Terms of Business
Our engagement letter given to you at the time we accepted to take on the work, together with this document set out the terms on which we accept instructions and charge for our services. Should there by any difference between the two then the terms set out in the engagement letter will take precedence.
Responsibility for your Work
You will be informed of the people working on your matter and we aim to let you know as soon as possible if there is any change at any time.
Right to Withdraw Instructions
You will have the right to withdraw without penalty any matter in which you have instructed us to act on your behalf, provided that it is within 7 days of the original instruction and that we have not started work on the matter with your consent.
Work Outsourced to Third Parties
When necessary we will engage other professionals on your behalf (such as counsel, accountants, expert witnesses or cost draftsmen). This is done as your agent and we accept no responsibility for anything he/she does or any omission he/she makes.
Fees and Disbursements
Before we start work on any matter we will agree the basis on which we will charge you. These arrangements will be set out in our engagement letter.
Our charges are calculated principally by reference to the time spent on each matter. In the case of Probate and Administration of Estates, a percentage based on the asset value may be charged. We revise our hourly rates on the 1st May each year, and we reserve the right however to revise them at other times should the need arise. We will of course notify you of any changes to our hourly rates. If any aspect of your case requires a high degree of urgency or becomes particularly complicated, a higher hourly rate may be merited.
Billing and Payment
Unless zero rating or an exemption applies, VAT will be added to the bills at the rate applicable.
All bills are for payment within one month from the delivery of the invoice. We reserve the right to charge interest for late payment at 2 per cent over Lloyds Bank plc base rate or the rate payable pursuant to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.
We can accept payment by credit card on the basis that you will be charged a handling fee. This will be equal to 2.5% of the value of the invoice (including VAT). However, if the invoice is more than 30 days old then the handling fee will be increased to 5%.
Payments on Account of Fees and Disbursements
We generally require a payment in advance in respect of fees and disbursements. We place any such payments into our client account and apply them, against future bills.
Small amounts of interest will not be credited against future bills or be paid to you, below de minimis (as set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules). Where we have sent you a final bill, but still retain money on account to be applied against future disbursements, we will not account to you for interest on such amounts.
You will be credited with any commission we receive from a third party in relation to a matter we are handling for you.
Documents (Paper or Electronic) Held by Berry Redmond Gordon & Penney LLP
We close matters only once the matter is concluded and we have received our fees. At that point we will return to you, upon request, material provided to us for the purposes of that matter and any other papers or material which belong to you or to which you are entitled. We will retain everything else. We cannot undertake to keep files for any specific period of time but will endeavour to keep all files for as long as required by the Law Society guidelines (6 years), after which time we reserve the right to dispose of them.
Whether during the course of a matter or after it has terminated, we may be required for some reason compulsorily to disclose documents or to give information orally or in writing relating to a matter or your affairs, following a court order, notice or demand served by an entity or person with the authority to compel such disclosure, then we shall comply. If this involves us in work, we will be entitled to be paid by you the costs of such work at our existing hourly rates at that time. If there is a question of professional privilege, we will let you know and advise you of the opportunity to waive privilege. If you decide not to waive privilege and this is challenged, we will be entitled to be paid by you for the costs incurred in preserving privilege on your behalf.
By engaging us you agree not to bring any claim arising out of or in connection with our engagement, against any individual partner or employee of Berry Redmond Gordon & Penney. However, this restriction does not limit or exclude the liability of Berry Redmond Gordon & Penney LLP.
Also agreed, that in the particular circumstances of the services to be provided to you, in particular those described in the engagement letter sent to you at the commencement of a matter, our aggregate liability to you for losses for which we are liable at law shall not exceed the amount (if any) specified in the engagement letter. Any consequential or indirect loss (whether or not it might have been foreseeable at the commencement of the matter) is also excluded.
When we act for more than one person, the limit of liability will have to be allocated among those we act for. If this allocation is not expressly stated in the engagement letter, such allocation will be a matter entirely for one of you to decide. If for whatever reason no such allocation is agreed, then you will not dispute the limit of liability on the grounds that no such allocation was agreed.
Our liability to you shall also be limited to that proportion of the loss or damage (including interest and costs) suffered by you, which is ordered against us by a Court of competent jurisdiction after taking account of the contribution to the relevant loss and damage of any other person responsible and/or liable to you for such loss or damage.
For the purpose of assessing such contribution of any other person, no account shall be taken of any limit imposed on the amount of liability of such person by any agreement made before the loss or damage occurred.
The limitations and exclusions on liability in this section shall have no application to any liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or for any other liability which cannot lawfully be excluded or limited.
Termination of Instructions / Withdrawal of Our Services
We will normally continue to act for you in any matter until its conclusion. However, if circumstances change making it necessary for either of us to terminate the arrangement e.g. non-payment, you will be responsible for our fees and disbursements up to the date on which we stopped acting for you. You will also be responsible for any fees and disbursements arising from our ceasing to act or the transfer of the work to another adviser of your choice.
We keep all information passed to us confidential. It will not be disclosed to third parties except as authorised by you or required by law. If on your authority we are working in conjunction with other professional advisers, we will assume that we may disclose any relevant aspect of your affairs to them.
Where you provide us with contact details, we shall assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that these are sufficiently secure and confidential to protect your interests.
We advise all our customers that the Internet is not secure and so there are risks when sending sensitive information.
Our computer system continuously screens both incoming and outgoing mail for infection by viruses. We expect all our customers to apply the same rigor in monitoring their own computer systems.
Privacy and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
Berry Redmond Gordon & Penney LLP respects any data which we hold on you. Your details will be kept on our database for administration and accounting purposes and in order to enable us to undertake credit searches. Your details will be processed and kept securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The data will not be disclosed to third parties except for the purposes mentioned above. We will not use your data for marketing purposes.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding our use of your data then please address these to our Compliance Officer, Mr Lyndon Matthews, at our Weston office.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Regulations made pursuant to such Act, which are aimed at preventing money laundering, require that we obtain proof of identity from clients for whom we act in connection with relevant financial business. Accordingly, you may be asked to supply us with the necessary details. In certain circumstances, we are required by law to report to the National Crime Agency any evidence or suspicion of money laundering. We are also prohibited from notifying our client of the fact that a report has been made.
Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
For the purpose of section 1(2) of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, it is agreed that no term of our agreement with you shall be enforceable by a third party.
We hope that you will not need to complain about the service provided to you by this firm. We consider a complaint to be any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction which alleges that the complainant has suffered (or may suffer) financial loss, distress, inconvenience or other detriment.
In order to enable us to deal with your complaint, it is more helpful if you make that complaint in writing as this helps to clarify the issues. However, if this is not possible, then please speak to the Head of Department that you are complaining about. That person should have been identified to you in our initial letters to you. We have a procedure for dealing with complaints and will send you a written copy of that procedure upon receipt of a complaint.
We always try to resolve any difficulties as soon as possible. However, we will ensure that you are aware of who else you may complain to if you are still not satisfied with our initial response.
Our relationship with you will be governed by English law and will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
Berry Redmond Gordon & Penney LLP is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under register number 558411.