Terms & Conditions

Thank you for placing your business with O’Neill Defence. We hope the following information will be of assistance to you in your dealings with the Firm.

Please note the following information in relation to our business terms:

Contacting us:  We are open from 9a.m. until 5p.m. Monday to Friday. Our telephones are answered during that period. If the person concerned is unable to take your call; if the office is closed for lunch (taken between 1 and 2pm daily) or if we are closed for a local or statutory holiday, you can leave a message on our answering machine / voicemail service. We can also be contacted on our email address at office@oneilldefence.co.uk Please note that our solicitors can be engaged in Court business and are often out of the office for long periods during the normal working day.   We are also available to meet with you out-with normal hours, but this will be by prior arrangement only.

Instructions:  May be given to us in writing or verbally.  We may well ask you to confirm in writing the terms of verbal instructions given to us.  If there is any change in your circumstances or your address, you must notify us immediately.  If you wish anyone other than yourself to give us instructions or information, we will require confirmation of this in writing.

Conflict of interest:  We cannot act for two or more parties if they have conflicting interests. Please advise us at the outset if you are aware of potential conflicts which may arise.  If we decide that we can still act (i.e. if you are one of the exceptions to the general rule) we will confirm this to you in writing.

Private Limited Companies:  If we are given instructions by a private limited company, then unless otherwise agreed with you in advance, it is a condition of our accepting those instructions that the directors are jointly and severally liable along with the company for payment of our fees and costs and any interest thereon.

Confidentiality:  Information passed to us is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties unless authorised by you or required by law.

The Law Society of Scotland:  Like all Scottish solicitors, we are members of the Law Society of Scotland and, as such, are always subject to its professional rules.

How long will it take:  The nature of legal work, particularly Court work, often makes it difficult to estimate precisely how long something will take to complete. When we discuss your requirements at the outset, we will also discuss timescales.  We do attempt to meet these and always deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Please remember that quite often the speed at which work can be completely is affected by the co-operation (or lack of it) we receive from other people out-with our control.

Return of property: please note that we will not carry out any work in connection with the return to you of property seized by the police at the conclusion of a prosecution, unless that work forms part of formal confiscation proceedings against you, in which we are instructed

Cost:  The basis on which we will charge you fees for a matter will be a lump sum, or – more commonly – will depend on the time spent carrying out the work or on a particular scale of charge as appropriate to the type of work.  In assessing the fees, we take into account a number of important factors, including the value of the transaction, the complexity and difficulty of the matter, the skill, knowledge and responsibility involved, the urgency of the matter and the place where we are required to carry out the work.  We are happy to tell you at anytime what the fees are to date.

Estimates:  Any estimate that may be given will be a probable fee based on our experience of the work that you have asked us to do.  If the work turns out to be more complicated or takes longer than anticipated, then we may require to increase our estimate to take account of this.   We will inform you as soon as possible about this,

Accounts:  We will issue our account either at the end of the matter or at regular intervals.  Payment is due within 14 days of the date of account.  If you do not pay our account on time, we reserve the right to stop working for you and to charge you for the full amount of work we have done for you.

Legal Aid:  When legal aid or legal advice and assistance is available to cover work, we are doing for you, we will assess your eligibility for appropriate cover and will explain the nature of cover available to you and assist you in completing all the necessary forms.   We will advise you as to any contribution payable under the legal advice and assistance scheme.

Outlays:  Where expenses are going to be incurred by us on your behalf, such as for the preparation of medical reports or any other form of specialist report, we will require a payment in advance from you prior to any report being formally instructed.  We will always take steps to obtain a costing of any potential report, but any such report will not be requested on your behalf until such time as we have been placed in funds.

Independent Fee Assessment:  The Auditor of Court is always available to provide a completely independent assessment of a fair fee for a piece of legal work carried out. On occasions, to ensure that a file has been correctly charged, we may voluntarily send the file to the Auditor. Should you at any time be dissatisfied with the amount of a fee charged by us then you are entitled to ask us to have the Auditor charge the fee independently. In that case both sides are bound by the fee as fixed by the Auditor. If the Auditor reduces the amount of our original fee, we will only charge that reduced amount and we will pay the Auditor’s costs. If he confirms that our fee is correct or undercharged, then you will be responsible for the Auditor’s costs.

Outstanding monies:  You are entitled to change solicitors at any time, but you are responsible for the fees and any other outstanding payments due to us until the time of change.  We are entitled to hold on to any files or other papers until payment.

Dissatisfaction:  If for any reason you are not happy about the quality of service provided, or the amount of our fees, then you should, in the first instance, take the matter up with the solicitor with whom you have been dealing.  Alternatively, should you prefer or if you feel that your initial approach has not resolved the point, we would invite you to raise the matter with Peter O’Neill, our Client Relations Partner, who is based at 74 Rose Street, North Lane, Edinburgh.   Peter O’Neill will ensure that any such complaint is fully investigated and that you receive a detailed response within 10 working days.   If you are still dissatisfied, you are always entitled to take the matter up with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. They can be contacted by telephone on 0131 201 2130 or email at enquiries@scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk. Their office is located at The Stamp Office, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG.

Whole agreement:  These Terms and Conditions together with the letter accompanying them and any enclosed Schedule of Costs, will form the whole agreement between us to carry out the work referred to in that letter.

Applicable Law:  These terms and conditions are governed by the Law of Scotland and are subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.