1. Information on the Operations Manual
2. Policy Management Policy
3. Quality Policy
4. Corporate Social Responsibility Statement
5. Client Care Policy
6. Viberts External Equality Statement
7. Reception Charter
8. Complaints Policy
9. Supervision and Risk Management Policy
10. Mortgage Fraud
11. Acceptance and Rejection of Instructions
12. Markets and Clients Viberts will not engage with
14. Monitoring and Control of Post and Communications
15. Outsourcing Policy
16. File and Case Management Procedures
17. Matter Risk Assessments
18. Conflict of Interest Policy
19. Key Dates
20. Terms of Business Letters
21. Use of Counsel and Experts
22. Third Party Referrals
23. File Reviews Policy and Procedure
24. Closing Client Files
25. Storing Closed Client Files
26. External Transfer of Client Files
27. Original Documents and Files
28. IT Systems and Information Management Policy
29. Legal Research Policy & Guidelines
30. Data Protection Policy
31. File Naming Convention
32. Electronic Information and Communications Systems Policy
33. E-Mail Monitoring
34. Internet Usage Monitoring
35. Website Management Policy
36. Health and Safety Policy
37. Finance and Accounting
38. Interest on Client Funds
39. Client Account Client Monies Retentions
40. Billing Procedures
41. Time Recording
42. Payment Requisitions
43. Credit Control
44. Bad Debt Provision and Debt Write Offs
45. General Administration
46. Job Functions Directory
1. The Operations Manual and Staff Handbook are intended to set out clear guidelines on how Viberts conducts its business and, in doing so, establish corporate standards and procedures for the work undertaken.
It is important that all Employees make themselves familiar with the contents of the manuals.
2. Part of the process of providing high quality service is to anticipate the needs of Clients and to attend to any work they may wish and to be proactive rather than reactive to their needs. It follows that Employees should know their Clients well enough to anticipate what work might have to be done and this can only be achieved by having a thorough understanding of each Client’s business and through maintaining regular contact with the Client.
3. The manuals are not intended to establish an inflexible structure into which Clients will be expected to fit their business requirements, rather, it is intended to help Employees to understand what Viberts considers to be good business practice, what it considers to be unacceptable practice, whilst satisfying all legal and regulatory requirements.
4. The manuals are currently available in either hard copy or as a PDF File.
Changes to the Operations Manual
1. All Employees are encouraged to bring to the attention of the Managing Partner any section of the Operations Manual which, in their opinion, requires clarification or amendment.
2. The Managing Partner has overall responsibility for the maintenance of this Operations Manual and amendments to it will be circulated from time to time. All Employees should read the amendments.
3. It should be noted that any changes to the manual may only be made through the Practice Director.
4. The manual will be reviewed at least annually.
Use of this Manual
1. As an authorised user of this manual each Employee is expected to:
1.1 Get to know the procedures contained herein and follow these in their work.
1.2 Hard Copy Version only:
1.2.1 Keep in a convenient place and refer to when necessary.
1.2.2 Update with new pages promptly and as requested.
1.2.3 Do not remove from the office without the consent of the Managing Partner.
1.2.4 Return to the Practice Director if and when you leave the employment of Viberts.
1. As part of Viberts commitment to quality and to facilitate on-going and continuous improvement for all its policies and procedures Viberts has created a policy library.
2. The policy library will be managed by the Practice Director.
3. The Practice Director will be responsible for reviewing the policy library each quarter and advising the person responsible of any policy or procedure which has a review date within the next 3 months. They will then be required to review the policy or procedure to ensure the following:
3.1 The policy or procedure is being followed by all employees of the firm.
3.2 The policy is still fit for purpose and does not require any updates to reflect changes in legislation and/or regulation from any source.
3.3 The policy is still fit for purpose and does not require any updates to reflect changes in systems or changes arising from other policies.
4. Where changes or updates are made to policies or procedures, policy managers should always endeavour to update all related policies wherever possible.
5. The outcomes of every policy or procedure review will be communicated to the Practice Director within the deadline for reviewing the policy. A summary of the review and the next review date will then be recorded in the policy library by the Practice Director.
The success of Viberts depends on all personnel performing their role as effectively as possible.
This Manual explains the rules and procedures for working at Viberts and is intended as an introduction for new members of staff and as a point of reference for everyone. The Manual should be regarded as being a helpful and constructive reference book and everyone must be familiar with its content.
Hard copies of the Manual are issued to staff on joining Viberts and an electronic edition can be found in ‘Share Folders’ on the Viberts network.
The firm’s commitment to quality
1. The firm’s commitment to providing outstanding service to its clients is at the heart of everything it does, and forms the focus of its mission statement. As a way of ensuring that this excellent level of quality is provided in practice, the firm has implemented a range of policies, procedures and statements covering all aspects of the business to monitor, review, maintain and improve quality of service regularly.
Responsibility for quality assurance
1. The Managing Partner has overall responsibility for ensuring the provision of outstanding quality in all areas of the business. The Managing Partner has delegated responsibility for reviewing and improving quality in key areas of the business to members of the management team and partners. This will involve reviewing all policies and procedures on a regular basis, and at least annually, to ensure that they are fit for purpose and are effective in achieving the highest possible level of quality of service. The Practice Director will have an on-going relationship with the firms accrediting body, Lexcel, in order to ensure that the firm continues to exceed its commitment to clients by fulfilling its obligations under the Lexcel standard.
2. The partners of each legal department will continually review the standard of quality provided by each team member. They will be responsible for embedding quality standards at a local level, and suggesting to the Practice Director where improvements can be made to assess whether they are appropriate for firm-wide implementation. The firm’s organisational chart details the remit of each partner in ensuring provision of outstanding quality.
Reviewing quality assurance
1. The firm will review all of its policies and procedures on a regular basis and at least annually, to ensure that they are effective in achieving outstanding quality of service, and that they comply with all legal and regulatory obligations.
2. The firm uses a policy and procedure library which is a system by which all policies and procedures are reviewed on a regular basis, and that any improvements that need to be made are done so in a timely manner, are communicated to all employees, and are detailed so that the journey of quality assurance can be viewed.
3. All employees of the firm are encouraged to provide feedback at any time, in confidence to any member of the management team.
Methods of quality assurance
The firm ensures the provision of outstanding quality in its key areas, by way of the following:
1. The firm’s Risk Policy provides a framework within which the firm can identify and prevent any factors which might have an adverse effect on its business, including anything that might impact upon the service provided to clients. The Risk Policy is available within the Operations Manual.
1. The firm has an Equality Statement which confirms its commitment to the fair and equal treatment of all clients, suppliers and external contacts. It communicates to all external parties that they will not be discriminated against on the grounds of specific personal characteristics both directly or indirectly, and that they will be free from harassment and victimisation. The firm will promote diversity in all of its professional dealings.
2. The firm will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to support any external party with a disability to provide them with an excellent service equal to that they would receive should they have no disability.
3. The firm will treat seriously any breach of this commitment by its employees. Not only may an employee be guilty of a serious professional breach, but any such breach will be dealt with under the firm’s disciplinary procedure.
4. In addition to its Equality Statement, the firm has implemented an Equal Opportunities Policy for employees and potential employees, which sits within the firm’s Staff Handbook. The policy endeavours to eliminate and prevent any form of discrimination on the grounds of specific personal characteristics, and ensure equal opportunity for employees and potential candidates in all of its key functions including recruitment and selection, training, development and promotion, redundancy and termination of contract, and full-time and part-time working.
5. The Equal Opportunities Policy explains the firm’s commitment to having fair, equitable and transparent decision making on the areas listed above so that every individual is treated in an equal way to one another, is judged on their merits and is not discriminated against.
Client Care Policy
1. The firm wishes to ensure that all clients are given outstanding service at all times, and the firm’s Client Care Policy details the firm’s commitment to clients to guarantee the provision of quality.
2. The Client Care Policy includes the firm’s commitment to keep the client well-informed of the cost and progress of their matter at all times, to treat every client fairly and equitably, to ensure the firm can provide the required resources to its clients, and to provide a clear and accessible way of providing feedback to the firm on the service it has provided. This is done through client feedback forms which are distributed to every client at the close of their matter, and also through the firm’s Client Complaints Procedure.
3. The Client Care Policy also requires the firm to comply at all times with its legal and regulatory obligations when providing its service to its clients. This includes providing accurate and appropriate advice, carrying out necessary due diligence and ensuring the confidentiality of all client information and personal details.
4. The Client Care Policy is available within the Staff Handbook and is detailed further in the Operations Manual.
File and Case Management
1. The firm uses a rigorous and effective file-management system which ensures that every client matter is dealt with in the same way. It ensures among other things that all due diligence is carried out, that all clients are provided with an engagement letter and terms of business at the initiation of their matter, that every client is informed of the costs related to their matter, and that they are fully informed of how to make a formal complaint should they not be happy with the service they have received.
2. The file and case management system ensures a consistent approach across every department of the firm.
3. The firm’s File and Case Management Procedure is available within the Operations Manual.
1. The firm is committed to providing an effective IT infrastructure, providing every employee with up to date computer hardware and software to support their daily work. The firm will provide training and development to its employees on new software so that they can achieve the most out of the applications they use, making their service to clients more efficient.
The Managing Partner is responsible for ensuring that Viberts is active in delivering against this statement of intent.
1. As an established local law firm, Viberts has always, and will continue to be, conscious of its corporate and social responsibilities. Developing a thriving, sustainable business and demonstrating a commitment to contribute to our community is paramount to our vision of the future. We are fortunate to be part of a unique environment here in Jersey and Viberts believe we have a responsibility to create a lasting legacy that makes a difference to the lives of the people here and beyond.
2. Viberts fosters a culture of CSR and with the full support of our partners and employees, we are actively involved with environmental, educational and community and social issues. Our community investment strategy encourages and supports all partners and employees in volunteering efforts that make positive change occur for our community.
3. Our charitable contributions reflect to wider public initiatives and community projects and match funds donations collected throughout the year from our employees.
4. We seek to influence legislation that effects sustainable change and give our expertise to working parties and professional groups that work for the benefit of the community.
5. Viberts recognises the approach we take to CSR means a great deal to our clients and our people and we continually review what we do, how we do it and how we can do it better for the benefit of all.
Legal Practice Management Structure
1. Management of Viberts is principally organised through weekly meetings of key personnel from the Support function with the Managing Partner and regular Management Committee meetings.
1.1 The Managing Partner meets weekly with the Practice Director, Head of People and Culture and Marketing team.
Zoe Blomfield (Managing Partner)
Rose Colley (Family Department Partner)
Paul Wilson (Corporate Partner)
Paul Harben (Property Partner)
Craig Grant (Practice Director)
Penny Borny (Head of People & Culture)
Peter Cheesley (Head of Business Development & Marketing)
Nick Miller (Head of Operations)
Jonathan Reynolds (Head of Risk & Compliance)
2. In addition there are monthly and quarterly Partners’ meetings.
3. A full organisation chart is provided with an employee’s induction pack and is available in the Public Folders.
1. Viberts’ mission is to provide outstanding service and satisfaction to its clients. The firm understands that in order to achieve this it must deliver on its commitments to its clients at all times.
2. The purpose of this policy is to outline the firm’s commitments to its clients and to ensure that every employee understands them and acts upon them.
3. The firm’s commitments to its clients are:
3.1. the firm will take into account the needs of the client;
3.2. the firm will provide clients with all of the necessary information so that they can make informed decisions about what services they require;
3.3. the firm will explain to the client how the service provided to them will be delivered, and a timeframe in which it will be delivered;
3.4. the firm will provide the client with clear expectations of the cost of the services they require from the outset;
3.5. at all times the firm will treat the client with dignity, respect, and will not unlawfully discriminate against any existing or potential client on any grounds;
3.6. the firm will respect and ensure the confidentiality of all client information;
3.7. the firm will treat any client complaint seriously and will deal with a complaint in a timely and sensitive manner so that a satisfactory outcome is achieved for both the client and the firm.
4. The firm will:
4.1 ensure that all employees in client facing roles have been trained and developed in their roles and that they have the knowledge and expertise to provide accurate advice to their client;
4.2 ensure it has the necessary resources to meet all client expectations.
5. Every employee understands the importance of treating clients with respect and dignity, and fairly and equally so that no client is treated less favourably than another.
6. All employees will ensure that they comply with all legal obligations with regard to their client.
7. A new client will be provided with the firm’s Terms of Business which will outline the following:
7.1 who is responsible for carrying out the agreed work on their matter and how the client relationship will be maintained;
7.2 the firm’s duty of care to their client;
7.3 information on the cost of the services which are required and any disbursements and out of pocket expenses;
7.4 how the payment for services will be requested from the client, and how their money will be treated;
7.5 how client information will be treated and stored;
7.6 the firm’s legal obligations with regard to anti-money laundering and due diligence;
7.7 the process by which the client can raise a complaint if they are unhappy with the service they have received.
Client satisfaction feedback forms
8. It is very important to the firm to provide the client with outstanding service and satisfaction. The firm constantly monitors the service it provides to its clients through client satisfaction feedback forms in order to ensure that it meets client expectations at all times.
9. By assessing feedback from clients the firm can address areas in which improvement is needed in order to improve their service to existing and future clients.
10. The firm strives to provide an excellent service to its clients. It understands the importance of providing its clients with a formal procedure through which they can formally give negative feedback on the service they have received.
11. For more detailed information on the Complaints Policy please see the Viberts Operations Manual, section (8).
1. This statement is intended to cover the position of Viberts in relation to its dealing with Clients and discrimination, equality and diversity but also the position of Clients where we will ensure that their instructions do not conflict with our own position on discrimination, equality and diversity.
2. This statement deals with all professional dealings by personnel with clients, other solicitors and other external parties and covers:
2.1 accepting instructions from clients;
2.2 the provision of services to clients, including the selection and use of counsel and experts;
2.3 interaction with everyone involved in or incidental to the provision of services by the firm.
3. Viberts is committed to avoiding discrimination in its dealings with clients and all other third parties that have dealings with the firm and is committed to promoting diversity in its professional activities.
4. Everyone at the firm is expected and required to treat all others equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of their:
4.1 race or racial group (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins);
4.2 sex (including marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity or paternity);
4.3 sexual orientation (including civil partnership status);
4.4 religion or belief;
5.0 The types of action which are against this statement are:
5.1 direct discrimination;
5.2 indirect discrimination;
5.5 In addition the firm will ensure that nobody with whom it has dealings suffers any substantial disadvantage through any disability that they might have and is committed to making reasonable adjustments for those with a disability. Where appropriate and when requested by a client the firm will conduct home visits to ensure a client does not suffer any disadvantage.
5.6 Whilst the firm is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client, any refusal to act will not be based on any of the above grounds.
5.7 A breach of this statement by any employee may be a serious professional offence and liability may attach not only to the individual(s) concerned but also to the owners of the firm. For this reason any breach is likely to be regarded as a serious disciplinary offence. If anyone is concerned that a breach of this policy may be occurring, they should report this immediately to any Partner.
Key Elements of Service
1. The quality of service to Clients is key to the present and future success of the Viberts Group and it is essential to provide appropriate expertise in all dealings with and for Clients. It is worth remembering the ‘four C’s’:
1. All Jersey qualified Lawyers are bound by the Jersey Law Society rules which require confidentiality in all dealings with Clients. The following applies equally to all members of Viberts:
1.1 Nobody may reveal to any outsider the nature of instructions provided, or advice given, to any Client other than in the pursuit of the Client’s instructions.
1.2 In most circumstances it will also be inappropriate to reveal that Viberts is in receipt of instructions from any named Client. This is particularly the case in litigation, especially crime or divorce. If you are aware that friends, or other people that you know, are instructing Viberts it may be tempting to reveal this information to others - do not do so. If you are ever in doubt as to whether you should reveal whether Viberts is acting for a given Client, or give out his/her address, check with a Partner.
1.3 Breaches of confidentiality can cause considerable problems for Viberts and will be treated by the Partners as a serious disciplinary offence.
1.1 ‘In the event that you do not respond we are instructed to issue proceedings without notice’.
1.2 ‘We will issue proceedings if you do not respond to us’.
2. The main Viberts telephone should be answered by welcoming the caller and saying:
‘Viberts - good morning/afternoon - can I help you’ to ensure that Viberts project the appropriate professionalism when speaking to Clients and others by telephone.
1. Clients must be kept abreast of developments which affect them. There are rules on this and these can be found in the section on ‘File and Case Management’ particularly in relation to the confirmation of instructions received and advice given on the costs position of matters as they develop (see the section ‘Taking Instructions’).
2. Most of the complaints made against Viberts relate to poor communication and it is therefore imperative to ensure that such problems do not arise in dealings with Clients.
1. Viberts aim to provide a reliable, accurate and practicable service to all its Clients. All personnel must ensure that they are suitably trained to provide the range and depth of service for which they have responsibility. Viberts must not accept instructions which go beyond its professional expertise.
Dress and Demeanour
1. It is important that Viberts projects a sense of professionalism in its dealings with Clients. Everybody should dress in a manner which is appropriate for a professional practice and in particular avoid jeans or other inappropriate dress for the office.
2. It is necessary to conduct yourself in a way that will reassure Clients. This can be achieved by appropriate behaviour around the office and by a smile with a ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ to those Clients and other staff that you encounter in the office. Be as helpful as possible to all Clients of Viberts, not just those that you happen to be dealing with.
1. This Reception Charter outlines the responsibilities of the Reception Team to Viberts in delivery excellence to our customers and the responsibilities of employees of Viberts in their interactions with the Reception team and use of their resources.
2. Reception is responsible for presenting the right image of Viberts. This is achieved by ensuring that:
2.1 The reception area is clean and tidy and newspapers and magazines are up to date and neatly arranged.
2.2 Publicity material is made available to visitors and is in a presentable condition, (if any brochures, etc. are out of stock reception should inform the Head of Marketing).
2.3 Floral displays are fresh.
2.4 If there is a delay of over 10 minutes visitors must be:
2.4.1 Kept informed of the reasons.
2.4.2 Provided with suitable refreshments, coffee, tea, biscuits, etc.
2.5 If there is a delay of over 20 minutes visitors must be:
2.5.1 Provided with an apology and explanation.
2.5.2 Offered a different appointment time if this is more convenient to the visitor.
2.6 Tea, coffee, water is provided in the meeting rooms as appropriate.
3. Issues of Client confidentiality in the reception area must be borne in mind by all personnel. Any conversations with Clients in reception should be limited to appointment times, etc., only. If there is to be any discussion of confidential information an office or meeting room must be used. The reception area might be empty of other Clients when such a conversation starts, but this can soon change. Avoid discussing Client activities in reception and keep personal conversations to a minimum.
1. Fee-earners are responsible for ensuring that they or their administrators:
1.1 Advise reception of all appointments.
1.2 Make a meeting room reservation as soon as possible (if required).
1.3 Ensure that Clients are not kept waiting.
1.4 Ensure that Clients are shown hospitality and are provided with appropriate refreshments, coffee, tea, biscuits, etc.
1.5 Arrange for Clients to be shown to and from any room used for a Client appointment.
2. All staff must:
2.1 Inform their departmental administrator or one of their colleagues of their whereabouts in the building.
2.2 Ensure that reception and their departmental administrator are informed if they leave the premises other than at lunchtime, telling them:
2.2.1 When they are leaving Viberts House.
2.2.2 Their expected time of return.
2.2.3 Their whereabouts in the meantime.
Visitors to the Office by Appointment
1. Reception should be made aware of the appointment. It is the responsibility of the member of staff making the appointment to notify reception of all appointments.
2. The member of staff making the appointment is responsible for ensuring that a meeting room is reserved with reception as soon as the appointment is made.
3. The member of staff making the appointment is responsible for giving precise directions to any visitor who has not previously visited the office.
4. Meetings with Visitors should not be interrupted unless an emergency occurs. It is the member of staffs responsibility to ensure that sufficient time is available prior to his, or her, next commitment to allow the meetings business to be properly dealt with. Where an unexpected contingency occurs the Visitor should be made aware of the general reason for the emergency (without breaching confidentiality). It is essential that the Visitor is not given the impression that another person’s business is more important than his or hers. It is good practice to discuss with the Visitor in advance how long the meeting is likely to take.
Visitors to the Office without an Appointment
1. Reception must ascertain the identity of the visitor, the reason for the visit, and if appropriate the member of staff to whom they wish to speak.
2. Reception will inform the member of staff in person, or their administrator, to ascertain whether the member of staff is available. If the member of staff is available a message via the telephone to reception will suffice, with an estimate of the time for that member of staff to attend. If the member of staff is not available an administrator from that department, will visit reception and introduce him/herself by name as appropriate.
3. The administrator will offer to make an appointment, or arrange for the member of staff to telephone at an appropriate time. If the matter is urgent and cannot wait then the administrator should report to the Head of Department (or, in his/her absence, another Fee-earner in the same department) to check who is available at short notice to deal with the problem, if anyone.
4. Reception is responsible for organising tea, coffee, biscuits, etc. for the visitor if appropriate.
1. If any Visitor to Viberts House is gaining access to areas other than the meeting rooms’ reception should ask the Visitor to sign the Visitor’s book on their arrival at the office.
2. Reception will issue the Visitor with an ID badge and ask them to wear it prominently at all times during their visit and return it to reception on their leaving so that their departure time can be noted in the Visitors book.
3. In the event of an emergency evacuation of Viberts House a member of reception should take the Visitors Book to the assembly point so as to ensure all Visitors to Viberts House have been evacuated safely.
4. Note: The above also applies when members of a Partner, or Employees, family are visiting.
1. Viberts objective is to ensure that incoming calls are answered promptly. The procedures for telephone answering are as follows:
1.1 Telephone Switchboard:
1.1.1 The receptionist will give the name of Viberts and ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’. The receptionist will ascertain the identity of the caller and the person they wish to speak to.
1.1.2 The call will be put through to the relevant person as required by the caller. If the relevant person is not at his/her desk then s/he will have redirected the telephone to whoever is delegated to take the calls.
1.1.3 Where the caller requires to speak to someone who is not in the office the caller will be told that that person is ‘out of the office’, alternatives could include ‘out with a Client’ or ‘at a meeting’. The switchboard should indicate when the person is expected back before being asked if the caller would wish to leave a message with an administrator in the department or if appropriate on that person’s voicemail. The receptionist may also send an E-mail to the relevant person with contact details.
1.2 Individual Extensions:
1.2.1 Any person answering a telephone, particularly an external call, is to answer with his/her name. It may be appropriate on external calls to explain your role, e.g. ‘secretary to X’.
1.2.2 Any Fee-earner who leaves his/her desk is required to divert his/her telephone to another member of Viberts, for message-taking purposes. It is not necessary to notify the switchboard, only the person to whom the phone has been diverted.
1.2.3 Group ‘pick-up’ systems apply to teams of staff in the various departments. Training as appropriate will be given regarding the use of this facility.
1.2.4 Fee-earners should notify the department administrators of the period in the day when they will return any calls which have come in whilst the Fee-earner was unavailable. This:
22.214.171.124 Gives a Client a time when s/he will call back.
126.96.36.199 Prevents the Client from calling again before the stated times.
188.8.131.52 Gives a business-like and efficient impression to the Client.
2. A basic guide to using Viberts phone system can be found in the ‘Mitel Telephone System’ section.
MS Outlook Diary
1. It is mandatory that staff use their MS Outlook Diaries and keep them updated in order that meetings can be co-ordinated without disturbance or delay.
2. If you wish to maintain blocks of time for drafting work do so well in advance.
3. The diary must be made available to all other users of Viberts so as to check the availability, or location, of individuals (If in doubt speak to the Operations Manager).
Meeting Rooms Tidiness
1. If refreshments have been provided for Visitors, the member of staff concerned is to ensure that the meeting room, or boardroom, is left in a tidy state ready for the next meeting. Reception should be told if and when any meeting room, or the boardroom, becomes free so they can prepare the room and make it available for the next user(s).
Method of Addressing Clients in Correspondence
1. When writing to Clients even though the Fee-earner will probably have already met the Client, or made contact in some way, they should still address the Client using their title of Mr, Mrs or Miss whichever is correct.
2. Avoid over-familiarity by not using first names unless the Client is well known to you, such as a personal friend or a well-established Client. This method of addressing Clients is to be discouraged in all other cases.
3. Letters to and from other professionals, including other firms of Lawyers are at the discretion of the individual Fee-earner/professional dealing with the matter.
1. All staff are required to use their voice mail facility. It is the individual staff member’s responsibility to check incoming voice mail messages and respond to them promptly or arrange for a message to be given to callers. Confidence in this facility can only develop if responses to messages are made promptly.
2. If you are away from the office for any prolonged absence (e.g. holiday) calls should be transferred direct to another member of staff’s extension. In addition you should activate your holiday message (see Mitel Telephone System).
3. Further information on the voice mail facility can be found in the section ‘Mitel Telephone System’.
References for Clients
1. On occasion Viberts are asked to provide references to third parties on Clients. Given the duty of care in such situations it is the policy of Viberts that all such references require Partner consent and must therefore be signed by a Partner.
Why do Clients Complain?
1. Clients complain because Viberts have not met their expectations of what they think is an acceptable level of service.
Common Areas of Complaint
1. The most common areas of complaint are:
1.1 Not returning phone calls.
1.2 Not replying promptly to letters or E-mails.
1.3 Unexplained delays.
1.4 Unclear communications.
1.5 Not keeping the Client informed of progress.
1.6 Not checking regularly that Viberts is still working towards the solution the Client wants or that the solution is achievable.
1.7 Not giving the best information possible and not regularly updating about the likely overall costs of the matter.
1. Although Viberts may strive to provide the best service possible for all its Clients some will inevitably be disappointed, or dissatisfied, with the service that has been provided. How well Viberts responds to such disappointment is an important element of its standard of service.
2. A complaint can be deemed as any expression of Client dissatisfaction, however it is expressed.
3. Viberts complaint procedures operate at two levels:
3.1 Initially Clients may raise any difficulties with the Fee-earner concerned. In most cases it will be possible to resolve problems or misunderstandings at this level. Don’t forget that saying ‘sorry’ does not mean you are necessarily admitting fault or liability and will generally be all that the Client requires. Do everything that you can to show the Client that the matter is being addressed as they would wish and thank them for raising their concerns with you. Do not become defensive and do not try to avoid the Client as this will almost certainly make matters worse.
3.1.1 Where a client makes an informal complaint, often as part of a conversation, the details of the complaint should be recorded in the file.
3.1.2 If the nature of the complaint has the potential to change the risk status of the matter, be this operational risk or financial risk, these should be brought to the attention of the Supervising fee-earner and in the case of financial risk, such as complaints over fees, these should be brought to the attention of the Practice Director.
3.2 If you are unable to satisfy the Client at this initial, informal stage you must report the complaint using the procedure set out in the ‘Complaints Management Procedure’ section.
