
On receiving instructions, we write to acknowledge same with appreciation and also outline the scope of our brief while indicating the estimated time lag for completion of work where possible. In highly complex and contentious matters, we try to conceptualize work that we consider necessary in the circumstance and what steps to take and how. Where variation of the instruction is inevitable, we write the client to vary the instruction to enable us do the needful.
How the work is done
Our Principal is responsible, either in the work or in the supervision of each work. In the event that other fee earners will be involved in the work because of their special expertise in that area of work, we write to inform the client and ensure that such expertise is rendered in a cost effective way. This will of course be within the limits of legal provisions.
We generate our charges from the time spent dealing with the client’s matter. Time spent in: attending meetings in respect of the matter, conceptualizing the issues in controversy, research, considering and drafting documentations, correspondences, making and receiving calls, reviewing documentations, drafting court processes, considering implications of fact or law, transportations, attending conferences with counsel and or client, attending Court/Tribunal hearings or other like hearings.
We write to inform clients of our hourly charging rates unless an alternative charging arrangement has been agreed with the client. Our hourly charging rates are reviewed periodically and notification of such review communicated to the client. If the instruction requires that we work outside our official schedule in a day, a higher hourly rate may apply up to a ceiling of 50% and the client will be promptly notified.
In property transactions, administration of estates and transaction involving huge amount of money with the attendant volatility, our charges may reflect time spent and value element, such as value of the property, size of the estate or value of the financial benefit amongst others. Value element encompasses the importance of the transaction to the client and degree of responsibility placed on the firm. In any event, we write the client to inform him whether or not the value element will apply in relation to the matter or suggest an alternative charging arrangement suitable and agreeable to parties.
In contentious matters, in addition to the time spent, other factors are taken into consideration, which may include the complexity of the issues, the expertise, time essence and in appropriate cases, the value of the property or subject matter involved.
The foregoing factors may be taken into consideration in our hourly rate charges at the commencement of a contentious matter depending on the strength of the information at our disposal. In the event that the matter becomes more complex than anticipated, the rates may be slightly adjusted on reasonable terms, subject to negotiation and notice of this will be served on the client.
On special Insolvency, Arbitration, Capital Market related matters, Government Assignments or other specialized work involving any or more individual members of the Firm, fees will be determined based on what is customary and reasonably applicable in such assignments and Sector in standard competitive terms and or as negotiated.
Certain incidental expenses and payments may be made on behalf of clients from time to time, e.g. land registry fees, search fees, fees for expert’s report, fees for other professionals, Court filing fees, transportation expenses, courier charges, photocopying in commercial quantities, faxes, overseas and mobile telephone calls. These out of pocket expenses are duly receipted for which the client is expected to refund and or defray as reasonable. Undertaking on behalf of clients may be made with the Client’s consent to pay third party costs and the client will be expected to bear the incidence of such costs.
Value Added Tax
VAT may be added to our charges at the rate that applies when work is done or our VAT pin will be forwarded for necessary deduction on payments for services as obtainable.
Where no fixed rate is agreed upon, as much as possible, we give a cost estimate of the work to be done, value element and specialist knowledge required where relevant. This is obviously a rough estimate which may be reviewed to accommodate unforeseen contingences or extra work, notice of which will be given to the client in standard terms.
Costs of Account
We usually discuss the schedule of payment of our charges and expenses with the Client. Ideally, payments are made in the ratio of 50% on account of our bills at the start of the matter and subsequently from time to time on account of the charges and disbursement as they become due. This helps to avoid delays in the progress of work. On expenses, the Client is normally advised to make a fair and reasonable deposit on his Account in our Client’s Account and disbursements and records properly maintained with due account given to the Client from time to time until conclusion of the case when final accounts will be given.
This depends on the nature of work to be done. In very contentious matters, bills for charges and disbursements are sent to clients at regular intervals.
In relation to property work, we send a bill for our charges and disbursement during or after the completion of the transaction. In the event that the matter becomes protracted, we send bills at appropriate intervals and a bill on or after the completion of the work. Where a fixed fee has been agreed on but the matter aborts, our fees will be calculated on time basis unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
In Administration of Estates and trusts, we usually send our bill periodically during administration and when it is completed. Where sufficient funds are held on behalf of the client, we make deductions therefrom after sufficient notice has been given to the client.
In relation to other matters, such as private client’s work and corporate transactions, we send our bills for charges and other out of pocket expenses. Where sufficient funds are held on behalf of the client, deductions are made therefrom after due notice has been given to the client.
Although every efforts is made to include all up-to-date recorded time and disbursements, not all of these may be available at the time of rendering a bill. Whenever any disbursement is omitted from a bill, it may be included in a further bill. Where appropriate we discuss and agree on our fees before rendering a bill and where a bill has been agreed and the client registers any complaint thereto, we advise the client to contact our Principal in Chambers who will work with the Client and the Team working on the matter to resolve it.
Payment of Bills
Our Clients are billed in respect of work done only on their behalf, all bills are payable on presentation and any monies held on behalf of a client are applied towards such bills after adequate notice has been given to the client. We may withdraw our services if our bills are not promptly paid. Our bills may be rendered in naira and are expected to be paid in same currency. Where payment in another currency is to be made our prior consent must be obtained.
Storage of Papers Deeds and other Documents
After completion of work, we may keep all papers and documents in respect of the matter until our bills are finally settled. Furthermore, we keep our file of papers (save such documents as the client may request to be returned to him) for not more than six years. At the request of the client, such documents like Title Deeds, Wills and other vital documents may be kept on behalf of the client by us for safe custody at no cost or charge, save that in certain circumstances charges may be made, notice of which will be given to the client. No charge is made for retrieving stored files in relation to a continuation of new instruction to act for the client. However, charges may be made for time and industry put in reading or reviewing papers or other documents, writing letters and other work necessary to comply with client’s request especially where we do not continue to act for the client.
We take issues of security and confidentiality very serious. We recognize the importance of e-communication for its speed and convenience. We however appreciate its susceptibility to abuse. We would rather prefer, the client contact us to determine whether correspondence should be via e-mail and if so whether it should be encrypted or not.
Limitation of liability
Our liability for any damage or loss as a result of any proven negligence, breach of contract, breach of statutory duty or otherwise, arising out of any single matter will be limited to our Professional Indemnity Insurance. We take no responsibility for any indirect or consequential damages or losses or for any loss of profits. No claim is to be brought against any individual employee of the firm.
These terms and conditions outline the rights and obligations as between the firm and its clients. All work done, advice rendered and duty of care owed are for the benefit of the client exclusively. Nothing in our terms or agreement will confer any benefit or right on any third party howsoever.
Crimes and Money Laundering
All professional firms are now regulated by strict rules relating to crime and money laundering. We may request for evidence from clients to check identity or details concerning payments made via this firm and we ask for the understanding of all clients.
A client is entitled to terminate his instruction in writing at any time. In that case, all papers and documents in our custody may be withheld until our due entitlements are paid. On our part, we would not withdraw our services without good reason, notice of which will be given to the client.
Conflict of interest
Where there is conflict of interest in any matter handled by us at anytime, we advise the Client to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution i.e. negotiation and mediation. However where such fails such Brief is returned to the Client. This is in line with due professional conduct in the legal profession.
Raising Queries or Concerns with Us
We are confident that our professional services will meet world class standards in all respects. However, if a client has any queries or concerns about our work or services, we advise the client to first take it up with the Counsel dealing with the matter. In the event that the issue is not resolved, we would prefer the client takes it up with the Principal in Chambers. All firms or Solicitors are under obligation to attempt to resolve problems that clients may have with services provided. It is therefore important that you immediately raise your concerns with us.
Nigerian Law shall apply and the Nigerian Courts shall have sole jurisdiction. Provided that where cross-border matters are involved relevant International laws will apply.