Terms of engagement

We use the word “Company” to refer to Gannons Commercial Law Limited trading as Gannons a limited company registered in England and Wales under number 8914222 regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 612616 whose main trading address is 20-21 Jockey’s Fields, London WC1R 4BW.

We use the word “partner” to refer to a director or a consultant who is a solicitor with equivalent standing and qualifications. A list of the directors is displayed at 20-21 Jockey’s Fields, London WC1R 4BW, together with a list of those persons who are designated as partners.

A reference to “costs” includes legal fees, success fees, insurance premiums, Counsel fees, court fees, costs of searches and any other disbursements such as travel, photocopying and telephone expenses plus in all cases VAT.

If we are advising a corporate entity references to “you” refer to the corporate entity and its directors or officers as appropriate.  If we are advising a partnership or LLP references to “you” refer to the partnership or LLP and its members as appropriate.

The terms and conditions form part of your terms of engagement with Gannons and you should print a copy of this document and retain it for your records. When acting for you it is on the assumption at all times that you agree that you have understood and agree to our terms and conditions. Gannons reserve the right to vary the terms and conditions at any time and to notify you.

Terms of engagement

You will be advised of:

  1. The scope of the engagement
  2. The team dealing with your matter
  3. The method of calculation of fees
  4. Identification requirements
  5. Basis of charge
  6. Payment(s) on account required to run your matter
  7. Any other details specific to the engagement or retainer
  8. A decision to terminate the engagement taken by Gannons

Scope of the engagement

You will be advised of the scope of the work.

    1. The level of services we deliver will be tailored to meet your stated objectives and budget. We will discuss this with you at the appropriate stages of the matter.
    2. Where we are instructed to advise a company, partnership or LLP then individual shareholders and partners should take their own independent advice unless we have agreed to waive any conflict.
    3. No person or entity other than you may rely on the advice or documentation that we provide unless we agree otherwise in writing.
    4. At the commencement of a matter there may be several options on how you could proceed and opinions may differ. It is never possible to guarantee any outcome.
    5. Our advice and documentation is based on our understanding of the legislation, case law and practice prevailing at the time. Advice may therefore be affected by any subsequent changes in law and practice.

The team dealing with your matter

You will be notified of the partner in charge of your matter.  Partners will be assisted by other members of the team as the partner considers necessary. Members of the team will be involved on matters because they either bring the appropriate level of skill or for cost effectiveness.

Fees

You will be advised of the method of calculating fees. Fees are usually calculated by either:

    1. Hourly rates charged in units of 6 minutes to the nearest unit; or
    2. Fixed fee basis; or
    3. Combination of hourly rates and fixed fees.

Fees are based on the amount of time taken to complete the work required. Gannons will charge a premium if, for example, members of staff work outside normal working hours, or if your matter involves a complex or unusual aspect. Unless we have agreed a fixed fee in advance of undertaking the work the hourly basis of charging applies.  If any fixed fee work runs outside the scope of the work referred to in the particular fixed fee arrangement we will notify you and discuss. An estimate of costs is not a fixed fee and the hourly basis does apply when an estimate has been given.

Payments on account

You will be advised if we require a payment on account. Our payment on account policy reduces our administration and hence your costs. We may ask for more than one payment on account of fees as the matter progresses. The money will be held in Gannons client account to be applied against any invoice after the invoice has been raised. We will not undertake work until we have cleared funds.

Disbursements and expenses

You are responsible for payment of all disbursements incurred on your behalf such as counsel’s fees, expert reports, fees payable to governmental bodies and couriers (“expenses”). We will obtain your approval before incurring disbursements. You are also responsible for expenses such as couriers and photocopying. We will require a payment on account of any disbursement involving professional fees.

Payment of costs

Our policy for payment of fees and expenses (“costs”) is:

  • If any third party (including but not limited to an employer making payment under the terms of a settlement agreement or an insurance company) agrees to settle all or part of your costs and if for any reason your costs are not paid in full you will be responsible for payment of costs which are outstanding.
  • Invoices for costs are payable on demand in cleared funds.
  • Interest may be charged at 8% calculated from the date of the invoice to the date of payment on any invoice.
  • You can pay costs by credit card but you will be charged a flat fee of 3% (or 5% for American Express) to cover the costs charged to us by the credit card company and our processing costs. There is no charge for payment by cheque, on-line transfer or by debit card.
  • Banking costs will be passed onto you.  The costs include our time in dealing with banking in addition to the costs we are charged by our bank for processing your transaction.
  • Any balance of funds will be returned to you as soon as is reasonably practical following settlement of all outstanding invoices issued to you on any matter.
  • Interest is not paid on funds held in office or client account.
  • Special considerations relating to fees apply in contentious matters which will be discussed with you.

Gannons will retain your file in full and not release it to you or a third party until all costs have been fully discharged.

Assessment of charges

You are entitled to have Gannons costs (other than disbursements) reviewed by the court. This is called “taxation” or “assessment”. The procedure is set out in sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Storage of documents

Gannons operate a paperless office and do not routinely retain copies of original documents.  Gannons will keep an electronic record of your file.

Conflict of interest

If Gannons become aware that a conflict exists, or may arise during the course of the transaction, Gannons will contact you immediately to discuss how to proceed in the light of this conflict.

