Our Terms of Business
1.1 These Terms of Business (“the Terms”) are provided to comply with certain standards recommended by the Law Society, and also to indicate to clients as clearly as possible the standard of service you can expect from us; and the amounts, and how, we will charge for the work we
1.2 In these Terms, Cognitive Law Limited is referred to as “we” or “us”, and our clients will be referred as “you” or “your”.
1.3 We are Cognitive Law Ltd, a limited company incorporated in England and Our registered office is Sussex Innovation Centre, University of Sussex, Science Park Square, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SB.
1.4 The Terms, together with the Schedule of Terms, and our Letter of Engagement, set out the basis of the agreement between us (“the Agreement”).
2 Our Services
2.1We will provide legal advice on a retainer, fixed fee or hourly rate charging basis as requested by you. The specific services for which you engage us will be set out in our Schedule of
2.2 The legal advice that you will receive will be provided by a qualified, practising solicitor registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”). The Solicitor who will carry out that work will be identified in the accompanying Letter of
2.3 In some circumstances it may be appropriate for some work to be carried out by other members of staff, such as secretarial, support, or paralegal staff. All work by such staff is carried out under the supervision of a Overall supervision of the matter is undertaken by a director.
3 Our Obligations to You
3.1 We will act with professional skill and care at all
3.2 We will advise you in accordance with the law as it stands as at the date of that advice. We will not update that advice in the event that the law changes unless you specifically instruct us to do
3.3 We will exercise our expertise and judgment to assist you to reach decisions, but we cannot guarantee certain
3.4 We will use plain English in all the advice and documents that we provide to
3.5 We will be transparent about the fees that we
4 Your Obligations to Us
4.1 You will provide us with clear
4.2 You will provide us with all documentation and information at the
4.3 You will inform us from whom we can accept instructions and provide written authority if If we are instructed by more than one person, by partners of a firm, members of an LLP or directors of limited company, we will assume that we may accept instructions from you jointly or severally.
4.4 You will provide us with further information as we may request.
5 Fees, Client Disbursements and Client Expenses
5.1 We will agree at the outset the fees which you will be charged. You can choose to engage us on an on-going retainer payable monthly, at a fixed fee, or at an agreed hourly rate, together with VAT at the prevailing rate. The charging basis on which you engage us will be recorded in the Schedule of Terms which we ask you to sign and return to us as
5.2 If you engage us on a retainer, or an hourly rate, we will record the time spent on your matter in six (6) minute units. If you engage us on an hourly rate, you may put a cap on the limit of the fees to be
5.3 Any fees that you are quoted for will be determined by the information and instructions that you provide to We reserve the right to modify that quote if we were not provided with sufficient or correct information and instructions at the outset. If we need to carry out some unforeseen work, we will let you know (normally before we carry it out), and provide you with the estimated cost of carrying it out.
5.4 Expenses such as telephone calls, scanning and general photocopying are included in the fees.
5.5 Client Disbursements are expenses which have been paid by us on behalf of the client, such as court fees, counsel’s fees, and couriers. Client Disbursements will be charged to you. We will not incur those disbursements without your prior approval. We may request that you pay the disbursements in advance, or arrange for a third party to invoice you direct. Some disbursements will be subject to VAT, we will advise you when they
5.6 Client Expenses are costs which are incurred by us in the process of performing our services to you and are deemed to form part of our overall service, such as AML checks, postage costs, and bank transfer fees. Client Expenses are subject to VAT.
5.7 We will invoice you for our fees no later than on a monthly basis. If you engage us on a retainer, you will be invoiced monthly in arrears. All invoices are payable by return. We reserve the right to charge interest, compensation and reasonable debt recovery costs under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 in respect of invoices which are not paid by their due date. Any queries on an invoice must be raised with us by
5.8 If you fail to pay an invoice for an on-going matter within 28 days, we reserve the right to cease acting for you with immediate
5.9 We do not accept cash payments in excess of £750.00.
5.10 We reserve the right to review our fees annually. Any change in our fees will be notified to you a month before they are
5.11 We do not offer Legal Aid or other publicly funded legal services. If we believe you could be assisted by Legal Aid we are under a duty to inform you that the option is available to
5.12 If the matter is not concluded we will still charge for the time we spend, and the disbursements and expenses we incur on your behalf, and you will have pay our charges and
5.13 We reserve the right to clear any cheques or other forms of payment you provide to us before carrying out any work on any aspect of your
6 Liability & Insurance
6.1 We hold Professional Indemnity Liability insurance cover for the work that we do for you. Details of our policy are available on The limit of our indemnity cover is £5 million.
