of John M Lewis & Co Ltd

(March 2022)


By their rules of professional practice, licensed conveyancers must inform their clients in writing of their normal terms of business when they agree to act for you.  They are intended to be fair and reasonable to both the client and conveyancer and clearly expressed.

These terms assist both conveyancers and their clients by making it clear from the outset what each can expect in various circumstances.  Please therefore read these terms now.  They help to explain the conveyancers’ duties and the basis upon which they provide their services.  However, these terms are not meant to limit the professional duty of conveyancers to safeguard your interests and to provide good advice at the right time.

You will have been sent two prints of this document.  Please complete the acknowledgement at the foot of the other side and return one print to the conveyancer who is to act for you.

Alternatively, if you have received this via our online portal, please tick the box to confirm your acceptance of these terms.

Fees, disbursements and other costs

1. Your conveyancer is registered for value added tax and all fees and taxable payments will have VAT added.  It will be applied at the rate current at the tax point.  (The tax point will normally be the date of the conveyancer’s invoice for professional fees, or the date of legal completion if this is earlier.)

2. Your conveyancer will provide you with a written estimate of the fees, disbursements and any other costs, and, if applicable, VAT, that are expected to apply to each transaction in which the conveyancer acts for you.

3. Fee estimates usually refer to disbursements.  These are payments the conveyancer expects to make on your behalf during a transaction.  They may be significant expenses, such as stamp duty and land registry fees.  A conveyancer can seldom foresee at the outset all the legal fees and disbursements that will be needed, but will inform you in writing of any significant additional costs and disbursements when they arise.  Your conveyancer’s fee invoice or statement will set out disbursements separately from the professional fees.

4. Where the cost of a disbursement is easy to identify (for land registry fees, for example) then the actual cost will be charged. If your purchase is a leasehold, fees are usually payable to register your ownership and any mortgage with the Freeholder and I will advise you as and when these are known.

5. Your conveyancer’s fee, or basis of charge, may change from the fee first estimated in certain circumstances.  In particular, it may vary if:

a. the value of a transaction or the nature of the work differs from that upon which the estimate was based; or

b. the amount of time, work or skill required to carry out a transaction is significantly more than initially expected; or

c. it needs to be done more quickly than normal.

Your conveyancer will tell you in writing about the changes when appropriate, or as soon as practical.  If you disagree with the change in fees, you should write promptly to your conveyancer             with your reasons.

6. Your conveyancer will ask you to provide a payment on account of fees and disbursements, either at the outset (to cover such expenses as local search fees), or at any time during a                           transaction, especially if it is, or is likely to be, unusually lengthy or complicated.

a. If, for any reason, a transaction does not continue to completion, our conveyancer will tell you in writing of the charge made for work done and disbursements paid out. The charge will                   reflect the amount of work done and time taken, and will be based either on the notified rate of charge or a proportion (corresponding to how much work was done) of the estimated fee.  If the         work done is more than the conveyancer originally estimated for, the charge will reflect its nature and complexity and the time it took.

b. The conveyancer’s fee invoice is intended for payment when you receive it. If not paid after a week, it may attract interest, as in term 15(b).

7. If asked to give a professional undertaking to help your transaction proceed (other than an undertaking given as standard practice) your conveyancer may make a reasonable charge for                   providing this personal commitment.  Such an undertaking is a binding pledge which the conveyancer is personally liable to fulfil.  It is usually a promise to another lawyer to take a particular           action – often to pay money.  The conveyancer will require appropriate security from you before giving such an undertaking and will tell you in writing beforehand of any such charge and of             any security required.

8. If we receive a commission from a third party arising from work we are doing for you, we will credit you with the commission.

Mortgage Lenders

9. If you need a mortgage, you will have to sign a mortgage deed and possibly other lender’s documents.  Your conveyancer will explain these to you and your liabilities under them.  However, it is your responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions in the mortgage lender’s letter of offer.  In particular, you should be aware of how much money may be deducted, withheld or due in penalties or interest on early repayment.  If you have difficulty understanding the terms of your mortgage offer, you should ask your conveyancer to explain them.  Otherwise, it will be assumed you understand and accept the offer.

