Terms of Service


  1. Your Agreement for the provision of legal services is with Summit Law LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC335925 and registered office at 44 Southampton Buildings, Holborn, London, WC2A 1AP, England. Summit Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No. 485136), whose regulations can be found on their website at www.sra.org.uk. Summit Law LLP is registered for VAT purposes with VAT Reg. No. GB930502952.
  2. Your agreement is not with any particular individual of Summit Law LLP even if all work done by Summit Law LLP is done by one person only. No individual assumes any personal responsibility for any act or omission of Summit Law LLP.
  3. Reference in these terms of service to “We”, “Us”, “Our” or “Our members” shall be construed accordingly. Reference in these terms of service to “You” or “Your” shall refer to each and every party to this retainer letter (other than us).
  4. When we use the term “partner” in relation to Summit Law LLP we are referring to a member of Summit Law LLP. Each member of Summit Law LLP is a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.
  5. The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00 am and 5:30 pm (GMT) on weekdays. Messages can be left on the answerphone outside those hours and appointments can sometimes be arranged at other times when this is essential.

communication and your responsibilities

  1. We will normally act on your instructions given by email, letter, verbally in a meeting, or over the telephone. If given verbally, we reserve the right to ask for your instructions to be confirmed in writing, which is preferable to avoid any
    misunderstandings. If we confirm our understanding of any telephone instructions to you, it will be incumbent on you to correct any errors by return.
  2. We will keep you informed of any progress and provide you with copy correspondence and documents. It is important that you read all correspondence and documents received and raise any questions about correspondence and documents received.
  3. We will regularly review and update you by telephone, in writing or by email with progress on your matter and costs. This
    will, where appropriate, include additional legal work required as your matter progresses.
  4. By instructing us you agree to provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions and to supply all
    documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner and to safeguard any documents which are likely to be required for disclosure in any litigation matter and to provide cleared funds in a timely manner to enable us to give appropriate undertakings and to pay disbursements in relation to your case.
  5. We will not be liable to you for any losses caused by false misleading or incomplete information or documentation.
  6. Where we act for two or more clients jointly it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions from either all or any of them.
  7. If we are instructed by more than one client in a particular matter, all the clients shall be jointly and severally liable for their obligations pursuant to our retainer, including payment in full of any legal costs and expenses incurred.

email communication policy

Your agreement to using email

  1. We have full internet access and all solicitors and support staff in the firm are able to send and receive email. By
    agreeing to these terms of service, you accept to the use of email for sending messages, correspondence, and documents between ourselves and in respect of your legal affairs, between us and third parties. The use of email
    carries certain risks, confidentiality may be breached, messages may be lost or delayed or may not be read and virus infections may be transferred as a result of the use of email.
  2. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss which you may suffer as a result of the use of Internet email for communication or for the transmission of information between our organisations or between us and third parties.

Confidentiality issues of email

  1. Internet email could result in breaches o confidentiality e.g. any email may theoretically be intercepted, read,
    manipulated, or corrupted at any point along its journey. Unless you specifically write to tell us otherwise e.g. on a particular piece of work or in respect of particular types of information, we shall assume that you are content for email to be used in respect of any matters where we act for you.

Delivery of email

  1. Our email system allows us to confirm delivery of emails sent and provide us with ‘read receipts’, which tell us when the email was opened. However, the system may not always provide automatic confirmation that a message has been received and there may be considerable delay between transmission and delivery. If you need to know that your message has been received, you should make a separate request for confirmation.
  2. Email messages may not arrive at their specified destination or may take much longer than expected to be delivered. Where you have asked for fast delivery, we shall not use email unless you specifically request otherwise or unless we take steps by additional communication to confirm that the email in question has arrived.

Delivery of email

  1. We suggest that when sending time critical emails to us, you telephone to ensure that the intended recipient is aware that a message has been sent or that someone else will be available to deal with it. We shall adopt the same practice.

Virus infection of email

  1. Use of email, including the mere receipt of an email message with an attached file, may result in the transmission of computer virus infections. Although we take various precautions to reduce this risk, it is essential that you take the necessary virus checking measures before you read or open files which are attached to emails which you receive from us.

client identification

In accordance with the Money Laundering Terrorist Financing and Transfer of funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 and as with other professional services firms, we are required to identify our clients for the purposes of the UK anti-money laundering legislation. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases. If we are not able to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.

making a disclosure

  1. We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
  2. In the event of such a report being made whether appropriately or not, we will not be liable for any deadlines missed and in
    no circumstances will any compensation become due or payable to you.