4. Most complaints are not about Viberts knowledge or the advice they give - they are about Client care.
Complaints Management Procedure
1. Viberts is committed to providing a high quality service to all its Clients.
2. If a Client has a complaint that has not be sufficiently dealt with as outlined in the complaints handling section then s/he should be asked to write to Viberts with the details of their complaint. Once a letter of complaint has been received the procedure is as follows:
2.1 The initial letter should be copied to the Head of Risk and Compliance.
2.2 An initial letter should be sent to the Client within 2 working days advising that the Client’s complaint is being investigated and by whom. The letter should indicate that a formal response to the complaint should be received within 5 working days. The response should be sent within 2 working days to allow for any possible delays in the postal system.
2.3 If we believe that we can satisfactorily respond to the Client’s complaint within the initial 5 working days then we should do so and advise the client of this. If this is not possible due to the complexity of the complaint or due to absence by staff referred to in the complaint then we should ensure that we respond within 28 days as allowed under The Law Society of Jersey guidelines.
2.4 The fee-earner responsible for the client and a partner will meet to discuss and investigate the complaint and the response to the client.
2.5 The investigation into the complaint will normally involve the following steps. These steps will commence from the date of receipt of the complaint.
2.3.1 The partner will ask the Fee-earner to reply to the complaint by way of an internal memorandum within 2 working days.
2.3.2 The partner will examine the reply and the Client file. This will take no longer than a further 1 working day.
2.3.3 The partner and fee-earner will meet within 3 working days of the complaint being received to discuss the findings of the investigation.
2.3.4 The partner will within a further 1 working day send the client a letter responding to the complaint. If it is felt appropriate the letter will invite the Client to the office for a meeting in order to attempt to resolve the complaint.
2.3.5 The total time for the Client to be sent a letter responding to the complaint will be no more than 4 working days from receipt of their initial letter.
2.6 Should the fee-earner concerned not be available for the investigation the client will be sent a letter within 2 working days advising that their complaint is being investigated and giving a timeframe within which they will receive a formal response. This should not in any event be any longer than 28 days as recommended by The Law Society of Jersey guidelines.
2.7 The complaint and the response will be recorded in the Complaints Register. The Register is maintained by the Head of Risk and Compliance.
2.8 Where the Client is invited to attend a meeting with the partner and fee-earner, the partner will write to the Client to confirm the outcome of the meeting within 2 working days.
2.9 If the Client does not wish to attend a meeting with the partner a detailed reply will be sent to the Client. This will be sent within 3 working days of client advising that they do not wish to attend a meeting.
2.10 If the Client is not satisfied with the response in the initial replies from the partner and fee-earner, any subsequent complaint from the Client will be passed to the Managing Partner.
2.10.1 The continuing investigation into the complaint by the Managing Partner will involve the following steps:
184.108.40.206 The Managing Partner will review the initial complaint, investigation of the partner and the initial response(s).
220.127.116.11 The Managing Partner will meet with the partner and fee-earner to discuss the subsequent complaint and comment on section 18.104.22.168 above.
22.214.171.124 The Managing Partner will respond to the client on their findings and response. If it is felt appropriate the letter will invite the Client to the office for a meeting in order to attempt to resolve the complaint.
126.96.36.199 The investigation and response from the Managing Partner will take no more than 3 working days.
2.11 If the Client is still not satisfied the decision will be reviewed by the Senior of Partner Viberts within 5 working days.
2.12 If at the end of the internal process the Client is still unhappy, s/he should be advised of their right to refer the complaint to the Law Society of Jersey.
1. Viberts recognises that an effective enterprise wide risk management framework must be an integral part of its strategic planning and review process. This policy will deliver a framework which provides for a joined up approach to all areas of risk management.
1.1 Ensuring all policies and procedures always reflect the most current regulatory requirements and best practice within the industry. The Law Society’s Lexcel standard will be a significant indicator of best practice;
1.2 Implementing a risk management working group to support the Head of Risk & Compliance and the firm in the regular review of all risks;
1.3 Compile a risk register for each category of risk;
1.4 Maintain a list of work that Viberts will undertake. By inference any service not on the list should be referred to the Head of Risk & Compliance before accepting any client instruction;
1.5 Maintain a list of geographical areas that Viberts will not automatically accept client instructions from;
1.6 Conduct an annual review of complaints data;
1.7 Provide staff briefings and where required training on risk identification, control and reporting.
1. Head of Risk & Compliance
The designated Head of Risk & Compliance for Viberts has responsibility for management and review of the risk management framework implemented by Viberts. The Head of Risk & Compliance reports directly to The Managing Partner who has overall responsibility for the Risk Management policy of Viberts. The Head of Risk & Compliance can be identified in the Job Functions Directory.
The Partners will determine the strategic direction of the firm and will be responsible for carrying out strategic risk reviews. They are also responsible for ensuring a culture and environment which allows for effective risk management to operate.
Along with the Partners, Practice Area managers have primary responsibility for managing risks on a day to day basis.
4. Other employees
Ultimately all employees at all levels are responsible for identifying, controlling and reporting risks that they may encounter. It is essential as part of a risk aware culture within Viberts, that all employees are up to date with all policies and procedures at all times. Further to this all employees should ensure they are familiar with risks identified within the risk registers.
1. As part of Viberts commitment to an effective enterprise wide risk management framework, this policy and the
resultant framework will be reviewed at least annually by the Head of Risk & Compliance, Managing Partner and Partners of Viberts. This annual review does not preclude the need for continuous improvement of the policy and framework and all employees have a responsibility to offer advice, feedback and input into the risk policy and framework on an on-going basis.
Notification of Risks
1. It is the responsibility of all employees to be alert to risks that they can encounter. These risks can be in relation to their work for clients or in relation to the operations of Viberts or the environment, in which we operate, be that our internal environment or the external environment.
2. The Head of Risk & Compliance will report on a periodic basis actions being taken to eliminate, mitigate or manage risks that have been identified. All employees have a responsibility to notify and risks that they identify to Head of Risk & Compliance as soon as they become aware of them.
Quarterly Risk Reviews and Reporting
1. The Head of Risk & Compliance will report to the partners at the second quarter Partners meeting. An objective of the report is to analyse trends in the risk profile of Viberts and to determine improvements, which are deemed appropriate. The report may identify:
1.1 Changing procedures or practice in Viberts as a result.
1.2 Instigating further training for groups or individuals.
2. The Head of Risk & Compliance must be notified of all circumstances, which could give rise to a claim of negligence or a complaint through Viberts complaints procedure.
1. The Partner for the Property Department is responsible for the management, review and implementation of this policy. In accordance with Viberts Quality Policy this policy will be reviewed regularly and at least once annually.
2. Strictly speaking there is, of course, no such thing as a mortgage in Jersey law. In common with continental Europe we charge land by the creation of hypothecs rather than mortgages. A mortgage is a sort of conveyance of the charged land to the lender subject to the borrower’s right to get it back again upon repaying the secured loan. A hypothec is very different. It involves creating an entry in the Public Registry that establishes the lender’s right to take title to or be repaid out of the proceeds of sale of the charged land in priority to unsecured lenders and subsequent secured lenders. These rights can follow the land into the hands of a third party even if they acquired title from the borrower for value in an arm’s length transaction.
3. Where land is held by a company, the charge may instead be taken over some or all of the shares in the company by a creation of a security interest agreement. These involve the lender taking either possession of or title to the shares. Following the introduction of the Security Interests (Jersey) Law 2012, it is now possible to register a security interest on the Security Interest Register maintained by the Companies Registry at the Jersey Financial Services Commission.
4. Financial crime and mortgage fraud are areas of considerable concern to all lenders. In its many guises, financial crime is capable of causing lenders significant expense and loss of public credibility. It is also an area of increasing complexity where lenders have to be aware of developments which may adversely affect their mortgage business. As a firm we have to be diligent to mortgage fraud. Any failure on our part to prevent mortgage fraud could lead to the lender looking to Viberts for repayment of lost monies.
What is Mortgage Fraud?
5. Mortgage fraud occurs where borrowers expose lenders to loss by their dishonest behaviour. It may also be a step in a money laundering scheme where land, which a borrower has managed to acquire with the proceeds of crime, is charged in order to provide the cash received from the lender with a respectable provenance.
6. Lenders can be professionally managed lending institutions but can equally be unsophisticated private individuals tempted to earn a better return on their savings than is on offer with the banks.
7. The definition of fraud in the English Fraud Act 2006 covers fraud by false representation and by failure to disclose information where there is a legal duty to disclose. A similar offence exists in Jersey. False representations can be made explicitly or implicitly and may occur even where you know only that the representation might be misleading or untrue.
8. The definition of fraud in Jersey law (AG v Foster Jersey Ct of Appeal1992) involves the following:
a. The fraudster;
i. deliberately makes a false representation (whether by speech, writing or conduct).
ii. with the intention
iii. and the consequence
iv. of causing actual harm to someone else, and
v. of causing actual benefit to himself or another.
9. Typically a mortgage is raised in order to buy immovable property and so the sum received is spent on the land bought, which is charged as security for the loan. However that is not always the case. “Equity release” schemes allow property owners to raise money on the collateral of the land they own and they can be free to spend that money as they wish. If the loan has been obtained by the commission of a fraud, as defined above, the money involved will represent the proceeds of a crime. Third parties run the risk of committing a money laundering offence if they deal with this money and know, or should know, that it represents the proceeds of crime.
10. The value of a mortgage obtained through fraud is the proceeds of crime. Under the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey ) Law, 1999, you risk committing a money laundering offence if you acquire, use, have possession of, enter into an arrangement with respect to, or transfer this criminal property.
11. Viberts have identified 5 key types of mortgage fraud which we must be vigilant of:
1. Application fraud is when an individual knowingly submits incorrect or misleading information on their mortgage application. Some examples of application fraud include:
1.1 Exaggerating borrower income to qualify for a larger advance.
1.2 Applying for a owner-occupier mortgage for a property (or properties) intended solely for letting.
2. Lenders will go through a number of detailed checks at the application stage to search for potential fraud.
3. If the application came from an intermediary, other applications made by the same firm are also verified for inconsistencies or patterns. Intermediaries found to be committing or countenancing fraud could be both struck off that lender’s panel of intermediaries and reported to the FSA or other authorities.
4. Employees need to be aware of application fraud and where they become suspicious that this has taken place they should raise their concerns with the Property Partner and Head of Risk & Compliance.
1. Hijacking an individual’s identity and then applying for credit in the victim’s name is a major concern. Mortgage lenders are working alongside other lenders and their trade associations on measures to protect consumers’ identity, both by increasing safeguards within firms, educating customers on prevention, and mitigating the effects when identity theft does occur.
2. Lenders conduct identity fraud checks on mortgage applications using the CIFAS system, which searches for signs of this type of fraud. Consumers suspecting they may have had their identity hijacked can apply to this organisation for an alert to be placed on their file.
3. Consumers can take preventative measures to protect their identity, and credit reference agencies have detailed information on how to avoid becoming a victim.
4. It is vital that all the Viberts CDD checks under the firms AML policy are completed so we can be sure that our clients’ identity is confirmed and that there is no risk of identity fraud. Jersey’s land registry operates on the basis of confirming a given person’s interest in land by requiring the contract in which it is recorded (or any will under which he inherited) to be placed on the register. However, the register goes no further than that. Knowing that Mr A is indeed the owner of a given property is only half the battle. The other half is to establish that the person you are dealing with is indeed Mr A, and not merely somebody pretending to be him.
1. The Public Registry records ownership of all freehold property in Jersey. Lenders search the Public Registry records to confirm that the individual selling, or re-mortgaging, a property, is listed as the owner.
2. If the registration of a property has been fraudulently changed, the fraudster can take a mortgage out against the property. This is particularly relevant for landlords, or other people who do not live in the properties they own, or where there is no mortgage on the property.
3. When taking security over shares, for example corresponding to a share transfer flat, a fraudster could falsely present himself as owner of shares. It is crucial to correctly identify the owner of the shares as the person offering the shares as security.
4. Where land is held by a company the relevant issue becomes the identity of the shareholder. Remember that share certificates, although widely used in securitisations, are not the best proof that a person holds of shares in a company. That is to be found in the company’s Register of Members. It is the secretary’s duty to maintain the register. If the register says that Mr A is the holder of 100 shares in the company the next issue to which we must attend is making sure that the person we are dealing with is indeed Mr A.
Where Land is Held by Shares
1. Security for a loan when the collateral is shares in a company is taken by the creation of a written security interest agreement. Under an SIA the lender can receive either possession of or title to the shares in question. Many lenders are content only to take possession of the shares, holding a signed but undated stock transfer form so that they could take title to them should the borrower’s ability to repay start to look doubtful.
2. The most obvious fraud that could be perpetrated in these circumstances is as follows:
a. Mr A raises money from Bank Z which takes possession of his shares pursuant a security interest agreement. Mr A then turns to the company secretary and claims to have mislaid his share certificates or that they have been destroyed. The company secretary, in all innocence, issues him with duplicate certificates. Mr A then takes these to Bank Y in order raise a second loan on the same collateral. Particular care is therefore necessary when dealing with borrowers who may have duplicate share certificates on offer. Searching questions must be asked about the fate of the original certificates and whether or not they may have been deposited with an existing lender.
1. Steps have been taken by the industry to ensure lenders are given accurate and relevant information on property valuations. This is particularly relevant to new-build properties where valuations on off-plan properties are not as comparable. The Council of Mortgage Lenders work on valuation of new-build properties is aimed to ensure lenders receive relevant information on the true value of the property. This comprises of several declarations:
1.1 customer: lenders may require customers to declare on the application form any discounts and incentives offered by the developer.
1.2 valuer: according to guidelines established by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in cooperation with the CML, valuers must declare any discounts or incentives that could have a distorting affect on the agreed sale price. Valuers may also need to look for comparable evidence beyond the immediate development.
1.3 conveyancer: the Law Society of England and Wales has produced guidance for its members on mortgage fraud, which states that a solicitor is under a duty to inform the lender of the true price being paid for a property. This includes not only informing the lender of straightforward price reductions, but also of other allowances which amount to a price reduction. The examples given in the guidance include incentives offered by builders such as free holidays and part-subsidisation of mortgage payments.
2. In the UK a lawyer’s local knowledge can only go so far. In Jersey it is much easier for professionals to acquire a feel for the value of property involved in transactions. If the figures don’t feel right this issue should be raised with the property partner and the Head of Risk & Compliance. This issue cuts both ways. If land is changing hands at far too low a value or for far too high a value the reasons for this should be established.
3. It is not our duty to ensure that our clients’ transactions are being done on the best available terms but it is our duty to ensure that our clients’ transactions make sense to us and that risks inherent in distortions have been identified and their implications considered. For example a person buying land at an under value might find the transaction challenged by the transferor’s creditors should he subsequently go bankrupt. Where companies are concerned directors are liable to shareholders if they engage in manifestly disadvantageous transactions for no good reason.
1. The Law Society of England and Wales has drafted a practice note for dealing with Mortgage fraud, full details of which are available on its website. They have identified a number of methodologies.
2. Large scale mortgage fraud is usually more sophisticated and involves several properties. It may be committed by criminal groups or individuals, referred to hereon as fraudsters. The buy-to-let market is particularly vulnerable to mortgage fraud, whether through new-build apartment complexes or large scale renovation projects. Occasionally commercial properties will be involved. The common steps are:
2.1 The nominated purchasers taking out the mortgage often have no beneficial interest in the property, and may even be fictitious.
2.2 The property value is inflated and the mortgage will be sought for the full inflated valuation.
2.3 Mortgage payments are often not met and the properties are allowed to deteriorate or used for other criminal or fraudulent activities, including drug production, unlicensed gambling and prostitution.
2.4 When the bank seeks payment of the mortgage, the fraudsters raise mortgages with another bank through further fictitious purchasers and effectively sell the property back to themselves, but at an even greater leveraged valuation.
2.5 Because the second mortgage is inflated, the first mortgage and arrears are paid off, leaving a substantial profit. This may be repeated many times.
2.6 Eventually a bank forecloses on the property, only to find it in disrepair and worth significantly less than the current mortgage and its arrears.
3. Fraudsters may use private sources of funding when credit market conditions tighten. These lenders often have lower safeguards than institutional lenders, leaving them vulnerable to organised fraud.
4. Sometimes fraud is achieved by selling the property between related private companies, rather than between fictitious individuals. The transactions will involve inflated values, and will not be at arm’s length. Increasingly, off-shore companies are being used, with the property sold several times within the group before approaching a lender for a mortgage at an inflated value.
5. Investors will always look to re-sell a property at a profit. However, fraudsters may seek to re-sell a property very quickly for a substantially increased price. This process is called flipping, and will usually involve back-to-back sales of the property to limit the time between sales. Variations on this fraud include:
5.1 The first mortgage is not registered against the property, and not redeemed upon completion of the second sale.
5.2 The second purchaser may be fictitious, using a false identity or be someone vulnerable to pressure from the fraudster.
5.3 A mortgage may only be obtained by the second purchaser and for an amount significantly higher than the value of the property. The profit goes to the fraudster.
6. Fraudsters will usually use at least one professional at the core of the fraud, to direct and reassure other professionals acting at the periphery. Mortgage brokers and introducers have been used in this role in the past.
6.1 Mortgage lenders often rely on other professionals to verify the legitimacy of a transaction and safeguard their interests. Lenders may not extensively verify information they receive, especially in a rising market. Institutional lenders will subscribe to the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook and expect solicitors to comply with these guidelines. Private investors will rely on compliance with the SRA Handbook to protect their lending.
6.2 You may be approached in any of the following ways:
6.2.1 You may be asked to complete the transaction and simply transfer the title in accordance with already exchanged contracts. A lender who has received the loan applications and already approved the loan may approach you with packaged transactions and completed paper work.
6.2.2 You may be encouraged to alter the value on the Certificate of Title given to the lender.
6.2.3 You may be offered continued work at a higher margin to encourage less diligent checks.
6.2.4 Fraudsters may attempt to recruit you into the fraud, especially if you have unwittingly assisted previously, or have developed an especially close relationship with other participants in the scheme.
7. In difficult economic times, clients may struggle to meet mortgage repayments, and turn to an equity release scheme, to be able to remain in their homes. This scheme sees home owners receiving an offer from a third party to purchase the property while the home owner is allowed to rent the property. The home owner is given the option to purchase the property back when their financial position improves. However, criminal involvement can result in the following:
7.1 The home owner sells the property to someone who is actually a member of the criminal syndicate, a mortgage mule, or an entirely fictitious person.
7.2 A mortgage will be taken out by this investor for an inflated value against the property.
7.3 The original loan will be paid out and the money representing the equity in the home will be taken by the criminal syndicate. No payments will be made towards the mortgage.
7.4 The original home owner will be unaware of the lack of payments being made until the bank seeks to repossess the property and evicts them a mere tenant.
7.5 The value of the mortgage will be far greater than the original mortgage and it will be impossible for the original owner to purchase the property back.
8. Criminals will make use of the notices section of their local papers to identify deceased estates that can be exploited for criminal gain, either because there are no known heirs or probate has been delayed. They will seek to either falsely establish their identity as a long lost heir or will pose as the deceased person. In both scenarios they will seek a mortgage over the existing equity in the property and then disappear with the funds.
Where there is any suspicion of mortgage fraud by any means the employee should raise this with the Property Partner and Head of Risk & Compliance as a priority. Failure to do so may place Viberts at increased exposure to risk.
Role of Supervisors
1. The supervisors for the areas of work performed by Viberts are as follows:
1.1. Family Department
1.1.1. Advocate Rose Colley, Partner
1.2. Personal Law Department
1.2.1. Advocate Zoe Blomfield, Partner
1.2.2. Advocate Charles Thacker, Partner
1.3. Corporate Department
1.3.1. Advocate Christopher Scholefield, Partner
1.3.2. Advocate Paul Wilson, Partner
1.3.3. Advocate Vicky Milner, Partner
1.4. Litigation Department
1.4.1. Advocate Rebecca Morley-Kirk, Partner
1.4.2 Advocate Giles Emmanuel, Partner
1.5. Property Department
1.5.1. Advocate James Lawrence, Partner
1.5.2. Paul Harben, Partner
2. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to:
2.1 Ensure the maintenance of appropriate professional expertise and standards in the area that they supervise.
2.2 Determine if instructions should be accepted. In most instances the signature of any Partner on any matter opening form will be acceptable as evidence that the work can and should be handled by Viberts. Fee-earners must, however, refer matter opening forms to the supervisor, or a deputy in their absence, if there is any doubt as to the propriety of the instructions or the ability of Viberts to undertake the work given the expertise required or the resources available.
2.3 Allocate work within the department/section/team to ensure that matters are dealt with using appropriate expertise and with appropriate supervisory procedures in place.
2.4 Review the performance and workload of Fee-earners that they supervise through quarterly one-to-one review meetings at which a computer print-out of all matters under the control of the Fee-earner will be checked or discussed.
2.5 Act as the Head of Risk & Compliance for the area of work that they supervise, and assist in the conduct of the annual risk audit within Viberts.
3. Supervisors must ensure relevant Fee-earners, and other staff, are kept aware of changes in legislation and case law.
1. Viberts is not obliged to accept all instructions. However instructions cannot be declined on grounds of discrimination since this would be contrary to Viberts equality and diversity policy. The circumstances where it would be permissible to decline instructions could include:
1.1 The work is not of a specialisation that Viberts can offer.
1.2 Resources would be inadequate to perform the work to the satisfaction of the Client, or the quality of service to other Clients would be placed in jeopardy.
1.3 It would be economically unviable for Viberts to do the work and it is not felt appropriate to accept the instructions under its pro bono policy. To reflect this, other than where there is an agreed lower fee level (such as Wills or Compromise Agreements) the minimum fee to be charged is £1000. If this fee level is not acceptable to a client, the matter should be declined. It must also be noted that any repayment schedules other than for Legal Aid or Family Aid must be approved in advance by the Practice Director.
1.4 Unsatisfactory past experience with that Client, such as their previous refusal to pay a bill or offensive or
threatening behaviour to a representative of Viberts.
1.5 There is, or could reasonably be suspected to be, a conflict of interest in relation to the instructions and existing Clients or instructions received.
2. On occasions Viberts may receive instructions where a previous Lawyer has represented that Client on that matter to date. In such circumstances there must be noted on the file:
2.1 The name of the previous Lawyer and legal practice.
2.2 The reason for the transfer.
2.3 The outcome of consideration of any special issues in relation to the instructions, such as outstanding complaints or claims or difficulties with costs and expenses to date. Any undertaking for costs to date must comply with the general procedure on ‘Undertakings’.
3. Where instructions are declined the person concerned should be notified in writing of Viberts refusal to take on the work together with any reasons, which can appropriately be given in the circumstances.
4. On taking instructions the Fee-earner should consider whether there is any unusual degree of risk with the matter and whether the matter is one that Viberts will undertake. In the event of unusual risk a report should be made to the Head of Risk & Compliance.
Viberts Products and Services
5. The firm has conducted a review of the services currently delivered and identified new services. These services are either fulfilling existing market demand or where there is a likelihood of new demand which is worthy of further investigation. Any new services will be piloted with a view to launching them within the three year plan timeframe. Any services of a one-off nature and not appearing in the below list must be referred initially to the MLCO and Managing Partner for approval to proceed.
Existing Products and Services
1. The primary source for establishing whether Viberts will engage with a client in relation to their location or nationality is the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) website.
2. It should be noted that the prohibition on acting for a client is not based solely on the geographical location of the client but also if they are a national of a sanctioned country resident in another country, which can include the UK, then Viberts will not automatically engage with the client.
3. The JFSC website has a specific section on sanctions that should be used as a resource for reviewing whether Viberts can engage with a particular client.
4. The primary responsibility for reviewing and updating this list is that of the Head of Risk & Compliance however all employees have a responsibility to ensure that Viberts does not engage with any client that may pose a greater than normal risk to the Partners. The default risk appetite for Viberts is low and so anything that presents outside of this should be discussed with the Head of Risk & Compliance.
5. The inclusion of a country on a sanctions list does not mean that we will not engage with anyone located in that country. Often the sanction extends to any national of that country. It is therefore the policy of Viberts that any country that has a sanction on the JFSC website is on our list of markets that we will not engage with.
6. In addition, the UK Government maintains a ‘Consolidated List’ of individuals and entities subject to sanctions. This list can be found on the UK HM Treasury website at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/fin_sanctions_index.htm or via the JFSC website (if this link is out of date).
7. The attached list and this policy is maintained by Viberts Head of Risk & Compliance and reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure it is still current.
8. If there is any doubt as to whether we should engage with a potential client you should liaise with the MLCO and/or Head of Risk & Compliance.
Countries listed on JFSC Website with Sanctions as (at May 2023).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Republic of Guinea
Republic of Guinea-Bissau
1. Attendance notes are vital to provide a record of advice given, instructions received, or decisions made about which there may be a dispute. Attendance notes are also the primary evidence of time expended on a matter and are therefore vital for billing, notwithstanding the computerised time records.
2. Administrators are frequently in direct contact with Clients and others concerned with professional work, especially when a Fee-earner is not available. It is therefore equally important that secretaries should record written attendance notes on all issues that progress a Client matter. All attendance notes must be filed on the correspondence file in date order as soon as possible.
3. Attendance notes should always be recorded on Viberts note pads or directly into ALB.
4. The person recording the attendance note should ensure that all the relevant information required at the top of the paper is completed at the time the note is made.
1. Supervision notes are a vital part of Viberts Risk Management policy and are a vital part of evidencing that supervision of the matter and the fee earner took place.
2. Supervision is evidenced by regular file reviews, sign off on letters and emails, by one to one detailed matter review meetings, service specific review forms (e.g. Wills).
1. Undertakings can be defined in a number of different ways.
1.1. A previous version of the Viberts Operations Manual defined an undertaking as:
‘An unequivocal declaration of intention addressed to someone who reasonably places reliance on it and made by a Lawyer or a member of the Lawyer’s staff in the course of practice.’
1.2. The 2011 SRA Handbook Code of Conduct defines and undertaking as:
‘… a statement, given orally or in writing, whether or not it includes the word “undertake” or “undertaking”, made by or on behalf of you or your firm, in the course of practice, or by you outside the course of practice but as a solicitor, to someone who reasonably places reliance on it, that you or your firm will do something or cause something to be done, or refrain from doing something.’
2. The Law Society of Jersey Code of Conduct provides that:
‘A member who gives an undertaking to another member or the firm of another member shall be personally bound by that undertaking unless when giving the undertaking the giver makes it clear that the undertaking is not a personal undertaking and states on whose behalf it is given and has authority to give such undertaking. A member’s firm shall be responsible for honouring an undertaking given by any member of staff with express or implied authority.’