10. All mortgage lenders need specific legal work done for them, in either granting or repaying a mortgage.  They normally require the borrower to pay the legal fees for such work.  If your mortgage lender engages your conveyancer to act for it, as well as for you, your conveyancer will give you a written estimate of the lender’s legal fees that you will have to pay on its behalf.  Your lender’s legal fees are included in the quote and estimate provided to you at the outset, so it is only when any additional work is required that an update will be provided.

11. If your mortgage lender chooses a different firm to deal with its legal work, it is standard practice for the lender to require you to pay the firm’s charges.  These charges will be separate from those of your conveyancer and you will be informed of the charges as soon as they are known.

12. If you have, or are taking, an endowment, pension or similar type of mortgage, your conveyancer may make a charge, which will be stated to you in writing, for: (a) dealing with the assignment (transfer) or reassignment (release) of each life policy or other item of collateral security which these loans involve; and (b) preparing and issuing the relevant notices.

13. If we are instructed on purchase and we are also acting for your proposed lender, we have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and the mortgage.  This includes any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction and any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving to you

Cleared funds and payment of bills

14. Conveyancing transactions can only be financed using funds cleared by the conveyancer’s bank.  You must ensure that any money you need to finance the transaction is paid to your conveyancer so that it can be cleared by the date it is needed.  The conveyancer must receive this money by a specified time, date and method of payment.  If payment is made by cheque this will normally mean by noon on the fifth working day (that is, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, bank holidays and statutory holidays) before the cleared funds are required.  If clearance is delayed because you make the payment later than agreed, or by inappropriate means, your conveyancer will not be liable for any further delay or loss that arises from this, for as long as your funds remain uncleared.  No funds are to be paid direct into our account without our prior approval.  Where no prior approval has been given we may have to report the matter to the NCA without referral to you.  Please note we cannot accept payments in cash exceeding £500.

15. Please note that John M Lewis & Co Ltd will not be liable for any money lost through default of their Bankers as a result of any banking failure. We currently hold our client account funds in HSBC Bank plc. The £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) limit will apply to each individual client so if you hold other personal monies yourself in the same bank as our client account, the limit remains £85,000 in total or £170,000 for joint accounts, so it may be advisable to check with your own bank as some banks now trade under different trading names. However, the FSCS will provide a £1 million protection limit for temporary high balances held with a bank, building society or credit union if it fails.  Further details relating to what constitutes a temporary high balance and the rules relating to the protection can be found at In the event of a bank failure you agree to us disclosing details to the FSCS.

a. It is standard legal practice for the fees and disbursements due to a conveyancer to be paid and cleared before the date of completion. If your conveyancer holds funds belonging to you, he or she will deduct payment of their bill after sending you a financial statement.  You agree to this practice by accepting these terms.  If the conveyancer does not hold your money, or not enough of it to pay their bill, then you should provide the required sum as cleared funds before the date of completion, in accordance with paragraph 14.

b. If you delay paying your conveyancer the sum shown on the statement as due from you by seven days or more, then daily interest may be charged. This will be at the rate of 2% per calendar month or part month (compounded monthly); from the date of the financial statement until the date your conveyancer receives the outstanding sum as cleared funds.

c. As a contractual right, in addition to any right to retain money, Documents and property available to us under the general law (lien), we have the right to retain your money, Documents and property (whether held in relation to the Services for which payment has not been made or any other Services) until you have paid us in full.

Time needed for legal completion

16. If you are purchasing with a mortgage, your conveyancer will normally tell you to allow at least ten working days between exchange of contracts and legal completion.  This is the shortest time it takes without special arrangements to deal with all the pre-completion searches and formalities (which include obtaining cleared funds from the mortgage lender and, if necessary, from you) and to make sure that all parties are fully protected at completion.  The lender may require the conveyancer to hold all necessary stamp duty and land registry fees as cleared funds by the proposed completion date, or to delay completion until they are held.

17. Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing, your conveyancer may charge a fee, and inform you in writing beforehand, for expediting your  transaction (taking special steps to act with speed and to co-ordinate with others to do so) if you request a completion date less than ten working days after exchange of contracts.  In such circumstances, the conveyancer will not be liable for any loss arising from a delay in completion beyond the specified date, provided he or she has used reasonable professional skill in attempting to complete on that date.


18. Conflict of Interest

a. “Conflict of Interest” means any situation where we owe (or, if we accepted your instructions, would owe) separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in relation to the same or a related matter and those duties conflict, or there is a significant risk that those duties may conflict; or our duty to act in your best interests in relation to a matter conflicts, or there is a significant risk that it may conflict, with our own interests in relation to that or a related matter; or we have confidential information in relation to a client or former client, and you wish to instruct us on a matter where:-that information might reasonably be expected to be material; and you have an interest adverse to our other client or former client.

b. We may decline to act for you where accepting your instructions would create a Conflict of Interest or cause us to break an existing agreement with a third party.

c. Where our professional rules allow, and subject to satisfying the requirements of those rules (see Representing Both Parties information which will be supplied if applicable), we may act for you and another client where a Conflict of Interest would otherwise exist, provided that we have the consent of both parties.

d. If, whether through a change in circumstances or otherwise, we find that we have agreed to provide services to you in circumstances which give, or could give, rise to a conflict of interest we will discuss with you how to deal with the conflict and may, be obliged to stop providing Services to you and/or to all other clients affected by the Conflict of Interest.

Breakdown of trust

19. If the relationship of trust and mutual respect that needs to exist between a lawyer and a client irretrievably breaks down, and the conveyancer cannot reasonably obtain instructions, then the conveyancer can ask the client to appoint alternative legal representatives and act no further for the client, provided that in doing so the client’s transaction is not seriously prejudiced.  If the conveyancer ceases to act, term 7 applies.

Non-legal advice

a. A conveyancer is a specialist property lawyer, qualified to advise on conveyancing law. You should consult appropriately qualified professionals for advice on non-legal matters, such as the physical condition of a property and its connected services, or its market value, or on investment and financial matters.  Before exchanging contracts to buy or lease premises, you should have a structural survey (of an appropriate type) by a qualified surveyor, and obtain any further information recommended by the survey report.  It is not part of a conveyancer’s work to consider or comment on any non-legal aspects of survey or valuation reports.

b. We are not qualified to advise you on the following:

    • tax implications of transactions you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising;
    • planning implications of your proposed purchase, unless specifically requested to do so by you, otherwise than by reporting to you on any relevant information provided by the results of the “local search”.
    • we may need to obtain on behalf of your lender, at your expense, an environmental search. However, we will not advise you about any issues relating to the possible contamination of any land or any flood risk which may be relevant to your purchase. We have to tell you that we are not qualified to advise on the results of any search made in that respect and would only be able to report to you the actual results of such a search.

Financial Services

20 If during the course of the matter upon which we are advising you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not. However, as we are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.

21. The practice does not have any holding, direct or indirect, representing more than 10% of the voting rights or of the capital in an insurance undertaking.  An insurance undertaking or parent of any insurance undertaking does not have a holding, direct or indirect, representing more than 10% of the voting rights or of the capital in the practice

22. If you have any problem with the services we have provided for you, then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem between ourselves.  If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then we are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and the Legal Ombudsman.

Insurance Distribution

23. As we have said, we are not authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance distribution activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at

24. The practice is not contractually obliged to conduct Insurance Distribution Activity in this way:

a. if the contract of insurance has not been selected on the basis of a fair analysis of the market that the client can ask for a copy of the list of insurance undertakings from which the practice selects or with which it deals in relation to the contract provided;

b. based on the information provided by the Client, a statement, reflecting the complexity of the contract proposed, that:-

    • sets out the client’s demands and needs;
    • confirms whether or not the practice has given advice to the client on the contract;
    • explains the reasons for giving advice on the contract where such advice is given to the client.

