Terms and Conditions of Engagement

The following forms the main financial basis on which we undertake work for clients and apply unless varied by prior agreement.

Liability for charges

Charges arise where work is undertaken in accordance with your instructions.  The person responsible for the instructions is liable for payment including VAT even where that person is acting on behalf of a third party or where work is billed to a third party, unless a different arrangement has been previously agreed. Where instructions are given orally, but not confirmed in writing, charges arise in connection with work undertaken by us in accordance with our understanding and interpretation of those instructions.

Calculation of Charges

Charges may be made up of professional time charges, fixed charges and disbursements.  Professional time charges may be applied to professional time spent whether on professional work or significant travel.  Our fixed charges apply where work is undertaken involving routine administrative matters, such as filing applications, paying official fees, etc.  Disbursements may be internal office costs such as copying, or external costs such as official fees, foreign associates' fees, etc.  All charges are subject to VAT in appropriate cases except certain official fees.

Estimates can be given for specific cases. If the actual cost is higher or lower, the billing will be adjusted (a further bill or refund).

Ongoing work

Work that we take on may represent an initial step in an ongoing process.  Therefore, this may lead to further necessary steps incurring additional charges and there will be a liability for our additional charges for such necessary steps.  For example, where we send correspondence to a third party, file an application for protection or request an official search or examination, this is expected to result in a response which we must report to you.  Our general rule is to minimise work on those further steps by providing basic reporting until we receive further instructions from you. 

Payment

Payment is due on receipt of our invoice and we are unable to offer credit facilities.  We reserve the right to apply interest at 3% over the current bank rate of the HSBC Bank plc in respect of any invoice remaining unpaid within 30 days of the date of the invoice.  Any query or dispute concerning an invoice should be notified to us promptly and in any case within 20 days of the date of delivery.

New work may be undertaken conditional on advance payment which may be against an actual invoice or a pro forma invoice.  New work may not be undertaken, notwithstanding any loss of rights, if payment is not timely received and cleared and properly identified as to its intended purpose.  Advance payments will not attract interest if there is any delay in charges or the payment is later refunded.

Consultations

At our discretion the initial consultation is free for prospective clients at our office.  In keeping with our company ethos there may be other occasions where we chose not to make a charge if the time spent relates to us providing basic advice or receiving a commercial update.  After that where significant or complex advice is required we retain the right to make a charge for professional time.

Termination and cancellation of work

Clients may cancel instructed work or terminate our engagement at any time.  We may terminate our engagement on giving reasonable notice.  On termination charges may arise for work already undertaken and for work necessary to effect termination.

Ownership of files and documents

Work undertaken by us will involve preparation of documents, data and assembly of files for internal use.  The copyright and all other property rights remain wholly with us, but on settlement of all charges may be used by the client for the purpose it was prepared.  Where file contents are required by the client or any third party we reserve the right to make appropriate charges to supply them.  Our files will eventually be destroyed when no longer active. 

Insurance

We have professional negligence insurance which we consider to be appropriate for normal work (details available on request). 

Complaints

If you have any complaints in relation to work undertaken by us, please initially raise the issue with the person responsible for the work.  If this does not resolve the issue satisfactorily you may formally initiate our internal complaints procedure by contacting the Managing Partner (or another Partner if the complaint relates to the Managing Partner).  If the issue is still not resolved you can contact the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (www.ipreg.org.uk) or the Legal Ombudsman (www.legalombudsman.org.uk).

April 2014