Ascent Performance Group Limited standard terms & conditions
Please read all of these terms and conditions carefully as you will be bound by them unless we agree otherwise. In particular your attention is drawn to the limitations on our liability to you set out in part 13 below.
1. Ascent Performance Group Limited
1.1 Ascent Performance Group Limited is a company registered in England and Wales under the Companies Acts with number 6742453. The expressions “Ascent”, “We”, “Us” and “Our” refer to Ascent Performance Group Limited. Ascent Performance Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
1.2 All contracts and/or obligations entered into or advice given in relation to our business by directors, employees or consultants of Ascent Performance Group Limited are entered into or given by Ascent Performance Group Limited and not those individuals personally.
1.3 Ascent Performance Group Limited may assign our rights and/or our obligations under our agreement with you to any business which is a successor to our business or a part of it.
1.4 We may sub-contract litigation matters to Irwin Mitchell LLP, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP or to any successor of any part of its or their operations or business. In such cases, we will remain responsible for all the acts and omissions of the subcontractors as fully as if they were the acts and omissions of ourselves or our employees or agents. We will be your point of contact for the services and all charges payable by you in respect of such sub-contracted services shall be payable to us.
1.5 All businesses authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority are subject to rules and principles of professional conduct. The following link is to the website of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) which provides the relevant code of conduct.
We are also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
2. Our fees and expenses
2.1 We will quote fees to you prior to commencing work with you. Depending on the type of work we undertake our fees will usually be charged either on a contingency basis, where we retain a commission on sums we collect or on a fixed fee basis. In either case, the precise figures will be confirmed to you separately.
2.2 Where we do not agree a fixed or other fee, our fees for most services are calculated at a rate of £100 per hour or part thereof.
2.3 We will assume that we have authority to incur usual expenses (known as disbursements) in the course of our work for you unless you tell us otherwise. These will be charged to you as costs in addition to our fees and in some instances may be billed separately.
2.4 We shall be entitled to charge interim fees to you before the conclusion of your matter at our discretion. Such interim bills will be either interim bills on account which may not include all the costs incurred during the period covered by the bill and may be adjusted when we deliver our final ‘statute’ bill, or interim ‘statute’ bills which are self-contained and complete final bills for the period or work to which they relate. The provisions of part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 affecting your rights and ours will apply to both interim statute bills and to final statute bills to the extent that, where lawfully we are able to vary those rights by agreement, we have not otherwise agreed to vary those rights. If you would like us to provide you with periodic statements of the amount of our work in progress, fees and disbursements incurred, or the provisions of part III of the Solicitors Act 1974, please let us know.
2.5 If, for any reason, the matter does not proceed to a conclusion, we will charge you for work done and expenses incurred up to the point we cease acting.
2.6 You may set a limit on the fees and expenses we may incur without your consent. If you wish to do this please confirm the limit in writing.
2.7 All costs information provided by us, and all references in this document to fees, expenses and other amounts exclude Value Added Tax unless expressly stated otherwise, and where applicable VAT will be charged in addition to such amounts.
2.8 In accordance with paragraph 4 below (complaints), in the event of a problem, you are entitled to make a complaint under our complaints handling procedure and this could include a complaint about our bill(s). You may also be entitled to apply to the court for an assessment of the bill(s) under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
2.9 If all or part of a bill remains unpaid the firm may be entitled to charge interest as set out in paragraph 3.1 below.
Without prejudice to part 10 (Termination) below, if you refuse or fail within a reasonable time to pay a bill on account of costs incurred in relation to contentious business, under section 65(2) of the Solicitors Act 1974, your refusal or failure shall be deemed to be a good cause whereby we may, upon giving reasonable notice to you, withdraw from the retainer. In addition, pending payment of any interim bill we may suspend work and/or decline to act further.
3. Interest on client monies
3.1 We will pay a sum in lieu of interest on monies we hold on your behalf in accordance with our policy on the payment of interest, which is available on request. Interest is payable on client monies where the interest amounts to more than £20. That is, if the amount of interest calculated is £20 or less, we reserve the right not to pay the interest to your funds. As we pay a sum in lieu of interest, no tax will be deducted from any payment in lieu of interest we make to you and therefore you should disclose the amount received on your annual tax return.