Your help

25. To help the transaction go smoothly and to avoid causing additional work for your conveyancer (and hence additional costs) you agree:

a. to provide your conveyancer with full and correct personal details from the start of the transaction;

b. to inform your conveyancer in writing of your requirements and of any significant change in them;

c. to respond promptly in writing to any request for instructions you may receive from your conveyancer;

d. to your conveyancer communicating with you or third parties by whatever method (including e-mail) your conveyancer may prefer;

e. to authorise your conveyancer to incur the costs and search fees (including repeat searches) which, in his or her professional judgement, are necessary to protect your interest or that of your mortgage lender;

f. to authorise disclosure of your information and instructions to your intended mortgage lender if that lender also uses your conveyancer;

g. to provide evidence of your identity when and how your conveyancer may request;

h. to do whatever your conveyancer asks you so as to allow your conveyancer to comply with the money laundering regulations;

i. not to contact your conveyancer to request progress reports more frequently than is reasonable or necessary;

j. to your conveyancer both dealing with your transaction and storing a record of it in either paper or electronic format;

k. that any money due to you will be paid as a single cheque in your favour. Any alternative arrangement must be requested in writing and signed by you (if more than one client, by all of you), and may involve additional work and hence cost;

l. generally to co-operate with your conveyancer and to recognise that failure to comply with these terms will cause additional work and cost.


26. We will treat any information which is confidential to you and which we obtain as a result of acting for you as strictly confidential, save:-

a. for the purpose of acting for you; or

b. for disclosures to our auditors or other advisers or for the purposes of our professional indemnity insurance; or

c. as otherwise required by law or other regulatory authority to which we are subject.

d. we may refer publicly to your name as a client of ours, provided we do not disclose any information which is confidential to you.

e. we are required, by current legislation, to make a report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) where we know or suspect that a transaction involves Money Laundering or Terrorist Financing. By instructing us to act on your behalf in accordance with these terms of engagement you give us irrevocable authority to make a disclosure to NCA if we consider it appropriate. You agree that this authority overrides any confidentiality or entitlement to legal professional privilege. We shall be unable to tell you if we have made a report.

f. sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/other administration duties on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.

g. if your conveyancer operates a practice management system to quality standard BS EN ISO 9002 or other quality standards such as the Legal Eye Quality Standard which we hold, the certification body has to check from time to time that the practice conforms to the standard, by inspecting a random sample of clients’ files; for disclosures to our auditors or other advisers or for the purposes of our professional indemnity insurance; The process is essential and is strictly confidential. However, you may instruct the conveyancer in writing to exclude your file from it.

Data Protection

27. You have a series of rights outlined under Data Protection legislation over how your personal data is used, including erasure in specific circumstances.  However, we may not always be able to agree with the exercise of such rights, as often your personal data remains necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected and processed.  Further information is available in our Privacy Policy, a copy of which is available on request or can be viewed on our website, at the bottom of our Home page under Main Menu.

What personal information we process

The categories of personal data we process include general personal data (which includes normal personal data, personal identity, email addresses and personal financial data) and special categories of personal data if these have been voluntarily provided to us (which includes ethnicity, nationality and medical history).

How we use your personal information

When your file is open, your personal data is necessary and used only in relation to the purpose for which it was originally intended. We process your personal information to fulfil our contract with you, or where you or we have a legitimate interest in doing so, where otherwise permitted by law, or to comply with applicable law and regulation.  We use your personal information for:

  • Service provision and internal processing (i.e. to assess and/or provide and to service your matter).
  • Management of relationship (e.g. to develop your relationship with us).
  • Resolving queries.
  • Training and service review (e.g. to help us enhance our services and the quality of those services).
  • Statistical analysis (e.g. to help us enhance our products and services or delivery channels to keep costs down).
  • Complying with legal obligations (e.g. to prevent, investigate and prosecute crime, including fraud and money laundering).

When your matter is completed and / or your file is closed, we may still process your personal information where we have a legitimate interest in doing so, where we are permitted by law, or to comply with applicable laws and regulation.

Examples of such instances will include:

  • Complying with legal obligations for statutory and regulatory requirements including for example, HMRC Returns, complaint handling, anti-money laundering, reporting to our regulatory body – the Council for Licensed Conveyancers;
  • Archiving and Storage of your file for the periods outlined in our Retention Policies – see sections 28 -31 of these Terms of Business; and
  • Our legitimate interests to conduct conflict of interest checks, statistical analysis and research to help us enhance our products and services.

How We Share Your Information

  • We may share your personal data with a range of organisations which enable us to fulfil our contract with you, or where we have legitimate interests to do so, or otherwise are required by applicable law and regulation.  We can provide more details specific to your personal data on request.
  • For further information on how we use your data please see our Privacy Policy which is available on request or can be viewed and downloaded at

You have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office ( ), which regulates the processing of personal data. You may also seek a judicial remedy.

Custody, Retention of Files

28. After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents whilst there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. We will keep our file of your papers for up to six (6) years, except those that you ask to be returned to you.  We may copy all of Your Documents and Documents Held for You before releasing them.  We ensure these processes and procedures are in line with the Transaction File Code and Guidance of the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.

29. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them six (6) years after the date of the final bill (unless listed in one of the exceptions below, where the file will be destroyed at the end of such stated period.) 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 as well as reading correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers. Some of the exceptions include:

  • other conveyancing matters (other than the sale of property) for a minimum of fifteen years
  • for a minimum of six years after the testator has died, and
  • probate matters for a minimum of six years from the end of the executor’s year.

30. Specific consideration is given on a case by case basis as to the appropriate date of destruction for the contents of files relating to:

  • deeds of gift
  • gifts of land
  • transfers at an undervalue
  • right to buy where funds came from someone other than the purchasing tenant(s)
  • lifetime gifts

31. We may agree to store title deeds, wills and other especially valuable documents in safe custody for you if you require and, if we do, we will not, without your consent, destroy any such documents.  We do not accept responsibility for the loss or damage of any item which we hold on your behalf unless we expressly agree in writing to the contrary.

Intellectual Property Rights

32. We retain copyright and all other intellectual property rights in all documents and other works we develop or generate for you in providing the Services (including know-how and working materials as well as final documents).

Third Parties

33. The Services are provided to and for the benefit of you as our client and you alone. No other person may use or rely upon the Services nor derive any rights or benefits from them. The provisions of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 are to that extent excluded.


34. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013:

If we have not met you either in person (because, for example, instructions and signing of the contract documentation is taking place by telephone/mail, e mail or on-line – i.e. by way of a “distance” contract) or we have taken instructions and a contract has been concluded away from our business premises (because, for example, we have met with you at home – i.e. by way of an “off-premises” contract) and the contract was entered into on or after 14 June 2014, you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 calendar days of entering into the contract without giving any reason.

The cancellation period will expire after 14 calendar days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.

To exercise your right to cancel, you must inform us at John M Lewis & Co, 6 Vernon Street, Derby DE1 1FR or by telephone on 01332 292204, by fax 01332 292058 or email at [email protected] of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (eg: a letter sent by post, fax or e mail).  You may use the model cancellation form attached to your Client Care Letter, but it is not obligatory.  To meet the cancellation deadline, you must send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.

Should you require the work to be commenced within the 14 calendar day cancellation period, you must provide your agreement to that in writing, by e mail, post or fax to enable us to do so.  By signing and returning a copy of these terms of engagement, you are providing your agreement in writing to enable us to commence work within the 14 calendar day cancellation period.  Where you have provided your consent for work to commence within the 14 calendar day cancellation period and you later exercise your right to cancel, you will be liable for any costs, VAT and disbursements incurred up to the point of cancellation.  Unless you make an express request for us to commence work within the 14 day period (i.e. by signing and returning a copy of these terms of engagement) we will not be able to undertake any work during that period.