3. An undertaking from Viberts binds Viberts absolutely. Only Partners may give or authorise the giving of any undertaking. Every undertaking must be recorded in writing and each written record must confirm that the undertaking was authorised in advance by a partner (including the exact wording of the undertaking given).
4. Once an undertaking is given it can only be withdrawn by agreement: we cannot unilaterally ‘cancel’ an undertaking. This makes it of even greater importance that this policy is adhered to.
5. It is vital that Viberts limits undertakings to those for which it is competent and to outcomes that are wholly within its control. For example, Viberts may not give an undertaking to repay a loan if this depends upon a third party paying the monies to it. Do not give open undertakings: make each one for a specific amount and as detailed as possible. Consider the language in which any expression of intention is made. As the word “undertaking” does not need to be used to create a binding undertaking, ensure that any expression of intention is appropriately couched, e.g. “we hope to do x” as opposed to “we will do x”.
6. If Viberts provides an undertaking that is dependent on a future event occurring and it is evident that such future event will no longer occur, this should be brought to the attention of the supervising Partner and Practice Director immediately.
7. A routine conveyancing undertaking to discharge a mortgage must be authorised by the Department Partner who must countersign the Matter Checklist to evidence approval in advance of the routine undertaking being given. This must be given in the wording approved by the Department Partner in place from time to time.
8. When an undertaking is given, with the exception of a routine conveyancing undertaking, a red undertaking sticker must be placed on the outside front cover of the file and initialled by the Partner giving or approving it. On the discharge of the undertaking the person doing so must place a cross through the red sticker and initial to show that it has been discharged. No file may be archived until any undertaking has clearly been discharged.
9. The Practice Director must be advised of the giving of any undertaking, other than the standard domestic conveyancing undertaking or those given to the Jersey Legal Aid Office for repayment of disbursements in family law or personal injury matters by the use of the ‘Notification to Central Undertakings Register’ form available in ‘Public Folders’. This form should be completed, signed, scanned and emailed to the Practice Director, who is responsible for reviewing and logging the undertaking. The original copy of the form should be placed in the matter file.
10. On the discharge of any undertaking, other than the standard domestic conveyancing undertaking, a copy of the “Notification of Discharge of Undertaking” form must be completed, signed, scanned and emailed to the Practice Director without delay. The original copy of the form should be placed in the matter file.
11. In summary:
11.1 Reasonable reliance on a statement that the firm will do something or cause something to be done, or refrain from doing something, creates an undertaking, whether or not the word “undertaking” is used;
11.2 Once given undertakings bind the firm. We cannot withdraw an undertaking without agreement off the party to whom the undertaking was given; and
11.3 All undertakings (including the wording used) must be authorised in advance by a partner and there should be written evidence that this procedure has been given for every undertaking given.
1. All documents must be checked by or under the direction of the Fee-earner for whom they are prepared. This applies to draft documents, which are prepared from other drafts, as well as to engrossments. In appropriate cases the Fee-earner may delegate the checking, but not the responsibility.
2. Where the checking is carried out by reading the document over with another person, the initials of the two checkers should be marked on the endorsements of the documents immediately below the description of the document in the centre of the back sheet. The initials of the person reading the document should be placed first. Where no such initials appear it is presumed that the Fee-earner checked the document.
3. It is the Fee-earner’s responsibility to ensure that the correct enclosures are included in any correspondence.
1. All post is delivered to the office by Jersey Post each working morning.
2. Post opening is undertaken by Reception staff.
3. Post is sorted by department, opened, date stamped and passed to a Partner for checking prior to being distributed to the Partner (or appointed reserve in the event of holidays, illness) in charge of that department. If there are no Partners available (e.g. in a meeting) the post should be passed to the Practice Director who will ensure that the post is prioritised and signed off before distribution.
1. Any post received marked ‘Private and Confidential’ will be dealt with as follows:
1.1 Where addressed to a Partner the post should not be opened and the envelope should be date stamped and included in the relevant Partners post for the day. The Partner who receives this item is responsible for date stamping the item of post once opened.
1.2 Where addressed to a fee-earner the post should not be opened and the envelope should be date stamped. This should then be sorted into the ‘Private and Confidential – To Review’ wallet. The Partner who is then asked to review the post for the day will be responsible for opening the item of post, date stamping and reviewing. This item can then be sorted into the relevant departments post for the day.
1.3 Where addressed to the Practice Director the post should not be opened and the envelope should be date stamped. This should then be sorted into the ‘Private and Confidential – To Review’ wallet. The Partner who is then asked to review the post for the day will be responsible for opening the item of post, date stamping and reviewing. This item can then be sorted into the Practice Directors post for the day.
1.4 Any ‘Private and Confidential’ post received without an individual name should not be opened and the envelope should be date stamped and sorted into the ‘Private and Confidential – To Review’ wallet. The Partner who is then asked to review the post for the day will be responsible for opening the item of post, date stamping and reviewing. This item can then be sorted into the relevant departments post for the day.
2. All ‘Private and Confidential’ post will be read by the Partner who reviews the incoming post for the day.
1. When it is not possible to identify the intended recipient of an incoming letter, or fax, e.g. because there is no reference, the Reception staff will send an e-mail to ‘All Staff’ (‘Law Firm’ distribution group in Outlook) in order to find the appropriate person to deal with it. If it remains unidentified then the Reception staff should telephone the sender to ascertain further information.
Hand Delivered Post
1. Apart from the main post received in the morning a considerable amount of other post is received by hand delivery throughout the day.
2. It is important that such post is processed properly and expeditiously. Post is sorted and stamped by reception and distributed via Internal Mail to the Partner of the department for which it is intended or collected by an Administrator in that department.
3. All hand delivered post must be reviewed by the department Partner and stamped before being distributed to the intended recipient. If the department Partner is not available another Partner should be asked to review and stamp the hand delivered post.
Acceptable Communication Methods
1. Whilst it is acknowledged that some clients may wish to use informal communication methods such as text or social media apps for brief updates and arranging meetings/calls etc, any formal communication, including the sending of lawyers letters etc. must be undertaken by either conventional post or email in accordance with the following policies. If use of an alternative media is required, then approval and agreement of the controls to be implemented must be obtained from the Practice Director or Head of Risk and Compliance in advance. Any brief updates provided by alternative media, must be recorded in the client file for later reference.
Post/Correspondence Signing Procedures
Fee Earning Departments
1. All letters, faxes and e-mails out which contain legal advice must be counter-signed or approved by email by an approved qualified Lawyer.
2. An approved qualified Lawyer is defined as someone in the firm qualified as a Jersey Advocate, Jersey Solicitor or English Solicitor and holding the position of either Partner or Associate. However the Partner in charge of the department can still elect to approve all letters, faxes, and e-mails out by a qualified Lawyer who is not a Partner.
3. You will still be able to sign the top copy of a letter or sign an E-mail however you must ensure you have the appropriate approval as follows:
1.1 In the case of letters the approved qualified Lawyer should initial the green copy, with the green copy being placed on the file; or
1.2 In the case of faxes the approved qualified Lawyer should initial the back of the fax and the fax and transmission confirmation should be placed on the file; or
1.3 In the case of e-mails the approved qualified Lawyer should approve the email prior to sending and the approval confirmation email received from the approved qualified Lawyer should be placed on the file. (Note that E-mails are discoverable and can lead the firm into as much trouble as a letter if the advice is wrong.)
4. Fee-earners that are non-Partners but who are legally qualified can sign their own outgoing post or emails without a counter-signatory. However, if unsure of the contents of any letter/fax/e-mail they should pass it before one of the Partners for counter-signing. In addition you should consider whether the outgoing post or emails could be construed as an undertaking, in which case a Partner should authorise.
5. Please ensure that you leave enough time for counter signing prior to sending.
6. If the Partner who is normally responsible for your post is absent, or not around at the time that you need the letter signed or an e-mail checked, you should ask another of the Partners, Associates or qualified Lawyers, in your department to do this for you.
1. Administrators and Fee-earners are responsible for sending outgoing post in the departmental post trays no later than 3.30pm.
2. Reception or the Facilities Manager will collect the post from the post trays throughout the day, however, all staff on visiting reception should check to see if there is any post that needs to be taken.
3. Post that should be charged to the client should have the matter number written in pencil in the top right hand corner of the envelope. This will then be recorded on the post disbursements sheet which is passed to accounts for processing.
4. In all cases, and particularly where the post is not being charged to the client, you should aim to use the smallest envelope possible. Under the current postal charging regime, the larger the envelope the higher the cost. The only item of post which is pre-authorised to be sent in an A4 envelope is an initial engagement letter and terms of business due to the volume of paper involved.
5. Reception will sort the mail for its collection by Jersey Post.
6. Batches of post should be with reception before 3pm to avoid any last-minute rush to send the post out.
1. Occasionally it will be necessary to send documents by means of a courier service when delivery through the normal post would be inadequate. When a courier service is required the Fee-earner, or secretary, should make the necessary arrangements through Reception. Unless this is a delivery for the office, Reception must be given the Client matter number for re-charging the disbursement to the Client.
1. Viberts monitors the level of incoming and outgoing telephone calls. The level of calls made by each member of staff is logged and thus there is the ability to monitor calls into and out of the office.
2. If it is felt that the number of personal calls that a member of staff is making, or receiving, is excessive or inappropriate that member of staff will be spoken to by their manager.
1. The E-mail system offers a fast and effective method of communicating within Viberts, but there will be situations where phone or personal contact is better, particularly where the message is complex and/or requires an immediate response.
2. All employees are required to set up the standard format signature for all internal and external emails. Internal emails are often overlooked as requiring a signature but they may be forward on by another employee and therefore it is prudent to ensure all emails have a signature. For assistance setting up an email signature contact the Operations Team.
3. Messages sent on the E-mail system are not necessarily private and can be accessed by the Operations Manager. To avoid any risk of embarrassment to yourself think first if you would want any personal message to be seen by others.
4. Viberts will be regarded as the ‘publisher’ of any materials contained in E-mails and, therefore, a number of policies expressly extend to any communication within the office, particularly those on internal E-mail. These include the equal opportunities policy and the anti-discrimination policy. Any breach of these codes through the use of offensive E-mail material, or messages, will be dealt with under the disciplinary code as provided for in those policies.
5. It is also important that all personnel realise the potential hazards of messages, which are found to be defamatory or contrary to areas of law. Legal privilege may not extend to all messages about matters and for this reason offensive or injurious remarks about any Client, opponent or other outside party are not permitted. Breaches of this provision will again be treated as a serious disciplinary offence. Considerable care must be taken to ensure that messages are addressed to the appropriate addressee, or that all recipients in an address group should receive the message being transmitted.
1. It is compulsory that all external E-mails, whether to Clients or others, comply with the following:
1.1. Identification of Viberts address for response.
1.2. Identification of Viberts name.
1.3. Safeguard confidentiality so far as possible through the use of a standard confidentiality notice.
2. All employees are required to set up the standard format signature for all internal and external emails. Internal emails are often overlooked as requiring a signature but they may be forward on by another employee and therefore it is prudent to ensure all emails have a signature. For assistance setting up an email signature contact the Operations Team.
3. Whilst E-mails can often be seen as a faster and more convenient means of communication there are occasions where the use of E-mail is not appropriate:
3.1. Under The Royal Court Rules E-mail is not an acceptable form for service of documents.
3.2. Where the advice or communication is lengthy then it may be more appropriate to put this in a letter and to then scan the signed letter which can then be emailed to the client. This approach can guarantee the format and presentation remains intact whereas with E-mails the recipients E-mail system can alter the presentation of the E-mail on receipt.
4. If you are using external E-mails for communication you must set up an alternative response mechanism while you are out of the office, e.g. diverting them to another recipient in the office or arranging for regular checks on incoming messages.
5. Other than in wholly exceptional cases undertakings must not be given via E-mail and must instead be contained in a letter from Viberts in accordance with the section ‘Undertakings’.
6. A copy of every E-mail to/from a Client must be stored on the appropriate matter file.
7. An increasing risk of using external E-mails is Cybercrime and the use of phishing emails and viruses. Constant vigilance in needed when opening an email with an attachment or responding to emails which contain instructions for payment or the release of sensitive information. Bank details in particular must never be sent or accepted by email. Any concerns must be reported immediately to the Operations Manager.
8. Please note that both inbound and outbound external E-mails are actively monitored (see ‘E-Mail Systems - Internal and External’ in the IT section of this manual).
Details of all outsourced activity
1. Viberts transfers a number of its services to third party service providers.
2. Outsourcing is used for the following reasons:
2.1 It allows the firm to obtain a high quality service due to the focussed skills and expertise of the supplier.
2.2 There is a lack of internal expertise.
2.3 It allows continuity of service.
2.4 It allows the firm to access skills as and when they are required rather than incurring the cost of having the skills permanently available in-house.
2.5 It allows Viberts to focus its own efforts on its own business of the provision of legal services.
3. The types of services which are supplied by third party providers are all business operational services. The firm does not currently outsource any of its legal processes. A list of outsourced activities and the suppliers is contained in the Outsourcing Register.
Procedures to check the quality of outsourced work
4. The firm ensures that every new third party agrees and signs a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which aims to govern and control the service provided to the firm.
5. An SLA covers the following:
5.1 What specific service the third party will provide.
5.2 When and how the service will be provided.
5.3 When and how the service will be assessed for quality and consistency.
5.4 How frequently the agreement will be reviewed.
5.5 If the provider is given access to the premises, whether this is supervised or unsupervised access.
5.6 A confidentiality agreement.
6. The firm carries out a risk assessment on all third party providers, covering the following information:
6.1 The risk to the business if the service required is not provided.
6.2 The risk that the third party provider may pose to the business by coming on to the premises to provide that service.
7. By assessing the potential risks to the business, the firm can put in place additional safeguards to minimise those risks. A full list of additional precautions relating to each provider is given in Appendix A.
8. Where a provider is given unsupervised access to the firm’s premises, for example the provider of the firm’s cleaning service, the firm has put in place procedures in order to protect all sensitive, private and confidential data kept on the premises.
9. Where a third party is able to provide their service during normal working hours, they are given supervised access to the premises and their access is restricted only to the areas of the premises which are required for them to carry out that service.
10. Third party providers will also be assessed for any conflict of interest relating to the firm’s clients, employees, suppliers or any other party with whom the firm has a business relationship.
Protection of information
11. By signing a confidentiality agreement contained within the third party’s SLA, the third party is agreeing to be bound by the data protection laws in place at any time. This includes never disclosing any personal, sensitive or confidential data that they may come across in the course of providing their service. Any breach of this confidentiality agreement will be considered a breach of their contract and of data protection legislation and will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
The person responsible for the register
12. The Practice Director is responsible for maintaining the Outsourcing Policy and for ensuring it is reviewed regularly.
1. A ‘Matter Opening’ form must be completed whenever a matter is to be commenced. The Client and matter number provided by ALB, coupled to the identification of work types, ensures that all dealings for Clients are clearly distinguishable. (Matters must be identified as private or legal aid.)
2. All papers, documents and items in relation to Client work must be traceable within the office through their being filed or stored on the matter file at all times. The location of all items and papers, which are not kept within the file, must be clearly recorded on that file.
3. Items of evidence, which are in the possession of the Legal Practice, or other physical items which it is required to retain in pursuance of instructions, must be labelled with the appropriate matter number and the Client’s name.
1. Each Client within ALB has a Client number and each matter for that Client will have a matter number.
2. New matters often develop from current matters and it is not always apparent when an issue is first raised as to whether a distinct new matter will develop. Fee-earners must be aware of the need not to run separate matters under the same file and must be prepared to open a new matter perhaps transferring any papers to a colleague, as soon as it becomes clear that the issue is something other than a minor incidental issue related to the matter in hand.
1. The Head of Risk & Compliance has been designated as being responsible for day-to-day maintenance and review of the policy.
2. The Matter Risk Assessment form determines the level of risk that should be applied to all new matters by answering the series of the questions thereon. These are answerable in the positive/negative format and the results should prescribe the level of risk to be applied to each matter.
3. The questions on the Risk Assessment form are split into three categories and an explanation of each question is listed below together with additional considerations.
4. Matter risk assessments should be carried out at the beginning of a matter and at any point during the matter where there have been changes in circumstances which in the opinion of the fee earner have the potential to change the risk rating assigned to the matter. If there is any doubt then the Head of Risk & Compliance or Practice Director should always be consulted.
A - This would expose us to reputational risk and criminal and disciplinary sanctions should we conduct business outside our area of expertise. Partner approval should be sought before any business take on.
6. Q - Does the matter cover an area of law where we only have 1 experienced fee earner?
A - As above, as we would have no support or supervisory provisions in place to support this type of business.
7. Q - Are we aware of any facts which make this instruction unusual or problematic?
A - For example; is there a complex ownership structure which could conceal possible criminal activity and ownership? If yes then we must apply enhanced due diligence to establish exact ownership of that entity before take on.
8. Q - Does the matter relate to defamation?
A - Defamation cases are extremely difficult to manage with significant reputational and financial risks involved. Any matter involving defamation must be considered high risk and thereby requires enhanced oversight with Managing Partner approval being obtained before take on.
9. Q - Does this matter include a jurisdiction other than Jersey?
A - If the answer to this is yes, we must consider the jurisdiction of the client and whether this is on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist which can be accessed online at Documents - Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (fatf-gafi.org). These are online lists of countries that are non-compliant with, or not demonstrating enough commitment to, combatting terrorism or money laundering. If they are on one of the current lists, we should refer to the MLCO for approval before take on.
10. Q - Where relevant, is the prescription date less than 60 days away? If yes please flag as High Risk. In the case of Employment Tribunals, this should only be rated as High Risk if the date is less than 10 days away.
A - This would constitute a Key Date, and as such, we are obliged to meet this date to avoid breach of contract and negligence. Employment Tribunal Key dates are always 56 days away and these are dealt with on day of receipt with a 10 day diary prompt to ensure the date is adhered to.
Client Related risk
11. Q - Has the client been met face-to-face?
A - If not, the risks must be considered and enhanced due diligence is required which must be evidenced through completion of the Enhanced Due Diligence Form (CDD Form ID1C) and signed off by the MLRO and MLCO.
12. Q - If client is not the beneficial owner have you been unable to identify who the beneficial owners are?
A - If it is determined that the client is not the beneficial owner, we must ensure that we conduct appropriate CDD on every beneficial owner involved. Details of what is required can be found in the CDD policy.
13. Q - Is the clients’ first language not English?
A - If there is a language barrier, we must ensure we take appropriate measures to ensure that the client fully understands our terms of business i.e. engaging an interpreter, and is able to take and follow advice and instructions. We must also ensure that the TOB letter is duly signed and returned.
4. Q - Has the client instructed Viberts after having terminated instruction(s) with 1 or more other law firms?
A - We should, as a matter of course, ask a client if they have had dealings with any other law firm. If a client already demonstrates extensive legal knowledge of the legal terms of the matter, we should ask the relevant questions to establish whether they have been turned down by another law firm before taking on that business.
15. Q - Has our Due Diligence process identified the client as a Politically Exposed Person?
A - A PEP is defined in section 5.16 of Viberts AML Handbook and if a person is deemed to be such, we must have approval from the MLCO before take on. We must also adhere to the Enhanced CDD policy to be sure that we are compliant with statutory regulations for PEPs.
16. Q - Does the client already have a poor payment history with Viberts, or other law firms that we are aware of?
A - If the conflict check shows that we have already dealt with the client, we must check the payment history of the previous matters. If in any doubt regarding the client’s credit history, we must ask prudent questions around the likelihood of them meeting future fee arrangements.
17. Q - Is the client acting against our advice?
A - If we have knowledge that the client is acting against our advice, we must engage with the client to determine the reasoning behind this and carefully consider whether we should terminate the business on the grounds of breach of agreement of our terms of business.
18. Q - Are the instructions complex in a way which does not make sound business sense?
A - If you feel that the instruction is unnecessarily complicated given the nature of the business, prudent questioning should be conducted to establish why this is necessary.
19. Q - Does the client undertake business which is sensitive in nature or likely to facilitate money laundering?
A - The JFSC identify sensitive activities through its Sound Business Policy, which includes, inter alia, activities involving weapons and military equipment, cannabis production, mining , drilling and other extractive industries, coin and crypto exchanges and pharmaceuticals. Any concerns regarding the nature of a client’s activities should be referred to the MLCO prior to take on.
20. Q - Do they involve a radical departure from the business the client has previously carried out?
A - You should examine previous client business to determine whether any subsequent instructions are in keeping with this.
21. Q - Do you feel uneasy or concerned about the nature of the instructions in any way?
A - During the course of client contact, we must ensure that we follow the guidelines to establish the nature of business and that any mitigating circumstances are identified by way of reasonable questioning. If there is any other reason for suspicion i.e. if your client requests us to handle funds without an underlying transaction you must refer this with a profile of the client’s proposals to the MLCO for approval before taking on any new business. Consideration should also be given to submitting an internal SAR to the MLRO.
22. Q - is the client being open and transparent with us?
A - If the client is secretive and not open and transparent about themselves or the value of the underlying transaction or the client’s financial position are materially high value without adequate rationale, then consideration of the higher risks and acceptability of the business must be undertaken and referred to a Partner and the MLCO.
23. Q - Does the client have insufficient income with which to pay our fees when they are due?
A - At initial contact with the client, we should establish their financial position by having evidence of their income and whether they are likely to meet any future fee agreement.
24. Q - If there is risk that fees cannot be paid, does the client have capital assets at their disposal to cover fees at a future date?
A - If there is no evidence to suggest that the client has capital assets to cover fees should they not be met immediately, we must have partner approval before considering take on of any business and there should be more diligence applied during the course of the matter if we do.
25. Q - Are the estimated fees in excess of £20,000?
A - If there is a large fee involved, we should ensure where possible that we have money on account to reduce the risk of fees being unpaid. We should also ensure we are diligent in following up for the 7 day settlement period.
26. Q - Is payment of our fees, to a greater extent, dependent upon the client winning their action?
A - If the answer to this is yes, we must establish the clients financial position should their case not be successful to ensure that they are able to meet the costs involved and the risk of costs being awarded against them.
27. Q - Has the client requested a special fee arrangement or unusual payment terms?
A - We should seek Practice Director approval before agreeing to any fixed or special fee arrangement (except conveyancing or wills) and carefully consider whether this arrangement is economically viable based on the estimated time to be spent on the matter.
28. Q - Has the client requested a no win, no fee arrangement?
A - The Law Society Code of Conduct allows lawyers to enter into these types of fee arrangements, but only normal fee rates may be charged and there cannot be any form of “win bonus” applied. However these arrangements present financial risk to the firm and consequently must have prior approval of a partner and must be assessed as medium risk as a minimum. Once the accrued time cost reaches £3,500, a review of the matter must be undertaken with Rose Colley or Zoe Blomfield before continuing with the matter and a further appropriate review point agreed, which is likely to be £5,000 and/or where the likelihood of success is considered to be below 50/50. At this latter point it is likely the client will be required pay our fees with a payment on account also required.
What to do with the outcome of a Matter Risk Assessment
29. Risk assessments that score as LOW do not need to be sent to Compliance for review. These should be kept in the client’s billing file with all other Compliance documentation. If a matter scores as MED or HIGH, a copy should be placed on the clients file and the original should be sent to the Head of Risk & Compliance for review who will advise any actions that should be taken. If the rating is confirmed as MED/HIGH, these should also be signed off by the Managing Partner. You place a red sticker on the front of the client’s file to highlight the need for care with the matter and on-going monitoring.
1. Viberts policy is that all matters should have a conflict check done on them before the firm agrees to accept any new instruction. Any failure to complete a conflict check will be considered seriously by the Partners and may give rise to disciplinary action in line with the policies set down in the Viberts Staff Handbook.
2. Viberts have prepared the following guidance for the conduct of conflict of interest checks and how to establish if a conflict does exist.
What is a conflict of interest
1. The SRA Handbook (Solicitors Regulatory Authority Code of Conduct 2011) defines conflicts of interests as meaning any situation where:
1.1 you owe separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in relation to the same or related matters, and those duties conflict, or there is a significant risk that those duties may conflict (a ‘client conflict’); or
1.2 your duty to act in the best interests of any client in relation to a matter conflicts, or there is a significant risk that it may conflict, with your own interests in relation to that or a related matter (an ‘own interest conflict’)’
2. Own interest conflict means any situation where your duty to act in the best interests of any client in relation to a matter conflicts, or there is a significant risk that it may conflict, with your own interests in relation to that or a related matter.
3. Client conflict means any situation where you owe separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in relation to the same or related matters, and those duties conflict, or there is significant risk that those duties may conflict.
4. Substantially common interest means a situation where there is a clear common purpose in relation to any matter or a particular aspect of it between the clients and a strong consensus on how it is to be achieved and the client conflict is peripheral to this common purpose.
5. Own interest conflict. You must not act where there is a conflict, or a significant risk of conflict, between you and your client.
6. Client conflict. If there is a conflict, or significant risk of conflict between two or more current clients you must not act for all or both of them unless the matter falls within the exceptions outlined within this policy or approved by two Partners of the firm.
7. Viberts have identified an additional type of conflict which is not specifically covered in the SRA Handbook, namely firm conflict. This is where, whilst there is no client conflict or own interest conflict due to instructions being taken by different lawyers in different practice areas, the Partners have taken the view that they would not wish to accept an instruction which could be criticized by the existing client.
How to conduct a conflict check
1. A conflict of interest search must be performed on ALB, training on which will be provided as part of an employees induction process. A full search should be carried out on:
1.1 The client who wishes to instruct Viberts.
1.2 Any person who is associated with the client and has a beneficial interest in the matter
1.3 Any parties whom the client wishes the firm to act against.
2. Where a match is found then the following guidance is provided to assist in assessing the decision which should be made. This guidance is not absolute and a full consideration of the instruction is required to decide the most appropriate course of action. In all cases if there is any doubt you should consult a Partner or the Head of Risk & Compliance.
3. In addition an email should be sent to all staff members detailing the parties involved and requesting notification of any known conflicts.
1.1 Where a lawyer is acting for two or more clients whether they be husband and wife, partners or a corporation embarking on a joint venture, the lawyer owes a duty to each individual body or person and they must advise each individual what is in that individual’s best interests.
1.2 An initial test to apply to the above is:
1.2.1 What would occur if the lawyer were acting for only one of the parties?
1.2.2 Would the advice be different if they were acting for more than one of the parties?
1.2.3 Do the parties have different interests?
1.2.4 Has one of the parties given the lawyer a piece of information on a ‘confidential’ basis that would affect the advice given to the other Client, if the lawyer could disclose it?
If any of these factors apply a conflict may have arisen and the decision can vary depending on the department and practice area being instructed.
2. Instructions must be refused where a lawyer already acts for one Client and is asked to act for another Client whose interests’ conflict or are likely to conflict with those of the first Client – the lawyer must refuse to act for the second Client.