3.2 The interest rate applicable will be that payable on the firm’s general client account held at either of the firm’s two main banking institutions HSBC Bank plc and the Royal Bank of Scotland plc. The higher of the two rates will be applied. You should be aware that client money is held in an instant access account to facilitate your transaction. Therefore, you are unlikely to receive as much interest as might have been obtained if you had held and invested the money yourself. Under the European Savings Directive, if we pay interest to an individual or company outside the UK but within the EU, we will declare the interest paid to HMRC.
4. Payment of our bills
4.1 All of our bills are payable on delivery. In the event of a bill not being paid promptly we may decline to act further and deliver a final bill. We may charge interest on unpaid amounts at the rate of 3% above the base rate for the time being of HSBC Bank plc or, at our discretion, at the rate applicable to judgment debts. We reserve the right to claim interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. Interest on unpaid amounts shall take effect from one month of the date of delivery of our bill where the bill includes non-contentious work, and from the date of delivery of our bill in relation to contentious work.
4.2 We accept payment by cheque, banker’s draft, BACS transfer, bank transfer, telegraphic transfer, debit card or credit card (Mastercard or Visa). We do not accept cash in excess of £250. When sending any payment to us, please ensure that you quote your name and our reference.
4.3 To make payment by credit or debit card or by BACS, bank or telegraphic transfer, please call us on 0345 604 0860 and ask for our Accounts Department. It is not necessary for you to visit our office to make payment.
4.4 If you transfer any amount to us by credit card which is not in payment of our fees, we reserve the right to deduct a service charge at a rate equivalent to or less than the rate we are charged for processing the transaction. This rate is available on request.
4.5 If we hold money which belongs to you (for example money obtained from another party) we may deduct the amount of our outstanding fees, expenses and VAT from those funds before paying the balance to you.
5. Litigation costs
5.1 An award of costs in your favour against another party does not affect your primary responsibility for payment of our fees and disbursements. Recovery of costs from a losing party can be a time consuming process and we may bill you before the conclusion of any proceedings to recover costs as set out in paragraph 2.4 above. You will have to pay the fees and expenses incurred in any such proceedings. If you are VAT-registered, you must pay the VAT element of our charges in any event.
5.2 To the extent that our fees and disbursements have not been covered by payments on account or by payment of interim bills, we will retain any costs paid by your opponent, plus any interest earned on such costs.
6.1 We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. We are happy to make reasonable adjustments to the service we provide to assist clients and visitors with a disability. Please ask the person dealing with your matter if we can help in this way.
7. Complaints procedure
7.1 Our complaints procedure is available on request from Ascent Performance Group Limited, Riverside East, 2 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8DT. Although he will not have principal responsibility for your matter, the person with overall responsibility for Ascent is our Chief Executive Niall Gilhooley. If you have a problem, you are entitled to complain and this can include a complaint about our bill.
7.2 You should contact the person dealing with your case in the first instance, whose contact details have been provided separately. If you remain dissatisfied, you should contact our Chief Executive.
7.3 If, for any reason, we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then it may be open to you to refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman. Where we act for a business, the Ombudsman scheme is only available if that business can be defined as a ‘micro-enterprise’. 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. In certain circumstances the Legal Ombudsman may accept a complaint outside of these timescales and further information about that is available from their website. Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Postal: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
In addition, as Ascent is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority if we are unable to resolve your complaint internally, you may also have the right to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, whose details are set out below. The Financial Ombudsman Service has similar timescales as set out above.
Telephone: 020 7964 1000 (switchboard)
Postal: The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London E14 9SR
8. Professional Indemnity Insurance
8.1 Ascent Performance Group Limited maintains Professional Indemnity Insurance cover in accordance with the Solicitors’ Indemnity Insurance Rules, as set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Minimum Mandatory Cover is provided by Aviva Insurance Limited, Pitheavlis, Perth, Scotland, PH2 0NH. Our professional indemnity insurance covers all legal jurisdictions. This cover together with the Compensation Fund operated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority provides clients with significant protection. Details of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Compensation Fund are available on request.
9. Storage of papers and documents
9.1 Our usual practice is to keep your file relating to a matter for six years following the date of the final invoice we send to you for the relevant work, after which it may be destroyed. The file may be stored as a paper copy or electronically. If after the conclusion of this matter we produce or make copies of anything on the file for you, we may make a charge for this based on time spent.
