There is so much to consider regarding compliance within your firm. If you decide to deal with this internally the best place to start with your “health check” is your client care letter and Terms of Business. By starting this “health check” you are also starting to draft your compliance plan. Document the review and the corrective action identified and use it as a base.
Obtain copies of the latest client care letters and Terms of Business and read through to firstly spot any obvious areas which are out of date.
A few areas to look out for:
- Have you confirmed who is acting (name and role) and also who has ultimate responsibility of the matter (name and role).
- If TT fees are included in the estimate have you correctly referred to them (i.e. fees / disbursements).
- Where disbursements are referred to which contain elements of VAT (e.g. search disbursements – have you confirmed that VAT is included in the amount stated).
- Is your complaints paragraph up to date? Are you confirming to the client that a copy of your complaints procedure is available on request and have you referred to the Legal Ombudsman and not the Legal Complaints Service? Is the address of the Legal Ombudsman correct (the Wolverhampton address not the old Birmingham address).
- Is your FSA / Insurance Mediation clause complete and up to date? A common mistake within this paragraph is that the Legal Complaints Service is not updated to the Legal Ombudsman.
- Have you included a clause on Equality and Diversity?
Ensuring your client care letter and Terms of Business is up to date is a great start to your compliance plan. If you would like Legal Eye to complete a free review of your client care letter and Terms of Business please contact Legal Eye at firstname.lastname@example.org / 079 2177 4548