35. Equality and Diversity

Consistent with our internal policies and procedures, we will not discriminate in the way we provide our Services on the grounds of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality [including citizenship] ethnic or national origins) religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

36. Green Deal

The Green Deal Scheme is a government driven initiative to allow for a loan to be provided on a property for the improvement of its energy efficiency. The loan is repayable on a monthly basis, in conjunction with the power bills on the property. The loan will run with the property unless it is repaid on the sale or transfer of the property. The seller(s) of the property are required, by law, to disclose the existence of any Green Deal loan on the property they are selling, or they may become liable for repaying the outstanding debt, even after they have sold the property. The Estate Agent/Seller must disclose the existence of a Green Deal loan agreement prior to a sale being agreed. If the property is being sold at auction, the existence of a Green Deal loan agreement should be disclosed before the winning bid is made.

The purchaser on a normal sale should be given an EPC showing the Green Deal improvement or an EPC and a disclosure document showing details of the work carried out under the Green Deal Scheme. This disclosure document will be provided by the energy provider on completion of the work as well as details of the repayment amount, the unexpired term of the loan and details of the loan provider.

Disclosure of the Green Deal loan must be made at least 7 days prior to exchange of contracts and the Transfer Deed must contain the Purchaser’s acknowledgement that they have received notice that the property is a Green Deal property.

Whilst there are no charges, restrictions, notices or cautions registered when a property is a Green Deal property, the mortgage lender must be notified of the existence of the Green Deal loan because the borrower / new property owner is taking on another loan which runs with the property.

If this applies to you by signing and return this Terms of Engagement below you are confirming your authority for us to make any such disclosure to your mortgage lender.

Please note that we offer no guarantees/warranties in relation to the extent and nature of any works undertaken under the Green Deal Scheme.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you have satisfied yourself as to the extent, nature and repayment provision of any such works undertaken in accordance with the Green Deal Scheme.

We would recommend that all Green Deal loans be repaid by the seller on completion of the property transaction, as the value of the property will undoubtedly have already taken into account the work undertaken under the Green Deal loan.

Help to Buy ISA Scheme Information:

37. The Help to Buy ISA Scheme was launched by HM Treasury on 1st December 2015.  If you have taken out a Help to Buy ISA, then you may be eligible for a bonus payment of up to 25% of the closing balance of the Help to Buy ISA subject to a minimum bonus payment of £400 and a maximum of £3,000 and provided that you and the property you are purchasing meet the eligibility criteria set out in HM Treasury ISA Scheme Rules.  The fee earner with conduct of your matter (who under the Help to Buy ISA Scheme is known as the Eligible Conveyancer) will be able to advise you on eligibility and, if appropriate, will undertake the necessary  process to apply for any bonus payment.

38. If you are purchasing a property through the Help to Buy ISA Scheme, HM Treasury will be the Data Controller of any relevant personal data that is given, via the Eligible Conveyancer, to HM Treasury and to the Administrator and / or any sub-contractor of HM Treasury or of the Administrator, for the purposes of the Help to Buy: ISA Scheme.

39. The information will be disclosed to HM Treasury and the Administrator for the purposes of verifying the eligibility of a Help to Buy: ISA Bonus payment and payment of Bonus funds; carrying out audits of Eligible Conveyancers; and any investigations or compliance work in accordance with the Scheme Rules.

40. We serve your legitimate interests in disclosing all necessary Relevant Personal Data to HM Treasury and to the Administrator and / or to any sub-contractor of HM Treasury for the purposes of verifying the eligibility of a Help to Buy, ISA Bonus payment and payment of Bonus funds; carrying out audits of Eligible Conveyancers; and any investigations or compliance work in accordance with the Scheme Rules.


Complaints or difficulties

41. If you have any complaint about the way in which your matter has been dealt with, this is the procedure which will be followed:

a. A complaint is oral or written expressions of dissatisfaction which alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, distress, inconvenience or detriment. You may also use this process if you are not happy with the bill for your legal service.

b. We are anxious to resolve any complaint you have about the service we have given you as quickly as possible. If you are unable to sort things out with the person who has been dealing with you please contact Liz Knott on [email protected]

c. Once we have received your complaint, Liz Knott will write to you within 7 days to explain how your complaint will be investigated if a complete response to your complaint has not been made by that time. You will be told the latest date by which a complete answer will be given to your complaint (this should not be more than 28 days after we received your complaint) If you have made the complaint verbally-either at a meeting or on the telephone-we will set out in our full response our understanding of the nature of your complaint.