Termination of the engagement

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time.  Upon receipt of notice we will issue an invoice in respect of any unbilled expenses.

Gannons may decide to stop acting for you at any time upon notice.  We do not have to assign reasons. If we terminate the engagement you will be responsible for unbilled expenses and we will issue an invoice. Typical reasons why Gannons may decide to stop acting for you include any of the following:

    1. Failure to settle Gannons invoices in whole or part;
    2. Failure to make a payment on account when requested;
    3. Failure to provide clear instructions or accurate information to Gannons;
    4. Failure to follow Gannons instructions;
    5. A conflict of interest arises;
    6. Failure to supply adequate evidence of identity;
    7. Gannons determine that trust and confidence in you has broken down; and/or
    8. Where to continue to act would be a breach of our professional guidelines as determined by Gannons.

Conduct

Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception permitting disclosure to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and other governmental bodies. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a disclosure.  If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it.

Professional indemnity insurance

Our qualifying insurers are: W R Berkley Insurance (Europe) Limited  – policy number B080125505P13. The insurance covers our practice carried on from our offices in England and Wales and will extend to acts or omissions wherever in the world they occur. We draw your attention to the limitation of our liability which is £3,000,000 (three million pounds) for advice given under English Law.

Limitation of liability

Gannons cap liability whether in contract, tort (including negligence), breach of statutory duty or otherwise in respect of any claim or a series of claims which are related, expenses, legal fees and any other costs howsoever arising at £3,000,000 (three million pounds). You agree that the cap on liability is fair and reasonable having regard to all of the circumstances which were, or ought reasonably to have been known to you or in your contemplation at the time of any engagement or provision of services by Gannons.  It is open to you to seek to obtain legal services elsewhere without such limitation. Gannons reserve the right without notice to amend the level of professional indemnity insurance in accordance with Gannons requirements.

Disclaimer

You agree that you will not bring any claim in respect of or in connection with any engagement or the services Gannons provides whether in contract, tort (including negligence), breach of statutory duty or otherwise against any director, shareholder, employee or consultant of Gannons or any connected company (which includes a company through which any solicitor involved on a matter provides services to Gannons). Any remedies available to you exclude liability for indirect losses flowing from a breach of duty by a member of Gannons. The types of losses excluded include (but are not limited to) loss of profits, loss of goodwill and loss of opportunity. In all cases, whether contract or tort, you have one  year from the date of awareness of a loss to bring a claim subject to a long-stop of two years from the cause of action accruing. Where a solicitor is giving advice in conjunction with another professional, with the result that Gannons may be jointly liable to the client, Gannons are only liable to the extent that we actually caused the loss. This exclusion does not apply to any liability which cannot be excluded under the law of England and Wales. Gannons is not liable for any act or omission of any third party engaged on your behalf unless otherwise agreed by us in writing.

Data protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 contains rules for processing personal information and applies to certain paper records as well as those held on computer. To enable us to discharge the services agreed under this engagement and for other related purposes including dating and enhancing our client records, analysis for management purposes, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance, we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about directors, shareholders and employees.  You confirm that you have complied with your obligations under the Data Protection Act in supplying any personal data to us. Individuals have a right of access, under data protection legislation, to the personal data that we hold about them.  For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, the data protection officer for Gannons is Catherine Gannon.

Equality and diversity

Consistent with our internal policies and procedures, we will not discriminate in the way we provide our services on the grounds of race, colour, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability or marital status.

Quality checks

We are subject to periodic checks by outside assessors and auditors. We will assume you have no objection to your file being reviewed unless you tell us otherwise.

Outsourcing

We do outsource to third parties operational matters such as book keeping, accounting and IT support and will do so without your express permission.

Complaints procedure

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of service, you should raise your dissatisfaction with Catherine Gannon in writing immediately. Any complaint will be dealt with as promptly and as comprehensively as follows.  You will receive a preliminary response to your complaint within 28 days of receipt of the complaint or if this is not possible you will be provided with reasons.  Gannons will work with you to try to agree a satisfactory conclusion. You will not be charged for the cost of complaint handling.

Legal Ombudsman and assessment of the bill

If you are not satisfied with the way in which we handled your complaint you may be able to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and / or apply to the court of an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.  Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. The address of the Legal Ombudsman is: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Telephone – 0300 555 0333. E-mail – enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Governing law and jurisdiction

English law governs these terms of engagement and any dispute arising out of the terms will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Identification

Gannons complies with the anti-money laundering regulations set down by the Law Society. An overview can be found at: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/aml.
In order to comply with the law on money laundering you must provide such evidence of identity as we request.

Communication

Unless other wise advised in writing, Gannons will assume that you are happy for us to communicate by e-mail. We cannot guarantee the confidentiality or security of e-mail communications. Gannons do not encrypt emails.

Please be aware of the risk of fraud.  We will NEVER notify you by e-mail of changes to our bank account details nor will we accept changes to your bank account details by e-mail without also receiving independent verification from you.  Please make contact with us immediately if you receive any messages purporting to come from us which look suspicious.

Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) 

If you are a client and we have made a contract with you by electronic means you may be entitled to use an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. This service can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr.  Our email address is clientservices@gannons.co.uk.

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