6.2 Our liability to you is limited to direct loss or damage arising from the Agreement, but subject to a limit of the maximum sum insured under our insurance policy. We will not be liable to you for any loss of profit or opportunity, or any consequential, additional, special or indirect
6.3 The limit to our liability does not apply to death or personal injury, or any other liability that cannot by law be limited or excluded. We will also not accept liability where there is a loss resulting from an identity fraud from any party represented by another
7 Anti-Money Laundering Provisions
7.1We are bound by the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”), the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and the Money Laundering Terrorist Financing & Transfer or Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (“MLR”) to guard against money
7.2 To enable us to comply with the POCA and MLR we are obliged to obtain certain documents from you to verify your and your business’ identity referred to as Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) checks. We require two documents to be provided, one from List A and one from List B. We will give you a copy of those lists. We will also carry out an electronic We cannot act for you unless we do so. We will charge you for carrying out AML checks. The cost per individual AML check is £5.00 plus VAT, for a company it is £10.00 plus VAT, and for an overseas individual or company it is £30.00 plus VAT.
7.3 We may commit an offence if we know, suspect or have reasonable grounds to know or suspect that another person is engaged in money laundering. In those circumstances we are bound by the POCA and the MLR to report any suspicion to the National Crime Agency (NCA). If we do so we will have to cease all work until we have permission to We may have to report that suspicion without informing you. Our obligations under the POCA and MLR override our duty of confidentiality to you.
8 Communications and Email
Electronic mail enables us to communicate more quickly with our clients and other parties involved in a matter (and also for clients and other parties to correspond with us more quickly). However, not every client finds this method of communication acceptable. Email is not a secure form of communication and could be intercepted by a third party. If you have any concerns about us corresponding with you by email or any specific instructions relating to email correspondence, please advise us immediately, otherwise we will correspond by email.
9 Data Protection & Confidentiality
9.1 We comply with the Data Protection Act We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as a Data Controller. We use the data with which you provide us to maintain our client records, for AML checks, for business management purposes, and for any legal and regulatory requirements.
9.2 We may hold your data on our computer servers or on cloud-based solutions hosted by third
9.3 Data may be held whilst the file remains on our system. We generally keep files for a period of 12 years from the date the file has been closed. After this time, the files are securely
9.4 We acknowledge that you may need to provide us with sensitive commercial information. We will treat that as confidential unless we are required to disclose it to a third by law, or regulation or our insurers, which we will only do with your
9.5 We would like to keep you up to date with regular news, articles, and event information relevant to you and your business. However, we will only send you this marketing information if you opt-in to receive marketing updates in the schedule of terms. Your information will not be passed on to any third party for marketing purposes.
10 Equality & Diversity
10.1 We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in our policies, practices and procedure and in those areas in which it has influence.
10.2 We are committed to complying with the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct, Equality and Diversity with all current and any future anti-discrimination legislation and associated codes of practice including but not limited to the Equality Act
11 Intellectual Property
11.1 In the course of providing our services, we may supply you with documents, processes, terms or agreements which are specific to your business, in which case ownership of the intellectual property remains with us.
11.2 If you require ownership of the intellectual property we reserve the right to charge you a premium on our
11.3 If we supply you with documents, processes, terms or agreements which are generic, we grant you a licence for use in
12.1 You may terminate the Agreement in writing at any time or for any reason, save for if we are acting for you on a retainer to which specific termination notice provisions apply and are set out in the Schedule of
12.2 In addition to Clause 5.8 above, we may terminate the Agreement in writing for any of the following reasons:
A) You do not give us comprehensive instructions;
B) You do not pay an outstanding invoice, Client Disbursement, Client Expense, or fail to comply with a request for money on
C) We cannot continue to act without being in breach of the SRA’s Rules of Professional Conduct;
D) We cannot continue to act without being in breach of the POCA or MLR; or
E) There has been an irretrievable breakdown in the trust and confidence between us.
12.3 We will normally give you reasonable notice of our ceasing to act for you, unless doing so would give rise to a breach of (a) our professional obligations or (b) POCA or MLR.
12.4 You will remain liable to pay the fees up to the date of termination or the Agreement. If the Agreement is terminated whilst any fees remain outstanding, or if you fail to pay the fees charged to you up to the date of termination, we reserve the right to retain your documentation until the fees have been paid, at which point we will release the “lien” over your papers.