3. Even if the conflict is disclosed to the Client and the Client consents to the lawyer acting, the lawyer must not accept the instructions.
4. If a lawyer has acquired relevant confidential information about an existing, or former, Client during the course of acting for that Client, the lawyer must not accept instructions to act against the Client.
5. A lawyer, who has acted jointly for both husband and wife in matters of common interest, must not act for one of them in matrimonial or other proceedings where the lawyer is in possession of relevant confidential information concerning the other. Usually, where a lawyer has acted jointly for the parties, the lawyer will not have obtained any confidential information as between the two parties. If the parties consult the lawyer separately on a joint matter, a conflict may arise at this point.
6. Care must also be taken where a lawyer has acted for members of a family and is then asked to act against one, or more, of them.
7. If a lawyer has acted either for a partnership or in its formation, the lawyer may only accept instructions to act against an individual partner or former partner provided no relevant confidential information has been obtained about that individual whilst acting for the partnership.
8. A lawyer who has acted for a Company in a particular matter and has also acted separately for Directors or Shareholders in their personal capacity in the same matter is unlikely to be able to act for either the Company or the other parties if litigation ensues between them in respect of that matter.
9. Where a partner changes firm, the test to be applied before that firm may act against a Client of the former firm is whether s/he personally has relevant confidential information. If challenged, the burden of proof is on the lawyer to show that s/he has no such information. (Re: a firm of solicitors (1995)).
10. Where a Legal Assistant changes firms and the firm they move to is acting against a Client of the Legal Assistant’s former firm that Legal Assistant cannot act for the new firm’s Client on that matter.
11. If a lawyer has already accepted instructions from two Clients in a matter or related matters and a conflict subsequently arises between the interests of those Clients, the firm must usually cease to act for both Clients.
12. It is doubtful whether an Information Barrier can be erected so that a firm can continue to represent the interests of two or more Clients whose interests’ conflict. The courts have expressed doubts on whether an impregnable wall can ever be created because of the practical difficulties of ensuring the absolute confidentiality of each Client’s affairs (see R: a firm of solicitors (1992)).
13. If it is considered that the firm can act for more than one party in a matter (e.g. acting for both sides in a property transaction), written consent from both parties must be obtained before work commences.
14. Finally, if you need advice concerning a potential conflict it is possible to telephone the English Law Society’s Professional Ethics Department on a ‘no name’s basis’ for assistance.
1. A Key Date has been defined as ‘any event, the missing of which could give rise to a claim in negligence against ‘Viberts’.
2. Each department maintains a departmental Key Dates diary in MS Outlook. It is the responsibility of all Fee-earners to notify the ‘Key Dates Co-ordinator’ in their department of any key dates. S/he will ensure that an entry is made in the Key Dates diary.
3. Key dates which should be recorded are defined for each department and the work they undertake. The Lexcel Representatives and Head of Risk & Compliance are responsible for reviewing and maintaining the list of key dates. The list should be reviewed regularly and at least annually.
4. If a ‘Key Dates Co-ordinator’ or fee earner becomes aware of a Key Date they are recording which is not included in the lists below they should bring this to the attention of the Head of Risk & Compliance.
1. Any court dates, such as PDH, CRH and final hearings.
2. Mediation dates.
3. All filing dates, i.e. affidavits.
4. Date for applying for divorce following judicial separation.
1. Employment Matters:
1.1 Deadline for filing a JET1.
1.2 Deadline for a response to a JET1.
1.3 Filing documents for a Case Management Hearing.
1.4 Case Management Hearing.
1.5 Complying with directions.
1.6 Filing bundles for a full hearing.
1.7 Exchange of bundles.
1.8 Final hearing.
1.9 Date for an appeal.
2.1 Hearing date to appear to be appointed.
2.2 Filing an inventory.
2.3 Annual accounts.
2.4 Tax returns. This is the same date for all Delegateships so one reminder can be set to meet this.
3.1 Date for claiming legitime (1 Year and 1 Day).
3.2 Negligence prescription date re Wills.
4.1 Medical appeal tribunal hearing dates.
4.2 Social security tribunal hearing dates.
1. Completion date.
2. Financial completion date.
3. Deadlines for retentions.
4. Deadlines for undertakings.
5. Lease renewal and/or termination. These should include the dates by which notice should be given.
6. Rent review dates. These should include the dates by which notice should be given.
7. Option dates within a lease, i.e. a surrender date or extension date. These should include the date by which notice should be given.
8. Holding company annual returns due. This is the same date for all clients.
1. Expiry dates of any notice periods.
2. Planned completion dates.
3. Undertakings deadlines.
4. Client imposed/related deadlines such as:
4.1 Dates by which options to purchase and rights of pre-emption must be exercised.
4.2 Dates by which share offers must be taken up.
1. Prescription dates.
2. Deadlines arising from directions.
3. Filing of pleadings.
4. Court dates.
5. Striking out.
1. The entry for any expiry of time periods such as limitation must be two-fold:
1.1 The date in question (e.g. the last day for issue of proceedings).
1.2 A date sufficiently in advance of the actual key date to enable appropriate action to be taken. This is a specific Fee-earner responsibility (‘countdown’ dates).
1. For any Key Date on a matter fee earners must complete a Key Dates form (template below) and forward this to the Key Dates Co-ordinator. A copy of the form should also be placed on the inside/back flap of the billing file. The Key Dates Co-ordinator will then enter the key date in the Key Dates diary in MS Outlook.
2. When recording the Key Date in the Departments MS Outlook calendar this should be in the form of an appointment which also invites the fee-earner, supervising fee-earner and the Key Dates Co-ordinator. Each invitee should accept the invite so that the Key Date appears in each person’s MS Outlook diary.
3. Countdown dates should be set up 3 months before the Key Date, then monthly, then daily for the last week that action can be taken.
4. For employment tribunals, the prescription date is usually 56 days, although the action is usually completed on the day instruction is given. As a further measure, a countdown date of 10 days prior to the key date is set up as the action can be completed same day.
1. It is essential that all Fee-earning personnel act upon the Client’s full, considered instructions. Instructions may be received by letter, telephone or at a meeting. If they are received other than at a meeting they should be acknowledged promptly, having regard to the sensitivity of the matter and its urgency to the Client and the legal process. Particular attention must be given to circumstances where instructions are received by one Fee-earner and passed to another for attention.
2. It is important that instructions receive critical analysis on receipt. If there are inconsistencies or errors, or if carrying out the instructions would involve illegality by the Client or Viberts, unprofessional conduct by Viberts, or potentially lead to undesired results for the Client, any such problem must be raised with the Client as soon as possible and must be resolved before the instructions can be fully accepted, though work may commence if appropriate in the interim.
3. Attention must also be given as to whether Viberts has the necessary resources to undertake the work to the Client’s satisfaction.
4. At the outset of the matter the Fee-earner will establish the following:
4.1. As full an understanding of the Client’s requirements and desired results as possible (where incomplete this must be supplemented subsequently).
4.2. What the Fee-earner will do.
4.3. Whether the Fee-earner is the appropriate person to deal with the matter or whether it should be referred to a colleague.
4.4. Whether the Client is an existing or new Client.
4.5. Method of funding.
1. It is the policy of Viberts to establish full terms and conditions of business in all matters. In the case of all new Clients an appropriate version of the client engagement letter and full terms of business must be sent before any substantial work is carried out for that Client.
2. Where Viberts are dealing with an established Client it may not be necessary to send full terms of business for repeat instructions where the Client has accepted Viberts terms previously. In all cases client engagement letters should be sent for each new instruction.
3. Client engagement letters should be developed from one of the approved templates available. In all cases the letter should cover the following points:
3.1 Written description of the matter, the issues involved and the clients objectives.
3.2 The person(s) dealing with the matter.
3.3 The person(s) responsible for supervision.
3.4 Any timescales which must be met.
3.5 Costs estimates, billing and funding arrangements.
3.6 Arrangements for progress reports if these are different to standard updates.
Case Planning and Progress of Matters
1. As a matter of principle every matter should have a clear strategy apparent from the file. In most instances this will form part of the matter checklist. In complex cases a ‘case/project plan’ should show that thought has been given to how each Client’s requirements will be acted upon. It is recognised that it will often be difficult to finalise this in detail at the outset of a case or transaction because it may be impossible to assess the likely response of any other parties. It is essential, however, that Clients are presented with a strategy for meeting their instructions as soon as possible with an explanation of how and why this might need to be varied.
2. The provision of regular information on progress of matters to Clients is essential, though the frequency of this must be determined in conjunction with the Client. Updates to the client can take the form of routine emails or telephone conversations as part of our routine correspondence. Any major development on the matter which would cause an immediate review of the costs position should be reported to the Client forthwith and not wait until the next routine costs update. Likewise, the Client should be informed of any circumstances which will or may affect the degree of risk involved or cost benefit to the Client of continuing with the matter.
3. If during the life of a matter amendments are required to the information held on a Client on ALB, the Fee-earner responsible must complete a ‘Matter Amendment’ form.
1. All files must be traceable through being under the control of the person nominated as the Fee- earner dealing with that matter. All Fee-earners must be aware of the location of Client files under their control.
2. If a matter is transferred from one Fee-earner to another for them to assume permanent control of it, with the result that that individual becomes the person handling in their place, the Finance Team must be notified by E-mail and this information will be updated in the Practice Management System.
3. Any Fee-earner taking a file home must notify this by some suitable note to be found at their desk, as by entry to their personal diary. This procedure is designed to prevent the considerable waste of time, which can result from fruitless attempts to locate a file, which has been taken from the office. Client files must not be left in any unattended car, particularly overnight.
4. The Fee-earner who is handling a matter on behalf of a Client has responsibility for receipt, use, safeguarding and return of any items provided by that Client or their representative and for their safe return, custody or onward transmission at the end of the matter, together with advice, if appropriate, on storage and retrieval procedures.
5. If the Client withdraws instructions from Viberts and the file is transferred, the Fee- earner must complete a ‘Transfer of File Notification’ form (external) and if necessary a ‘Risk Notice’ form.
Final Review and After Care
1. Before a file is closed there must be a final review of it to see whether the Client’s objectives were met and, if not, why not. There should be a final report to the Client, if required, which will usually accompany any final invoice or receipt against monies held on the Client’s behalf. The matter closing checklist must be completed in order that the file can be archived. Clients may need advice on storage of documents and files and of review dates that they should note. If it is felt inappropriate for any reason to provide a written report to the Client this must be explained in a file note which details what alternative steps, if any, have been taken.
2. If at the conclusion of a matter any potential problems arise then these must be notified to the Managing Partner by completing a ‘Risk Notice’ form.
Engaging third party experts raises a number of requirements for Viberts and our clients which need to be managed:
1. We are placing a reliance on the expert to support the service being provided to our client. We therefore need to ensure that the expert is suitably qualified and experienced to respond to the engagement requested by Viberts.
2. We are creating a financial liability for either or both Viberts and the Client. We need to ensure that those that are party to this liability are fully aware of the extent of the liability and fully consent to the liability being created.
3. As a business we have a responsibility to our suppliers to settle their charges in an appropriate timeframe. As part of the approval of the liability being incurred we must ensure that the timing of the cash flow to enable us to settle the liability is clear and communicated to the supplier.
Use of Counsel and Experts Policy
1. Where professional disbursements have been incurred by Viberts on behalf of the client it is the policy of Viberts to request payment in advance from the client. Where advance payment is received monies should be held on client account until settlement of invoiced professional disbursements is required.
1.1 Before incurring any professional disbursement the following information is required:
1.2 Full details of the professional being used.
1.3 An estimate of the cost of the professional disbursement to be incurred.
1.4 The reason for the use of the professional.
1.5 Client confirmation that they accept the costs which will be incurred.
1.6 The anticipated settlement date from the client of the professional disbursement or details of the clients proposed payment plan.
The above information should be clearly recorded on the file and there should be evidence of correspondence with the client as required above.
2. If the client wishes to settle the cost of the professional disbursement by instalments this must be agreed by Viberts and the Supplier where appropriate before any incurring any costs. This should also be discussed and agreed with the Practice Director.
3. It is the responsibility of all departments to notify the Head of Risk & Compliance of any new Counsel or Expert that they wish to add to the approved list.
4. Where appropriate, Clients should be consulted on both the decision to involve experts and the selection of them. It is permissible for a Client to express a preference for an expert to have a certain background in cases of sensitivity, such as appropriate use of female/ethnic or minority group advice, however such requests will require review to ensure they comply with the firm’s External Equality Statement. In all cases a Client may require that a particular medical examiner not be used on grounds of previous personal experience.
5. Experts will receive instructions through letter, brief, telephone conversation or at a meeting. Where instructions are provided orally they must be confirmed subsequently in writing. In all cases a note of instructions or a copy of them must appear on the matter file.
6. The performance of experts should be continuously evaluated by fee earners and should it be felt that the level of service provided has deteriorated or falls short of that required, feedback should be provided to the Partner in charge of the matter who will review the issue and if required may recommend the removal of the expert from the approved list.
Experts and Counsel – Approved List
1 KBW, 1 Kings Bench Walk, Temple, London EC4 7DB.
Deiniol Cellan Jones
Richard Ainsley QC
1 KBW, 1 Kings Bench Walk, Temple, London, EC4 7DB
1 Garden Court, Temple, London, EC4Y 9BJ
Dr David Briggs (adult)
David Briggs Associates Ltd
3 Top Farm Court, Top Street, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN10 6TF.
Telephone: 01302 719 494
Farrar’s Building, Temple, London, EC4Y 7BD.
Areas of expertise: Personal Injury, Employment, Serious Crime, Health & Safety, Public Enquiries, General Common Law, Public Access
1. Gideon Cammerman
(Crime and Regulatory Law)
187 Fleet Street
2. Sara Mansoori, Barrister
(Media and Information law)
3. Sir Desmond de Silva KC and Simon Baker
(Crime) Argent Chambers, 5 Bell Yard,
London WC2A 2JR.
4. Thomas Braithwaite, Barrister
Serle Court, 6 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London,
5. Thomas Roe (General Commercial Disputes)
3 Hare Court, Temple, London, EC4Y 7BJ.
6. Tiffany Scott
Wilberforce Chambers, 8 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn,
London, WC2A 3QP.
General Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon
Name: Mr. D. J. Pring FRCS
Address: C/O M Le Flock, Medical Specialist Group,
PO Box 113, Alexandra House, Les Frieteaux, St
Martins, Guernsey GY1 3EX
Telephone/fax: 01481 238 565 ext. 2292 (Micky Le
Flock: Mr Pring’s secretary)
Mobile: 07781128545 (Micky Le Flock: Mr Pring’s
Consultant in Pain Medicine & Anaesthesia
Name: Dr N. Padfield FRCA FFPMRCA
Address: 49 Smith Street, England, London, SW3 4EP.
Telephone/fax: 0207 349 9717 / 0207 349 9717
Principle Orthotist / Orthotics
Name: Mr M S Elmer SROrth, DIP OTC, MBAPO
Address: Nuffield Hospital - The Chesterfield,
3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN
Telephone/fax:0117 986 3322 / 0117 986 33 55
Name: Dr Dale Harrison MA(Oxon) MBchB MA
Address: Psychiatric Outpatient Department, General
Hospital, The Parade, St Helier, Jersey, JE1 3QS
Telephone/fax: 01534 442 716 / 01534 442 884
Consultant Hand Surgeon (APIL 1st Tier)
Name: Professor David Warwick MD BM FRCS
FRCS (Orth) European Diploma of Hand Surgery
Address: Nuffield Hospital Hampshire, Hand Clinic,
Nuffield Hospital Hampshire, Winchester Road
Chandlers Ford, Southampton, Hampshire,
Telephone/fax: 0845 4500 540
Consultant Knee Surgeon
Name: Mr. R. L. Allum MB ChB FRCS
Address: The Consulting Rooms, 9 Beaumont Road,
Windsor, Berkshire, England, SL4 1HY.
Telephone/fax: 01753 859 449 / 01753 850 128
Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Name: Dr Tara Woodward
Address: Bon Santé Consulting Rooms, Lido Medical
Centre, St. Saviours Road, St. Saviour,
Jersey, JE2 7LA.
Telephone/fax: 01534 859 226
Consultant in Pain Medicine
Name: Dr John Williams and Dr J. M. J. Valentine
Address: The Old Rectory, Church Road,
Tharston, Norfolk, NR15 2YG.
Telephone /fax: 01508 531709 (Monday, Tuesday &
Friday) 01603 418594 (Wednesday & Thursday)
9. Expertise/Qualifications: Consultant Spinal and
Trauma Surgeon (APIL: 1st Tier)
Name: Mr Michael Foy
Address: 1 Neates Yard, Marlborough,
England, SN8 1LZ.
Telephone/fax: 01672 513 733 / 01672 513 702
Consultant Orthepadic Surgeon (upper limb)
Name: Mr Patrick Armstrong
Address: C/O M Le Flock, Medical Specialist Group,
PO Box 113, Alexandra House, Les Frieteaux,
St Martins, Guernsey GY1 3EX.
Telephone/fax: 01481 238 565 ext. 2292
(Micky Le Flock: Mr Pring’s secretary)
Mobile: 07781 128545 (Micky Le Flock: Mr Pring’s
11. Expertise/Qualifications: Consultant Thoracic/
Respiratory Surgeon (Asbestos)
Name: Dr Ben Marshall
Address: Southampton Hospital C/O Jill Lange.
Telephone/fax: 023 8091 4453 / 023 8076 4369
12. Expertise/Qualifications: Consultant Public Health
Name: Dr Ashley M Croft, MA (Oxon)
Address: 12 Harley Street, London W1G 9PG
Consultant Spinal Surgeon
Name: Mr J K O’Dowd FRCSOrth
Address: 47a Howards Lane, Putney, London,
Email: P.A. Kate Hampton (kathryn.hampton@
14. Expertise/Qualifications: Expert Witness in
Clinical Forensic Medicine
Name: Dr A S Ranu MBChB MRCGP DCH DFFP
DRCOG D.OccMed DMJ MFFLM
Address: 3 Clementine Walk, Woodford Green,
Essex IG8 9GT
Telephone: 0208 5029 806
15. Expertise/Qualifications: Consultant Surgeon and
Name: Mr F D Skidmore
Address: 2 The Clos, London SE3 0UR
Telephone: 0208 318 6923
16. Expertise: Consultant Neurophysiologist
Name: Dr Elias Ragi
17. Expertise: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Name: Nicholas Talbot
Address: PO Box 807,Exeter, Devon
18. Expertise: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (clin
Name: Matthew Smith
Address: Liverpool (Bone and Joint Centre)
19. Expertise: Consultant Audiologist
Name: Mohamed Hariri
20. Expertise: Consultant Neurologist
Name: Dr Peter Humphrey
21. Expertise: Consultant Nephrologist
Name: Martin Mansell
22. Expert: Consultant Orthopaedic/Spinal Surgeon
Name: Ian Nelson
23. Expert: Consultant Orthopaedic/Spinal Surgeon
Name: Mr Shahid Khan
24. Expert: A & E Consultant
Name: Simon Chapman
25. Expert: A & E Consultant/ICU Consultant
Name: Professor Patrick Nee
Address : Liverpool
26. Expert: Consultant Psychiatrist (sex abuse cases)
Name: Dr Trevor Friedman
Address: 35 Ringley Road, Whitefield, Manchester,
Telephone: 0161 964 8462 / 07973 429021
Secretary: Stacey Friedman
27. Expert: Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician
Name: Dr Charlotte Chaliha
59 Catherine Place. London, SW1E 6DY
Telephone: 07951 500 330
28. Expert: Consultant Oncologist
Name: David E Neal CBE, FMedSci, FRCS
University of Cambridge
Address: Department of Oncology - Box 279,
Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road
Cambridge, CB2 0QQ
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 331940
Fax: +44 (0)1223 769007
29. Expert: Consultant Urological Surgeon
Name: James A Moore MD FRCS(Urol)
Telephone: 07590 067522
30. Expert: Consultant General Surgeon
Name: Prof Graeme Poston
Spire Liverpool Hospital, Greenbank Rd,
Liverpool, L18 1HQ
31. Expert: Consultant in Geriatric Medicine
Name: Professor H M Hodkinson, MA, DM (Oxon),
FRCP, Grad Dip Law, Barrister
8 Chiswick Square, Burlington Lane, Chiswick,
London, W4 2QG
Telephone: 020 8747 0239
Fax: 020 8747 3799
32. Expert: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Name: Martin Bircher
Address: The Ashtead Hospital, The Warren,
Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2SB
Telephone: 01372 276161
33. Expert: Consultant Psychiatrist
Name: Dr Jonathan Haynes
Address: MSS Medicolegal, 194 North Road,
Stoke Gifford, BS34 8PH
Telephone: 01179 793773
Secretary Zoe: firstname.lastname@example.org
34. Expert: ENT Surgeon
Name: Hisham Zeitoun
Address: various locations throughout the UK,
Sheffield, Wigan, Birmingham & Wrexham
Email: H_zeitoun@hotmail.co.uk – direct to Secretary
35. Expert: Psychiatrist
Name: Professor Ben Green
Address: 243 Chester Road, Helsby, Cheshire,
Secretary: Gill Humphries
Tel: 07747 064 779
36. Expert: Consultant Oncologist
Name: Professor Pat Price MA MD FRCP FRCR
Address: 8 Prestbury Road, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 2LJ
Telephone: 01625 524530
Fax: 01625 529446
37. Expert: GP expert witness (specialism clinical
Name: Dr Nicholas Swale
Address: 24 Forester Road, Bath, BA2 6QE
Telephone: 01225 426590 mobile: 07779 994161
38. Expert: Respiratory Physician
Name: Dr C J Warburton
Address: Aintree University Hospital, Lower Lane,
Liverpool, Merseyside, L9 7AL
Email: Secretary email@example.com
39. Expert: Ophthalmologist
Name: Dr Matthew Starr
Address: London Eye Clinic, 23 Harley Street,
London, W1G 9QN
Telephone: 020 7436 6668
40. Expert: Consultant Haemato-Oncologist
Name: Dr Donal McLornan
Address: Department of Haematological Medicine,
4th Floor, Hambleden Wing West,
Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,
Denmark Hill, London, SE5 9RS
42. Expert: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Name: Mr Robin Allum
Address: Spire Thames Valley Hospital Wrexham St,
Slough, SL3 6NH
Secretary: Karen King
Telephone: (01753) 859449 Fax: (01753) 850128
43. Expert: Histopathologist
Name: Allen Gibbs
45. Expert: ENT
Name: Dr Olawale Olarinde
Telephone: 0114 321 6522
46. Expert: Cardiothoracic Anaesthetist and Intensive
Name: Dr David H T Scott
Address: 11 Granby Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5NP
Telephone: 07788 415 489
47. Expert: Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Name: Professor Charles V Clark
Address: 22 Harley Street, London, W1G 9PL
48. Expert: Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Name: Mr Vijay Shanmuganathan
Secretary Claire Mamo
Telephone: 020 8398 8097
49. Expert: Psychiatric Expert
Name: Dr Webb
Expertise is in the management of depression,
anxiety and the other common mental disorders;
including post-traumatic stress, the interface of
pain, disability and mental disorder; and mental
disturbance after trauma or head injury.
50. Expert: Occupational Hygienist
Name: Ms Tracey Boyle
Address: Finch Consulting. Ivanhoe Business Park,
Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, LE65 2AB
51. Expert: Psychiatrist
Name: Dr James Briscoe
Address: Nuffield Health North Staffordshire Hospital,
Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme,
Staffordshire, ST5 4DB
Telephone: 07867 803954
52. Expert: Psychiatrist
Name: Dr Tanya Engelbrecht
Address: Lido Medical Centre, Suite 3.6,
St Saviour’s Road, St Saviour
Secretary: Maria Alberici on 07797817713
53. Expert: Prosthetics expert
Name: Abdo Haidar
Address: Unit 20 Kingsmill Business Park,
Chapel Mill Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 3GZ
Telephone: +44 (0)208 789 6565
Mobile: +44 (0)7752 686 439
54. Expert: Professor of Hand, Plastic and
Name: Jagdeep Nanchahal
Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology
and Musculoskeletal Sciences
Address: University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive,
Headington, Oxford OX3 7FY
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Yvette Segal or
55. Expert: Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon
Name: Mr G W Bowyer
Address: Spire Southampton Hospital,
Chalybeate Close, Southampton,
Hampshire, S016 6U
Secretary direct dial/Fax: 023 8091 4482
56. Expert: Psychologist
Name: Dr Hetherton
Address: Festival House, Jessop Avenue,
Cheltenham, GL50 3SH
57. Expert: Technical consultancy for marine craft
Name: Hugo Morgan Harris
Address: The Sail Loft, Port Hamble, Hamble
Southampton, SO31 4NN
Telephone: 02380 456555
58. Expert: Psychologist
Name: Dr Agostinis
CTT International Bespoke Psychological
Consultation, Therapy and Training
Address: The Harvey Suite, Lido Medical Centre
St Saviour, Jersey, JE2 7LA
Telephone: +44 (0)1534 852953
Telephone: +44 (0)7797 817964 from 1pm UK time,
Telephone: +44 (0)7797 810268 (Dr Agostinis direct
line only by prior agreement)
59. Expert: Cardiology/hypertension
Name: Professor Albert Ferro
Address: King’s College London
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7848 4283
60. Expert: Orthopaedic (lower limb)
Name: Nigel Brewster
Address: Pysio Plus, 170-172 Newton Road, High
Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7HP
Telephone: +44 (0)7341 384155
63. Expert: Consultant in Pain Medicine
Name: Dr Derek Eastwood MBChB MRCS LRCP
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 819115
64. Expert: Dental expert (clin neg)
Name: Mr Simon Beach
65. Expert: Consultant in Restorative and Implant
Name: AJ Ray-Chaudhuri
66. Expert: Consultant Maxillofacial/Head & Neck
Name: Mr Laurence Newman
Address: 5 Hither Chantlers, Langton Green, Kent,
Telephone: +44 (0)1892 861566
Fax: +44 (0)1892 860636
67. Expert: Clinical Neuropsychologist
Name: Dr Bonnie-Kate Dewar, BSc Hons MSc
PhD CPsychol AFBPsS, HCPC Registered
68. Expert: Orthopaedic Consultant (upper limb/
Name: Mr Mark Crowther
Telephone: +44 (0)117 317 1790
69. Expert: Professor of Surgery (abdominal/bowel)
Name: Professor Marc Winslet MS FRCS
Address: Surgical Chambers Ltd, Suite 1, 29
Hampstead High Street, London, NW3 1QA
70. Expert: Professor of Dermatology
Name: Professor Andrew Wright
1. Expertise/Qualifications: Barrister specialising in
Personal Injury Claims up to and exceeding £1M.
Called in 2000.
