Taylors is a firm that offers specialist advice, assistance and representation in connection with a number of areas of law.
The firm’s principal, Fiona Taylor, is a Higher Court Advocate, who has extensive experience in the conduct of criminal and military proceedings. She regularly attends courts, with extensive experience of dealing with cases in the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Courts Martial and Coroner’s Court. She also regularly attends to represent clients in the police station, and is a specialist in cases ranging including murder, robbery, serious assaults, sexual offences and blackmail at one end of the spectrum, to traffic cases and public order offences at the other. Advice concerning firearms licensing is also provided. Fiona is a specialist in Motoring Law.
Having been based in the Aldershot area since 1989, military law has been very much a part of the work regularly undertaken.
The firm offers a mediation service for civil and commercial issues that require the assistance of a qualified mediator. Fiona Taylor is also a qualified counsellor, with a Masters in psychology and art.
The firm provides the services of will-writing, writing of powers of attorney and witnessing documents.
Fiona Taylor, who is the principal of the firm, is passionate about education. She has been lecturing at the University of the Creative Arts in Surrey since 2003, most recently to undergraduate and post-graduate students in journalism, broadcasting and media studies. She also lectures in Law and Criminology at Wiltshire College. She has also been the director of a Research and Development company, The Goodwill Company Limited, for 20 years. Taylors Solicitors has recently supported the launch of a new website relating to Disease Information, to provide independent and impartial free news about coronaviruses and other diseases. We are happy to provide legal education and lecturing services.
MOTORING LAW SPECIALISTS
The firm’s principal, Fiona Taylor, has over thirty years’ experience in dealing with motoring law/traffic cases in the police station, magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court. Whilst the numbers change year on year, in 2017, there were 2.4 million endorsable offences recorded in England and Wales. Whilst those figures dropped last year with less people driving during lockdown, there are still a staggering number of people needing assistance with motoring law.
Taylors Solicitors deals with all types of motoring offences. In particular, we can help with the following offences:
Special Reasons/Exceptional Hardship Arguments
Death by Dangerous Driving/ Careless Driving/Disqualified Driving/Unlicensed Driving/Uninsured Driving
Driving Whilst Disqualified
Driving whilst unfit through drink/drugs/Failing to provide Specimen for Analysis/Drunk in Charge
No Insurance/Permitting uninsured driving
Careless Driving/Driving Without Due Care and Attention/Inconsiderate Driving
Failing to Provide Details of Registered Keeper
Failing to Stop for Police/Failing to Report an Accident
Failing to Comply with Traffic Signal (e.g. Red Traffic Light)
Tachograph/HGV Weight Offences
Use of Mobile Phones
COSTS OF LEGAL ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE IN MOTORING CASES
The firm has a policy of not undertaking work without advising of potential legal costs in advance. The firm does not charge VAT for its own legal fees, but VAT will usually be payable for counsel’s fees and expert reports.
Advice and assistance at the police station under caution, whether under arrest or as a volunteer, is undertaken free of charge under the Legal Aid regulations.
In certain circumstances, especially if the offence that you are accused of is one that may be likely to attract a prison sentence, or otherwise meets with the tests for being in the interest of justice, as well as requiring eligibility on a means test, you may be entitled to apply for Legal Aid to cover the costs of representation. We can assist with making the application, but we are likely to require you to provide proof of your income, (including proof of benefits, wages and assets, such as three months wage slips and three months bank statements for people in work, proof of council tax and payment of maintenance. Other information may be requested).
INITIAL FIXED FEE INTERVIEW
We offer advice for £50 for a one-hour initial interview to advise on plea and to discuss possible legal issues. This does not include representation at court. It does include advising on potential eligibility for legal aid to cover the costs of advice, assistance, preparation of your case and representation at court.
LETTER TO THE COURT WITH GUILTY PLEA
If you intend to plead guilty, we will write to the court on your behalf for £100, which includes up to one hour attendance to take instructions. We will also advise on steps you can take to improve the mitigation (points to put forward in your favour) to the court.
GUILTY PLEA IN THE MAGISTRATES’ COURT
If you intend to plead guilty to one or more offences in the magistrates’ court, the costs of attending court for one hearing will be £350 (without VAT) for a half day, unless specified otherwise. There may be additional travel expenses (at £50 per hour and mileage and parking) if the attendance is more than thirty miles from our office in Guildford. If the case is adjourned by the court, an additional fee will be payable. In cases of hardship, concessions may be agreed.
If the case is adjourned, a second fee of £350 will be payable unless agreed otherwise.
This fee includes:
- 2 hours attendance/preparation:
- considering evidence
- taking your instructions
- providing advice on likely sentence
- Attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court on one occasion.
The fee does not include:
- instruction of any expert witnesses
- taking statements from any witnesses
- calling of witnesses to give evidence
- advice and assistance in relation to a special reasons or exceptional hardship hearing
- advice or assistance in relation to any appeal
The key stages of your matter are based on the presumption that you have entered or intend to enter a guilty plea and have a date for your hearing.
- Meeting with your solicitor to provide instructions on what happened.
- We will consider initial disclosure, and any other evidence and provide advice. Please be aware that in the current climate, the evidence is often only made available on the day of the hearing.
- Arranging to take any witness statements if necessary. If these exceed 30 pages, additional costs may be incurred, which will be quoted for prior to the work being undertaken.
- We will explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the court.
- We will conduct any further preparatory work which is reasonable necessary, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have.
- We cannot provide a precise timescale of how long you hearing will take, as this depends on the court listing for that day. You will be advised of the length of time the case is likely to continue for if the proceedings are not concluded on the first day. Please be aware that being told to attend by the court at a certain time does not mean that you will be dealt with at that time, as many people may have been told to attend at the same time, and the courts often have to deal with unexpected extra cases such as people in custody.
- We will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the court. We anticipate being at court for half a day unless advised otherwise.
We will discuss the outcome with you. If advice is required on appeal, this will carry an additional cost.
NOT GUILTY PLEA OR CONTESTED HEARING IN THE MAGISTRATES’ COURT
If you are pleading not guilty, or inviting the magistrates’ court to consider exceptional hardship or special reasons, the cost of attending for a contested hearing will be £1000 for a half day, unless agreed otherwise. This will include addressing matters as for a guilty plea, but will also include attending up to two witnesses, taking their statements and explaining the court procedure to them. If there are more than two witnesses, or the case is likely to exceed half a day, the costs may be more, but these will be discussed with you. You will have the option of either agreeing a fixed fee or paying an hourly rate (currently £250 an hour, without VAT).
GUILTY PLEA IN THE CROWN COURT
If your case is sent to the Crown Court for sentence, the cost of attending the Crown Court to mitigate on a guilty plea will be £1000 (no VAT) for a half day hearing in addition to any fee payable for attending the magistrates’ court, unless a different fee is agreed.
NOT GUILTY PLEA IN THE CROWN COURT
If the case is sent to the Crown Court without plea or you elect Crown Court trial or enter no plea in the magistrates’ court, work will be undertaken by a solicitor advocate at an hourly rate of £250 an hour unless a fixed fee is agreed. Often legal aid is available to cover such hearings. If a barrister is instructed on your behalf, additional fees will be payable for them. We always seek to obtain an estimate from counsel of potential private fees, so that you have the choice whether to accept the arrangement before work is undertaken. Fees vary enormously depending on the type of case, the legal issues, whether expert witnesses are required and how long a case will last.
Please be aware that it is our policy to request that payment for private legal costs is made in advance of any hearing being attended and work will not be undertaken unless we are in funds. It is also our policy to instruct counsel to represent clients facing trials in the Crown Court. There may be costs agreed (usually at fixed fees) for a conference with you and the barrister prior to court.
If your case requires an expert to be instructed, the costs of this will be in addition to the legal fees payable. Expert’s fees have to be paid in advance of the hearings and usually include VAT.
Our advice will include sentencing options available and whether there are grounds to appeal. The Sentencing Council issues guidelines on sentencing in England and Wales (https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/). Assisting with an appeal will involve additional costs being incurred.
Advice on the merits of appeal are usually provided within the agreed fee for hearings in the magistrates’ courts. Advise on appeal to the Court of Appeal, if not covered by legal aid, will be undertaken by experienced counsel. Fees will be quoted by counsel prior to the work being undertaken.
For private work that is not covered by a fixed fee arrangement, the solicitor’s hourly chargeable rate will be £250 per hour (excluding VAT) for all types of work, with letters and telephone calls each charged at 10% of the hourly rate, unless agreed otherwise. Sometimes cases can be particularly complex or difficult, or involve a lot of paperwork, which may necessitate additional work being undertaken. If this is the case, you will be warned prior to such work being undertaken to ensure that you agree to the arrangement. You will also be invited to sign our firm’s client care letter. This includes information about our complaints procedures.
The firm’s complaints partner is Fiona Taylor. You are invited to submit any complaint in writing if possible to the firm’s email address at email@example.com or to the firm’s office at 200 Brook Drive, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 6UB. In the event that you are not satisfied with the way in which your case is dealt with, you can seek for an independent solicitor, Mr. Andrew Purkiss of the Purkiss Partnership at St. Georges Rd, Farnham GU9 9HR (01252 344311) to investigate a complaint for you. You are also entitled to take a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/ ). Complaints relating to professional practice can also be addressed to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (https://www.sra.org.uk/ ).
Informing Clients About How and to Whom they should Complain (Procedure and Alternative Dispute Resolution).
The firm has a written policy for the handling of complaints. In instances when a file in not opened, other than one-off telephone advice, the client must be informed about whom to approach if they are dissatisfied with the service provided. If a client makes any expression of dissatisfaction, they will be informed how any complaint can be made.
1. To comply with Practice Rule 2.
2. To provide a procedure for complaint.
3. To indicate possible solutions.
4. To ensure that complaints are recorded.
5. To use complaints as a means of improving systems and procedures.
i) The complaints procedure shall be set out in the client care letter to be sent to each client upon receipt of the first instructions.
ii) The client care letter shall be in the appropriate form.
iii) The form and content of client care letters shall be reviewed from time to time to comply with appropriate good practice and requirements of the Law Society/SRA. Any trends will be analysed for consideration of whether there need to be changes in procedures, staff training or any other adjustment to the business.
In the event of a complaint being received, the client will be given information as outlined below as to what further steps can be taken.
The practice defines the following as a complaint: A complaint can be any expression of dissatisfaction with the services offered by the firm, which can be expressed orally or in writing.
(a) Firms tend to focus on formal complaints: letters or emails that clearly state that they are a complaint. However, many complaints are initially made informally, like a person phoning to say that a minor matter has not been dealt with within a stated timescale. While this person may not be making a formal complaint, they are expressing dissatisfaction about an element of service that they have received. This must always be communicated to Fiona Taylor and treated as a complaint. Fiona Taylor is responsible for dealing with all complaints.
(b) The client will be notified at the outcome of the matter that in the event of a problem they are entitled to complain. They will also be informed how to do this and what to do in the event that they are not satisfied with how the complaint is dealt with.
(c) The client will be informed that the person in the firm who deals with complaints is Fiona Taylor. They will also be made aware, however, of their entitlement to request that an independent third-party solicitor who does not work in the firm arbitrate in dealing with the complaint. In that event, Andrew Purkiss of the Purkiss Partnership, St. Georges Rd, Farnham GU9 9HR Phone: 01252 344311 will investigate the complaint and liaise with both parties accordingly. The client will also be informed that they can refer their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. www.legalombudsman.org.uk
(d) The client will be provided with a copy of the practice’s procedure for dealing with complaints if requested to do so.
(e) Once a complaint has been made, the person complaining will be informed in writing:
(i) How the complaint will be handled; and
(ii) In what time they will be given an initial and/or substantive response.
(f) The firm will record and report centrally all complaints received from clients, including how they are concluded.
(g) There will be a process of identifying the cause of any problems of which the client has complained offering any appropriate redress, and correcting any unsatisfactory procedures. This will involve asking the complainant what is it that they are not happy about, identifying whether that has been through misunderstanding or failing on part of the firm and what the client is seeking to achieve by making the complaint. It will also be necessary to evaluate whether the complaint is due to the actions of the firm or a third party over whom the firm has or has not got control, (for example, sometimes clients are unhappy about delays in court proceedings, which might be out of the control of the firm).
(h) Fiona Taylor will include information about an approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entity in final letters to complainants following a first-tier complaint.
(i) Due to the difficulties of referring a complaint to oneself in s sole practitioner firm, consideration will be given to seeking the independent assistance of the local law society to assist in dealing with any complaint that cannot be immediately resolved.
(j) The complaints register will be reviewed annually to identify the need to change any practices or address training needs. A record of the review and the outcome of the review will be documented. In the event of further staff being employed, the complaints information may be referred to during any staff appraisal.
Copies of how the complaints were resolved must be kept in the central record, together with information identifying the file, if appropriate.
The results of the review must be documented and available to inspection in the event of audit. There will be a complaints folder kept in Fiona Taylor’s room. This will be reviewed annually to appraise the firm, highlight areas of concern and training needs or needs to review procedures.
The following information should be sent to the client:
2. Complaints Handling Procedure
i) The complaint will be dealt with by Fiona Taylor.
ii) Fiona Taylor is willing to try to assist in resolving any disputes.
iii) Fiona Taylor handles the complaint as set out below:-
We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within 5 days of our receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure, (unless exceptional circumstances apply, such as staff absence or sickness).
2. We will then investigate your complaint. Fiona Taylor will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you, if somebody other than her.
3. Fiona Taylor will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint. She will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
4. Within three days of the meeting, Fiona Taylor will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.
5. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Fiona Taylor will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
6. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for an independent solicitor, James Foster or Davies, Blunden & Evans solicitors to review the decision.
7. We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
8. If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact either Andrew Purkiss of the Purkiss Partnership, St. Georges Rd, Farnham GU9 9HR Phone: 01252 344311 or contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB or call 0300 555 0333 about your complaint.
If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
If a complaint is justified the solutions may be:-
i) an apology;
ii) an explanation;
iii) transfer of the matter to another fee earner, if feasible;
iv) a cost concession.
A written record of all complaints is kept by Fiona Taylor. The record is on an A4 sheet setting out:-
i) the client;
ii) the matter;
iii) the nature of the complaint;
iv) the contact with the client;
v) the resolution offered;
vi) the outcome;
vii) any recommendations for altering procedures to avoid similar complaints in the future.
The register of complaints will be reviewed at least annually and the record will be analysed and reviewed by Fiona Taylor on or as soon after 1st April each year.
5.1 If the client remains dissatisfied, he or she is informed about the Hampshire Law Society Conciliation Scheme.
Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and Legal Ombudsman
In summary, we want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service, we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure [link to your process]. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
- No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
- No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.