Our Complaints Policy
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all of our clients. We take every complaint very seriously and aim to resolve any client dissatisfaction as quickly and efficiently as possible. We endeavour to follow the Law Society’s recommendation guidelines when dealing with complaints. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
Our Complaints Procedure
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately so we can do our best to resolve the situation.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the individual who is working on your case to discuss any concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then please see below for our full complaints procedure. Making a complaint about a service issue will not affect how we handle your case. We will comply with our regulatory responsibilities at all times.
You are invited to direct your complaint to our Practice Manager, Francesca Damario, who will be responsible for the management of your complaint on behalf of and in conjunction with the Complaints Director. Our Complaints Director is Lucy Tarrant. Both are based at Sussex Innovation Centre, University of Sussex, Science Park Square, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SB. Francesca can be contacted on 0333 400 4499 or by email at Francesca.email@example.com. Please do not hesitate to contact her at your convenience. We would like to assure you that your complaint will be diligently handled by our Practice Manager and escalated to our Complaints Director should the need arise.
What will happen next?
- If appropriate we will telephone you upon receipt of your complaint. We very much hope that the complaint can be resolved informally.
- We will acknowledge your complaint in writing as quickly as possible and certainly within 7 days.
- Once we have the information we need we will investigate your complaint. We aim to complete the investigation and respond to you within 4-8 weeks, in accordance with the guidelines of the Legal Ombudsman.
- If the investigation is not going to be complete within 4-8 weeks we will write to you with an explanation, and give you the best indication of how long the investigation will take to complete.
- You may be invited to attend a meeting to discuss the matter but there is no obligation on you to accept the invitation.
- This complaints procedure is designed to address complaints of inadequate service. If you think we have made a mistake, i.e.: that we have been negligent, we may have to report this to our In that event we are often unable to discuss the matter further with you unless or until our insurers authorise us to do so. At that stage you will be advised of the need to take advice from an independent solicitor.
- If your complaint is about the amount that you have been charged, please note the following wording which appears on the reverse side of the invoice that has been sent to you:
NOTICE OF YOUR RIGHTS
You may be entitled to apply to the High Court to have this invoice checked by an Officer of the High Court (Sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974).
If you do not agree with or understand any aspect of the invoice, please let us know, it may be appropriate in some circumstances to use our Complaints Procedure. If you remain unhappy with our response, you may be entitled to apply to the Legal Ombudsman to resolve the matter. The Legal Ombudsman will not usually investigate any complaint to them made more than 6 months after we have responded to any complaint made to us.
- In respect of any complaint where we have provided you with a substantive response, if you are unhappy with that response, you have the right to complain direct to the Legal Ombudsman.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
In the unfortunate circumstance that we cannot resolve your complaint, you may wish to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint, and,
- Not later than one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about; or;
- Not later than one year from the date when you should have realised that there was cause for
There may be circumstances where the Legal Ombudsman has a discretion to accept out of time complaints, please refer to the Legal Ombudsman’s website for further details at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
If you do wish to contact the Legal Ombudsman, please see their details below:
PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH.
Telephone Number: 0300 555 0333
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
You also have the right to make a report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about any non-service aspect of the firm. This includes any practice or regulatory issues, which you believe should be considered by the professional regulator of solicitors.
To make a report, please contact the SRA at Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN. Telephone: 0370 606 2555.
If we have to change any of the above timescales, we will let you know and explain why. Please note, the response times referred to above may increase where an involved member of staff is absent from the office.
14.1 The Terms, and any dispute arising from it, shall be governed by the laws of England and
14.2 The Terms are between us, and no other party shall have any rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 or
14.3 In the event that you fail to sign the Schedule of Terms, you will be deemed to have accepted the Terms and be bound by them by accepting our Services.
14.4 We reserve the right to vary the Terms at any time, in which case prior notice will be given to
14.5 If you provide us with further instructions concerning other matters, these Terms will apply, unless we agree
15 Notice of the Right to Cancel
Where we have visited you and been instructed away from our office, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 will apply. In such cases, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within 14 workings days of the date on which you asked us to act for you. However, if you wish us to do work urgently, you can request in writing that we commence work before the cancellation period expires. Your acceptance of these terms of service will amount to consent to continue. If you seek to withdraw instructions, you should use the Cancellation Template at the end of the Terms.
Occasionally we use external companies or people to provide additional support (e.g. typing or administration). Where we do so, we will always seek a confidentiality agreement with them. If you do not want your matter to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.
