Terms and Conditions of Business

1.    Service Offered - McKenzie Friend

1.1   County Legal Support Services LLP (the Partnership) provides a McKenzie Friend service (the Service) to litigants in person (either individuals or small and medium sized enterprises) who are involved with, or may be contemplating becoming involved with, the civil court process.

1.2    The Service includes, but is not limited to, assistance with the following:

a.   Pre-action advice.

b.   Drafting court forms.

c.   Drafting letters and other documents associated with a civil action.

d.   Taking witness statements.

e.   Pre-trial advice and preparation.

f.   Attendance at court to give moral support and assistance.

g.   Post-trial advice.

1.3   At all times the Partnership complies with the code of conduct of the Society of Professional McKenzie Friends and the Practice Guidance for McKenzie Friends (Civil and Family Courts) issued by the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Family Division in July 2010.

1.4   Members of the Partnership do not act as solicitors or barristers and do not represent a client in the same way that solicitors and barristers do.  Rather, the Partnership provides an advisory and support service.  Members of the Partnership may not speak for a client at court without specific leave of the court, on a case-by-case basis.

1.5   Fees for the Service are set out in the Scale of Fees.

2.   Service Offered - Consumer Complaints

2.1   County Legal Support Services LLP (the Partnership) provides a Consumer Complaints Service (the Service) to individuals who wish to complain about any goods or services they have received and about which they are not satisfied.

2.2   Consumer complaints may concern the following (this list is not exhaustive):

a.   Faulty goods.

b.   Faulty equipment.

c.   Faulty appliances.

d.   Goods not fit for purpose.

e.   Goods not as advertised or requested.

f.    Disputes with builders or other tradesmen.

g.   Unpaid wages.

h.   Garage repair services.

i.    Landlord/tenant disputes.

2.3   Members of the Partnership do not act in a way similar to, or in the capacity of, a solicitor or barrister.  Rather, they act as agents of the client and take up the complaint on their behalf.

2.4   Having discussed the situation with the client, and acting on the client's authority, a member of the Partnership may, for example, talk to the provider of the disputed good or service, write letters on the client's behalf and attempt to reach an amicable settlement.

2.5   The decision as to whether or not to agree a settlement rests, at all times, with the client.

2.6   Should it not prove possible to reach a settlement that is acceptable to the client then the matter may proceed to court. The decision on such a course of action will always be taken by the client.

2.7   Should a client decide to take the matter to court then a member of the Partnership may continue to assist the client as a McKenzie Friend. That is, as someone who provides support and assistance both before and at a court hearing, whilst not representing a client in the manner of a solicitor or barrister.  The position of McKenzie Friend is recognised in law.  More details of the McKenzie Friend service are set out at paragraph 1 in these Terms and Conditions of Business and in the McKenzie Friend page of this website.

2.8   Alternatively, a client may decide not to pursue the matter further, or to represent themselves at court or to engage the services of a solicitor or barrister or, indeed, to have someone else to act as their McKenzie Friend.  In these circumstances the relationship with the Partnership would cease and the client would be liable for all fees incurred up to that point.

2.9   Fees for the Consumer Complaints Service are set out in the Scale of Fees.

2.10   Should a client engage a member of the Partnership as their McKenzie Friend, then the fees accruing to the Partnership in acting in the capacity of the client's agent under the Terms and Conditions of Business for the Consumer Complaints Service will become payable and will be invoiced to the client accordingly.

3.   Client Confidentiality

3.1   The Partnership is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and a Designated Partner of the Partnership acts as a Data Controller under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998.

3.2   The Partnership will not share personal data provided by clients without the client's consent.

3.3   The Partnership will not sell information provided by clients.

3.4   All information supplied by the Partnership to the client must be treated in the strictest confidence.

3.5   Telephone calls to the Partnership may be recorded in order to protect the interests of both the client and the Partnership.

4.   Ownership of Supplied Material

4.1   All documents and any other material supplied by the client to the Partnership in the course of the Partnership's work for a client remains the property of the client.  Such material will be properly safeguarded by the Partnership while it is in the possession of the Partnership.

4.2   At the conclusion of a case or at such time as the Partnership ceases to be engaged by the client, all material supplied by the client will be returned by the Partnership to the client.

4.3   The Partnership will keep its own records of each case with which it has been involved.

4.4   Client confidentiality will be maintained at the conclusion of the engagement by a client of the Partnership.  All records will be held securely. 

5.   Website

5.1   No part of the Partnership's website may be copied or reproduced.

5.2   The contents of the Partnership's website are owned by the Partnership and are subject to copyright.

5.3   The Partnership has no liability for the accuracy or content generally of any third party website connected via a link from the Partnership's website.

