WEBSITE USE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Use of www.business-lawyers.org (The Site) and the services provided via it are conditional upon you accepting the following terms and conditions. Unless otherwise specified, your acceptance of this User Agreement shall be indicated by your use of The Site. The Site is provided by Business Lawyers Ltd. (The Company) at 4 Bridle Gate, High Wycombe, HP11 2JH, and its suppliers.
2. Availability of The Site
We will endeavour to ensure that The Site is available 24 hours per day without any interruptions. However, we reserve the right to make The Site unavailable at any time or to restrict access to parts or all of The Site without notice. The Site is a general information service. We endeavour not to make it misleading, but we cannot represent that the information accessible on or via The Site is accurate, not-misleading, complete or up to date.
3. Use of The Site
The Site is designed for your personal, non-commercial use and you must not use it in any other way without our consent. Except as permitted under applicable law, you must not use, copy, translate, publish, licence or sell The Site or any materials or information in The Site or the structure, overall style and program code of The Site without our consent. If you wish to make a request for consent, please contact us.
4. Your Contributions
You agree to only use The Site for lawful purposes and that any information that you provide in connection with, or which forms part of, The Site will be, as far as you are aware, true and accurate and will not infringe any copyright or trade mark, or any right of privacy, publicity or personality or any other right, whether registered or unregistered, of any other nature or any person, or be obscene or libellous or blasphemous or defamatory and you agree to indemnify us against all claims, proceedings, damages, liabilities and costs, including legal costs arising out of your breach of this term. We cannot make any assurances about the information or contribution made by any other user and you should exercise caution before acting or otherwise relying upon any information you obtain via the The Site.
The Site includes links to other internet sites. Without limiting what we say elsewhere, we make no representations or warranties about those sites or their content, nor that the links work. If you wish to link to The Site please contact [email protected].
6. Data Protection
7. Intellectual property
The Site, its style and structure, and the materials and information on The Site are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and may not be used by you except as expressly provided in this User Agreement. The authors of the documents in The Site assert their moral rights. www.business-lawyers.org and Business Lawyers Ltd. are registered trade marks of Business Lawyers Ltd..
8. Our Liability
Since a substantial part of The Site is both free and available to all, it is a condition that your use of The Site is at your own risk. We shall not be liable to you or in breach of this User Agreement for any delay or failure to perform any obligation if the delay or failure is due to a cause beyond our reasonable control including, without limitation, the blocking or restricting of information to and/or from our network.
Except as expressly provided in this User agreement, we disclaim any further representations, warranties, conditions or other terms, express or implied, by statute, collaterally or otherwise, including but not limited to implied warranties, conditions or other terms of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose or reasonable care and skill.
Save as provided below, we disclaim all and will not be liable in contract, tort (including, without limitation, negligence) or otherwise arising in connection with this User Agreement or the The Site for: (i) consequential, indirect or special loss or damage; or (ii) any loss of goodwill or reputation; or (iii) any economic losses (including loss of revenues, profits, contracts, business or anticipated savings), in each case, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such loss or damage and howsoever incurred.
Our maximum liability to you in contract, tort (including, without limitation, negligence) or otherwise arising in connection with this User Agreement or the The Site shall be limited to £50. Notwithstanding any other provision of this User Agreement, we will be liable to you without limit for any death or personal injury caused by our negligence and to the extent that liability arises under Part 1 or section 41 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and for liability arising from statements made fraudulently by us.
9. Small Print
Either of us may terminate this User Agreement at any time. You may not transfer any of your rights or delegate any of your obligations under this User Agreement without our prior written consent. If we fail to enforce any provision of this User Agreement, that failure will not preclude us from enforcing either that provision (or any similar provision) on a later occasion. Nothing in this User Agreement shall confer on any third party any benefit or the right to enforce any term of the User Agreement. This User Agreement is governed by English law and any dispute connected with this agreement is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. Nothing in this User Agreement affects your statutory rights as a consumer.
