Gordons LLP: Terms of Business

INTRODUCTION

These Terms of Business should be read with our engagement letter or email.  Where the terms in that letter or email differ from this document, the terms of the letter or email will apply.

PROOF OF IDENTITY

For individuals, we must verify your identity and address. To do this we will use a reputable online provider, which will record details of the search. We will keep a copy.  You will need to provide documents listed below before we can do any work.

If we are acting for you in a transaction where a loan is being provided by a bank or building society, the lender may require us to see original identification documents and to verify your signature. By instructing us, you agree we can disclose such information to your lender.

We may ask you to provide:

  1. Current signed passport
  2. Current UK photo-card driving licence
  3. Current government issued photographic identity card
  4. Residence permit issued by the Home Office
  5. A recent tax or utility bill/statement
  6. A recent bank/mortgage statement
  7. A house/motor insurance certificate

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 address of the partners.

For other organisations, we will let you know what documents we need to see.

We may charge £10 plus vat for identity checks on an individual and £20 plus VAT for each corporate identity.

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 do not accept cash 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. We do not accept payment by cryptocurrency or sums of money which we suspect are the converted proceeds of cryptocurrency.

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.  In the event of bank failure where money is lost as a result, we will co-operate with any recovery claim.  However, we will have no responsibility to you for the loss of any money resulting from bank failure.

CLIENT ACCOUNT INTEREST

Money held in our client account earns interest at 0.005% per annum, which will be credited to your client account balance when it 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.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Solicitors must keep clients’ information confidential. Except when required by law, we will not disclose your confidential information to others without your consent. However, by instructing us, you agree we may disclose information to others working on your behalf (such as expert witnesses, barristers and other professional advisers).

OUTSOURCING

Occasionally we may outsource certain tasks. When we do so we will ask the contractor to treat the information confidentially.

EXPENSES AND DISBURSEMENTS

Unless otherwise agreed, we will not charge for postage, call charges or routine photocopying. However, we may charge for colour/bulk photocopying and travel expenses. VAT will be added.

We will also charge you for third party expenses which we incur on your behalf (we call these ‘disbursements’). These include registration fees, insurance, barristers’ fees, search fees and the costs of official documents. VAT will be added where relevant.

We may ask you to pay us in advance for expenses and disbursements, or we may use any funds we are holding for you on account of costs to pay them. We will not incur high value or unusual expenses or disbursements without your agreement.

OUR FEES AND PAYMENT

Our fees for the work which you have asked us to do will be set out in our engagement letter or email.

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.  This money will be paid into our client account and applied to pay our invoices for our fees, expenses and/or disbursements.  Once this money has been used, we may ask you to pay a further sum on account.

Unless agreed otherwise, we may deliver interim invoices (monthly or at other intervals) for fees, expenses and disbursements incurred up to the date of the invoice.  All interim invoices will be final for the period that they cover, unless otherwise agreed for a specific invoice.

Any invoice, whether interim or final, is payable within 30 days unless stated otherwise.  Interest may be charged daily on any overdue invoice at the annual rate of 8% above the Bank of England base rate from time to time.

We will charge you for making electronic payments on your behalf, 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. 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

Gordons LLP is responsible for advice given to you.  No duty of care or liability will arise between you and any individual member, agent, consultant, or employee of Gordons LLP. We are not responsible for any failure to advise on matters outside the scope of our instructions. Unless agreed otherwise in writing, we do not a) owe any duty to anyone other than you or b) accept any liability for anyone else relying on our advice.

Our liability for loss or damage, breach of contract, breach of trust, negligence or otherwise (with the exception of fraud) for, or in relation to, any one transaction/matter or series of connected transactions/matters shall be limited to £3 million, unless a higher amount is specifically set out in the engagement letter or email relating to a particular transaction or matter.

We will not be liable for any of the following types of loss, whether indirect or otherwise: loss of revenue; profit; use; production; contract; opportunity; savings, discount or rebate (whether actual or anticipated); goodwill; losses not caused by any breach of contract or tort on our part; or loss or corruption to data.

RETAINER ARRANGEMENTS: TERM, TERMINATION AND FEES

Unless we agree otherwise with you at the outset, 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 end your retainer arrangement at the end of any such 12 month period  by giving us at least three months’ prior written notice.

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 at that point.

RIGHT TO CANCEL

Where we have not met you in person, 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 or email.  If you prefer, you can download and print a cancellation form from our website and send this to us.

If you cancel we will, within 14 days of you telling us, reimburse any money which you have paid us less any amount which has already been used to pay third party disbursements.  Also, if you have asked us to start work already, we will have the right to charge you for any work which we have done and expenses incurred in the meantime.  If we have already completed our services , 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:

  1. any of our invoices have not been paid within the stipulated period;
  2. there is a conflict of interest;
  3. there is conflict between your instructions and our duty to the court;
  4. we are unable to obtain instructions from you;
  5. our relationship with you has broken down;
  6. 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 for 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 or created for 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 invoices.

OTHER INFORMATION

  1. Our VAT number is: 170 2397 19
  2. This firm has professional indemnity insurance covering England and Wales. Our insurer is: Aviva Insurance Limited, St Helens, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ
  3. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“the SRA”) www.sra.org.uk

THIRD-PARTY RIGHTS

No person other than the person named in our engagement letter will be entitled to rely on our advice, or to enforce the terms of our engagement with you.

INFORMATION ABOUT OTHER SERVICES

We may use your contact details to provide you with information relating to our services. If you do not wish to receive this information, or if you wish to inform us of changes to your personal information, please contact us by emailing marketing@gordonsllp.com or write to us, addressing your letter to the Partnership Secretary.

DATA PROTECTION

Our Privacy Policy, setting out our commitment to protecting and respecting your personal data, can be found on our website. For further information, or to report any concerns you may have about your personal data, please contact our Data Protection Lead, Victoria Davey, at victoria.davey@gordonsllp.com.

EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

For a copy of our equality and diversity policy, please contact our HR Manager, Aviva Stockman, at aviva.stockman@gordonsllp.com.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

We are committed to providing excellent service and to addressing 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 our complaints handling partner, John Owen, at john.owen@gordonsllp.com.

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 eight 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.

APPLICABLE LAW

Any dispute arising out of or in connection with our services, or the existence, validity or termination of our engagement, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration under the LCIA Rules. 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.

 

Gordons LLP