9.2 We shall be entitled to keep your documents, money or other property belonging to you which has come into our possession until we have been paid in full for all work carried out on your behalf. Acceptance by us of any payment on account will not be a waiver of our rights of lien over any of your documents or other property in our possession or recovered or preserved by us on your behalf.
10. Data protection
10.1 In order that we may provide you with services, we need to record and maintain certain factual information on your personal circumstances which we may hold in hard copy and in electronic form.
10.2 We may use all information that we hold about you, including sensitive personal information such as information relating to your health, your racial or ethnic origin, political opinion, religious or other beliefs, trade union membership, sexual orientation and criminal convictions, for the purposes of providing our services to you and maintaining records about you that we must keep by law or under regulatory requirements.
10.3 Where you are a trustee, you agree to advise any beneficiary of the trust that their personal information will be dealt with on these terms, as if each reference to “you” or “your” in this section is a direct reference to the beneficiary. Unless you inform us otherwise, by disclosing any personal information to us about a beneficiary, we will assume that you have obtained consent to enable the use of such information on these terms.
10.4 We may also use the information that we hold about you, other than sensitive personal information, for our internal market research purposes and to send you information from time to time on services provided by Ascent which we think may interest you. If you do not want us to send information to you in relation to Ascent’s other services then please contact the person in charge of your matter and let them know.
10.5 We do not pass any information about our clients to third parties for commercial exploitation. We pass client information to third parties only where it may be necessary or beneficial in carrying out the work for which you have instructed us or where we have to disclose information to third parties because of our legal or regulatory obligations or to prevent fraud or money laundering. We may pass relevant information to our insurers if we are concerned that our work for you may have given rise to a possible liability to you on our part.
10.6 Any third party to whom we disclose information about you will be under a contractual and legal obligation to keep your information secure and not to use it for any other purpose than that for which it was disclosed. Some third parties to whom we disclose information may be situated outside the European Economic Area and you agree to our disclosing such information to such third parties where reasonably necessary.
10.7 In addition to the information that you provide, we may also obtain information about you from other individuals, partnerships, companies or other organisations (e.g. a credit reference agency) in order to verify your identity.
10.8 Under General Data Protection Regulations, you have a number of rights in relation to your data. Details of these can be found in our privacy notice located on the main Ascent website using the following link – https://www.ascent.co.uk/your-data
10.9 We share information with other entities with which we are associated. For example, if you ask us for legal advice on a matter in England & Wales including where litigation may be necessary, we may pass your case to the law firm with which we are associated in England & Wales, Irwin Mitchell LLP. In that event, Irwin Mitchell LLP will undertake a compliance check. Provided there is no issue with Irwin Mitchell LLP acting in your case, they will accept the instructions and issue you with a set of Terms of Business for Irwin Mitchell LLP. Similarly, if you ask us for legal advice on a matter in Scotland this may be provided by the law firm with which we are associated in Scotland, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP will also conduct a compliance check and issue Terms of Business in the same way we have described for Irwin Mitchell LLP.
11.1 Each of us may terminate instructions to the other at any time by notice in writing.
11.2 We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example if you fail to pay your bills, if you fail to give us adequate instructions to enable us to advise you, if a conflict of interests arises which prevents us from continuing to act, or if you fail to provide any evidence of identity we have requested. If you are a body corporate, partnership or unincorporated association we may stop acting for you if you: cease or threaten to cease carrying on business; suspend making payments on any of your debts or announce an intention to do so; are or are deemed for the purposes of any law to be, unable to pay your debts as they fall due or insolvent; enter into or propose any composition, assignment or arrangement with your creditors generally; take any step or suffer any step to be taken in relation to your winding-up, dissolution, administration (whether out of court or otherwise) or reorganisation (by way of voluntary arrangement, scheme of arrangement or otherwise); have a liquidator, trustee in bankruptcy, judicial custodian, compulsory manager, receiver, administrative receiver, administrator or similar officer appointed (in each case, whether out of court or otherwise) in respect of you or any of your assets; have any security over any of your assets enforced; or any analogous procedure or step is taken in any jurisdiction. We will give you reasonable notice if we intend to stop acting for you.
