We specialise in all aspects of criminal investigations, proceedings and appeals

Standard Terms of Business

We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice and representation with a personal service at a fair cost. We hope it is helpful to you to set out in this statement the basis on which we propose to provide our professional services.

1. Conduct of Your Matter

AHS LAW is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under registration number: 625891 to provide independent legal advice and representation in England and Wales. You can find more details about us at www.ahslaw.co.uk and www.sra.org.uk

Ali Hussain is the Owner and Principal Solicitor at this firm and will handle your case. From time to time, we may engage other lawyers to assist and any such person(s) will be experienced, suitably qualified and supervised directly by Mr Hussain.

Our normal office opening hours are Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5.30 pm. Please help us to maintain a high standard of service by making an appointment. Outside office hours, if there is an emergency, you may contact us on 07493 032827.

2. Responsibilities

As the work we do on your behalf (your ‘matter’) progresses we will:

  • Act in your best interests and keep your information confidential at all times;
  • Communicate with you in plain language;
  • Advise you on the likely timescale of the matter, where it is possible to do so, and keep you informed of any changes to it;
  • Do our best to reply quickly to correspondence;
  • Keep you informed of progress and the work that we are doing on your behalf, including any changes to the law that might have a bearing on your instructions;
  • Tell you about any delays and explain the reasons;
  • Explain the effect of any important documents;
  • Tell you about staff changes that might affect you;
  • Advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter;
  • Update you on the costs position and tell you if our original costs estimate needs to be reviewed.

You can help us by:

  • Giving us clear instructions;
  • Safeguarding any documents that will be important in this matter;
  • Letting us know if you are unsure over any aspect of your matter;
  • Telling us about any important time limits that you are under, or if you are going to be away for any length of time;
  • Responding promptly to any questions that arise.
  • Settling requests for payment promptly.

3. Methods of Communication

We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with you and with others when appropriate by email or fax, but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by email or fax.

We use a secure electronic case management and IT system to store information and personal data. Our use of this information is subject to your instructions, data protection laws and our professional duty of confidentiality.

We will use our best endeavours to ensure that your confidential information is protected from illegal activity and take reasonable steps to minimise risk of hacking. This may include sending password protected digital documents or inviting you to a secure portal to access documents.

4. Termination of retainer

You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, e.g. if you do not pay an interim invoice or there is a conflict of interests. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.

If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis plus expenses or by proportion of the agreed fee.

5. Professional indemnity insurance

We maintain professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Details of the insurers and the territorial coverage of the policy are available for inspection at our office.

6. Fees and Estimates

In legal aid cases, we will provide you with a separate letter explaining availability and funding options.

In private cases, we will provide you with a letter with a breakdown of our charges. VAT is payable in addition at the applicable rate (currently 20%). Any changes in our charging rates will be notified to you in advance.

We may, in accordance with professional guidelines, also charge a premium where reasonable to do so to take account of the nature, complexity, value and urgency of the services and other criteria specified in those guidelines. In addition, we will charge you for any expenses we incur on your behalf (‘disbursements’) such as travel, experts fees, counsels’ fees, postage, printing and agents’ charges. We will see your authority before incurring disbursements in excess of £100.

7. Money on account and interest payments

Our policy on the payment of interest in relation to money that we hold on your behalf is to account to you for all sums earned if the total exceeds £20. Below this sum we will retain any such sums earned without accounting to you for them. We believe that this policy is fair and reasonable, and we keep it under continual review in the light of changing interest rates in particular. When we are in receipt of large amounts of money, we may place such funds on specific deposit, in which case you will receive all the interest received. General payments of interest are made without deduction of tax, but tax is deducted at source on specific deposits. Please bear in mind that the rates of interest that we receive from our bankers are lower than might otherwise be achieved because of the need for us to have instant access to funds in most cases.

We may require you to pay us a reasonable sum on account of costs. This will be held in our client account and we shall account to you for interest in accordance with the above policy.

We may use your money held on account of costs to pay expenses incurred on your behalf even though not yet invoiced to you. We will not be liable to pay any disbursement on your behalf unless you have put us in funds to do so when this has been requested.

8. Invoicing and payment

We will submit invoices as agreed in advance: either at the start of our work for you, on a monthly basis or at the end of a distinct section of the instructions, whichever is the sooner. Unless indicated expressly to the contrary, invoices will take the form of a final account for all work done during the relevant period.

All fixed fee invoices are payable on delivery. All other invoices are payable on demand and we request payment in full within 14 days.

If an invoice is not paid within 28 days, we may charge interest on the balance outstanding at the rate of 8%/annum.

9. Recovery of Costs

It is important to understand that, even if you are successful in your matter, you might not be able recover all of your legal costs.