  1. All the time spent on dealing with your affairs is chargeable and will be recorded. We keep a detailed record of the time spent by each person working on your matters. Each adviser to you has a specified hourly charge rate (please see the client care letter). An analysis of the time spent on your matter is available upon request unless a fixed fee has been agreed in writing.
  2. Our fees will be calculated mainly by reference to the amount of time spent by us dealing with your matter from the date of your or a third party’s initial enquiry and/or engagement. This may include meetings with you and/or others, including the time it takes to prepare a written record of the meeting; reading, preparing and working on papers; correspondence made and received on the matter (including emails even when we are copied in with them); text messages telephone calls made and received; time recording, attending court, including advocacy, traveling and waiting; identity verification so that we can comply with the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2000; completing conflict checks; printing off attachments and/or emails which we receive and the time taken to check that the attachments have all been safely downloaded or printed off; supervising the matter and reading read receipts, photocopying carried out by us internally; arranging for external photocopying; booking boardrooms and appointments and dealing with internal cashiering and banking issues.
  3. In addition to the time spent we also take into account a number of other factors. These include the complexity of the issues; whether the work is carried out with expedition or urgency, and out of normal office hours; the size and nature of the transaction; the value and importance of the matter to you as the client. We may also take into consideration issues such as varied or delayed instructions, the importance, value, complexity, uniqueness and urgency of the work and outcomes delivered. If the work involves a limitation date issue, we reserve the right to increase our hourly rates referred to in our client care letter by ten per cent.
  4. We record time in units of a minimum of six minutes each, with routine letters, faxes, emails, and telephone calls being charged at 1 unit each.
  5. We appreciate that email is now the most convenient and common form of communication with clients and others however please be alerted to the fact that regular use of emails which need continuous attention tend to increase the costs significantly. Please note that to receive and consider an email or to compose an email and save it in our electronic document management system rarely takes less that a unit of our time, especially if it is printed off for the file. Please also note that when you copy in more than one fee earner each fee earner will charge their time. Accordingly, we encourage all our clients to use emails sparingly as otherwise cost estimates can be rapidly exceeded
  6. Our current hourly charge out rates are set out in our client care letter which will be sent to you separately or upon enquiry
  7. The hourly rate is very much dependent on the circumstances set out in paragraph 6.2 above. In some circumstances, we may add an ‘up-lift’ to our charges for example if we are instructed at short notice (e.g. in relation to an administration or an injunction) or if we work out of office hours. Conversely, in some matters, particularly those which do not proceed to completion or very small cases, we may discount some of the time spent or apply a lower hourly rate.
  8. The hourly rates are normally reviewed annually to take effect from 1 st April and to take account of changes in salaries and other overhead costs. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will endeavour to inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.
  9. It is often difficult to estimate in advance the costs of any particular case or transaction, or to give a fixed figure of what the costs will be. Where possible, we shall give you an estimate of the likely costs involved, but this may change as the matter proceeds, and it cannot therefore be regarded as binding. All estimates given are based on the assumption that there will be no unusual items arising during the conduct of the matter and that you provide documentation, information and instructions without delay. We shall let you know and keep you informed of any changes, as and when they become apparent and the reasons (so far as we can) for any increase. We may of course, limit the amount of costs to be incurred without further reference to yourselves.
  10. Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land Registry Fees or Court fees, experts’ fees, boardroom hire and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses. We refer to such payments generally as ‘disbursements. If you would like to come into our office for a meeting with the Fee Earner, boardroom prices start from £45.00 and will be dependent on the room size and how much notice is given. If the meeting is cancelled the day before then 50% of the charge will be payable and if it is cancelled on the day then full payment of the fee is payable. Boardroom prices can be provided upon written request. In the event we have to pay external suppliers for anti-money regulation or other searches we will also pass these charges on to you as a disbursement.
  11. We will also raise a flat charge of eighteen pounds plus VAT to cover overheads such as postage and copying charges.


  1. Estimates of fees and quoted hourly rates do not include VAT.
  2. Where appropriate our invoices will include Value Added Tax (“VAT”) to the charges with each bill. At present, the rate of VAT is 20% and businesses may reclaim VAT, but you will have to take advice from your accountant. Where work is carried out for non-EU residents and does not involve a property situated in the UK, VAT may not be chargeable. For members of the EU, we will require your VAT registration number for this to apply. Our VAT number is GB930502952.


  1. You may be asked to make payments from time to time in advance of monies generally on account of our fees, expenses, and disbursements which we expect to be incurred. If you do not make the payment on account, we reserve the right to stop acting for you further.
  2. We may use money received from you or on your behalf to discharge an invoice already delivered, or in reimbursement of a payment made by us on your behalf whether on the subject main matter or in relation to another matter. In the event that we hold client money for you in our client account or a designated deposit client account, we reserve our right to exercise a lien in respect of our unpaid costs and/or disbursements
  3. If you instruct us on a private fee-paying basis and not under a Damages-Based Agreement or under a Conditional Fee Agreement then you agree that we can send you regular interim statute bills, as referred to in the Solicitors Act 1974, usually on a monthly basis in arrears as we believe that this helps clients to budget for the costs and at the same time keeps them informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred.
  4. Our bills are detailed bills and final in respect of the period to which they relate, save that disbursements (costs and expenses which we incur on your behalf) are normally billed separately and later than the bill for our fees in respect of the same period. Accordingly, please do not assume from a bill for our fees which does not refer to any disbursements that no disbursements were incurred during the period in question. The more common position is that disbursements will have been incurred and will be billed separately.
  5. We expect all invoices to be paid in full when our invoice is delivered to you with time being of the essence. If prompt payment is not made, it may cause a delay in the progress of your case. In the unlikely event of any bill or payment request not being met, we reserve the right to stop acting for you further. If payment is not made within 7 days, we shall charge daily interest at the rate as ordered by the Court on judgment debts, which is currently 8% per annum. Alternatively, if you are a commercial client, we reserve our right to charge you interest under the Late Payment of Commercial debts (Interest) Act 1988 at 8% pa above the Bank of England’s base rate.
  6. In the event that our invoice is not paid within 14 days you will also become liable for a charge of £350 as compensation for our administrative charges which we incur in pursuing payment and sending reminders. This is because we incur additional charges in employing our internal practise manager to pursue your unpaid invoices and the cost of the fee earner’s time, liaising with the fee earner, and collating the documentation.
  7. Furthermore, we also reserve the right in such cases to suspend work or terminate our retainer altogether, in which case an invoice for the full amount of any work done will then be rendered to you.
  8. In the unlikely event we have to issue court proceedings against you we shall ask the Court to make a costs order against you. We are also entitled to recover on a full indemnity basis any costs incurred by us in collecting overdue payments, including our time charges and the costs and expenses of any third parties we may appoint to collect such sums.
  9. The common law entitles us to retain any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly comes into our possession pending payment of our costs, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred. This is known as a ‘general lien’. We are not entitled to sell property held under a lien, but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs
  10. If we are conducting litigation for you, we have additional rights in any property recovered or preserved for you whether it is in our possession or not and in respect of all costs incurred, whether billed or unbilled. We also have a right to ask the court to make a charging order in our favour of any assessed costs.
  11. We do not accept payments to us in cash in excess of £200. Monies due to you from us will be paid by cheque or bank transfer, but not in cash, and will not be made payable to a third party.
  12. When paying by BACS, you must notify your bank that you will pay all bank charges (if any). If we incur bank charges, they will be re-invoiced to you. When paying from overseas, payment must be in sterling. If payments are made in any other currency which leads to a shortfall on exchange, we will look to you for the difference.
  13. Please note that our bank’s transfer charge is an expense and will therefore be recorded as a disbursement, although we will charge £30 plus VAT for banking transfers of funds including but not exclusively TT’s, BACS and IMT’s which will appear on your bill as a profit cost.
  14. Please be aware that there is a significant risk posed by cyber fraud, specifically affecting email accounts and bank account details. PLEASE NOTE that our bank account details WILL NOT change during the course of a transaction and we will NOT change out bank details via email. Please be careful to check account details with us in person if in any doubt. We will not accept responsibility if you transfer money into an incorrect account.

complaining about our bill or challenging it.

  1. You have the right to do so. How to complain is explained in clause 26 below. To challenge our bill, apply to the court to assess the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The usual time limit for making such an application is one month from the date of delivery of the bill.
  2. If the application is made after one month but before 12 months from delivery of the bill, the court’s permission is required for the bill to be assessed. Unless there are special circumstances, the court will not usually order a bill to be assessed after:
    1. 12 months from delivery of the bill
    2. The bill has been paid, even if this is within 12 months.
    3. A judgment has been obtained for the recovery of the costs covered by the bill.

costs in contentious matters

  1. At the conclusion of litigation, and in the event that you are successful, it may be that you will be entitled to the payment of your costs by another party. However, it is rare for this to result in the other party having to pay anything like the full amount of your costs. As a rule of thumb if successful against your opponent it is usual in inter partes assessments to recover between 60% to 80% of your costs are not hundred percent.
  2. If you are successful and a court orders another party to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or disbursements on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest.
  3. If your case is in the County Court, we reserve the right to require you to pay us more than you may be entitled to recover from your opponent.
  4. If the other party has to be pursued for payment, this may involve additional costs to you, although we will of course reimburse you for such costs and interest as may be recovered from the other party.
  5. In addition, there are always inherent risks in litigation, and we are required to advise you of the following, which is different in some respects to the practice in other countries: –
    1. if the case is lost, it is probable that you will be obliged to pay the opponents’ costs, as well as your own. Arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for such legal expenses. Please let us know in writing if you are interested in taking out such cover;
    2. The opponent may not be capable of paying what they may have been ordered by the Court to pay;
    3. If the opponent is legally aided, you may not recover any costs, even if successful in the proceedings.
  6. You are advised to check with your insurance broker or insurer directly to see if you have any type of legal expenses insurance and to see if it will cover the legal costs of this matter

abortive transactions

  1. If for whatever reason, a particular matter does not proceed to a conclusion, a fee may nevertheless have to be charged. This will be a proportion of the full fee, depending upon the stage at which the transaction became abortive.
  2. If required, your files and other papers will be released once payment of our account and any other outstanding accounts has been made.

corporate client

  1. Where the client is a limited company or limited liability partnership, an individual signing on the company’s behalf (whether as an officer of the company or not) agrees that he or she will personally meet any costs which the company should fail to pay. In such circumstances we recommend that an individual should take independent legal advice from that provided to the company before signing our client care letter as this effectively provides a guarantee by the individual concerned that he or she will be personally liable to discharge the legal costs incurred by the company with us.

payment of interest

  1. Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable in accordance with our interest policy which is available on request. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account.

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