d. The assessment of the complaint will be based on a sufficient and impartial investigation. We will explain in writing our findings and, where the complaint is upheld, the remedial action or redress. This will be dealt with promptly.

e. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our handling of your complaint, please feel free to contact the Senior Partner who will conduct a separate review of your complaint. You will be told about the conclusion of this review within 28 days.

f. We keep a record of complaints received and any action taken as a result.

g. If after following the review process you remain dissatisfied with any aspect of our handling of your complaint, you may contact directly the Legal Ombudsman to ask them to consider the complaint further:-

Telephone No: 0300 555 0333

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]


Legal Ombudsman

P O Box 6806



Unless it agrees there are good reasons not to do so, the Legal Ombudsman will expect you in the first instance to allow us to consider and respond to your complaint in accordance with the procedure set out above. You can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman up to 6 months after you have received

our final written response to your complaint (6 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or 3 years from the date you should reasonably have known there were grounds). You can also refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if we have not resolved your complaint within 8 weeks after we received it. The Legal Ombudsman deals with service-related complaints only; it will refer any conduct-related complaints it receives to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

42. One of the advantages to you of using a Licensed Conveyancer is that you can be confident that your interests will be protected by the profession’s strict regulations, insurance and compensation arrangements. The effect of this is that if you should make a valid claim against us for loss arising out of work for which we are legally responsible, and we are unable to meet our liability in full, you may be entitled to claim from the compensation fund administered by The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (from which details can be obtained).


The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing And Transfer Of Funds (Information On The Payer) Regulations 2017

43. In accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the Money Laundering Regulations, we confirm:

·       John M Lewis & Co Ltd is the data controller;

·       Mrs Lisa Wills is the nominated representative / data protection officer; and

·       We will only process any documentation or personal data received from you in respect of client due diligence for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing unless (a) use of that data is permitted by or under any enactment or (b) you give your express consent for the documentation or personal data to be used for other forms of processing.

The anti-money laundering guidance which UK banks and other finance services firms must adhere to is issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (“JMLSG”). The JMLSG considers all clients with funds deposited in a law firm’s pooled client account to be beneficial owners of that account. The JMLSG does not require banks to routinely identify the beneficial owners of law firm’s pooled accounts, as they do with most other accounts they issue. Pooled client accounts are granted this exemption on the proviso that this information is available upon request. In the event of our bank requesting information about the beneficial owners of our pooled client account, you agree to us disclosing your details to them.

The firm does not tolerate tax evasion, or the facilitation thereof in any circumstances, whether committed by or facilitated by a client, personnel or associated persons/companies.

We are required to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations and in particular to verify the identity and permanent address of all Clients.  This is to ensure that the policy adopted worldwide by Financial and Government Authorities to prevent the use of laundering systems to disguise the proceeds of crime is achieved.

Individual Clients:

If you are a new client or an existing client who has not previously supplied information within the last 12 months, you are requested to supply the following: one item from List A and two items from List B.

List A – Proof of name

·        Current signed passport

·        Original birth certificate (UK birth certificate issued within 12 months of the date of birth in full form including those issued by UK authorities overseas such as Embassies High Commissions and HM Forces)

·        EEA member state identity card (which can also be used as evidence of address if it carries this)

·        Current UK or EEA photocard driving licence

·        Full old-style driving licence

·        Photographic registration cards for self-employed individuals in the construction industry -CIS4

·        Benefit book or original notification letter from Benefits Agency

·        Firearms or shotgun certificate

·        Residence permit issued by the Home Office to EEA nationals on sight of own country passport

·        National identity card bearing a photograph of the applicant

·        NHS Medical card or letter of confirmation from GP’s practice of registration with the surgery


List B – Proof of address

·        Utility bill (gas, electric, satellite television, landline phone bill) issued within the last three months

·        Local authority council tax bill for the current council tax year

·        Current UK driving licence (but only if not used for the name evidence

·        Bank, Building Society or Credit Union statement or passbook dated within the last three months