6.   Fees and Other Charges

6.1   The Partnership operates a basic cost unit of one hour broken down into 15 minute increments.  Charges will apply to every 15 minutes of time expended (except for an initial 15 minute free telephone conversation), unless a fixed charge has been applied to specific products.  Should there be any supplementary questions arising from the work done by CLSS, or ancillary issues are raised, these will be dealt with at no extra charge unless the work involved would go beyond the simple clarification of outstanding points.  Where a fresh thread of work is involved there will be a fee charged at the Partnership's standard rate.  Other charges may apply.  The Scale of Fees refers.

6.2   The Partnership does not charge any up-front administration fees and does not require money on account for work to be carried out for clients.

6.3   Payments due to the Partnership will be notified to the client by invoice and become payable within 14 days of the date of invoice.

6.4   Other charges may apply in circumstances where it is necessary, with the consent of the client, to gather evidence, including by means of interviews and witness statements, and this may include travel costs.

6.5   The Partnership will always endeavour to provide the client with a reasonably accurate estimate of costs in the event of civil proceedings being considered.

6.6   All other services offered by the Partnership are charged in accordance with the Scale of Fees.

7.   The Client's Commitment to the Partnership

7.1   The client agrees to supply to the Partnership all relevant information requested without delay.

7.2   The client agrees to notify the Partnership forthwith of any offers to settle received from any party or any other change of circumstances relevant to the client's case.

7.3   Should the client revert to alternative legal support arrangements then the client must notify the Partnership immediately and will be liable to pay for any services undertaken by the Partnership up to the date of notification.

7.4   The client agrees to pay the Partnership's standard £25 late payment fee in the event of the client's late payment of any invoice, in respect of any service provided to the client by the Partnership.

8.   The Partnership's Commitment to the Client

8.1   The Partnership is engaged as the client's agent in the case of a consumer complaint or alternatively, as the client's McKenzie Friend in the case of civil proceedings.  The Partnership therefore acts at all times on the client's behalf, in accordance with instructions received from the client and provides support and assistance in the interests of the client.

8.2   A member of the Partnership will discuss with the client the most effective means of supporting and settling the client's matter to achieve the most favourable outcome for the client.

8.3   The Partnership will provide the client with regular detailed and straightforward progress reports and advice throughout the support process.

8.4   The Partnership will not enter into any legal action on behalf of the client, or take any other steps concerned with the client's case, without the client's consent.

8.5   The Partnership may provide services using its own agents, legal professionals and employees where this is necessary to further the interests of the client.  This will not be done without the consent of the client and any additional costs implications will be discussed and agreed with the client beforehand.

8.6   The Partnership will not be liable for any damage or loss incurred as a result of any legal support process.

8.7   The Partnership will not be liable for any damage or loss incurred as a result of acting as the client's agent.

8.8   The Partnership will advise the client in advance of any legal fees or other fees likely to be incurred that have not already been discussed and agreed with the client.  For example, where witness statements need to be recorded, or tracing action undertaken.

8.9   The Partnership cannot act for the client as a solicitor or barrister would and cannot represent them or speak for them in court without the specific permission of the court.  However, should the client so wish, a member of the Partnership will accompany the client to court to provide moral support, assistance with documents and give quiet advice during a hearing.

9.   Cancellation of Service

9.1   A client may cancel their engagement of the Partnership at any time.  Such cancellation must be in writing and if indicated initially verbally this must be confirmed in writing.

9.2   The client is under no obligation to give reasons for cancellation.

9.3   The client is liable, under the invoice terms set out in these Terms and Conditions of Business, for all fees accruing up to the date of cancellation.

9.4   The Partnership reserves its right to end its work on behalf of a client at any time should it become evident that the client is in breach of these Terms and Conditions of Business or has acted in any way contrary to the actuality or spirit of an open and honest relationship with the Partnership.

9.5   Cancellation by the Partnership will be notified in writing and all fees accrued up to the date of cancellation will be due by the client in accordance with the invoice payment terms set out in these Terms and Conditions of Business.

10.   Complaints

10.1   The Partnership takes any complaint about its services seriously.  All complaints will be thoroughly investigated in accordance with the Partnership's "Treating Clients Fairly" policy and the results, including any proposed remedy, will be notified to the client within 14 days of notification of the complaint.  Complaints about the Partnership's services must be notified to the Partnership within 28 days of delivery of the service which is the subject of the complaint.

11.   Governing Law

11.1   These Terms and Conditions of Business shall be governed by and constructed in accordance with English law.  Disputes arising in connection with these Terms and Conditions of Business shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts

12.   Amendment

11.1   The Partnership reserves the right to add, delete or modify these Terms and Conditions of Business at any time without prior notice.  Any such amendments will be brought to the notice of clients.