17 Financial Services Compensation Scheme
In the event of a banking failure it is unlikely that we would be held liable for any losses of client account money. If a corporate body client is not considered a small company by FSCS, then they will not be eligible for compensation.
We currently hold our client account funds in NatWest Bank Plc. The £85,000.00 Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) limit will apply to each individual client so if you hold other personal monies yourself in the same bank as our client account, the limit remains
£85,000.00 in total. It may therefore be advisable to check with your own bank, as some banks now trade under different trading names. In the event of a bank failure you agree to us disclosing details to the FSCS.
We provide you with our client account details at the outset of our relationship. These details will not alter during the course of our relationship. Our client accounts details are as follows:
Bank: National Westminster Bank Plc
Account name: Cognitive Law Limited Client Account
Sort Code: 01-01-23
Account Number: 16023919
18.1 In accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2019, it is the firm’s policy to account to its clients for interest on a fair and reasonable basis for both the client and the firm.
18.2 When money is received on behalf of a client, it will be paid into the firm’s general client account, currently held with Nat West Bank. The general client account will hold pooled amounts for different matters for all the firm’s It is an instant access account to facilitate transactions.
18.3 Clients are unlikely to receive as much interest as might have been obtained had they held the funds and invested the money
18.4 If we hold money in our general client account on your behalf, or if money should have been held on your behalf but was not, then we will account to you for a sum in lieu of interest (gross) calculated as
18.5 We will not account to you for any interest in the following situations:
A) if the amount calculated is £50 or less. Below that sum we consider that the administrative costs of dealing with the funds would exceed the interest due;
B) on money held for the payment of a professional disbursement if the person to whom the money is owed has requested a delay in settlement;
C) on an advance from us into our general client account to fund a payment on your behalf in excess of funds already held for you in that account;
D) if there is an agreement to contract out of the provisions of this
18.6 We will usually calculate and pay interest once your matter has been concluded unless interim payments are appropriate (for example in long running private client matters).
18.7 In calculating interest, we will apply a rate that we believe reflects the market rate of interest paid on an instant access current account offered by a UK high street We will publish interest rates, together with this policy, on our website at www.cognitivelaw.co.uk.
18.8 We will review the interest rates regularly, and whenever the Bank of England changes its Bank The base rate has reduced in 2020 and we have accordingly reviewed our policy. In determining the period over which interest is to be calculated, we will look at the following:
A) the period between the date when the relevant funds received by us clear our account; and,
B) if we send the funds electronically, the date when the funds are sent or, if we send the funds by cheque, five days after a cheque is raised.
18.9 Interest Rates
A) Rate used on balances from: 1st October 2023 = 10%.
B) The firm’s accounts department will prepare the calculation as instructed by the fee earner. Interest is paid gross, and it is the client’s responsibility to declare gross interest received to
C) Interest is paid by Nat West Bank to the firm on the aggregate of all client money held in the general client account and, subject to any interest paid to the client, is for the benefit of the
18.10 If the bank in which the firm holds funds should fail, the firm reserves the right to disclose to the FSCS the names and other details for clients whose money is held on the general client account for the client to claim compensation, the limit of which is currently £85,000.
18.11 This policy is reviewed from time to time by the COFA and partners of the firm.
19 Force Majeure
We will not be liable to you for any delays or failures in the provision of our services due to any events or circumstances beyond our reasonable control. If any such events or circumstances affect us, we will notify you as soon as reasonably practicable.
INSTRUCTIONS AND TEMPLATE CANCELLATION FORM FOR CONSUMERS (SEE CLAUSE 15)
Right to cancel
You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason.
The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us, Cognitive Law Limited, Sussex Innovation Centre, University of Sussex, Science Park Square, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SB, tel 0333 400 4499, email firstname.lastname@example.org, of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post or email). You may use the model cancellation form below, but it is not obligatory.
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
Effects of cancellation
If you cancel this contract, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you.
We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel this contract.
We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
If you requested to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, you shall pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed until you have communicated tous your cancellation of this contract, in comparison with the full coverage of the contract.
Template Cancellation Form:
To Cognitive Law Limited, Sussex Innovation Centre, University of Sussex, Science Park Square, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SB. Email: email@example.com
I/We [*] hereby give notice that I/We [*] cancel my/our [*] contract for the supply of the following service [*].
Ordered on [*].
Name of consumer(s), Address of consumer(s),
Signature of consumer(s) (only if this form is notified on paper),
[*] Delete as appropriate