Name: Daniel Bennett
Address: Doughty Street Chambers,
54 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LS
Telephone/fax: 020 7404 1313
2. Expertise/Qualifications: Barrister specialising in
Personal Injury and Employment law. Claims up
to £1m. Called in 1999.
Name: John Ratledge
Address: St. Johns Buildings,
24a-28 St John Street, Manchester, M3 4DJ
Telephone/fax: 0161 214 1500 / 0161 835 3929
3. Expertise/Qualifications: Barristers Chambers
Address: 1 Kings bench Walk, Temple,
London, EC4Y 7BD
Telephone/fax: 020 7936 1500 / 020 7936 1590
4. Expertise/Qualifications: Barristers Chambers
Address: 3 Hare Court, Temple, London, EC4Y 7BJ
Telephone/fax: 0207 4157800 / 0207 4157811
5. Expertise/Qualifications: Barrister specialising in
Name: Roger Hiorn, Stephen Glynn
Address: 9 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DG
Telephone/fax: 020 7832 0500 / 020 7353 1344
6. Expertise/Qualifications : Barrister specialising in
Name: Harry Steinberg
Address: 12 Kings Bench Walk, London
Telephone: 020 7415 8302
Email: Clerk Graham Johnson:
7. Expertise: Barristers specialising in personal
injury/clinical negligence/sex abuse claims
Names: Cyrus Katrak, William Dean, James
Byrne, Helen Pooley
Address: 9 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DG
8. Expertise: Barrister specialising in abuse work/
Names: Iain O’Donnell
Address: 1 Crown Office Row, London
1. Expertise/Qualifications: Vocational Assessment
& Rehabilitation Experts
Name: Doherty Stobbs.
Address: 33 Vale Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1BS
Telephone /fax: 01892 517866 / 01892 518855
2. Expertise/Qualifications: Accident Investigator
Name: Ian Paine M.I.T.A.I
Address: The Flat, 7 La Citadelle Est. La Rue de la
Ville au Bas, St. Lawrence, Jersey, JE3 1ER
Telephone/mobile: 07829 997845
3. Expertise/Qualifications: Rehabilitation Cost
Name: Jacqueline Webb & Co.
Address: 17 Barnack Business Centre, Blakey Road,
Salisbury, SP1 2LP
Telephone/fax: 01722 329156 / 01722 412263
4. Expertise/Qualifications: Costs Assessor
Name: Ken Scott
Address: 7 Falconers Field, Harpenden,
Hertfordshire, AL5 3EU.
Telephone/fax: 01582 713 532
5. Expertise/Qualifications: Nursing & Care Expert
Name: Irene Waters
Address: 26 Garford Crescent, Newbury, Berkshire,
Telephone/fax: 01635 48257 / 01635 552652
6. Expertise/Qualifications: Nursing & Care Expert
Name: Maggie Sargent
Address: Darlingscott Farm, Darlingscott, Shipston
on Stour, Warwickshire CV36 4PN
Telephone: 01608 682500
7. Expertise/Qualifications: Restraint Techniques/
Name: Eric Baskind
Telephone: +44 (0)845 8381404
Mobile: +44 (0)7831 583600
Residential Property Valuations
Wills Associates Charatered Surveyors
Name: Geoffrey Blackstone and Mark Ashbolt
Address: Mulcaster Chambers, 16/17 Mulcaster
Street, St. Helier, Jersey, JE2 3NJ
Telephone/fax: 01534 285192/3 / 01534 736643
Technical and Commercial Property Surveyors
Name: ABS Consultants
Contact person: Michael Woodrow
Address: ABS Consultants Ltd.,
12 Britannina Place, Bath Street, St. Helier,
Jersey, JE2 4SU.
Telephone/fax: 01534 285192/3 / 01534 736643
1. The standard to be applied is that the file should
be understandable to any colleague within the
department without further checking with the Client in
the absence of that Fee-earner, whether anticipated or
not. Any file summary sheets used in that department
must be kept up to date at all times.
1. From time to time, it may be necessary to refer clients to specialist third party providers or clients may ask us to provide details of make recommendation of appropriate advisors. This differs from our use of Counsel and Experts as any resulting engagement will between the client and third party only and will not normally involve this firm. Whilst the final choice of advisor will always be that of client, when referring a client to a third party or providing details of appropriate or recommended advisors, we should ensure we have considered the best interests of the client and whether the third parties are suitably qualified and experienced to meet the requirements of the client.
1. The file review procedure for Viberts has three strands
1.1 To ensure effective on-going file and case management of all matters;
1.2 To ensure all files are reviewed regularly; and
1.3 Independent monthly random reviews of a sample of files.
File and Case Management Review
2. All opened files should have a matter checklist inserted in the inside of the file. The Matter checklist should be appropriate to the matter on which we are instructed and should cover the following areas:
2.2 The file opening procedures;
2.3 File management to include evidence of supervision, key dates, undertakings, a case plan, file identification, counsel and experts; and
2.4 The file closing procedures.
3. Each department is responsible for maintaining file checklists which are suitable for the work they are undertaking. Copies of each checklist should be provided to the Head of Risk & Compliance for review and filing. Matter checklists should be reviewed regularly and at least once per annum to ensure they continue to remain appropriate to the matter they are designed to monitor.
4. It is the responsibility of every Fee-earner to check the progress of all files in his/her control at regular intervals.
5. All files should be subject to on-going review at least once a month by the Fee-earner responsible for that file. Reviewers, be they the Lexcel Representative for the department or the Partner, should consider whether the Client’s instructions are being adequately met and whether action is needed to implement instructions or if contact is needed with the Client to vary the case plan or instructions in any way. They are therefore both technical and procedural.
6. There are no forms to complete for these monthly reviews however the reviewer should ensure they evidence on each file reviewed that the review took place.
7. In addition, MMR report will be issued to each fee earner each month. It is the responsibility of the fee earner when reviewing this report to identify any matters where there has been no recorded activity for more than 30 days and take appropriate action.
Independent Random Reviews
9. Each month a random sample of files for review is selected by the Head of Risk & Compliance. The Head of Risk & Compliance is responsible for setting the criteria upon which the random sample is based, but it must be a minimum of 10 files and must include a sample of recently opened, recently closed and in progress matters. It should also ensure that that all fee earners are scheduled at least once a quarter.
10. Department administrators will obtain the files selected for review from the relevant fee earner and pass them to the Head of Risk & Compliance for an independent review using the Periodic File Review Form.
11. The results of the periodic reviews will be summarised and fed back to the Partners on a quarterly basis for 2 primary purposes:
11.1 Review and address any corrective actions required;
11.2 Review their procedures to address any areas where improvements could be made;
12. Where any corrective action is specified as being required it is the responsibility of the fee-earner to undertake the corrective action specified within the time specified, and in no case will this be longer than twenty eight days. The reviewer must then verify to his or her reasonable satisfaction that the corrective action has been performed.
1. Fee-earners are responsible for passing files for closing to the nominated person in their department. A Matter Closing Checklist should be completed and files should be closed as soon as possible after the matter finishes.
2. Before closing a matter must ensure when appropriate that the following client tasks are considered and completed:
2.1. When a matter is finalised a closing letter should be sent to the Client. This letter should advise the client if there are any further actions they are required to undertaken now and in the future and what actions the firm will be taking if any.
2.2. If the firm is holding any client funds at the end of the matter and there are no outstanding fees then these funds should be returned to the client. Should there be any outstanding fees then the Credit Controller should gain the approval of the client to settle the outstanding fees from any retained client monies.
2.3. Any original documents held on the client file should either be returned to the client or where it is agreed that they will be stored by the firm you should consider if they need to be placed into safe custody.
3. Where possible all files from a matter should be consolidated into a box, or boxes, on their own.
4. Once a matter is finalised and the following tasks are completed:
4.1. A closing letter is sent to the client;
4.2. The Matter Closing Checklist has been completed and filed;
4.3. All other matter filing is completed;
4.4. A write off request is completed for any unbilled time which is not being charged to the client. This should be completed in accordance with the write offs policy in force at that time. Any required paperwork can be passed to the Facilities Manager with the files. Then the files should be placed into an Archive box and passed to the Facilities Manager for storage in the firms archive facility.
5. For departments that maintain a billing file this should not be passed to the Facilities Manager until the outstanding debt balance for the matter is nil.
6. Once the balance of the debt is cleared the Credit Controller should inform the Facilities Manager who will review the Practice Management System to establish if there is a billing file. If there is a billing file which has not been placed in the archive facility the Facilities Manager will liaise with the department to add the billing file to the same box as the other matter files in the archive facility.
7. When a file is archived by the Facilities Manager the following procedures and matter settings will be applied:
7.1. Matter files will checked to ensure they have the correct labelling;
7.2. A box label will be created and matters will be scanned against that box label;
7.3. Any accompanying unbilled time write offs will be actioned in accordance with the Write Offs policy in force at that time;
7.4. Where the debt and unbilled time balances are nil the matter status in the Practice Management System will be set to Closed (‘CL’);
8. The Facilities Manager is responsible for the management and recording of off-site archiving.
1. The majority of closed files are stored off site. More recently closed files can be kept on site for a limited period if storage space within the office allows.
2. If a stored file is required, the Administrator or Fee-earner concerned is to complete, in full, the ‘File Required from Storage’ form. This form should then be passed to the Facilities Manager, or in his/her absence the nominated reserve. If, exceptionally, a file is required urgently then this must be pointed out when the request is made and the appropriate arrangements will be made.
Usual Destroy Dates
1. It is the Fee-earner’s responsibility to determine the destroy date when archiving a file. Under the Jersey Law Society’s Code of Conduct the default required period for storage of a file is twenty years , however where it is deemed reasonable to do so files can be destroyed after 11 years upon review on a case by case basis.
Disposal of Confidential Waste Paper
1. Any waste paper that is of a confidential nature must be placed in the shredding bins, which are located around the office. The waste paper is then shredded by a commercial contractor. It is important that only paper is included in these bins.
1. This policy outlines the procedure to be followed in the event that a matter file is transferred to a third party not within Viberts.
2. The Partner in charge of the relevant department has assessed the potential risks of passing a matter file to a third party. In some instances the transfer may be due to a dispute between the firm and the client which the firm has been unable to resolve.
3. Before a file is transferred the department Partner should consider if there are any risks in the transfer of the file.
4. Where there is no dispute between the firm and the client and there are no outstanding fees, then the file can be transferred to the third party based on the following guidance:
4.1. Where there are multiple clients then the consent of all clients is required before any transfer of files can be made;
4.2. Where the file is entirely paper then before the transfer is made a full electronic copy of the files should be made and stored in the firm’s Document Management System;
4.3. Where there is a mix of paper and electronic files, to avoid any risk of items not being copied, a full copy should be made of the entire paper file and stored in the firm’s Document Management System;
4.4. Where the matter file is entirely electronic then a copy should be made onto a CD to be transferred to the third party. In such circumstances a paper copy will only be provided with the payment of a nominal fee of £25.00.
5. Where there is no dispute between the firm and the client however there are outstanding fees then the file can be transferred in accordance with point 4 above once the balance of fees has been settled by the client.
6. Where there is a dispute between the firm and the client then full consideration needs to be given to the extent to which the file is copied and what elements are transferred to the third party. The Partner should consider the following:
6.1. Material ordinarily owned by the Firm: This can consist of the following items:
6.1.1. Original letters received by the firm from the client;
6.1.2. Copies of letters written to the client by the firm;
6.1.2. Copies of letters written to the client by the firm;
6.1.3. Notes of meetings and telephone calls which form part of our preparatory work;
6.1.4. Internal memos, E-mails and notes of internal meetings;
6.1.5. Accounting records such as fee assessments, copy bills and vouchers.
Consideration should be given as to whether, given the existence of a dispute between the firm and the client, any items detailed above contain anything which could be viewed as damaging to the firm. Any such items, given they are owned by the firm, should be removed from the file before a copy is made.
6.2. Material ordinarily owned by the Client: This can consist of the following items:
6.2.1. Documents produced by the client or produced by the firm for the client;
6.2.2. Correspondence to third parties for the purpose of the clients matter;
6.2.3. Formal documents and deeds, regardless of whether they are draft or final;
6.2.4. Documents received by the firm as agent of the client such as medical and witness reports and counsel’s opinion.
All such material must be provided to the client.
6.3. The outstanding fees should be reviewed by the department Partner and an assessment made as to the likely recoverability of the outstanding fees. An appropriate course of action should be agreed upon to protect the firm’s position with regards the outstanding fees.
7. In the case of legal aid matters where the files are being transferred to the Legal Aid Office, Bâtonnier or Acting Bâtonnier there is no requirement to make a copy of the file as the files will ultimately be transferred back to the firm.
7.1. Where such a transfer does take place you should advise the Facilities Manager so he can record the new location of the files in the Practice Management System.
7.2. Where the file is entirely electronic then a copy should be placed on a CD for transferring as required.
7.2.1. A note should be entered in the Practice Management System to record that a copy of the matter file was created and transferred to the Legal Aid Office, Bâtonnier or Acting Bâtonnier;
7.2.2. When this copy is returned to the firm it should be destroyed by the Facilities Manager and the note recorded in 7.2.1 above should be amended to reflect this.
7.2.3. Paper files should only be created for transfer in exceptional circumstances. Where this does occur the guidelines below should be followed:
188.8.131.52. A note should be entered in the Practice Management System to record that a paper copy of the matter file was created and transferred to the Legal Aid Office, Bâtonnier or Acting Bâtonnier;
184.108.40.206. On return of this paper file it should be destroyed by the Facilities Manager to avoid any risk of the paper file and electronic file being mixed up.
Use of Safe Custody
1. A document should be placed in safe custody if it is an original document and it would be extremely difficult to obtain a copy of it. Documents that clearly fall into this category are Bonds, Share Vending Agreements, General Powers of Attorney, Leases, Licences and Separation Agreements.
2. Bonds are stored in a secure room in the Viberts Archive Facility at New Street.
3. All other documents are stored in the safe custody safes which are kept in a secure room in the Viberts Archive Facility at New Street.
Placing Documents into Safe Custody
1. The Safe Custody Administrator is responsible for indexing and storing safe custody documents. The original documents to be placed into safe custody should be passed to the Safe Custody Administrator with a safe custody form.
2. The document will be placed in an envelope with the safe custody number placed on it. The document is then placed in the safe.
3. The document will be added to the list of safe custody documents held on the computer system.
4. Where there is already a safe custody envelope for that particular Client the new document will be placed in the same envelope as previously. The Client’s list of documents will be printed from the index after updating and placed in the safe custody envelope.
5. A copy of the safe custody form will be returned to the person requesting storage.
Procedure for Removing Documents from Safe Custody
1. The objective of this procedure is to ensure that documents are removed in the correct manner.
Who is Responsible?
1. The Managing Partner is responsible for ensuring that all employees adhere to this procedure.
1. A request to retrieve a document is made by completing the safe custody request form.
2. Where the document is being removed temporarily, the document should be removed and the safe custody computer index amended to show who the document has been passed to.
3. If the document is to be removed permanently the safe custody computer index should be updated to reflect this. If other documents still remain in that Client’s envelope the amended list should be reprinted and placed in the envelope.
4. When the document is given to the person who requested said document, they will be required to initial the safe custody form. The form will be in triplicate. One copy will remain in the envelope in the safe, one copy will be retained by the Safe Custody Administrator for the safe custody records and one copy will be retained on the matter file by the Fee-earner concerned.
5. When any document is sent out of the building a copy must be made and forwarded to the Safe Custody Administrator together with a copy of the covering letter. These will be retained in Lever Arch files (by safe custody number) at the offsite storage.
6. Under no circumstances may anyone apart from the Safe Custody Administrator remove any document from safe custody.
7. There is no need to keep a copy of any removed document on the Client file, as a copy will always be retained in the Lever Arch files under this procedure.
Procedure for Storing and Removing Wills
1. The objective of this procedure is to ensure that wills are stored and removed in the correct manner.
Who is Responsible?
1. The Managing Partner is to ensure that all staff adhere to this procedure.
1. Storing a Will - If an original will is to be stored in the will safe the procedure is as follows:
1.1 The will is to be passed to the Safe Custody Administrator prior to the will being placed in an envelope and labelled with the name, type of will and date of the will.
1.2 Details will be placed on ALB by the Safe Custody Administrator.
1.3 The Safe Custody Administrator is responsible for storing the will in Viberts Archive Facility in New Street.
2. Removing a Will - If it is necessary to withdraw a will stored in the will safe the following action is to be taken:
2.1 A request to retrieve a will is made to the Safe Custody Administrator;
2.2 The Safe Custody Administrator removes the will from the archive storage;
2.3 If the will is removed due to the death of the Client the ALB entry amended to reflect this;
2.4 If the will is released to another law firm written authority for this is required of the Client;
2.5 Either the Client or the law firm is then required to sign a form of acknowledgement;
2.6 The form of acknowledgement is then filed in an A-Z loose-leaf folder together with a copy of the will.
3. It is essential that no paper clip, staple, pin or anything of a similar nature is attached to any original will. Also, no mark is to be made upon the will after it has been executed.
4. Under no circumstances should any original will be left unsecured overnight.
Procedure for Incoming and Outgoing Bonds
1. These are received by the Conveyancing Department and are passed to the safe custody administrator to store in the same way as wills.
1.1 Incoming Bonds. On the day of receipt, deeds are to be properly recorded and indexed. Each bond is given an index number and this index is stored on the computer system.
1. Information is the byword of our era and the efficient handling, process and storage of all information is pre-requisite to a successful business. People need to be able to find the information they want and the only way to do this is by sharing.
2. It is important that every member of the Viberts Group reads and understands the Information Management Policy. Most potential risks will be avoided should this policy be adhered to. The policy is designed to protect the Viberts Group network and information resources from threat and so minimise any business risk.
The firm’s commitment to information management
1. Viberts is committed to managing information in order to improve its legal, professional and business knowledge, and operational performance, for the benefit of clients and the personal and professional development of its employees.
2. This policy applies to all aspects of the firm’s management of information (compromising data, knowledge and information), within the overall business system processes, procedures and business strategy. The policy also provides the framework and perspective that informs relevant subordinate policies (see separate email policy, website management policy and internet access policy).
3. The management team will invest in information management systems and information technology in support of information management objectives within the scope of the business strategic plan.
4. The principal information systems and their functions are: ALB for time recording, billing and credit control; Paymaster for payroll; Indigo for leave and sickness absence recording; Outlook as email client; IT File structure for file storage and retrieval including Standards and Precedents; departmental libraries; and digital libraries.
Responsibility for information management policy
1. The Practice Director has overall responsibility for the information management policy.
Reviewing information management
1. This policy will form part of Viberts’ policy and procedure library. This system ensures policies and procedures are reviewed on a regular basis, at least annually, to ensure they are fit for purpose. Any improvements are made in a timely manner and communicated to all employees.
2. Suggestions for improving opportunities to learn from and develop our information management are welcomed outside of the formal review process and will always be considered if they improve the service to clients or working practices. Ideas should be communicated to the Practice Director.
Viberts’ information resources and the development of new resources
1. Viberts existing information resources will be used to deliver an excellent standard of service to all clients (see Viberts’ Quality policy). Resources will be used to monitor operational performance and provide feedback mechanisms to identify areas where improvements to services can be made. They will enable the firm to develop new services to meet the needs of our existing clients, attract new clients and achieve the strategic plan for the business. Information resources will also enable staff to attain their personal learning and development plan for the benefit of themselves and the firm and improve the attractiveness of the firm to new talent. They will provide for effective collaboration with business partners, suppliers and the community.
2. Employees have individual and joint responsibility to follow the firm’s practices and procedures and to manage the information entrusted to the practice by our clients and business partners.
3. Any information recorded and entered into the information management system by employees will be as accurate, relevant and sufficient as possible.
4. New information resources will be also be identified, invested in and developed to support these aspects of service delivery.
Viberts’ information assets
1. Viberts have categorised the information assets held within the firm and will audit its information assets on a regular basis, at least annually, to identify and share useful knowledge across the practice.
Managing Risks to Viberts’ information assets
1. Viberts has a comprehensive Risk Management Policy. Viberts’ information management assets will be assessed for vulnerabilities and categorised by the Head of Risk & Compliance. Countermeasures will be identified and taken. It has been identified that risk to information assets will predominantly occur in the following assets:
2. Information we hold about our clients. Concerning the firm’s failure to treat client information in a confidential manner in line with Data Protection requirements and Viberts data protection principles (see Data Protection Policy). Also, if information held is not used effectively for the benefit of Viberts’ clients.
3. Information we hold about the firm and our practice. Concerning Viberts’ failure to share and develop the firms’ own information assets for the long-term benefit of our clients, employee’s development and security and the future of the practice.
4. Where requirements for new information resources are identified, the Head of Risk & Compliance will advise and support on risk management at an early stage in the planning, design and choice of the new resource to mitigate any risk arising.
5. The dependency on computers and their information processing capabilities in order to provide a service to Clients creates a unique set of risks to our Information Assets. It is the duty of every member of staff to be aware of the risks (detailed below) and act in a way that protects the interests of the Viberts Group.
6. Technical risks include:
6.1 Unauthorised alteration or deletion of data.
6.2 Theft of electronic information.
6.3 Production of inaccurate data.
6.4 Destruction of data either accidentally or maliciously.
6.5 Inability to process data.
6.6 Damage to the physical infrastructure.
7. Business risks include:
7.1 Litigation as a result of breach of confidentiality.
7.2 Loss of competitive advantage from theft of electronic data.
7.3 Loss of Client confidence due to inability to safeguard data.
7.4 Exposure as a result of keeping inaccurate or incorrect data.
7.5 Adverse publicity as a result of failing to comply with current regulations and accepted good practice.
7.6 Failure to process data for and on behalf of Clients.
7.7 Bringing the Viberts Group into disrepute as a result of the inappropriate use of technology.
Protection and security of information assets
1. Information security is the responsibility of every staff member of the Viberts Group. The firm is committed to providing a secure environment where information assets are available, shared appropriately and flexible enough to meet the requirements of our clients and staff. This includes an effective IT infrastructure. Particular working preferences will be accommodated wherever possible within security limitations.
2. Guidance on information security, including how to use Viberts’ systems securely and safely on the Internet at work and at home, is available from the Operations Manual. Additional advice and guidance should be sought from the Operations Manager or the Practice Director.
1. The firm’s commitment to providing outstanding service to its clients is at the heart of everything it does. In order to achieve excellent levels of services across the practice, staff will be provided opportunities for personal and professional development which include formal and informal in-house and external training courses, and longer-term educational programmes.
2. On joining, all new members of staff receive a planned and personalised induction to Viberts’ information systems and resources and any appropriate training is given. Those people who change roles and need to access new information resources are also trained. The Practice Director and Departmental Managers are responsible for coordinating any training and development needs. These are identified and reviewed through the firm’s appraisal system and these managers will provide additional support where required.
3. Viberts encourages its staff to refresh, develop and share their existing skills and knowledge in the fields of information management and information systems. ‘Super-users’ are available for in-house training and can be contacted via the HR Manager. External training and educational opportunities are to be discussed via line managers at appraisal and performance meetings. Learning from and contributing to the development of the practice’s information resources forms part of each individual’s objectives.
1. When conducting research there is often more than one area of the law involved. It is therefore useful to break the process down into 3 key steps:
1.1. Analyse and Plan
1.3. Apply the Law
Analyse the Problem
1. Before starting your research you should analyse the facts of the case.
2. You should then decide what legal principles they represent. It is important to research the principals involved and not the facts of the case to ensure your search is focused on legally relevant material.
Planning a Search Strategy
1. By planning your search strategy you will ensure that your search results are more relevant. You should consider the following:
1.1. What are you looking for: a case, piece of legislation, an article;
1.2. What resources will help you find what you are looking for;
1.3. Are there any boundaries to your search, i.e. jurisdictions;
1.4. Which search terms will best help you.
- Description Boolean Logic
- liability and tort
- Finds both words in the same record.
- slander or libel
- Finds either word in same record.
- bankruptcy not liquidation
- Finds records which mention the first word but not second. Proximity Indicators Note: symbols vary across databases.
- Phrase Searching
- “duty of care”
- Forces the database to search a string of words as a phrase.
Research the Law
1. Proceeding from general information (secondary sources) to more specific information is often a good approach to use.
2. Secondary sources are materials which provide background information and commentary on a primary source of law. They may often assist in locating the law as well as providing a quick overview or an in-depth analysis of the topic. Secondary sources can include:
2.1. Legal dictionaries
2.2. Legal encyclopaedias
2.4. Journal articles
2.5. Case citators
- circumstances /s mitigating
Retrieves records which have both words in the same sentence.
defendant /p bail
Retrieves records which have both words in the same paragraph.
market /5 share
Retrieves words which appear with ‘n’ (in this instance 5) words of each other.
filing pre/5 bankrupt!
Retrieves first word within ‘n’ words of second keyword in the order specified. Truncation and Wildcards Note: symbols vary across databases.
Lexis, LexisNexis and Westlaw use !; other databases *
Searches for alternate endings of words eg. negligen! Retrieves negligence, negligent, negligently.
Lexis, LexisNexis and Westlaw use *; other databases use?
Replaces a single character eg. defen*e retrieves defense, defence. Nesting
(World trade organi?ation OR WTO) and intellectual property.
Use brackets when your search strategy contains more than one Boolean operator. Place the synonyms in brackets.
3. Primary sources of law are the authoritative sources of the law. They include Case Law and Legislation.
4. When researching you should methodically record the materials you found and the steps you took to get there so that you do not have to repeat the process again or search for the same resources more than once.
Read and Evaluate
1. Acts and cases can often be difficult to interpret so secondary sources can often be useful to help you further develop your understanding.
2. Individuals should review their research methodology regularly to ensure it is as efficient as possible and locating the right materials.
1. It is important to regularly update the results of research that is saved for future use for your benefit or that of your colleagues. You should be determining:
1.1. Whether the case is still good law;
Use a Case Citator to research the history of a case and whether a later case has doubted, disapproved, overruled, distinguished or not followed your case;
1.2. Whether an Act has recently been amended;
1.3. Whether an Act has been judicially considered.
When to stop Researching
1. You should stop researching when the commentary becomes repetitive, you identify the same point in a number of different sources or the same cases or articles continue to appear in your results.
Viberts is committed to protecting the rights & freedoms of data subjects and safely & securely processing their data in accordance with our legal obligations. We hold personal data about our employees, clients, suppliers and other individuals for a variety of business purposes.
Please see the Viberts Data Protection and Privacy policies for further information.
1. The aim of the IT Support function, overseen by the Operations Manager, is to ensure that the IT Systems are effective in ensuring that the information needs of users and the business are met.
1. Within the Viberts Group there is a networked computer system and every workstation is connected using data cable to allow fast transmission speeds between workstations and servers.
2. Any problems with the network should be reported to the Operations Team.
3. The main software applications available to users include:
3.1 MS Office - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access.
3.2 MS Outlook - E-mail and Diary.
3.3 ALB - Accounting, lawyers practice management system.
3.4 Microsoft Internet Explorer - Internet navigation tool.
3.5 Paymaster – Payroll Software
1. Only authorised people are allowed access to secure areas containing network equipment.
2. All computers, terminals, and communications equipment may become victim to electric power fluctuations, physical damage, and theft. Factors such as physical barriers, environment detection, and protection issues may affect both the replacement cost and the Viberts Groups’ ability to resume the service for the user.
3. The Operations Manager is responsible for controlling access to adequately protect the various computers, terminals and communications.
4. No unauthorised equipment should be attached to the network. If in doubt contact the Operations Manager for advice and authorisation.
1. Sensitive data files are protected against unauthorised access.
2. Requests for other users to have access should be routed to the Operations Manager and approved by the relevant manager or Partner so that access maybe granted.
3. The Operations Manager is responsible for ensuring that file owners are implemented correctly on the system and that they have the relevant rights to their own file areas.
1. The Operations Manager is responsible for the administration of the Viberts Group directory structure.
2. The design of the directory structure is of a standard that promotes consistency and ease of use. A well laid out structure saves both time and money.
3. Each user is responsible for the accurate naming of files within the structure. This is to ensure that the required file can be found in the minimum amount of time.
1. When an electronic file is set up for a client, we must ensure consistency when naming these. This file database is used to provide management information reports and we should therefore adhere to the conventions listed below.
Please take note of the following:
1.1 all prefixed names such as De La Haye should be listed and filed under D and not H; Da Costa filed under D not C and Le Maistre under L and not M as detailed in section 4 below;
1.2 surname or business name should be in block capitals;
1.3 salutations to be used ie Mr, Mrs, Sir, Dr etc;
1.4 no commas separating any words/names;
1.5 use of ‘&’ not ‘and’; and
1.6 client number to be included at the end and to include any preceding zeros
2. Joint Names
2.1 BLOGGS Mr John & Mrs Jane 015170
2.2 SMITH Sir James & Lady Joan 015180
3. Sole Name
3.1. JONES Miss (Mrs or Ms) Jane 015190
3.2. SMITH Mr (Mstr, Dr, Sir etc) Donald 015129
4. Prefixed Names
4.1 DE LA HAYE Mr John & Mrs June 015195
4.2 DA COSTA Mr Jose & Mrs Sylvia 015172
4.3 LE MAISTRE Mr James 015698
4.4 LE MARQUAND Mr John & Mrs Janet 015175
4.5 MACDONALD Mr Hamish & Mrs Mary 015135
4.6 MCTAVISH Mr Ian & Mrs Janet 015122
4.7 O’CONNOR Mr Sean & Mrs Jean 015159
4.8 A’COURT Mr Len & Mrs Anita 016733
4.9 ACTON-JONES Mr David & Mrs Joyce 015192
5. Company Names
5.1 MARK EISENTHAL & CO 015111
5.2 ANTHONY GIBB LIMITED 015366
5.3 SYMONS & SYMONS 015216
5.4 DA SILVA ELECTRICS LTD 015187
6. Other Categories
6.1 PAIN Mrs Lisa (deceased) 015223
6.2 PALLETT Mr Ryan (formerly Smyth) 015254
6.3 PHILLIPS Luke (baby or child) 015169
6.4 LE MASURIER Jessica & Thomas (children) 015182.(6.3 and 6.44 are examples of Family matters where we are acting as guardians of children)
Legal Reference Library
1. The Viberts Group maintain a legal reference library which is sufficient to meet most of the needs of Fee-earners. The Knowledge Management working group responsibilities include the following:
1.1 To ensure that library material is regularly and promptly updated.
1.2 In consultation with other Partners and Fee-earners, to purchase new books, and control expenditure within the library budget.
1.3 To ensure that potentially dangerous out-of-date material is removed from the library.
1.4 To review law journals for changes in the law and other relevant legal information and for the prompt circulation of such information to all concerned Fee-earners.
2. No publications are to be removed from the library. If copies of parts of publications are required they must be copied using the photocopier in the library and the publication returned to the shelves.
3. Circulation lists for certain journals are in use. Please ensure that journals are passed on within a reasonable time limit.
4. All Fee-earners are expected to contribute towards the maintenance of the Viberts Group library by advising the Knowledge Management working group when consideration should be given to the acquisition of new books or the removal of out-of-date material.
5. Internet searches can be conducted from each desktop.
6. In addition to the physical library resources we also utilise online library resources. At present these are from the current providers:
6.2 Jordans Online
6.3 Practical Law
1. The detailed Email policy is contained in the staff handbook (Policy Ref: VHB0028). The following points are a summary of the key points of the policy and its interpretation.
2. The MS Outlook system and specifically E-mail is to enable quick and efficient in and out of office correspondence. Although the Viberts Group appreciate that some personal E-mails will be received the system must not be used for gossip or the sale of goods. Personal communication, such as arranging lunch, must be kept to a minimum.
3. All E-mail received goes through an electronic process of rules to determine if it can be released to the user. Should the E-mail not meet the criteria of the rules the user will receive an automatically generated message to inform them that an E-mail has been quarantined. E-mail types, which are quarantined, include pictures, movies, etc. and Microsoft Office documents that contain macros or images.
4. Staff should note that all inbound and outbound emails are regularly monitored by the Managing Partner and Practice Director. Certain key words used within e-mails are flagged in the monitoring system for further analysis. (See ‘E-Mail Monitoring’)
5. All inbound and outbound external e-mails are automatically archived by the firms e-mail archiving software and are retained for a period of 10 years before deletion.
1. It is the policy of the Viberts Group for E-mails being received from, or sent to, an external location to be scanned for attachments designated as prohibited (see 2 below). When any of these attachments are detected the E-mail will be automatically quarantined and alerts sent informing of the action taken (see 3 below).
2. Prohibited attachments include:
2.1 Any file which contains executable code (e.g. Software,
Macros, Games, Screen Savers, Joke Programs, etc.).
2.2 Certain image file formats (e.g. jpg, jpeg, bmp, etc.). This includes MS Office files with image content.
2.3 Container files (e.g. .zip and .rar files).
2.4 Video and sound files.
2.5 Any password protected file.
3. Quarantine Messages:
3.1 When an Employee of the Viberts Group attempts to send an unsuitable E-mail they will receive a message from the System Administrator advising them an E-mail sent by them has been quarantined.
3.2 When an external source tries to send an unsuitable E-mail to an Employee of the Viberts Group they will receive a message from the System Administrator advising them an E-mail intended for them has been quarantined.
If your email attachment is for legitimate business requirements please contact the IT department who will be able to scan the email, and release it to the intended recipient.
1. As described in the Electronic Information and Communications Systems Policy (VHB0028) all inbound and outbound emails are monitored.
2. You should not use email for anything which contravenes this policy. Prohibited use of E-mail includes:
2.1 Any personal use that creates a direct cost for the Viberts Group is strictly prohibited.
2.2 The Viberts Group E-mail resources shall not be used for personal monetary gain or for commercial purposes that are not directly related to the Viberts Group business.
3. Other prohibited uses include, but are not limited to:
3.1 Sending copies of documents in violation of copyright laws.
3.2 Inclusion of the work of others into E-mail communications in violation of copyright laws.
3.3 ‘Spoofing’ - e.g. constructing an E-mail communication
so it appears to be from someone else.
3.4 ‘Snooping’ - e.g. obtaining access to the files, or E-mail, of others for the purpose of satisfying idle curiosity with no substantial business purpose.
3.5 Attempting unauthorised access to E-mail or attempting to breach any security measures on any E-mail system, or attempting to intercept any E-mail transmissions without proper authorisation.
1. Internet access will be granted to any Viberts Employee.
2. Internet access is monitored (See ‘Internet Usage Monitoring’) to ensure that usage is within the confines of the law and Viberts policies and procedures.
3. Users who need to use the Internet during office hours for work purposes are permitted. Users who do not need the Internet for work have to keep their use to outside work hours, e.g. lunchtime.
4. Websites not permitted are automatically blocked. If you think either a site should be blocked or is blocked incorrectly please contact the Operations Manager so the site can be reviewed.
5. Downloading of files is not permitted unless the Operations Manager has agreed to the download. This is to prevent the spread of unauthorised infection from viruses and Trojans.
1. The use of the Internet facility provided by Viberts is monitored.
2. It is not considered acceptable for any Employee of Viberts to access the Internet for any of the following:
2.1 Undertaking any illegal activity, including but not limited to, violation of copyright or other contracts (e.g. copyrighted MP3 and/or pirated software downloading).
2.2 Downloading any software without prior authorisation from the Operations Manager.
2.3 Trying to defeat Viberts system security in order to give any individual greater privileges.
2.4 Search for, or download, any material with the intent of onward transmission via E-mail to either internal or external users.
2.5 Visit any sites which may contain unacceptable material either socially, or morally, e.g. pornographic, defamatory, or obscene.
Application Installation and Data Exchange
1. Under no circumstances may users load any application, web utility or script removal media.
2. All electronic media must have been verified by the IT Manager as virus free and content acceptable. This virus checking applies to both incoming and outgoing media.
3. Only application software authorised by Viberts can be placed on any of Viberts computer systems.
4. The Operations Manager must carry out the installation of all software.
Network User Identification
1. No one is permitted access to Viberts network without a valid user identification and password.
2. The Operations Manager, following a request from the HR Manager, will allocate a USERID to a new starter.
3. The user is responsible for all activity which occurs using their USERID.
4. The Operations Manager may revoke a USERID in order to stop a breach of security or data integrity.
5. USERID’s will be suspended when a member of the Viberts Group has ended their employment.
6. The Operations Manager will issue a password in the first instance. The user is then responsible for ensuring that this password is changed at the earliest opportunity.
7. In choosing a password users should be aware of the following:
7.1 The password should have a minimum of six characters.
7.2 It is best not to choose an obvious password, e.g. family date, name of pet, etc. The most secure passwords are a combination of letters and numbers.
7.3 User passwords are confidential. On no account should you tell your password to anyone, even another member of staff. In exceptional circumstances the Operations Manager may need your password to conduct maintenance during out of office hours.
7.4 Each user will be required to change his or her password when prompted, this will happen every sixty days.
Responsibility for Computer Security
1. Computer security is the responsibility of every staff member of Viberts.
2. No member of Viberts shall divulge any Group, or Client, information to outside sources.
3. Viberts network may only be used for work related to its business. It may not be used for anything not related to Viberts.
4. The Operations Manager is responsible for ensuring that system security is observed.
5. Every Employee should notify the Operations Manager when they notice areas which may appear contrary to this policy.
1. The firm’s website will provide the web user with an up-to-date overview of the legal services Viberts provides. It communicates information about the firm and the expertise of the employees within the firm, for the purposes of online marketing and to address the needs of the strategic business and marketing plan. The site also shares knowledge in the form of open-access, expert articles and papers. The information will be easy to access and organised by practice area.
2. The firm’s website has been designed to meet the needs of a wide range of users. Viberts is committed to sharing and managing information in order to improve its legal, professional and business knowledge, and operational performance, for the benefit of its clients, industry partners and the personal and professional development of its employees.
Responsibility for the website management
1. The Managing Partner has overall responsibility for Viberts website policy. The Head of Business Development and Marketing is responsible to the Managing Partner for content and image management, and ensuring that information within the site is current, and appropriate for the services provided by the firm.
2. Suggestions for improving the Viberts website content and experience are welcomed outside of any formal review process and will always be considered if they improve the service to clients or the firm’s working practices. Ideas should be communicated to the Head of Business Development and Marketing.
Website management and security
1. A third party hosting provider is responsible for the maintenance and security of the site on Viberts’ behalf. Viberts are responsible for generating all content within the site and Viberts’ content that resides on the hosting provider’s servers.
2. To report a security or website incident please contact the Practice Director and the Operations Manager who will inform the third party hosting provider.
Permitted and prohibited use
1. All approved content will be uploaded on a scheduled basis by the Head of BD & Marketing and checked for accuracy on publication by either the Managing Partner or another member of the management committee.
2. Ad-hoc publishing of content outside of the regular publishing schedule will be permitted where the content is such that to delay publishing will diminish the value of the content.
Document approval and publishing
1. New or revised content may be generated by any individual within the company but must be generated in line with the content guidelines (see Schedule 2 of this policy) and must meet the required standards in the following areas before publication is approved:
1.1 Compliance: Be approved by the department Partner with responsibility for the subject area in question for legal compliance and regulatory conformity as required.
1.2 Conformance and Quality: Be approved by the department Partner with responsibility for the subject area that the content relates to, followed by the Head of Marketing to ensure it falls within the requirements of the firm’s brand and strategic marketing requirements.
1.3 Copyright: Be approved by the department Partner with responsibility for the subject area that the content relates to for non-infringement of copyright.
2. The Managing partner has final responsibility for approving new or revised content published on the firm’s website.
3. ‘Content’ in this context and subject to the approval and publication process includes the following: articles and papers written by Viberts employees past or present; bulletins; guidelines; judgements; case summaries; advertisements for Viberts services; media releases; events information and timetables; news items; calculators; blogs; tweets and photographic images including employee images.
1. The jurisdiction and applicable law invoked in the event of any dispute arising as a result of content posted on the firm’s website will be in accordance with the laws of the States of Jersey.
Website privacy and Data Protection
1. Viberts is committed to protecting users’ privacy. This policy statement of privacy applies to the Viberts web site and governs data collection and usage. Viberts website may collect personally identifiable information, such as e-mail address, name, home or work address or telephone number. There is also information about computer hardware and software that is automatically collected by Viberts. This information can include: IP address, browser type, domain names, access times, referring website addresses and which pages are visited by a user within the site. This information is used by Viberts for the operation of the service, to maintain quality of the service, and to provide general statistics regarding use of the Viberts web site.
2. Any data handled by Viberts website will be in line with Data Protection requirements and Viberts data protection principles (see Data protection policy).
Links to and from other websites
1. The decision to link Viberts’ website with that of any other organisation will be that of the Managing Partner. Management of any linking arrangements will be the responsibility of the Head of Business Development and Marketing.
2. Links to and from third party websites are provided for the convenience of the web user and if used the user has left the Viberts’ website. Viberts may have arrangements in place with some third party sites but the firm may not have not reviewed all of these websites and do not control, nor are responsible for these websites or their content or availability.
1. Viberts endeavours to ensure that the information on their website is correct. The firm does not warrant the accuracy and completeness of the material on the site and may make changes to the material, or to the services described in it, at any time without notice.
1. The firm is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its employees, clients and anyone affected by its business activities, and to providing a safe environment for all those attending the firm’s premises through regular assessments of risks in the workplace.
2. In particular the firm is committed to maintaining safe and healthy working conditions through control of the health and safety risks arising from the firm’s work activities.
What is covered by this policy?
3. In accordance with the firm’s health and safety duties, the firm is responsible for;
3.1. assessing risks to health and safety and identifying ways to overcome them;
3.2. providing and maintaining a healthy and safe place to work and a safe means of entering and leaving the firm’s premises, including emergency procedures for use when needed;
3.3. providing information, instruction, training and supervision in safe working methods and procedures where appropriate as well as working areas and equipment that are safe and without risks to health;
3.4. ensuring that equipment has all necessary safety devices installed, and that equipment is properly maintained;
3.5. promoting co-operation between employees to ensure safe and healthy conditions and systems of work by discussion and effective joint consultation;
3.6. regularly monitoring and reviewing the management of health and safety at work, making any necessary changes and bringing those to the attention of all employees.
4. The Managing Partner has overall responsibility for health and safety and the operation of this policy. The partners have nominated the Facilities Manager as the Principal Health and Safety Officer with day-to-day responsibility for health and safety matters.
5. All employees must also recognise that everyone shares responsibility for achieving healthy and safe working conditions. The employee must consider the health and safety implications of their acts and/ or omissions and take reasonable care for their health and safety and that of others.
6. Any health and safety concerns should be reported to the Principal Health and Safety Officer.
7. The full text of this Health and Safety policy (VHB0024) is contained in the Staff Handbook.
Statement of Intent
1. In accordance with its legal obligations, Viberts has carried out a risk assessment of its activities, equipment, facilities, building and all other related arrangements where matters of health and safety may be involved. This Health and Safety Policy (Policy) is designed to enable Viberts to comply with its statutory health and safety obligations, to apply the necessary measures identified in its risk assessment and to adopt all other reasonably practicable measures (within the limits of available resources) to:
1.1 Reduce hazards and the risk of personal injury to its Employees and Visitors arising out of its activities.
1.2 Maintain a safe and healthy place of work.
1.3 Reduce hazards and the risk of damage to its property.
2. In particular, Viberts shall:
2.1 Continue to identify hazards and assess risks to health and safety.
2.2 Provide and maintain safe equipment and systems of work that are free of risk to health.
2.3 Maintain any place of work under its control (including access and egress) safe and free of risk to health.
2.4 Provide safe arrangements for the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances.
2.5 Provide adequate and appropriate information, instructions, training and supervision.
2.6 Consult with Employees on health and safety matters.
2.7 Monitor, inspect and review the implementation of this Policy.
2.8 Review this Policy annually.
3. To this end, proper implementation and application of this Policy by everyone is paramount. Employees are required to comply with the terms of this Policy and any related arrangements or policies, take all reasonable steps to protect their own safety and that of other Employees, and co-operate with management in the implementation of this Policy.
4. The ultimate responsibility for overseeing the implementation of this Health and Safety Policy rests with the Managing Partner.
Administrative Organisation Management
1. The ultimate responsibility for preparing and reviewing this Policy rests with the Practice Director. If necessary, s/he shall be assisted by the Health and Safety Manager and/or other members of management and/ or Employees.
2. The Health and Safety Manager is responsible for the implementation of this Policy. However, this responsibility may be shared with departmental heads.
3. In particular the Health and Safety Manager shall be responsible for:
3.1 Identifying risks and putting in place arrangements for controlling and reducing such risks.
3.2 Monitoring the implementation of this Policy.
3.3 Advising all Employees on all matters of health and safety.
3.4 Monitoring the physical conditions of premises to ensure that Employees and Visitors are exposed to the lowest reasonably practicable level of risk.
3.5 Providing and communicating up-to-date health and safety information.
3.6 Providing or arranging health and safety training.
3.7 Liaising with the Health and Safety Inspectorate.
3.8 Providing support for the Practice Director.
4. In addition, s/he must make appropriate arrangements to monitor the effectiveness of all health and safety arrangements (including, regular safety audits). Where necessary, remedial action should be agreed on, reported to the Practice Director and carried out within a reasonable time.
5. In addition, the Health and Safety Manager shall consult with Employees on health and safety matters.
6. It is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Manager to ensure that new Employees receive relevant health and safety information within a reasonable time of joining the Viberts Group.
1. Employees have a duty to take reasonable care of their personal health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
2. In addition, Employees are required to comply with the terms of this Policy to the extent that it applies to them. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action (including, where appropriate, dismissal). In particular, Employees should become familiar with the provisions dealing with emergencies, fire precautions and procedures, bomb alert procedure and first aid arrangements.
3. Employees are required to report to the Health and Safety Manager anything which they suspect may represent a serious and immediate health and safety danger and/or a shortcoming in Viberts health and safety arrangements.
4. Any Employee who has a disability or who otherwise suffers from any condition which may affect the implementation of any of the terms of this Policy in relation to him/her, is encouraged to inform his/her direct superior of his/her disability or condition and any effect it may have.
5. No person may intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare under this Policy. An Employee who is suspected of such interference or misuse may be subject to disciplinary action (including, where appropriate, dismissal).
6. An Employee who has any question in relation to this Policy, or any health and safety matter, should contact the Health and Safety Manager.
Information, Instruction and Training
1. Health and safety information comes from numerous sources. Employees who seek health and safety information are advised in the first instance to contact the Health and Safety Manager. In addition, employees may search and download useful information using the Internet (e.g. using the search term “health and safety” - including the quotes). Free advisory leaflets on a wide range of health and safety issues may be obtained from the Health and Safety Inspectorate or via the web site (http://www.gov.je/Industry/HealthSafetyWork/Pages/default.aspx).
1. Specific practical information on how to carry out processes or use equipment safely can be obtained from the Health and Safety Manager. In addition, manufacturers’ instruction manuals should be consulted before any equipment is used and in the event of any fault, defect, problem or query.
1. Health and Safety training will be arranged by the Health and Safety Manager as and when appropriate and may be provided internally or externally. In particular, it is envisaged that training shall be provided upon Employees joining Viberts and on their being exposed to new or increased risk (e.g. following the introduction of new equipment, technology or systems of work). Where appropriate, training shall be repeated periodically. Records of all training shall be kept centrally by the Health and Safety Manager.
General Health and Safety Precautions
1. Having carried out a risk assessment, Viberts has and shall continue to have, and Employees are required to maintain, a clear understanding of the hazards involved in any particular situation and remain vigilant towards the general condition of any equipment, materials and other items in use.
2. Where appropriate, Employees shall receive/undergo adequate training designed to help them maintain safety awareness, look out for safety risks and understand the importance of minimising risks and of adhering to methods which are designed to achieve this.
3. All known problems and/or defects to equipment or items must be reported to the Health and Safety Manager. If necessary, the relevant equipment or item shall be taken for repair.
4. Employees whose work may give rise to risk to health may be required to undergo medical screening before commencing and during their time at work.
Work Arrangements and Working Areas General Precautions
1. Buildings where work may be carried out shall be of sound construction with safe means of access and egress. Working areas shall be designed to ensure adequate space, light, temperature and ventilation for reasonable comfort and safety. Noise levels should be as low as the work permits and within safe limits.
2. Any area of special hazard shall be signposted clearly and be subject to suitable safety measures and access arrangements. Only specially trained and authorised Employees may enter and, if necessary, work in areas of special hazards. Such Employees must receive the prior written authorisation of the Managing Partner. Appropriate protective equipment/clothing shall be provided for dealing with any particular danger or risk at the relevant area, and must be used/worn.
3. Corridors and staircases must provide safe emergency escape routes and access. They must not be used as storage or work areas. Windows, doors and gates shall be suitably constructed and, if necessary, fitted with safety devices.
4. Employees are reminded that polished/wet floors may be slippery and there should be no running on bare floors. In addition, all floors must be kept dry and free of litter, goods, trailing cables, Client files, etc. An Employee who detects torn floor surfaces (e.g. carpet) should report this immediately to the Health and Safety Manager.
5. Access to high-level storage should be made using adequate equipment which shall be available (e.g. a step ladder, not a revolving stool or chair). Manual handling instructions must be followed when carrying any load.
1. Corridors and staircases are needed to provide safe emergency escape routes and access. They must not be used as work or storage areas. In particular, any material or equipment which is combustible, could add to the risk of fire, could assist the occurrence or spread of fire, or could obstruct access/egress must not be stored in corridors or staircases. It is important to give way to persons coming down stairs (as they are less able to see where to place their feet).
2. Employees are required to keep their workplace clean and tidy. Please refer to the firms ‘Keep Viberts House Tidy Policy in the Staff Handbook for further guidance on this area.
3. Waste should be disposed of regularly, in suitable receptacles. Sharp objects (e.g. broken glass) should be wrapped and segregated before disposal.
4. Windows and doors shall be suitably constructed and, if necessary, fitted with safety devices.
5. Employees shall be provided with adequate seats for the work they do (which shall provide adequate lower back support). Where required, footrests and back rolls will be provided. Gas cylinder chairs must be used cautiously and with common sense. Employees must not cause uneven loading of the chair, e.g. by sitting on its arms. An Employee who discovers that a chair has become unstable or has any fault or defect must stop using the chair and report the fault immediately to the Health and Safety Manager (who shall arrange for the chair to be repaired).
6. Shelves and storage racks must be stacked safely and must not be overloaded. An Employee who discovers a damaged shelf/storage rack must report the fault immediately to the Health and Safety Manager and place a note saying ‘CAUTION - DEFECTIVE SHELF’.
7. Filing cabinets must be kept stable with sufficient weight in the bottom drawers to prevent them from tipping over when open. Drawers must be open one at a time and closed immediately after use. Keys must not be left in locks, to prevent accidental injury to passers-by.
8. Photocopiers must be positioned and used in well-ventilated rooms only. As far as possible, they should only be used with the lid down. If a photocopier has to be used with the lid up and tubes exposed, employees shall be supplied with and must wear UV goggles. Employees must follow manufacturer’s instructions when operating a photocopier and, in particular, when removing jammed paper or replacing toner cartridges.
1. All personnel are responsible for the security of their own private property that is brought onto the Viberts Group premises. It follows that individuals should be responsible for insuring their own property with cover usually being included under their normal domestic house contents policies.
Temperature and Humidity
1. Steps shall be taken to endeavour to keep temperature in Viberts premises within a comfortable range and in any event above a minimum of sixteen degrees centigrade (after the first hour of work and except for rooms which are open to the outside). There is no set maximum temperature, but Viberts shall endeavour to ensure that temperature is maintained at a comfortable level. In addition, Viberts shall endeavour to keep buildings at a comfortable humidity range (40-75% RH) to prevent irritation to eyes and respiratory tract.
2. Cooling equipment must not be positioned in such a way that long hair might get caught. Free standing heating apparatus is not approved for use in Viberts House due to the fire risk they may pose. Air conditioning and hot water systems shall be checked and maintained regularly. Private heating or cooling equipment must not be used, except with the prior written authorisation of the Managing Partner (in which case, all equipment shall be tested and inspected regularly).
1. It is important that Employees have adequate lighting suitable for the activity which they carry out.
1. Wherever there is a noisy work environment (e.g. an Employee needs to shout to communicate with a person about two metres away), the Health and Safety Manager should be informed and shall arrange an assessment of noise levels. A record of any assessment shall be kept until a new assessment is made.
2. If noise or sound pressure exceeds the level prescribed by law, steps shall be taken to reduce the noise/sound pressure to the lowest level reasonably practicable. Should noise levels exceed the legal limit Employees shall be supplied with ear protection such as ear muffs or ear plugs (which they must wear) and with information about the risks involved. Such equipment must be maintained and stored in accordance with instruction, any fault must be reported to the Health and Safety Manager.
Zip Taps – dispensing boiling water
1. There are zip taps in the reception kitchen and at the tea points on the second and third floors of Viberts House.
2. Zip taps dispense both boiling and chilled water.
3. Employees should always exercise caution when using the zip taps, as boiling water can cause serious harm.
4. The firm have placed directions on the safe use of zip taps on the wall next to each tap so that they are clearly visible to all employees who wish to use the taps.
5. To safely dispense boiling water, the employee should;
5.1. Hold their cup underneath the tap;
5.2. Pull the tap with red strips, marked “boiling water”, forward and press the “safety” button simultaneously;
5.3. Dispense of boiling water will begin;
5.4. Once finished release the “safety” button and push the boiling water tap back into its off position.
6. Employees are advised not to fill their cup too full in order to avoid spillage.
7. Employees are advised to take great care when walking through the office with a cup of boiling water, as a slip or an accident could cause serious harm to themselves or others.
