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Client Care Letter and Terms and Conditions
February 21, 2024

Have you recently audited your client care letters and terms and conditions? It is essential to evaluate these documents to ensure that all appropriate information has been included to protect the firm and ensure compliance.

In a previous article, we reported on a warning issued by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) that emphasised the importance of firms being clear about their pricing. In their updated guidance for lawyers, the LeO highlighted the importance of transparent communication regarding ongoing costs. This renewed focus came after receiving numerous complaints from clients who were dissatisfied with how their lawyers’ bills were presented to them. For more information:

Legal Ombudsman Warns Firms To Be Clear on Pricing in Revised Guidance.

Comprehensive Client Care and Terms and Conditions Checklist for Law Firms

We have created a downloadable document, which serves as a self-checklist to guide you through the essential components of both client care letters and terms and conditions. Keep in mind that a thorough review by The Strategic Partner is recommended for optimal results, with a nominal cost of £500 + VAT for TSP Members or £750 + VAT for non-members. Please get in touch with your Compliance Manager or with a member of the TSP team to initiate the review process. All we will need is a copy of your standard client care letter and terms and conditions to proceed with the review. An overview of details that should be included in your Client Care Letter and your Terms and Conditions are provided below, and you can download the full checklist document here.

1. The Client Care Letter Checklist:

Ensure that your client care letter includes the following details:

  • Confirmation of Fee Earner
  • Confirmation of Supervisor
  • Details of other staff involved in matter management
  • Provision for the scope of works
  • Estimate of the matter duration
  • Details of Fees and Hourly Rates
  • Disclosure of disbursements
  • Details of monies on account
  • Bank details or instructions
  • Cyber Crime Warning
  • AML checks advisory
  • Document requirements or EID&V solutions
  • Complaint procedure
  • Commission details (where relevant)
  • File retention policy
  • GDPR Statement
  • Regulatory details (SRA or other)
  • Limitation of Liability clause
  • Acceptance of Terms statement and signature request
  • Right to Cancel provision (Consumer Contract Regulations)

General Observations or Missing Elements:

[To be completed: ]

2. The Terms and Conditions Checklist:

Review your terms and conditions to ensure inclusion of the following:

  • SRA Details
  • Opening hours
  • Business structure details (LLP/Ltd/Partnership/Sole Practitioner)
  • Accessibility of Partners list
  • Preferred communication method
  • Scope of Works overview
  • Data processing confirmation
  • Instructions from company officers
  • Fee and cost explanations
  • VAT details
  • Time scales and service delivery overview
  • Photocopying costs and expenses
  • Use of external costs draftsmen
  • Invoicing and payment terms
  • Credit control process and interest entitlement
  • Non-payment consequences
  • Payments on account explanation
  • Interest details and payment terms
  • Circumstances for ceasing to act
  • Understanding of undertakings
  • Lien over papers and electronic documents
  • Client Account explanation
  • Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) statement
  • Handling fees for third parties
  • Complaint procedure details
  • Client Due Diligence and AML regulations explanation
  • Commission payments and referral fees details
  • Financial Services statement
  • FCA registration confirmation
  • Document preservation statement
  • Document storage and retention policies
  • External organisation audits confirmation
  • Service of documents at client’s address
  • Copyright statement
  • Use of legal advice confidentiality statement
  • General confidentiality statement
  • Multiple points of instruction confirmation
  • Accepted payment methods and cash limits
  • PII cover details availability
  • Service standards and methods confirmation
  • Outsourcing policy statement
  • Conflict resolution and waiver process
  • Limitation of liability details
  • PII cover level confirmation
  • Limitation of liability confirmation
  • Right to cancel under the Consumer Contract Act confirmation
  • Termination of retainer details
  • Privacy and GDPR statement with document link or copy
  • No assigning of rights clause without consent
  • Instructions equivalence to acceptance statement
  • Complete contract provision

General Observations or Missing Elements:

[To be completed:]

Download the full checklist document here.

If you have concerns that your documents might be out of date, or you would like to accelerate the review process, contact your Compliance Manager to request our assistance with the review.

Join The Strategic Partner Membership

Whilst The Strategic Partner is a membership-based service we also provide services to non-members. However, to take advantage of the various member benefits, and to receive exclusive discounts, membership is essential. Find out more about the list of benefits and information on how to join: The Strategic Partner – Membership

Contact our Compliance or Consultancy Team

0203 911 9710 | info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk

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