If you believe that your intellectual property or other rights are being infringed by The Site, or if you are dis-satisfied with The Site or any aspect of our service, in the first instance please contact us.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF PURCHASE (OF LEGAL SERVICES)
3.Our commitment to you
4.Our codes of conduct
6.Your commitment to us
7.Problems-your right to complaint
8.Your rights under The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling Regulations) 2000
9.Your rights under The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) regulations 2002
11. Free newsletter and marketing opportunities
12.Data protection and telephone taping
13.Anti Money laundering and proof of identity
14.Changes in terms and conditions
15.Ownership of documents
16.Third party rights
17.Law and jurisdiction
1. Our services
We provide legal advices and services based on the laws of England & Wales only.
You may terminate our services at any time by a signed letter sent to our office. We may do likewise by email communication.
Where you reasonably feel you have gained no benefit from our services/advices (and this is agreed by us) we shall honour our “money back” guarantee and we shall reimburse you in full.
You are aware that where we have begun to work for You. In this circumstance however you may not entitled to a full rebate where you cancel our agreement. Typically you would receive a pro-rata rebate however.
Our liability for losses is limited as follows:
No liability for your fault/third party fault
We shall only be liable for our own mistakes. Consequently we shall not be liable for any errors, whether acts or omissions, by yourself or a third party. We rely upon You/ Your approved agents to provide us with accurate and complete information and documentation so that we may best advise You. Failure to do so may mean the advices/documents provided may not be adequate or accurate.
No liability for some types of loss and damage
We shall not be liable to You or any third party, in contract, tort or otherwise, for any loss of profits, revenue, goodwill or opportunity (whether these losses are direct or indirect) and for any indirect or consequential economic loss or damage suffered in connection with or arising from the advices and/or services we provide.
Proportionate liability only
Where other parties have been advising You and a limitation of liability has been agreed with them, You agree with us that our liability to You will not be increased due to any limitation of liability agreed with any of these other parties. Our liability to You is limited to our involvement in the overall project and to the extent that is fair and reasonable that we should bear losses resulting from our involvement. Our involvement will be determined by the scope of any retainer agreed between us in writing and will be evidenced by our client care letter.
No liability that exceeds our professional indemnity insurance
We shall not be liable for any loss that exceeds our professional indemnity insurance limit. If the matter is especially important to You, You should advise us of this so that we may seek to obtain additional insurance.
No liability to third parties
Our contract is with You. Our advices are bespoke to You and to Your own peculiar set of circumstances/facts. We have not given and do not give advice to non-clients. Accordingly, we are not liable to any third party that wrongly relies or seeks to rely upon our advices and services to You. You are advised not to communicate our confidential advices to you to third parties that might wrongly seek to act upon them.
You agree that where any loss has been suffered You shall take all reasonable steps to reduce or minimise Your loss.
3. Our commitment to You
We focus on our client’s affairs. During a normal working week (Monday to Friday 9 am-5pm) we aim to:
- Reply to all letters within 48 hours.
- Return ‘phone calls within 24 hours.
- Be pro-active, approachable and responsive.
- Answer your phone call to the firm personally whenever possible.
We also work outside of these times to provide a flexible service to client needs-if You require such services per se or for an urgent ad hoc project please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss fully Your own bespoke service requirements.
We reserve our right however to stop acting for You in certain circumstances such as being unable to obtain proper instructions from You or in the event of an unpaid interim bill or refusal by You to pay monies on account.
4. Our codes of conduct
We abide by the Solicitors Regulation Authority that governs our code of conduct with clients. Supplementing this are various codes of conduct that may apply if we are fellow members of relevant organisations such as the FSB, Chamber Of Commerce, The Institute Of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators or The UK IT Association for instance, though others may also be equally applicable. If in doubt contact us for further information and advise us of Your membership prior to signing the Client Charter so that these additional terms may apply.
5. Our fees
We charge either an hourly fee for the work You ask us to do, for which we shall provide an estimate to You, or sometimes we are able to agree a fixed or capped fee to complete a piece of work.
If an estimate is provided and it transpires the work is likely to be more complex or time consuming than envisaged originally we shall advise You of this and shall revise our estimate accordingly.