8. Employees should refrain from carrying cups of boiling water down the stairwells as any spillages could cause
9. The following incidents should be reported to the Health & Safety Manager immediately;
9.1. Where water is spilled on any surface, and it is not safe or practicable for the employee to attempt to clean it up themselves;
9.2. Any burns or injuries sustained as a result of using the zip tap or from boiling;
9.3. Any concerns about the safety of the zip tap;
10. If any employee requires training on the safe use of the zip tap they should speak to the Health & Safety Manager.
New and Expectant Mothers
1. The firm have a general duty to take care of the health and safety of all employees. The firm are also required to carry out a risk assessment to assess the workplace risks to women who are pregnant, have given birth within the last six months or are still breastfeeding.
2. The firm will provide the employee with information as to any risks identified in the risk assessment, and any preventive and protective measures that have been or will be taken. If the firm considers that, as a new or expectant mother, the employee would be exposed to health hazards in carrying out their normal work the firm will take such steps as are necessary (for as long as the employee are necessary) to avoid those risks. This may involve;
1.1 Changing their working conditions or hours of work;
1.2 Offering the employee suitable alternative work on terms and conditions that are the same or not substantially less favourable; or
1.3 Suspending the employee from duties on full pay unless the employee has unreasonably refused suitable alternative work.
1. The terms of this Policy, and in particular the provisions relating to visual display equipment, protective personal equipment, manual handling operations, new and expectant mothers, first aid and Reporting of Accidents, shall apply to the Viberts Group home workers in the same way as they apply to all other Employees.
Manual Handling Operations
1. Manual handling operations include any task which involves lifting, moving and supporting loads through physical effort (e.g. moving files, desks, computers, etc).
2. As far as reasonably practicable, manual handling operations should be avoided, e.g. by eliminating or redesigning the task or by using handling equipment (e.g. a trolley or castors). Where a manual handling operation has to be carried out, it ought to be assessed and risks of injury identified. All reasonably practicable safety measures must be taken, including informing the relevant Employee of the weight of the load to be carried, altering or splitting of the load, providing and using mechanical aid equipment, and changing the task layout or design. No Employee should be asked or attempt to lift a load that is too heavy.
3. Any Employee who carries out a manual handling operation is required to:
3.1 Check that the area through which and to which the load is carried is clean and tidy.
3.2 Wear shoes which have a good grip and, if reasonably practicable, protective toecaps, not wear loose clothing, wear gloves (when necessary), and use all other supplied and necessary protective and handling equipment.
3.3 Stand close to the load and plant feet firmly with legs approximately thirty centimetres apart.
3.4 Squat with bent knees, keeping his/her back straight and chin tucked in.
3.5 Grip the load firmly and stand up slowly with the load kept near the body - the load should not be lifted above chest height.
3.6 Use smooth movement, avoid jerking, twisting, jumping, etc.
3.7 Lower the load slowly by bending the knees and letting the legs take the strain.
3.8 Take extra care if suffering from a back problem.
3.9 Ask for help if necessary.
1. Asbestos was used widely between the 1950s and 1980s (e.g. asbestos cement, in insulation boards and in paints, paper and floor coverings). Consequently, it is likely that asbestos is present in all buildings erected during this period. All reasonably practicable steps have been taken to prevent, and where not possible reduce to the lowest level possible, the exposure of Employees and Visitors to asbestos.
2. An Employee who uncovers hidden material or dust which s/he suspects may contain asbestos, must stop work immediately and contact the Health and Safety Manager who shall arrange for the material/relevant area to be inspected (and, if necessary, closed down) and for the asbestos to be removed.
3. All asbestos removals shall be carried out under controlled conditions by a licensed asbestos removal company. Employees must not attempt to carry out asbestos removal under any circumstances.
1. The responsibility for Visitors rests with the person being visited.
2. As far as reasonably practicable, the location of any Visitor with impaired mobility shall be known at all times to the person being visited. Such a Visitor shall be accompanied by an Employee throughout the visit, if reasonably practicable. For the purpose of this Policy, a person has impaired mobility if s/he cannot, without the assistance of someone else, use stairs to leave a building.
3. Every precaution must be taken to ensure that Visitors do not enter hazardous areas (unless they have written authorisation, are informed in advance of the specific hazards, and wear suitable protective clothing).
Children and Young Persons
1. Employees should not bring children to work, except with the prior written authorisation of the Managing Partner (which shall be in his/her absolute discretion). An Employee who is authorised to bring a child to work, must keep him/her in close supervision at all times.
Person Responsible for the policy: Practice Director
1. The firm is committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of all those who work for the firm by providing a safe place of work and protecting all employees, clients and visitors from exposure to smoke.
2. The firm’s workplace is smoke-free and all employees and visitors have a right to a smoke-free environment.
Scope and implementation of the policy
3. Smoking is banned in the firm’s workplace. This ban applies to anything that can be smoked and includes, but is not limited to, cigarettes, pipes (including water pipes such as shisha and hookah pipes), cigars and herbal cigarettes.
4. Employees may only smoke outside during breaks. When smoking outside, employees should ensure that they dispose of cigarette butts appropriately. Employees are also requested not to smoke immediately outside the entrance to the firm’s premises as this affects clients and visitors as they enter the building.
5. The firm is committed to making this policy effective and to promoting a healthy working environment. Workers who experience particular difficulty complying with this policy should discuss their situation with their line manager or the HR Manager.
Breaches of the policy
6. Breaches of this policy will be dealt with under the firm’s Disciplinary Procedure and, in serious cases, may be treated as gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal.
7. Smoking in smoke-free premises is also a criminal offence and may result in a fixed penalty fine and/or prosecution.
Work Related Psychiatric Illness and Excessive Stress
1. Some stress at work is unavoidable and may even have a positive effect. All reasonable measures have been and shall continue to be taken, however, to prevent the risk of work related psychiatric illness and excessive stress to Employees. Poor attitude, behaviour or work performance and increased sickness absence may indicate that an Employee is suffering from excessive stress/psychiatric illness.
2. An Employee who suspects that s/he may be suffering from a work-related psychiatric illness or excessive stress, should inform the Managing Partner (or any other member of management whom the Employee feels comfortable to address) of this as soon as possible.
3. As far as reasonably practicable, the Viberts Group shall take steps to alter any working conditions and arrangements or work load which are found to cause the Employee’s psychiatric illness/excessive stress quickly and adequately. Reasonable efforts shall be made to reduce the risk of future recurrence of such work conditions, arrangements or work load. Where resources allow, the Viberts Group will endeavour to offer stress counselling and/or stress management training.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
1. Fortunately, in an office environment there are relatively few substances that might be hazardous to health but there are some such as photocopier toner, correction fluids and kitchen cleaning materials. Where appropriate, the Viberts Group have endeavoured to store the main supplies of these substances separately and safely.
1. Work equipment includes any machinery, appliance, apparatus or tool which is used by an Employee at work (e.g. computer, photocopier, guillotine, lift, motor vehicle, etc.). It may include equipment not in the Viberts Group ownership (e.g. equipment which is owned privately by an Employee). The use of any equipment which is not owned by the Viberts Group must be authorised in advance by the Managing Partner.
2. Incorrect and/or careless use of equipment can result in personal injury to any person and damage to property or equipment.
3. All equipment must be used with due care, for its intended purpose and in its intended conditions only. Equipment must be used in accordance with its instructions for use and any applicable directions and training (e.g. about the time and manner of use).
4. Where necessary, Employees shall receive information, instructions and training before they begin to use any equipment (and thereafter, if necessary). This shall include information, etc. about potential hazards, safe conditions and methods of use, use of protective equipment, possible emergencies and emergency action. Only trained and authorised Employees may use hazardous equipment. Use of hazardous equipment by unauthorised Employees may result in disciplinary action.
5. All equipment must be maintained in a safe and efficient condition and good repair. Storage and maintenance must be suitable for the specific equipment. Where necessary, equipment shall be inspected to ensure that it is safe for use without risk of injury or damage and appropriate records shall be kept up to date.
6. Employees are required to report any fault/defect which they notice in any work equipment or safety device attached to it or any personal protective equipment to the Health and Safety Manager, immediately on discovering the said fault/defect. Equipment must not be used until defects/faults have been rectified (unless it has only minor defects which do not carry a risk to health and safety and where Employees receive prior written authorisation from the Health and Safety Manager).
7. Where necessary, safety devices shall be attached to equipment (e.g. protective devices, markings or warnings). Equipment must be operated with or in accordance with any safety devices attached to it. Safety devices must not be removed, circumvented or otherwise tampered with. An employee who removes, circumvents or otherwise tampers with a safety device may be subject to disciplinary action (including, where appropriate, dismissal).
8. Where appropriate, Employees shall be provided with personal protective equipment. Employees must use such equipment at all times when operating, working or being in the vicinity of the relevant equipment.
9. When buying new work equipment or disposing of old equipment, relevant legal requirements and product safety regulations shall be followed. For example, all new equipment must carry the CE mark or appropriate international kitemark.
10. Employees may not take any work equipment out of the Viberts Group premises, except with the prior written authorisation of the Managing Partner.
Visual Display Screen Equipment
1. Any Employee who uses display screen equipment for a significant part of his/her normal work (for example, an Employee who on average and in total, uses a computer for two hours per day) (‘VDU Employee’) shall have his/her display screen equipment workstation assessed (and where necessary, adapted) to ensure that its design and layout will avoid visual fatigue and back, shoulder, neck, arms, legs and wrists aches. Adequate chairs, work surfaces and equipment shall be provided (e.g. footrest or back roll).
2. VDU Employees are encouraged to take periodical breaks from using the equipment.
3. On request, once a year, VDU employees may request an eyesight test by an approved optician. If an Employee requires special corrective appliances for specifically for display screen work only and a normal appliance cannot be used, Viberts shall contribute to the cost of such basic appliance (e.g. the cheapest frame and basic lenses for glasses).
4. VDU Employees shall be given written information and guidance on the safe use of display screen equipment. If necessary, VDU Employees shall attend training on the safe use of display screen equipment. Any VDU Employee who wishes to get information relating to the health and safety aspects of display screen equipment should contact the Health and Safety Manager.
5. Employees must switch off all monitors and display screen equipment at the end of their working day, to avoid the risk of fire.
1. Lifting equipment includes any equipment used at work for lifting or lowering loads/people and any attachment used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it. Examples include lifts, cranes, chairs, ropes and slings.
2. Lifting equipment must be:
2.1 Strong, stable and suitable for its particular use.
Any load attached to lifting equipment shall also be suitable.
2.2 Marked to indicate safe methods of use and safe working loads. Employees must operate equipment in accordance with its marking and must not load it beyond safe limits.
2.3 Positioned or installed in such a way so as to prevent the risk of injury.
2.4 Thoroughly examined before being used for the first time (where appropriate) with an appropriate report being drawn, if necessary.
2.5 Thoroughly examined after installation or assembly and before being put to service, where safety depends on the installation or assembly condition.
2.6 Inspected regularly and tested periodically as may be specified by law with an appropriate report being drawn (if necessary).
3. Any lifting equipment which is used to lift or carry people, must be suitable and safe for this purpose and must be marked accordingly. The equipment shall be tested and inspected regularly, as required by law.
4. All lifting operations must be carried out in a safe manner by Employees who are properly trained for the task. In addition, all lifting operations must be planned and supervised.
Operation of Roller Storage
1. All client files are kept in the roller storage units on the second and third floors of Viberts House.
2. Great care should be taken by all individuals when using the rolling storage units to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of others, as injury can occur when the units are not used appropriately.
3. Individuals should ensure that nothing is left blocking the path of a rolling storage unit, including the trolley, boxes, or files.
4. Each rolling unit moves on runners which are set into the floor, and units are rolled either left or right by rotating a handle on the front panel of each unit.
5. By rolling a unit, it is possible for the individual to access client files stored on either side of the unit.
6. When accessing a rolling storage unit, the individual should;
6.1. first ensure that nobody else is using the rolling storage, by checking each individual unit;
6.2. if another employee is using the storage units, wait for them to finish, or ensure that the other employee has locked the units they are working between;
6.3. lock the storage unit they are accessing, and the unit behind them, into a fixed position on the runners. This will prevent the units from being moved by another employee wishing to access the units.
7. To lock the unit, the individual should push in the lower handle on the front panel of each unit.
8. Each unit should remain locked until the individual has finished using the rolling unit.
9. Once they have exited the rolling unit the individual can release the lock on the unit by pulling out the handle on the front panel of the unit. This will allow the unit to move freely along the runners.
10. All new members of staff will be shown how to safely use the rolling storage and how to lock each unit, in their health and safety and departmental inductions.
11. The rolling storage units will be checked regularly by the Health & Safety Manager to ensure that they are in good working order and safe to use.
12. If an employee has any concerns about the use of rolling storage units, or a concern about the safety of the units, they should speak to the Health & Safety Manager.
Personal Protective Equipment
1. Personal protective equipment appropriate for the risks involved and suitable for the job at hand and the particular Employee doing it shall be supplied and must be used at work whenever there is a risk to health and safety which cannot be adequately controlled by alternative means. Personal protective equipment must be used or worn in accordance with instructions for use and any directions and training given.
2. Any Employee whose work may involve for whatever period of time:
2.1 Falling or flying particles (e.g. through load lifting), dust or projectiles, shall wear goggles or face screens and breathing apparatus, filter face piece or respirator or air-fed helmets as may be appropriate.
2.2 Falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping or hair entanglement, shall wear a helmet, bump cap, skull cap, hats or cape hoods as may be appropriate.
2.3 Excessive noise or sound pressure, shall wear adequate ear protection such as ear muffs or ear plugs.
2.4 Abrasion, extremes of temperature, cuts, impacts, electric shock, vibration or skin infection or disease, shall wear gloves, gauntlets, mitts or armlets as may be appropriate.
2.5 Wet surfaces, slipping, cuts, falling objects, abrasion or electric build-up, shall wear safety boots/shoes, gaiters, leggings or spats as may be appropriate.
3. In all cases, Employees must wear adequate footwear and clothing for their work/work area and watch out that jewellery, loose clothing and long hair do not get caught in machinery (e.g. guillotines).
4. Personal protective equipment must be maintained and stored properly and in accordance with any relevant instructions (e.g. manufacturers’ maintenance schedule). Any defects must be reported immediately on their discovery to the Health and Safety Manager.
Electricity and Electrical Equipment General Precautions
1. Anyone using electricity and electrical equipment must be aware of the risks of electrocution, electric shock, burns, fire and explosion. All precautions must be taken to reduce such risks. Assessment of all foreseeable risks of personal injury or death associated with work activities involving electricity have been undertaken and shall be reviewed as required and Viberts has devised systems for safe working with well-maintained electrical equipment.
2. Electrical systems must not be interfered with. The fixed electrical installations and electric mains in Viberts premises are the sole responsibility of the IT Manager. No work shall be carried out on fixed installations and the mains without the IT Managers’ prior authorisation.
3. Employees must report any fault or defect which they notice in any electrical installation or equipment to the IT Manager as soon as they discover it. Defective installation/equipment must not be used until fully repaired.
1. All electrical equipment must be safe and suitable for its intended use and must be used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions and information.
Where appropriate, training will be provided, or arranged, by the IT Manager. In particular:
1.1 Electrical equipment must never be used with wet hands.
1.2 Earth connections and shields must not be interfered with.
1.3 Electrical equipment must be positioned safely and securely (e.g. not too close to walls and partitions and allowing for adequate ventilation and cooling).
1.4 Conductors and liquid containers (e.g. a cup of tea) must be kept clear of all electrical equipment.
1.5 Electrical equipment and the mains supply must not be overloaded.
2. Faults can occur and, therefore, Employees should look out for and pay particular attention to the following potential faults/defects:
2.1 Damage to the insulating sheath around an electrical cable.
2.2 Damage to a plug.
2.3 Joints in the cable, other then due to proprietary cable connections.
2.4 Damage to the external casing of equipment.
2.5 Overheating (this may be evidenced by burn marks or discoloration to plugs, casing or cables).
2.6 Evidence of inappropriate use, e.g. equipment is wet.
2.7 Any loose connections.
3. Employees must report any fault or defect which they notice in any electrical equipment to the IT Manager as soon as they discover it. Faulty or defective equipment should not be used until repaired. If electrical equipment cannot be repaired immediately, its power supply should be switched off and it should be isolated. The isolation point must be secured (e.g. by removing the plug) or, if this is not possible or cannot be done safely, by attaching a clear notice (e.g. ‘DO NOT USE - FAULTY EQUIPMENT’). Barriers must be used where necessary.
4. Unless this is unavoidable and all suitable precautions have been taken to prevent injury, no-one should work on or near exposed live parts of electrical equipment. In any event, such work must be authorised in advance by the IT Manager and must only be carried out in the presence of another person who must know what to do in an emergency. All necessary protective equipment must be used/worn.
5. Any conducting part of a system which could conceivably become live and yet be handled (e.g. external metal casing of an electric apparatus) must be earthed.
6. Employees who are in any doubt about the use of any electrical equipment or who require advice in relation to any such use or equipment should contact the IT Manager.
1. The heating in the offices is by means of air conditioning units. The system is regularly checked and serviced as necessary. If anyone has any reason to suppose that any system is not functioning properly they should inform the Facilities Manager.
Portable Electrical Equipment
1. The use of any portable electrical equipment which is not owned by Viberts must be authorised in advance by the Managing Partner.
2. Portable equipment should be connected to the nearest socket outlet available. Special attention should be paid to the condition of any flexible cable and its termination at the portable equipment and plug. Where possible, double insulated equipment should be used.
Fuses and Similar Devices
1. When using any equipment, the smallest compatible fuse should be used, to protect the equipment and flexible cable and to reduce the risk of fire.
2. Employees must not replace fuses. Fuses shall be replaced only after the reason for the fuse blowing has been ascertained and the cause remedied. Only proper cartridge fuses may be used for replacement.
3. A main board fuse must never be replaced.
4. Residual current devices (RCDs) shall be used in areas of hazard (e.g. where water has to be used near electrical equipment).
1. Flexible cables must be of the correct size for the load to be carried and must be sheathed with rubber or PVC. The outer sheath of every flexible cable must be firmly clamped to stop the wires pulling out of the terminals.
2. Flexible cables must not be used for voltages above 240 or a loading greater than three kilowatts. Cables must also be kept away from hot surfaces. Where contact with hot surfaces is inevitable, suitable insulation is obligatory. Twin core cables, such as bell wire and twisted flex must not be used on 240 volts.
3. All flexible cables must be examined frequently to ensure that they are free of damage. Trailing, frayed and loose cables must be reported immediately, in order to be fixed.
4. Flexible cables of excessive length should not be used. In so far as this is practicable, there shall be sufficient socket outlets to avoid the need for long flexible cables or extension cables. Extension cables should be used with caution and must be joined by proper plugs and sockets. Extension cables must not be used on heaters.
5. In so far as possible, all cables must be:
5.1 Kept clear of the floor or be protected to prevent heavy objects being placed or dropped on them or people walking or tripping over them.
5.2 Protected where they pass over or round sharp objects or corners.
5.3 Kept clear of radiators and pipe work.
5.4 Laid so as to avoid being trapped in doors.
6. Only one cable should be used from any single plug and the total load must not exceed three kilowatts.
1. It is recommended to unplug equipment which is not in use. All equipment should be switched off and/or unplugged before cleaning or making adjustments. Where possible, tools and power socket outlets should be switched off before plugging or unplugging.
2. Only dry powder or carbon dioxide extinguishers may be used on electrical fires. Water and water based extinguishers must never be used in the case of an electrical fire.
3. In the event of fire, the fire alarm must be raised immediately and the Fire Procedure followed.
4. All electrical incidents/accidents must be reported to the Health & Safety Manager in accordance with the procedure set out in the section ‘Reporting of Accidents’.
Electricity Related Injuries
1. In the event of any person suffering electric shock, it is important to:
1.1 Turn off the power and, if possible, isolate the supply.
1.2 Call a First Aider. Medical help must be called if the victim seems to be unconscious.
1.3 Not touch the victim, but try to move him/her out of contact with the live equipment using a non-conducting object such as a wooden broom handle (e.g. by moving the equipment). In so far as possible, the victim should not be moved.
2. All electrical burns (other than very minor and superficial burns) must be inspected by a qualified medical practitioner.
3. All electricity-related injuries must be reported to the Health & Safety Manager in accordance with the section ‘Reporting of Accidents’.
Ultra-Violet (UV) Radiation
1. Photocopiers and similar equipment often produce UV radiation which may damage eyes and skin. Photocopiers must be used with the lid down or, where this is not possible, with UV goggles.
1. Damaged microwave ovens must be labelled as such, their plug removed (where this can be done safely and a notice attached saying ‘FAULTY OVEN - DO NOT USE’). A defective oven must not be used until fully repaired. Any fault/damage must be reported to the Health and Safety Manager.
2. No-one should look along the wave guide when microwave apparatus is in use or examine a highly directional radiator at close quarters.
1. In the event of an emergency, the fire alarm will sound and the Designated Employee shall assume control, ensure the evacuation of all persons present to their assembly point(s), contact the emergency services, where required and ensure compliance with any relevant emergency procedure.
2. The paramount consideration in all cases of emergency is human safety. For the duration of any emergency, the Designated Employee have overall control. Employees and Visitors are required to co-operate with instructions given to them by the Designated Employee present in the scene and to use common sense. Employees and Visitors are advised not to rush or attempt to pass others when leaving the scene of an accident.
3. All exits and exit routes must be kept clear and must allow safe and free passage in the event of an emergency. Lifts should not be used in an emergency, except with the direction of a member of the emergency services.
4. It is the responsibility of the Health & Safety Manager to remind Employees of the correct emergency procedure at least once every calendar year.
Disabled Employees and Visitors
1. It is the responsibility of the Department Manager to be aware of any disabled Employee or Visitor in their work area and in the event of an emergency, in addition to following the normal emergency procedure, to arrange for assistance for the disabled Employees/Visitors and to inform the Designated Employee of this.
2. Disabled Employees/Visitors with impaired mobility (e.g. anyone who cannot, without the assistance of another, use stairs to leave a building) who are on a ground floor should, in case of an emergency, wait until the initial rush is over and then evacuate the building. If such an Employee/Visitor is on another floor, s/he must inform at least two persons of his/her location as soon as an emergency occurs and ask them to inform the Designated Employee/emergency services. The Employee/Visitor may ask someone to stay with him/her whilst waiting for assistance. Should a disabled Employee/Visitor have to be evacuated and this is safe, the power to the lift will be restored. Otherwise, the Employee/Visitor shall be evacuated through the building or by the stairs by the emergency services.
3. Employees/Visitors with impaired hearing who cannot hear the fire/emergency alarm must inform the Health & Safety Manager about this and avoid working in isolated areas. If such an Employee/Visitor must work alone, s/he must ensure that someone knows where s/he is and will inform him/her in case of an emergency.
1. For ease of reference the Assembly Point for emergency evacuation referred to throughout this section will be New Street opposite the Town House public house. In the event of an exclusion zone being established by the authorities that would include this fire Assembly Point then the Assembly Point shall be either the Cenotaph in the Parade or The Royal Square.
Fire Precautions and Procedures Precautions Measures
1. All Employees and Visitors are required to familiarise themselves with the position of fire alarms, telephones and fire extinguishers nearest to them and their place of work and of all exits and routes to emergency exits of the building(s) in which they work or which they visit.
2. In addition, Employees are required to know the sound of Viberts fire alarm system and understand its meaning. The fire alarm system shall be tested regularly and the results recorded in a designated book.
3. All areas have been and shall continue to be appraised periodically for risks from fire and all necessary preventive action shall be taken.
4. All exits and exit routes must be kept clear and must allow safe and free passage in the event of fire. Corridors and staircases should not be used as working or storage areas. All exit doors should be able to be opened easily and immediately from within (in the direction of escape) and without the need for a key. Fire doors must be kept closed at all times, except when actually used or when large items have to be moved through them.
5. Emergency routes and exits shall be indicated by clear signs and, where necessary, shall be illuminated.
6. Fire alarms, detectors and extinguishers shall be inspected, tested and maintained regularly as appropriate to ensure that they are in an efficient state, working order and good repair.
7. The fire evacuation procedure will be exercised periodically, in co-ordination and with the approval of the Health and Safety Manager. The exercise will be reviewed by the Health and Safety Manager and a report compiled. Employees and Visitors must comply with the fire evacuation procedure on hearing a fire alarm. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
In the Event of a Fire
1. Any Employee/Visitor who discovers fire is required to shout ‘FIRE’ and activate the nearest fire alarm. Fires should only be tackled if it is safe to do so, there is a clear escape route, there are fire extinguishers of the appropriate type, and the Employee/Visitor is trained and confident in the use of fire extinguishers. Employees should not tackle fires larger than a burning wastepaper basket. If the Employee/Visitor considers it unsafe to tackle the fire, s/he should evacuate the premises immediately by the shortest possible route, go to his/her designated assembly point and report to the Designated Employee.
2. An Employee/Visitor who hears the fire alarm should leave the building immediately and report to his/her assembly point. If there is time, Employees should close all doors and windows. Employees and Visitors must not stop to collect personal belongings. Employees/Visitors should not use lifts unless instructed to do so by the emergency services. An Employee/Visitor who is in a lift when the fire alarm sounds should stop at the next floor and get out. When evacuating reception a member of the reception staff should take the Visitors Book to the assembly point so as to ensure all Visitors to Viberts House have been evacuated safely.
3. Employees and Visitors must remain at their assembly point (or move to any other area when directed by the Designated Employee or emergency services) until authorised to re-enter the building.
4. The Designated Employee in the event of a fire will be either the Health and Safety Manager or Practice Director. They are responsible for:
4.1 Gathering all information regarding the evacuation.
4.2 Establishing if the alarm is false or genuine.
4.3 Ensuring the fire brigade has been called.
4.4 Receiving reports from the Fire Marshalls to confirm that all Clients and employees have been evacuated.
4.5 Liaising with the fire brigade on arrival.
5. On completion of the evacuation, the Designated Employee must be able to confirm that all Employees and Visitors evacuated the premises and/or whether there are any remaining Employees and Visitors within the premises and, if so, their identity.
6. The Designated Employee is the only one authorised to end an evacuation and recall people back to the building.
7. Every event of fire shall be reported to and recorded in writing by the Health and Safety Manager (immediately after the event) who shall report this to the Practice Director. Any fire outbreak may be investigated and suitable procedures and/or arrangements put in place to prevent the future occurrence of similar incidents.