·        Original mortgage statement from a recognised lender issued for the last full year

·        Solicitors letter within the last three months confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address – Not from John M Lewis & Co

·        Council or housing association rent card or tenancy agreement for the current year

·        Benefit book or original notification letter from Benefits Agency (but not if used as proof of name)

·        HMRC self-assessment letters or tax demand dated within the current financial year

·        Electoral Register entry

Body Corporate:

If you are a new or existing body corporate client not listed on a regulated market who has not previously supplied information within the last 12 months, we will require the following:

1.                  Company / organisation full name;

2.                  Company or other registration number;

3.                   Registered address and, if different, principal place of business address;

4.                   Memorandum of association or other governing documents;

5.                   Names of the Board of Directors or members of your management body and its senior management;

6.                   Documentation in accordance with lists A and B above for any beneficial owners.


Under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”), we may be required to make a report to the relevant authorities if at any time we become aware of, or suspect (whether from you or any other person) the existence of the proceeds of crime in relation to any Services on which we are engaged. Our obligation to make such a report will, in certain circumstances, override our duty of solicitor/client confidentiality and we may not be permitted to inform you whether or not we have made, or might intend to make, such a report.

We may terminate the provision of any Services to you, or be instructed to do so by the relevant authorities, if you fail to comply with your obligation to provide evidence of identity or we suspect that you or any other party connected with you or with the Matter is involved in activities proscribed by POCA.


The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 impose on us a requirement to identify clients that are “politically exposed persons” (PEPs) or have been PEPs in the last 12 months or clients that are either a family member or a known close associate of a PEP.


A PEP is defined as “an individual who is entrusted with prominent public functions, other than a middle-ranking or more junior official”.  Examples would include:

  • Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers and Deputy of Assistant Ministers;
  • MP’s;
  • Members of Governing Bodies of political parties;
  • Members of the Supreme Court, constitutional courts or any judicial body whose decisions are not generally subject to appeal;
  • Members of courts of auditors or boards of central banks;
  • Ambassadors, Charges d’affaires and high-ranking officers in the armed forces;
  • Members of the administrative, management or supervisory bodies of State-owned enterprises;
  • Directors, deputy-directors and members of the board or equivalent function of an international organisation.


As part of our client due diligence process, we undertake electronic ID checks which automatically confirm whether the individual against whose name we search is a PEP.  However, this would not tell us whether a client is a family member of known close associate of a PEP.

Therefore, if you are the spouse, partner, child or spouse/partner of a child or the parents of a person who currently falls into one or more of the above categories, you will be required to provide details to enable us to investigate further.

If you have joint beneficial ownership of a legal entity, legal arrangement or other close business relationship with a PEP or sole beneficial ownership of a legal entity or legal arrangement which was set up for the benefit of a PEP, you may fall within the definition of a “known close associate” and you will be required to provide details to enable us to investigate further.


The firm is committed to promoting compliance with the requirements of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 within its practices as well as in those areas in which it has influence.

The firm does not tolerate tax evasion, or the facilitation thereof in any circumstances, whether committed by or facilitated by a client, personnel or associated persons/companies.


45. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (as amended) regulate transactions between traders and consumers and prohibit trading practices that amount to unfair commercial practices and misleading acts and omissions. Neither you, the client, or us, your legal representative, must mislead a buyer or tenant either by providing incorrect or ambiguous information, or by omitting to provide material information about the property you are selling.

Certain information will be revealed through searches and other enquiries of public databases, surveys and valuation reports. However, you must disclose to us any known defects and other material adverse matters relating to the property known to you and failure to do so may mean that, in certain circumstances, the buyer or tenant would have rights of redress against you.

We encourage you to make all known disclosures as early in the transaction as possible to prevent delays.

If we become aware of any such existence of material information, and you decline to authorise disclosure to the buyer or tenant, then we would have to consider whether it was possible to continue to act for you as the CPR’s impose a duty to act fairly towards you as our client and also towards third parties, especially those that are unrepresented.