If a quote is given then this is binding on us and we may not later change the fee provided, except by way of your informed consent. We provide capped fee and fixed fee quotes-the former sets an upper limit which we cannot go beyond, the latter a specific sum.
The fee covers things like the consideration of your case, discussing it, time spent travelling to Court (where necessary), drafting documents and considering correspondence.
It is our policy with an estimate and on-going work to tell you every month how much the fees are at that point. If You indicate a budget beyond which we must not go without your permission, then of course we will keep to that figure.
Where a legal template or precedent has been asked by you a precedent fee may be charged-the details of which will be notified to You. Some legal documents can be paid for and downloaded online. Where this is the case there is no bespoke specialist advice service to You and You will be solely responsible for completing the document in question.
If You have been provided with a fixed fee quote the specific details of these will be contained in the client charter, which shall be binding on both parties. It may only be amended by both parties’ consent. Before undertaking any work outside of the fixed fee we will always discuss with you how much such a case is likely to cost.
The good news is, though, that these cases are not very common and in cases of commercial disputes for instance we can usually negotiate a fair outcome with the other party’s solicitor, without having to go to court.
VAT is payable on our fees at present as we are VAT registered (VAT registration number 933383615)and you will receive an invoice or receipt note with our VAT number in respect of services provided.. In this case VAT would then be chargeable, unless you live outside the EU, or otherwise agreed because of VAT non-registration.
If You are not happy with our fees for some reason you have rights that are explained in our invoice/receipt note as to how the matter may be addressed. Additional to these are rights of referral to the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman.
Where we do not ask for payment on account but issue You an invoice with payment terms that are not met by You we may charge you a late interest fee of 3% interest p.a. above the base rate of Barclays Bank plc. Additionally You agree you will reimburse us in full our charges for additional administration costs for pursuing this debt, such charges to include the payment of fees of external agents and advisers including solicitors, barristers and debt collection agencies.
On some occasions we may have received a lead or referral from a third party that has led to You instructing us. If this is the case we may pay the third party introducer a referral fee. The introducer should always tell You if this is the case. If in doubt please ask them and/or contact us to obtain more details of what sum was paid. If in turn this is attractive to You please contact us in order to discuss the opportunities of working with us profitably. The third party introducer should not cold call You if you are a private individual. If this has in fact happened please contact us without delay.
To establish Your agreement for us to proceed in the services You agree to provide us with written instructions of the same but in any event for this purpose You agree that we may monitor and/or record such telephone calls in accordance with the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice)(Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 though if we choose not to do so our own written note of the same shall be agreed as a final and conclusive recording of the instructions and fee basis we have agreed.
6. Your commitment to us
So that we can begin work immediately on your case we may request payment on account (in advance). This will be an amount either towards or completely covering the cost of your case.
You may be able to pay us by credit card (see our website or client charter for more), by BACS or by way of Internet banking transfer. Details of our client bank account are as follows:
1 Corn Market, High Wycombe, Bucks, England, United Kingdom.
The monies effectively are held in client account (on trust) under stringent Solicitors’ Accounts Rules that are regulated by The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) until completion of the work agreed or otherwise conclusion of the matter. Any interest that is accrued belongs to You and will be paid for the period it is held by us. Your monies are protected by: the regular auditing of this account by an independent and insured bookkeeping company; our auditors; yearly auditing by the SRA and by the Compensation Scheme operated by the SRA.
In addition to the fees mentioned above You will be required to pay costs we have to pay out on your behalf. This is known as “disbursements” and covers court fees, barrister’s costs etc and out of pocket expenses such as local searches, couriers fees, postal costs, photocopying etc at cost. Again we may ask for monies on account to cover these before the matter is able to progress.
Where we operate a conditional “no win no fee” arrangement you will be asked to sign a separate agreement that will detail your commitment to us. Further, if the arrangement is supported by an After The Event Insurance Scheme there may be additional documentation for You to consider and complete. Such terms and conditions also form the basis of our working relationship.
Our fees are reviewed annually in November. Any increase applicable to the above rates will be notified to you in writing one month prior to the increase taking effect.