1. The current list of Fire Marshalls can be found in the document ‘Job Functions’ in Public Folders.
1. Prompt and correct use of fire extinguishers can prevent a fire from spreading. The correct type of fire extinguisher must be used, to avoid increased risk and danger to the operator. Training in the use of fire extinguishers may be arranged through the Health and Safety Manager. Water and water-based extinguishers must never be used on electrical fires.
2. A water type (silver, red or silver band or label on red) extinguisher should be used for all carbonaceous materials (e.g. wood, paper, fabrics, etc.). A foam type (cream/cream band or label on red) extinguisher should be used on carbonaceous material and flammable liquids (e.g. petrol or oil). Carbon dioxide (black/black label or band on red) extinguisher or a fire blanket should be used on all electrical fires, flammable liquids and gasses, solvents, petrol, oil and similar materials. A dry powder (blue/blue band or label on red) extinguisher can be used on all fires.
Bomb Alert Procedure
1. Anyone receiving a bomb threat or discovering a suspicious object should inform the Health and Safety Manager immediately and remain in the vicinity and make him/herself known to the first security personnel arriving on the scene.
2. If a bomb threat is received, it is important to try to:
2.1 Get answers to the questions ‘where is the bomb’, ‘what time will it go off, ‘what kind of a bomb is it’, ‘why are you doing it’, and ‘do you have a codeword’.
2.2 Assess the gender, age group, accent and state of mind (e.g. intoxicated or irrational) of the caller.
2.3 Identify any noticeable background noise/distraction (e.g. traffic).
2.4 Assess whether the call is from a public, mobile or private telephone.
3. If a suspicious object or vehicle is identified/found, it is important to:
3.1 Note its exact location and easily recognisable identifying features (e.g. name markings).
3.2 Advise those present in the immediate vicinity to clear the area and remain at a safe distance.
3.3 Detail in one’s mind why suspicion was aroused.
4. Under no circumstances should anyone touch a suspicious object.
5. Mobile phones must not be used near a suspicious object.
Emergency First Aid Treatment
1. It is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Manager to maintain adequately stocked first aid boxes, obtain (or make arrangements to obtain) first aid supplies, select and provide training to First Aider(s) and post a full list of their location and internal phone numbers and the location of a first Aid box(es).
2. A First aid box is located in each kitchen at Viberts House. Employees are required to familiarise themselves as to the exact position of the first aid box nearest to them and the name of the person responsible for it.
3. Where necessary, First Aider(s) shall be called to the scene of an accident/incident where they will:
3.1 Assess the situation quickly and safely.
3.2 Make incident area safe. Unless there is an imminent threat to life, an injured person should not be moved except by the ambulance service or a suitably qualified person.
3.3 If suitably trained/qualified give early and appropriate treatment.
3.4 If required, call for the emergency services and report to the crew on their arrival.
3.5 If required arrange for any injured person to be taken to hospital, see a doctor or go home (as appropriate).
3.6 Deal with the aftermath:
3.6.1 Clear scene.
3.6.2 Ensure that an accident/incident report is completed and returned to the Health and Safety Manager and that the Accident Book is filled in.
4. All First Aiders shall receive approved training (e.g. from St John Ambulance), attend refresher courses as required, pass all necessary examinations, and hold a current first aid at work certificate.
1. The current list of First Aiders can be found in the document ‘Job Functions’ in Public Folders and on signs located at each First Aid point.
Reporting of Accidents
1. Any accident at work or in connection with work (whether involving an Employee, Visitor or other person, whenever and wherever it occurs on the Viberts Group premises) must be reported immediately and fully to the Health & Safety Manager (first verbally and then in writing) who shall arrange for the accident to be investigated and for a written report to be prepared.
2. Records of any reportable injury, disease or dangerous occurrence shall be kept by the Health & Safety Manager in the appropriate Accident Book.
1. The front door to Viberts House will remain unlocked during normal office hours and will be closed at 5.30pm (5pm on Friday) by reception.
2. Outside these hours entry can only be gained by key fob. No member of staff is to give their key fob to any person other than the IT Manager.
3. In the unlikely event of losing your key fob the IT Manager must be informed immediately on Extension 231 (Out of hours 632231).
1. Overall responsibility for Financial Management vests in the Practice Director.
2. Day to day management of Viberts Finance Department is delegated to the Finance Manager who reports directly to the Practice Director.
Legal Practice Management System
1. The system in use is ALB. Backing up the data is the responsibility of the IT Manager and tapes are stored off-site.
Person Responsible for the policy: Finance & Operations
1. Money received in the morning must be received by the Finance Team before 10.30 pm to ensure it is banked on the same day. Money that is received later in the day or direct by a Fee-earner is to be passed as soon as possible to the Finance Team for safe custody.
2. Money received in the morning post:
2.1 Any cheques received in the post will be listed on a daily sheet and passed to a Partner for review and sign off.
2.2 The Credit Controller will check to ensure client CDD is on file and if required the Credit Controller will contact the relevant Fee-earner to establish what the funds were received for/request confirmation that CDD has been received. Fee-earners are to give the Finance Team all assistance to ensure that all funds received from Clients are banked the same day they are received.
2.3 Any cheques received for third parties should be kept in the Accounts safe until they are distributed.
3. Money received later in the day:
3.1 Any cheques received during the day should be forwarded to the Finance Team as soon as possible to try and include them in that day’s banking. In all circumstances cheques or cash received need to be logged on the daily receipts listing held by the Finance Team.
3.2 The Fee-earner should provide sufficient information for the Finance Team to be able to process the funds.
4. Third Party Cheques. When a cheque made payable to a third party is received the Fee-earner is to record its receipt on the file of the Client together with the details of its despatch. Any cheques received for third parties should be held in the safe until they are distributed.
5. Payments by Credit Cards. Clients can settle Viberts Group bills and pay on account using credit/debit cards. The Finance Team can be contacted to process the transaction, or Clients can process payments via the Viberts Website. Credit/debit card payments cannot be accepted for considerations, payments into court and payments to third parties.
6. Bounced Cheques. The Finance Team will notify the Fee-earner if a cheque has bounced or has been referred (the bank will present the cheque once more automatically). Unless instructions are received to the contrary the cheque will be returned to the Viberts Group for action.
1. Only the Finance and Reception Teams are authorised to issue formal receipts on behalf of the Legal Practice for cheques.
1. Viberts adheres to The Law Society of Jersey Account Rules in relation to accounting to clients for interest on client monies. Part C of the Accounts Rules details how members of The Jersey Law Society should deal with this issue.
2. Viberts policy for accounting to clients for interest earned is as follows:
2.1 Interest is only paid to clients when the total amount net of any tax payable exceeds £20.
2.2 Where monies are held in Viberts general client account the criteria for establishing whether to account for interest is as follows:
- in excess of £2,500 held in excess of eight weeks
- in excess of £5,000 held in excess of four weeks
- in excess of £10,000 held in excess of two weeks
- in excess of £20,000 held in excess of one week
3. Where monies are held in a separately designated deposit account Viberts will account to clients for interest on any sum, held for any period.
4. Interest is calculated from the date Viberts is in receipt of cleared funds to the date the funds leave our bank account.
5. The rate of interest used to calculate the amount of interest earned will be the rate which would have been applied had the money been placed on immediate call deposit. Immediate call deposit is defined as an account which allows instant access without penalty.
6. Interest due on client monies will be calculated at the end of each month.
1. A transfer form is used for authorising the transfer of Client and office money to a third party. The authorised transfer form should be sent to the Finance Team for action. Once actioned a file copy will be returned to the Fee-earner to be placed on the Client file. On occasions it may be necessary to support the transfer form with a note of explanation.
2. The transferring of monies is directly the responsibility of Partners and it should be noted that the Finance Team have no authority to transfer Client money under any circumstances, only Partners have that authority.
3. Where the transfer is from Client Account to the Viberts Office Account for fees and/or disbursements this is authorised by one of the following methods:
3.1 Authorisation and signature on the Matter Management Report (MMR).
3.2 Authorisation and signature on a proforma bill.
1. On occasion, Viberts are required to hold monies on its Client Account as a retention.
2. On a regular basis and at least once a month the Credit Controller will review all funds held in our client account from the MMR’s to ensure that the funds should continue to be retained.
3. On a regular basis but at least once a quarter, Finance will meet with fee-earners.
4. If monies are held by Viberts on Client Account as a retention and we are no longer instructed by the client, this should be brought to the attention of the Practice Director as soon as the Credit Controller becomes aware. The Practice Director will then be required to meet with the Fee-earner and relevant Partner to discuss this and agree actions to transfer the monies to the clients new representatives.
1. During the last working week of each month, the Finance Team will distribute Matter Management Reports (MMR’s) to all Fee-earners (MFE). The MMR will be ‘date stamped out’ by the Finance Team to help the monitoring process. This report will show all time recorded on all matters since the last bill was raised. As a general rule, all Clients should receive monthly interim bills.
2. Using the MMR’s as a tool the Fee-earners should:
2.1 Deal with any matters that need to be closed.
2.2 Request any write-offs of time or disbursements.
2.3 Identify any matters to be billed.
2.4 The fee earner should then print off the relevant billing guides from ALB and decide which entries are to be billed and which, if any, are to be written off. These are then signed off by a Partner and passed to Finance.
3. For the Conveyancing Department, the only exception to the above is that items on the weekly Royal Court List will be billed in the conventional manner each Wednesday following completion. All other matters should be dealt with as in point 2 above.
4. When requesting a bill from the Finance Team one of the most important points is to indicate whether the bill is interim or final and whether it is on a time spent basis or an agreed fee. It should also indicate whether the billing address is different from the client address.
5. Bills will only be produced when requested on a billing guide. There will be four variations of a standard bill as follows:
5.1 Interim private Client bill.
5.2 Interim legal aid bill.
5.3 Final private Client bill.
5.4 Final legal aid bill.
6. Once approved the bill will be saved to ALB and will be printed and sent to the Client. A copy of the bill, if requested by the fee earner a copy will be placed on the Client file and a further copy kept in accounts.
Note: the time ledger sent to the client must never have a cost column included - that is for internal purposes only.
Monitoring Fee & WIP Estimates
1. Each week ALB will send a number of reports to fee earners (and the supervising fee earner) in relation to the matters they are responsible for to assist them in managing the fee performance and monitoring of the matters. These reports are as follows:
1.1 All matters controlled by the Fee-earner where the value of time worked is within 10% of the estimated fees on the matter.
1.2 All matters controlled by the Fee-earner where the value of time worked has exceeded the estimated fees on the matter.
1.3 All matters controlled by the Fee-earner where the value of time worked is within 10% of the estimated Work in Progress (WIP) on the matter.
1.4 All matters controlled by the Fee-earner where the value of time worked has exceeded the estimated Work in Progress (WIP) on the matter.
Presentation of Bills and Cheques
1. Occasionally, there may be a reason for the Fee-earner not to send out a costs bill or cheque, which has been prepared by the Finance Team, to the Client immediately. However, the Finance Team will not be aware of the delay and will therefore have processed the appropriate accounting transaction. Specifically, in respect of a costs bill, this could lead to debt collection action being taken for the non-payment of the bill when action should not have been taken.
2. Whenever there is a delay in sending out a costs bill or a cheque to a Client, the Finance Team must be informed at once. If a cheque or bill is not going to be issued then it must be returned to the Finance Team for proper cancellation.
Amendments to Bills and Cheques
1. No cheque, whether drawn on a Client account or office account, is to be amended in any way without reference to the Partner and the Finance Team. If the amount of a cheque is to be altered, then the cheque must be returned to the Finance Team so that the related accounting transactions can be altered. Normally the faulty cheque will be cancelled and a new cheque issued.
Investigation and Clearance of Ledger Queries
1. Inevitably from time to time Fee-earners will have queries on Client ledger accounts such as those that give rise to small un-cleared balances. Whilst the Finance Team will afford all possible help, it is the direct responsibility of the Fee-earner concerned to first carry out the investigation to clear the query. The Fee-earner should know the financial transactions related to the matter and additionally will have the matter correspondence which should confirm the transactions.
1. The Legal Practice time-recording system is directly linked to the accounting system. When the account for a new Client matter is opened on the computer, the time record is also created. The time-recording information on every matter can be obtained direct from the computer either on screen or by a printed report.
2. Time is recorded in six-minute units with each unit being costed at the hourly expense/charge out rate appropriate to the Fee-earner recording the time. Where a number of Fee-earners work on the same Client matter it is probable that their time will be costed at different rates. The computer time-record will show the individual time posting per Fee-earner and a running total of unbilled time shown both in terms of hours and minutes and value.
3. All time spent on a Client matter must be supported by relevant evidence on the Client file such as by a copy letter or an attendance note.
4. Time Sheets:
4.1. Fee-earners should record time onto ALB.
4.2. Any employee required to record time should do so on a daily basis.
4.3. All full time employees are required to record 70 units per day minimum. Part time employees will be advised separately of their daily target.
4.4. When recording holidays or sickness, all employees regardless of the contractual length of a working day should record a full day as 70 units and a half day as 35 units.
5. Matter Related Time:
5.1 Matter Related time is recorded using numerical activity codes.
5.2 Regardless of the length of time worked on each matter if it is deemed chargeable the time should be allocated to the matter. The decision on whether to bill the client is the responsibility of the Partner when reviewing the billing time ledger. You must ensure you enter ALL of your time.
6. Non Matter Related Time:
5.1 Non Matter Related time is recorded using numerical activity codes.
5.2 Non Matter Related activity codes are split into categories such as business development, administration, sickness, training, or holidays.
5.3 All Non Matter Related time should include a brief narrative to enable a review of the actual work being done.
7. At the end of the day Fee-earners should ensure that their timesheets are fully completed and finalised.
8. When working on a file that has yet to be assigned a matter number you should record all your time to unallocated time. When the matter is opened your time can be reassigned to the correct matter number.
9. Time-recording is an essential and important tool towards billing your Client work and providing management information to the Partners and therefore time should be recorded accurately and promptly. It is important that you select the correct activity code. If you are unsure of the activity code to use please contact the Finance Manager for advice. If you believe that a new activity code is required to allow for an accurate record of your time you should discuss this with the Finance Manager.
10. Final Bills:
10.1 When a final bill is to be prepared time-recorders must
ensure that all time has been recorded and posted against the matter.
1. If a Fee-earner requires a cheque to be drawn on a Client account or office account, the Fee-earner should complete the relevant payment voucher. The Client name, matter number, Bank account on which the cheque is to be drawn, payee and brief details of the reason for the cheque, are to be completed. The payment voucher is to be sent to the Finance Team.
Once actioned the Finance Team will send a file copy to the Fee-earner to be retained on the Client matter file. The Finance Team copy is also used as the posting form.
2. All cheque requisitions drawing on Client monies must be authorised by the Partner responsible for that Client, or another Partner if this is not possible. It would be helpful for the Finance Team to be given early advice when drawing a cheque on deposit monies to allow time to effect the transfer from deposit to Client account.
3. If a cheque is to be issued on the back of a cheque received then five days clearance must be allowed. This is to ensure the Viberts Group does not contravene Jersey Law Society rules and overdraw the Client account.
4. The Finance Team will make the assumption that the cheque will be issued on that day and will affect the ledger posting accordingly. If the issue of the cheque is to be delayed, then the Fee-earner must make this clear and liaise with the Finance Team.
5. Cheques are printed through the accounting system. The cheques will be distributed to the Fee-earners in time for the cheques to be sent out in the post. If a cheque is required urgently, the Finance Team can prepare a cheque but this should remain the exception to the rule. Fee-earners are again asked to liaise with the Finance Team.
Payments by Electronic Transfer
1. If funds are to be paid out by electronic transfer then the appropriate form should be completed by the Fee-earner and authorised by the Client Partner.
2. A ‘CHAPS’ cost must be charged to the Client when an electronic transfer is performed.
3. All client bank details must either be received in person or if provided by email, called back to confirm the details are correct. Any changes in details must also be called back to confirm the changes.
Write Offs (Time)
1. The write-off of any debit balance can only be authorised by a Partner and the Managing Partner/Practice Director. For any write-offs exceeding £250 a full explanation for the request must be given.
1. The Finance Team controls all petty cash transactions. If petty cash is required the Finance Team will complete a petty cash form on production of receipts.
1. The credit control procedures for the Legal Practice are based upon the following principles:
1.1 Wherever possible money on account from the Client is obtained in respect of fees and disbursements.
1.2 Wherever possible bills will be raised at least every month. Agreement to this must be obtained from the Client. Smaller, regular bills are less likely to be subject to non-payment.
1.3 Fee-earners must remain closely involved in the credit
control process notwithstanding any action taken by others such as the Finance Team. A matter is not completed until the bill has been paid.
1.4 There will be a hastening process of escalating severity finalising in court proceedings being taken against the Client.
1.5 The credit control procedures will automatically be activated for all Client debts unless under exceptional circumstances a Partner intervenes to prevent some or all of the procedures from taking place.
1.6 Except under exceptional circumstances, court proceedings will be taken if necessary, irrespective of the Client.
1.7 The credit control procedures will be actioned as a priority task by whosoever has the responsibility.
The Credit Control Procedure
1. The credit control procedure and process uses to of Viberts core systems, ALB.
2. WIP and Fee Estimates provided to Clients within their engagement letter and terms of business are updated to ALB by the Administrators of the relevant department in a timely basis from matter inception.
3. Once a bill enters the credit control process, the Credit Controller will record what actions should be taken, as per the engagement letter and terms of business. If any further instructions or information are provided they are noted in ALB.
4. INSTALLMENT: If the client is paying in instalments, this should be noted in the client’s record in the extension field. This code is used to assist in preparing Goods and Services Tax returns (GST).
5. On or around the 8th of each month statements will be prepared for each client and their matters.
6. Standard payment terms for Viberts are currently 7 Days. Within 7 days of the invoice date the Credit Controller will liaise with the Fee-earner to ensure no problems or queries have been raised. Notes Will be recorded in ALB where required.
7. If payment has not been received by the due date the Credit Controller will contact the client to enquire about the outstanding payment and when payment can be expected.
8. If after 1 month the Credit Controller has been unable to contact the Client by telephone and the invoice is still outstanding a reminder letter or email will be sent to the Client along with a copy of the invoice.
9. If After 2 months the invoice still remains unpaid the Credit Controller will attempt to make contact with the Client by telephone to discuss the letter and unpaid invoice(s). If unsuccessful by phone we will email or send a letter to the Client.
10. If after 3 months the invoice still remains unpaid and there is no agreement with the client following previous attempts, the Credit Controller will send a second reminder letter to the Client advising that they have fourteen days to pay and reminding them that Viberts reserves right to charged interest on any outstanding balance.
11. If after 4 months the invoice still remains unpaid and there is no agreement with the client for settlement of the outstanding balance a letter will be issued to the Client advising them that they have seven days to pay or Viberts will initiate legal proceedings.
12. During this 7 day notice period the Credit Controller will make one further attempt to contact the Client by telephone to discuss the unsettled invoice(s) and reach an agreement for settlement.
13. If the seven day letter before actions does not result in a settlement agreement from the client the matter will be discussed with the department Partner and Practice Director. The next stage is to pass the Client to our litigation department to collect the debt and this must be approved by both the relevant Partner and the Practice Director.
14. Once approval has been granted to pass the Client to our litigation department, copies of all outstanding invoices and all correspondence will be provided if necessary to the litigation department as required.
1. At the end of each financial year (31st January) all debts outstanding will be reviewed. For the purpose of creating a bad debt provision the debts are considered in 3 categories:
1.1 Legal Aid
1.2 Private clients paying by instalments
1.3 All other debts
2. In relation to both legal aid and private client instalments a scale has been adopted to establish how much of the debt is recognised as collectable within three years and the balance will be provided for within the bad debt provision. The maximum amount to be recognised will never exceed the balance of the debt. This scale is based on the number of days since the last instalment and provides a number of
instalments which are recognised as collectable:
- 30 Days since last instalment:
Recognise 36 instalments
- 90 Days since last instalment:
Recognise 24 instalments
- 180 Days since last instalment:
Recognise 12 instalments
- 270 Days since last instalment:
Recognise 6 instalments
- 360 Days since last instalment:
Recognise 0 instalments
3. For all other debts, if any of the balance of the debt is over 12 months old then the bad debt provision is equal to the full amount of the debt.
In all cases the bad debt provision for each individual matter will be reviewed to ensure that the calculated provision does not conflict with other information available.
4. This will have the effect of reducing or increasing the profits for that year by the amount of the change in the provision for the year. The debts will remain on the individual Client ledger account and can continue to be chased for payment. If payment or part-payment is received then the provision will be reversed and the profits will increase accordingly.
5. Individual debts will only be written off once all efforts to collect have been exhausted and the write off approved by a partner and countersigned by the Practice Director up to £20,000 and the Managing Partner in excess of that amount.
6. There will be times when a bill should be written off without the need to first provide as a bad debt, e.g. following bankruptcy or for an agreed fee reduction. Again write-off can only be authorised by a Partner.
Client Balances Report and Billing
1. Each month a list of Client balances report produced by the Finance Team for the Fee-earner, will be issued to the relevant Fee-earner. This will indicate:
1.1 Client name, matter number, work type.
1.2 Balances on Client account.
1.3 Balance of unbilled disbursements.
1.4 Balance of outstanding debts.
1.5 Balance of work in progress.
1.6 Total profit costs billed to date.
1.7 Lapsed months since last accounts/time recording activity.
2. Matter Management Reports (MMR) are produced for a number of reasons. The first is to assist in billing work done as detailed in the Billing Procedures. The MMRs are also produced to aid in:
2.1 Raising any outstanding Client to office transfers.
2.2 Hastening any Client debts in liaison with the credit controller.
2.3 Clearing any remaining small accounts balances on finished matters.
2.4 Archiving files on finished matters.
2.5 Updating the Client on costs information and activity.
3. Through taking such action, Client matters will be kept up to date which should be seen as a significant part of Client care.
1. The practice management system is capable of producing a range of management reports both in respect of Client matters and on the Legal Practice accounting performance. The following main reports are produced each month by the Finance Team:
1.1 Matter Management Report (MMR) (distributed to all Fee-earners).
1.2 Fee Income Report (distributed to Partners).
1.3 Monthly Practice Director Report (distributed to Partners).
1.4 Fee-earner Performance Report (distributed to Partners).
1.5 Fee-earner timesheets (distributed to all Fee-earners).
1.6 New Matters Report (distributed to Partners).
2. Other reports can be produced on request by the Finance Team.
1. Viberts have a process which must be followed when ordering goods or services.
1.1 There are three types of process:
1.1.1. Purchase Order System:
Where the Process is a ‘Purchase Order System’ the request(s) should be completed by the department or person(s) listed. Authorised personnel for approving purchase orders are enclosed in the following section.
The unique ‘purchase order number’ must be quoted to the Supplier at all times. Any invoices without a purchase order number will be queried and payment may be withheld.
1.1.2 Payment Request:
The payment request forms should be authorised by a Partner and the relevant fee earner.
1.1.3 Travel Form:
For flights and any other type of travel or accommodation that requires booking on-line the Travel Booking Form should be completed, authorised and submitted to the Finance Team. The form can be found in Public Folders.
Purchase Order Authorisations
1. Office tidiness is important so that everyone can work in a safe and comfortable environment which encourages effective and efficient working methods. The detailed ‘Keep Viberts House Tidy Policy’ can be found in the staff handbook.
2. At the end of each day all members of staff should tidy their work area, or office, to assist the cleaning staff in their duties.
3. You must not leave any Client files, original or confidential documents lying on your desk or floor. These must be secured away at the end of each day.
3. You should ensure that all doors are closed at the time you cease work.
4. In addition, air-conditioning units, computers, etc. must be switched off when you leave your area. You must ensure that all windows in your area are closed and secured.
5. Everyone is asked to keep the kitchens clean and tidy.
1. The Operations Team is responsible for the control of all stationery and carries out regular stock checks.
2. Stationery must be requested by e-mailing ‘Facilities’ using the internal e-mail system.
3. Stationery will be ordered once a week, by the Facilities Manager, and if you are ordering unusual items you must allow for this.
4. Small supplies of stationery can be found in the stationery store. The Facilities Manager may be contacted to obtain supplies from this store.
5. Staff should ensure that they do not hoard stationery in their desks or work areas. Surplus stationery is akin to having a drawer or desk full of cash and therefore it should be returned to the Facilities Manager if not required.
Maintenance of Equipment and Reporting Faults
1. All faults on office equipment are to be reported at once to the persons listed below who are responsible for resolving the fault or calling in maintenance people. It is especially important that everyone takes responsibility for reporting faults on common user items of equipment such as photocopiers and not just ignoring the fault on the assumption that someone else will take the proper action. Faults should be reported as follows:
1.1 Computers and Printers - IT helpdesk
1.2 Telephones - IT helpdesk
1.3 Photocopiers - IT helpdesk
1.4 Air Conditioning - Facilities Manager
1.5 Lift - Facilities Manager
1.6 Fire Alarms - Facilities Manager
1.7 Roller Storage - Facilities Manager
If the item on which there is a fault is not listed above please report to the Facilities Manager.
1. Within the Viberts Group Manuals references are made to job functions. For ease of reference the person undertaking each function is listed below. This list is reviewed and updated regularly by the Practice Director.
2. Managerial Functions
2.1 Senior Partner – Charles Thacker
2.2 Managing Partner – Zoe Blomfield
2.3 Practice Director – Craig Grant
2.4 Director of Finance – Craig Grant
2.5 Head of People and Culture – Penny Borny
2.6 Head of Business Development and Marketing - Peter Cheesley
2.7 Head of Operations – Nick Miller
3. Non-Managerial Functions
3.1 SRA Training Principal – Rose Colley
3.2 Head of Risk & Compliance – Jonathan Reynolds
3.3 Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) – Charles Thacker
3.4 Money Laundering Compliance Officer (MLCO) – Jonathan Reynolds
3.5 Data Protection Compliance Manager – Head of Operations
3.6 Health and Safety Manager – John Henderson
3.7 Facilities Manager – John Henderson
3.8 Credit Controller – Natasha De Freitas
3.9 Safe Custody Administrator – Helene Bell
3.11 Key Dates Co-ordinators
3.11.1 Family Law – Lara Channing
3.11.2 Personal Law – Helene Bell
3.11.3 Corporate Law – Marilyn Le Beurrier
3.11.4 Litigation - Rich Allo
3.11.5 Property Law – Ashleigh Snyman
4. The following have been appointed as Fire Marshalls for Viberts House:
4.1 First Floor – John Henderson and Rossi De Sousa
4.2 Second Floor – Helene Bell
4.4 General – John Henderson
4.5 Designated Employee – Practice Director or Facilities Manager
5. The Following have been appointed First Aiders for Viberts House:
5.1 First Floor – John Henderson
5.2 Second Floor – Helene Bell
5.3 Third Floor – Sonia Figuera
5.4 General – John Henderson