11.3 If you terminate your instructions or we stop acting for you with good reason, you must pay our fees and expenses up to the date that we cease acting, including any costs we incur in removing our name from the Court record, and/or transferring our files to you or another adviser.
12. Your Right to Cancel this Agreement
12.1 If we have not met with you then the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (the “Regulations”) apply, under which you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven days of receiving this letter. If you wish to cancel your instructions, you should do so within the seven day period by informing the person dealing with your matter and you can do this by telephone, in person, or in writing by post, fax or email.
12.2 If, with your agreement, we begin work on your case before the end of the seven day period, you will lose your right to cancel the instructions.
12.3 The Regulations state that we should complete the work on your file within 30 days of the date of this letter or within a longer period, if you agree. As you will appreciate, in many cases, it will take more than 30 days to complete the work. By accepting our terms of business either expressly or under paragraph 13.9 below, you agree that the work will take longer than 30 days, if necessary.
12.4 If we have visited you in your own home or place of work to take instructions, then the Consumer Protection (The Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc.) Regulations 2008 apply, under which you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven days of receiving this letter. If you wish to cancel your instructions, you should do so within the seven day period by informing the person dealing with your matter and you can do this by telephone, in person, or in writing by post, fax or e-mail.
12.5 If, at your request and with your agreement, we begin work on your case before the end of the seven day period, you will not lose your right to cancel the instructions. If you wish us to commence work on your behalf before the seven day period has expired, you must request this in writing. However, you will be liable to pay our fees for the work already undertaken on your behalf in this period and before the cancellation of your instructions.
12.6 If you wish to cancel your instructions to us, please use the Notice of Right to Cancel attached to this agreement.
13.1 Copyright may arise in documents, reports or other material which we produce for you. We shall own this copyright and without our prior written agreement payment of our bill will not transfer it to you.
13.2 We may submit your file for external review as part of our procedures to ensure that our internal quality management systems are effective. We will only do so with your consent.
13.3 As Ascent Performance Group Limited is not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act (2000), no communication by Ascent Performance Group Limited in the course of our work for you is intended to be, or should be construed as, an invitation or inducement to any person to engage in investment activity for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, or as the approval of any communication of any such invitation or inducement.
13.4 Without prejudice to paragraphs 4.5 and 5.2 above, money held by us for you, whether on account or otherwise, will be held in a client account in accordance with Solicitors Regulation Authority regulations.
13.5 Our advice will not concern or take into account the taxation implications or consequences of any course (or possible course) of action.
13.6 Where we are instructed to act for more than one person, your liability for our fees and expenses shall be joint and several.
13.7 These standard terms and conditions supersede any previous standard terms and conditions and must be read in conjunction with all accompanying and subsequent correspondence and documentation sent to you relevant to the terms on which we act. Together, they set out the terms of business governing the work we do for you on a particular matter. Each provision of such terms of business is severable and distinct from the others. These terms of business cannot be amended except with our written agreement or as provided in these terms of business.
13.8 Unless we notify you otherwise, these standard terms and conditions shall apply to any future instructions you give us.
13.9 Your continuing instructions on any particular matter will indicate your acceptance of these standard terms and conditions and any other terms we may agree in writing.
13.10 These standard terms and conditions and any other terms we may agree with you are governed by English Law and any dispute relating to them shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts, provided always that we may in our absolute discretion refer any dispute to binding arbitration in London under the Rules of the London Court of International Arbitration, which Rules are deemed incorporated by reference into this paragraph, and in which case the number of arbitrators shall be one, the language to be used in the arbitral proceedings shall be English and the seat of the arbitration shall be England. These terms are provided in English and we will communicate with you in English. This paragraph 13.10 is subject to our obligations under law and the rules of professional conduct by which we are bound.
13.11 You may not assign all or any part of the benefit of, or your rights and benefits under, the agreement of which these standard terms and condition form part.
14. Limitations on our liability to you
14.1 The liability of Ascent Performance Group Limited to you for loss arising from breach of contract or negligence or otherwise in relation to this matter shall not in any event exceed £3 million.
14.2 Where you agree to a limit being imposed on the liability of any other professional or financial advisers instructed by you in relation to this matter for loss or damage resulting from the performance of or failure to perform their respective duties, the liability of Ascent Performance Group Limited and/or any of its partners will not in any event exceed what it would have been had the liability of such other advisers not been so limited and had the contribution of all such advisers, but for such limitation, been proportionate to their respective responsibilities for such loss or damage.
14.3 The liability of Ascent Performance Group Limited to you shall be reduced to take into account any contributory negligence on your part.
14.4 We accept instructions from you on the basis that services provided by Ascent Performance Group Limited are provided solely for your benefit and we do not assume any liability to any person other than you in relation to the advice we give you. Unless we indicate otherwise in writing, we assume no responsibility for or liability (including liability for fees) in relation to the acts or omissions of, or advice given by, any experts, consultants or other advisers (including legal advisers) engaged in relation to any matter connected with your instructions to us. Our advice is confidential to you and Ascent Performance Group Limited shall not be responsible if you make it available to third parties. No person who is not a party to the agreement embodied in these standard terms and conditions and the relative covering letter(s) shall, in the absence of express provision to the contrary, have any right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any of its terms, but this does not affect any right or remedy of a third party which exists or is available other than under that Act.
14.5 Ascent Performance Group Limited shall not be liable for any delay in performing or failure to perform any of our obligations to you if such delay or failure results from events or circumstances outside our control, including, without limitation, transport or communications failure; the consequences of a terrorist attack; failure of our computer systems; or damage to our premises or storage facilities by explosion, fire, corrosion, flood, natural disaster, malicious or negligent act or accident.
14.6 In connection with these instructions Ascent Performance Group Limited shall not be liable to you for any indirect or consequential loss or damage (including loss of profits) suffered by you or any other person.
14.7 You shall not bring any claim against any of our members, employees or consultants in his or her personal capacity in connection with the advice we give you save in circumstances of fraud by a member, employee or consultant. We shall not seek to avoid any liability to you on the grounds that the relevant claim should be brought against one or more of our members, employees or consultants and not Ascent Performance Group Limited.
14.8 Paragraphs 14.1 to 14.6 (inclusive) above shall not apply in relation to any liability to you we may incur arising from your instructions in this matter if these terms of business constitute a contentious business agreement (as defined in section 59 Solicitors Act 1974). The agreement of which these standard terms and conditions form part shall not be a contentious business agreement unless we have agreed this with you in writing.
14.9 Our liability shall not be limited by anything in paragraphs 14.1 to 14.5 (inclusive) (or by any limitation on our liability set out in any of the documents referred to in paragraph 13.7 above) in relation to death or personal injury or in circumstances of fraud or reckless disregard of professional obligations.
Notice of the Right to Cancel
1. This notice of the right to cancel the contract is issued by Ascent Performance Group Limited in accordance with the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1816). It relates to the contract formed under our terms of business following your instructions to us. The date of this notice is the date of the covering letter or other communication under which these terms and conditions were provided to you.
2. Ascent Performance Group Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with number 6742453 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and regulated by the Office of Fair Trading.
3. You have the right to cancel the contract if you wish and this right can be exercised by delivering, or sending (including by electronic mail) a cancellation notice to the person mentioned in the next paragraph at any time within the period of seven days starting on the day you receive this notice.
4. The name of the person to whom the cancellation notice may be given is the Compliance Officer, Ascent Performance Group Limited, Riverside East, 2 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8DT and the electronic email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
5. The cancellation notice is deemed to be served as soon as it is posted or sent to Ascent or in the case of an electronic communication from the date it is sent to Ascent Performance Group Limited.
6. You may use the form of cancellation notice provided below if you wish.
7. If you ask that the contract starts before the end of the cooling off period of seven days, you may be required to pay for the services supplied.
|Cut here to detach
If you wish to cancel the contract YOU MUST DO SO IN WRITING and deliver personally or send (which may be by electronic mail) this to the person named below. You may use this form if you want to but you do not have to.
(Complete, detach and return this form ONLY IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT.)
8. To the Compliance Officer, Ascent Performance Group Limited, Riverside East, 2 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8DT and the electronic email address is email@example.com
I/We (delete as appropriate) hereby give notice that I/We (delete as appropriate) wish to cancel my/our (delete as appropriate) contract