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1. Purpose of the policy
It defines our approach to any interest arising from monies held in our client accounts on behalf of clients or other relevant people. Our interest policy should be read in conjunction with the solicitors practice and accounts rules (in particular rule 22-25) http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/accountsrules
2. Our approach
We account for interest to clients or other relevant people for whom we hold monies when it is fair and reasonable to do so. We seek to achieve a fair outcome for them and the firm.
3. Current arrangements
Monies are normally held in a General Client account or a Designated deposit account – from which funds are instantly accessible. This means the amount of interest obtained might not be as high as you could obtain from direct investment or subject to notice of withdrawal.
Our primary role is to act for you in a legal capacity and we are not here to operate a bank account on your behalf nor do we provide financial advice. As such we do not generally make any interest payment to you unless the interest earned by us on cleared funds held on your behalf would be in excess of £35 per matter.
We normally calculate and pay gross interest once your matter is concluded.
Interest rates vary over time. We calculate interest at a fair rate which reflects the rates paid from time to time by our bank on our client account. We will review the interest rates quarterly and also whenever the Bank of England changes its base rate.
Each of your matters will be treated separately and we will not combine interest payments between all your transactions when calculating this figure unless we consider this to be unfair.
In determining the period over which interest is to be calculated, we will look at the following: the period between the date when the relevant funds received by us clear our account and when we send the funds or cheque is raised.
There may be specific exceptions to this arrangement but only where we agree on this in writing with you. You can request that you are not paid interest if, for example, you do not want to receive it for religious or tax reasons.
For the majority of clients, this policy (low rates of interest and a £35 minimum) will mean that interest will not be paid to you. However, this policy enables time spent on administration checks in calculating and monitoring small interest balances on the closure of files and concentrate on providing a more cost-effective legal service for our clients as a whole.
4. Additional factors
Interest earned on money held by us is subject to tax. It will be passed on without deduction and the recipient is personally responsible for declaring this to the relevant authorities.
Complaints regarding this interest policy and the amount of interest paid should be directed to Fiona Thomas in the first instance. If this does not result in a satisfactory resolution then clients may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman.