Gordons LLP: Terms of Business
These Terms of Business should be read with our letter/email you receive from us following your instruction, which tells you about our fees and who will be working for you. Where the terms in the letter differ from this document, the terms of the letter will apply.
Gordons LLP is responsible for advice given to you. No duty of care or liability will arise between you and any individual member or employee of Gordons LLP.
PROOF OF IDENTITY
We must verify your identity and address. To do so we will use a credit reference agency, which will record details of the search. We will keep a physical and/or electronic copy. This may avoid the need to provide identity documents to us.
If you do not wish us to make this search please tell us immediately. You will need to provide us with documents as set out below before any work can be undertaken.
If we are acting for you in a transaction where a loan is being provided by a bank or building society, the lender will probably require us to see original identification documents. The lender may also need us to verify your signature. By instructing us, you agree to us disclosing such information to your lender.
We may ask you to provide:
- Valid current passport or
- Current full UK photo-card driving licence or
- National Identity Card (non UK nationals) or
- Firearms Certificate/shotgun licence or
- Identity card issued by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland or
- HM Forces Identity Card with photograph.
We may also need to see the original of one of the following to prove your residence:
- Latest Council Tax bill
- Current bank, or credit card, statement issued by a UK bank showing your address
- Utility bills issued within the last 6 months
If you cannot provide any of these, we will explain what documents we need.
For limited companies, we will conduct a search for names and addresses of directors and to identify shareholders with a shareholding of 25% or more. We may need to ask for further documents after this.
For partnerships, we must verify the identity and residence of the partners.
For other organisations, we will let you know what documents we need to see.
We will charge a fee of £10 plus vat for identity checks on an individual and £20 plus vat for each limited company or LLP.
If we cannot verify your identity and address then we will not be able to act for you.
MONEY RECEIVED FROM YOU
This will be paid into our client account, except payments for our costs or expenses we incur. We do not accept cash over £1,000 unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you deposit cash direct with our bank we may need to make enquiries which could cause delays.
We may need to ask you to satisfy us about the source of funds we receive from you.
If we hold money in our client account for you, our bank may require us to disclose to them the information we hold verifying your identity. By instructing us, you agree we may do so.
Money in our client account is placed with a number of different banks. We have taken care to ensure our clients’ money is only placed with established, reputable banks. However, it is possible that one of these banks could fail and that money is lost as a result. We will co-operate with any claim to recover lost money. However, we will have no responsibility to you for the loss of any money resulting from bank failure.
CLIENT ACCOUNT INTEREST
We pay interest at 0.35% below The Royal Bank of Scotland’s base rate, provided the interest earned exceeds £20. If a substantial sum is likely to be held for you for a long period of time, we will discuss this with you before receiving the money and agree an interest rate. For ongoing matters, interest is compounded quarterly on 25 March, June, September and December.
Solicitors must keep clients’ information confidential. Except when required by law, we will not disclose information about you to third parties without your consent. However, by instructing us, you agree we may disclose information to third parties working on your behalf (i.e. expert witnesses, barristers and other professional advisers).
If we are acting for you in a transaction where you are borrowing money, we will usually also be acting for your lender. The lender may require us to disclose information verifying your identity to them. If you do not wish us to do so, we will be unable to act for you.
Occasionally we may outsource certain tasks. We may send bulk photocopying to copying contractors where this will be more cost effective. We may also, in court cases, send your papers to a law costs draftsman to prepare a bill of costs for assessment. When we do so we ensure that the contractor treats the papers confidentially.
EXPENSES AND DISBURSEMENTS
Unless otherwise agreed, we will not charge for postage, telephone call charges or routine photocopying. However, we may charge for colour/bulk photocopying and travel expenses. VAT will be added to these.
We will charge for expenditure we incur on your behalf, such as registration fees, insurance or barristers’ fees (“Disbursements”), and for other expenses, such as search fees and payments for obtaining official documents, incurred in the process of advising you. VAT is chargeable on such expenses. We normally ask you to pay us for expenses and disbursements up front or we will use any funds we are holding for you on account of costs to pay them. We will not incur large or unusual expenses or disbursements without your agreement.
We may ask you to pay a sum on account of our fees. This is not an estimate of our overall costs, but is intended to cover the initial work we carry out. Such money will be paid into our client account and applied to pay disbursements incurred or our invoices. Once this money has been used, we will ask you to pay a further sum on account.
Unless agreed otherwise, we may deliver interim invoices for fees and disbursements incurred up to the date of the invoice. These may be monthly or at other intervals. All interim invoices will be final for the period that they cover, unless otherwise agreed for a specific invoice. Such invoices are called Interim Statute Bills.
Any invoice, whether interim or final, is payable within one month unless stated otherwise. Interest may be charged at the rate of 8% above base rate (as determined by the official dealing rate of The Bank of England) per annum on any overdue invoice.
We will charge you for making electronic payments on your behalf, including those made to others, such as barristers, experts or agents, to cover any costs we incur from our bank and the administration costs involved in making those payments. Same day Telegraphic Transfers (or CHAPS) will be charged at £35 plus vat per transaction and Same Day Faster Payments will be charged at £15 plus vat per transaction. Three-Day Faster Payments will be charged at £10 plus vat.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Our maximum liability for loss or damage, breach of contract, breach of trust, negligence or otherwise (with the exception of fraud) is £3m for any one transaction/matter or series of connected transactions/matters, unless a higher amount is stated in the letter that accompanies these terms and conditions.
We limit our liability as far as the law permits. We will not be liable for any loss, damage, costs or expenses of an indirect or consequential, special or exemplary nature, including without limitation any economic loss or other loss of turnover, profits, opportunities, business or goodwill.
RETAINER ARRANGEMENTS: TERM, TERMINATION AND FEES
Retainer arrangements will run for a minimum period of 12 months from the start date, and will roll on for subsequent periods of 12 months. You can bring your retainer arrangement to an end by giving us at least three months’ written notice before the end of a 12 month period.
The agreed monthly fee will be reviewed after the first six months of the retainer arrangement, and then on each anniversary of the start date, to ensure that it appropriately reflects the level of work we carry out for you. We will agree any change to the monthly fee with you, and the new amount will apply with effect from the month in which the review takes place. If we cannot agree a revised fee with you, then either we or you may bring the retainer arrangement to an end.
RIGHT TO CANCEL
Where we have not met you, you have a right to cancel this contract within 14 days of the date of the email or letter attaching this document. To do so you can let us know by post, fax or email. If you prefer, you can download and print the cancellation form from our website and send this to us.
If you cancel we will, without charge and within 14 days of you telling us, reimburse funds received from you, to the extent that they have not already been paid out on your behalf as instructed. Also, as you have asked us to start work, we will have the right to charge you for work done in the meantime and proportionate funds may be retained to cover these charges. If our services have concluded in the meantime, your right to cancel will be lost.
STOPPING ACTING FOR YOU
We may stop acting for you where we have reasonable grounds for doing so, such as:
- Where any bill has not been paid within the stipulated period;
- Where there is a conflict of interest;
- Where there is conflict between your instructions and our duty to the court;
- Where we are unable to obtain instructions from you;
- Where our relationship with you has broken down;
- Where to continue to act for you would involve us in an unlawful act.
This list is not exhaustive. We will tell you promptly if we intend to stop acting.
If we need to stop acting for you where we are on the court record, you agree to pay our hourly rate fees of producing the necessary paperwork. If you do not sign the necessary paperwork promptly, meaning that we have to apply to the court to come off the record, then we will be entitled to charge you our hourly rate fees for this work, together with any disbursements we incur.
PAPERS HELD BY US/LIEN
When we have completed the work, we will retain any papers and documents provided by you unless you request their return. We will hold these in safe keeping or electronically for a minimum of six years, after which they may be destroyed/deleted. If you request that we retain deeds for you we will charge a storage fee of £80 plus vat. We have a lien over all the documents we hold for you and will not release them until we have received payment for all outstanding fees.
- Our VAT number is: 170 2397 19
- This firm has professional indemnity insurance covering England and Wales. Our insurer is: Aviva Insurance Limited, St Helens, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ
- We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“the SRA”) www.sra.org.uk
Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract and/or the advice and/or services we provide to you, including any question regarding its/their existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration under the LCIA Rules, which are incorporated by reference to this clause. The number of arbitrators shall be one. The seat of arbitration shall be Leeds, West Yorkshire. The governing law and language to be used in the arbitral proceedings shall be English.
CONTRACTS (RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES) ACT 1999
By instructing us, you agree that no term of our agreement with you will be enforceable by a third party for the purpose of Section 1(2) of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
INFORMATION ABOUT OTHER SERVICES
We may use your contact details to provide you with information about our services and legal developments. Should you not wish to receive such information or if you wish to inform us of changes to your personal information, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us, addressing your letter to the Partnership Secretary.
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
For a copy of our equality and diversity policy, please contact email@example.com.
We are committed to providing excellent service and to address any problems that may arise. Please let us know immediately if you have any concerns about our service. Your instructions are valued and we wish to ensure that you are happy.
We have a complaints handling policy. You can obtain a copy from the person who is working for you or from the complaints handling partner by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If, having received our response to your complaint, you are still not satisfied, you can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman will expect you to have given us the opportunity to try to resolve your concerns before they will become involved. As a guideline, they suggest a timescale of 8 weeks for us to resolve your complaint.
There are timescales for referring complaints to the Legal Ombudsman. Normally, you will need to do this within six months of our final written response to your complaint. Further details can be found at www.legalombudsman.org.uk or on 0300 555 0333 or by writing to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.