You must pay all our charges and expenses in full regardless of the outcome of the matter. Any amounts which can be recovered from another party will be a contribution towards them. If the other party is in receipt of legal aid it is unlikely that any costs will be recovered.

If you are successful and a court orders another party to pay some or all of your legal costs 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 costs or expenses on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest. You will also be responsible for paying our charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you.

If you are unsuccessful in a Court case, you may be ordered to pay the other party's legal costs and expenses. That money would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses.

10. Limitation of liability

Our liability to you for a breach of our contract with you will be limited to the sum stated in our professional indemnity insurance. If we breach our contract with you, we will not be liable for any loss of profits or loss of business or depletion of goodwill or loss of anticipated savings or loss of contract or loss of use.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law and our professional rules allow. In particular, we do not limit our liability for any loss or damage suffered by you as a result of fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation or death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

We shall have no liability to you if we are prevented from, or delayed in performing, our obligations or from carrying on our business by acts, events, omissions or accidents beyond our reasonable control.

AHS LAW will provide advice and services to you. You agree that you will not bring any claim in person against an owner, partner, employee, agent or consultant of AHS LA in connection with any advice or services provided or for the acts or omissions taken or not taken by them.

11. Papers and Deeds

After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. We will keep our file of your papers for up to six years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them six years after the date of the final invoice. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may charge you both for:

  • time spent producing stored papers that are requested
  • reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.

12. Anti-Money Laundering

The law requires solicitors to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and sometimes people related to them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wanting to launder money. To comply with the law, we need to get evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to ask to see your original passport or photo driving licence and a recent utility invoice or bank statement or to ask you to submit certified copies from another firm of solicitors.

Please note that any such searches and copy documents will be securely maintained on the file for your matter in pursuance of our data protection policy. The uses that will be made of this data will be to provide confirmation of the identity of the person(s) providing it only. The law requires us to maintain such data for the period of five years from the end of the matter we are handling for you or from the date at which you cease to be a client of this firm. However, you agree to our retaining the forms and any other data for our usual file retention period of 6 years from the date of the file being archived, or longer than this if necessary, as when litigation has arisen or may be pending, and the checks have or may become relevant in any such proceedings.

13. Confidentiality

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.

14. Financial Services advice

We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, nor are we regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

15. Equality and Diversity

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and staff.

We will not tolerate any form of harassment, which includes unwanted conduct related to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

We reserve the right to cease acting for any client immediately who harasses or abuses our staff, agents or any other person acting on our behalf.

16. Data protection and Privacy Notice

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:

  • addressing correspondence and related documents to other parties and opponents in any litigation, as well as other agencies such as the courts or Government agencies where relevant to the work we are doing for you
  • maintaining the financial and other personal information we are required to keep on clients under the professional rules we are subject to and by law including our obligations to HMRC.

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and our professional duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses, other professional advisers, our regulators and our bank if they wish to ascertain the source of monies held in our client account. Please also see para 17 in relation to the external checks we are subject to in relation to our quality of work as a firm.

The legal bases which are relevant to the work we undertake for you are mostly in order that we can satisfactorily perform the contract we have with you and also so that we can protect the interests of our professional indemnity insurers through maintaining suitable records. We are required by law to retain certain data including identity and address details in order that we can comply with the Government's anti-money laundering controls (see para 12). We would need your consent to send you future marketing information, on which see the wording at the end of this document.

We do not envisage sending any of your personal data outside the UK or the EU.

You have a number of rights as a data subject including the rights to:

  • be informed of the data we hold on you
  • have any incorrect or out of date data rectified
  • cease to receive certain forms of communication or to restrict processing,
  • take your data elsewhere ("portability")
  • object to our use of data.

Unlike certain other business concerns we do not as a law firm involve ourselves in automated decision making and profiling.

You also have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. If you would like to make a request to know about the personal data we hold on you please let us know, preferably in writing and addressed to: Ali Hussain at AHS LAW Ashley House, 235-239 High Road, London N22 8HF stating "data subject access request" or by email: ali.hussain@ahslaw.co.uk

If you are unhappy about the way we are managing your data you have a right to object to the Information Commissioner at Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF (tel: 0303 123 1113). Please also see your rights to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (see para 18 below).

17. External audits

External firms or organisations may conduct audits or quality checks on our practice including in relation to the SQM quality standard and LAA Contract Compliance. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. Please advise the person responsible for your matter if you would prefer for your papers to be withheld from inspection for these purposes. Work on your matter will not be affected in any way if you would prefer to withhold consent.

18. Acceptance

These terms of business will be deemed to have been accepted by you upon our subsequent receipt from you or your agent of any instructions, verbal or written, in any matter.

Unless otherwise agreed, these terms apply to any future instructions you give to us. In the event of our retainer being from more than one individual or company, the liability for our costs will be joint and several.

Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English courts.