7. Problems-your right to complain
We pride ourselves on good communication and relations with You. If, however, you feel dissatisfied with any aspect of our service please raise the issue with the person dealing with your case. You will find that they approach your concerns with speed and respect. If we have not given a service above your expectation, then we genuinely want to know.
In the unlikely event that we cannot satisfy your concerns, then after using our above process, we have a formal complaints procedure designed to address your concerns swiftly—simply ask for the Complaints Handler, Brian McLelland who will speak directly to you.
Additional to these are rights of referral to the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman in certain circumstances.
It is hoped that any complaint or cause for concern that you have may be resolved within 8 weeks of the initial written complaint being received by Mr McLelland at this firm. Should you wish to take the matter further after this period, a complaint may be made to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of the last contact that you have from this firm ie. Within 6 months of receiving the letter from Mr McLelland in response to your complaint.
In any event the Legal Ombudsman must receive details of any complaint that you wish to raise with them within 12 months of any act/omission or within 12 months when you reasonably knew or ought to have known of the act or omission that has given you cause to complain. Further information including an explanation of the time limits may be obtained by you from the Legal Ombudsman at any time.
The Legal Ombudsman’s details are :
Address : PO Box 15870 Birmingham B30 9EB
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Website is www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
Please note that only copies of documents should be sent to the Legal Ombudsman’s office to avoid any documentation being lost or destroyed
8. Your rights under The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling Regulations) 2000
If we do not meet you face to face to form this agreement you may as a consumer have additional rights if You contract with us by phone, fax or the internet.
You are advised to refer to www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2000/20002334.htm or www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/topics1/ecomm.htm for more guidance but you have a right by these Regulations to cancel the agreement within a seven day “cooling off” period and to be reimbursed in full of any payments made unless, of course, within that time we have commenced or completed advices or services for You, in which case we shall be paid a fair sum for services and advices to that point of time. If we have completed the services before You notify us of your cancellation we shall be entitled to payment in full.
9. Your rights under The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) regulations 2002
If we do not meet You face to face you may as a consumer have additional rights if You contract with us by email or the Internet.
Consumers are invited via the website to make an offer for our services presented. They are then asked to agree that they have read these terms and conditions of acceptance. When they click “YES/I AGREE” they are binding themselves to making a formal unconditional offer, which we may accept or reject according to these terms and conditions. If accepted by us we have formed a conditional contract binding on us both, subject only to the conditions of receipt of your payment on account and proof of identity. Consumers shall know of our acceptance of their offer by the issue of our client care letter.
When payment is made by You as a consumer this does not mean we have accepted your offer-rather it is that receipt is acknowledged and we progress to the next stages of:
1.Proof of identity and
2.Issue of client care email/letter confirming our acceptance and formation of contract, at which stage a final formal contract is formed.
If there is any problem with your offer please do contact us of your concerns-we shall in any event verify with you that the offer made is correct by way of email reply.
The language of this contract shall be English.
10. Your lawyer
We are developing a team of specialist business lawyers. The name of your lawyer is given, with their contact details at the end of the copy of the client charter. No one else will deal with the case without your express permission.
If your lawyer is not available, please leave a message and they will contact You in accordance with our commitment above. We are sure You will understand that, in their absence, the team would not be able to give legal advice on your case.
11. Free newsletter and marketing opportunities
By agreeing to this contract You agree that we may send You a copy of our free newsletter as well as invitations to free/ low cost networking events and seminars for You and your clients. The newsletter and seminars may be used by You to promote your own events and business-for more please contact us. If you do not wish to receive such newsletters and promotions simply contact us by email: [email protected] or by letter with your request.
12. Data protection
We are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998 and treat seriously our responsibilities in law and to You for data protection compliance.
We will disclose your personal data held by us only with your permission or otherwise as required by law-to our auditors and The Law Society for instance.
You accept that we may send emails to You in non-encrypted format and that a remote but nevertheless real risk exists of interception. If You have highly sensitive material You wish to send/wish us to send to You, you should discuss the matter with us to agree a more secure method of communication.
You confirm that you have complied with applicable law and regulations relating to the holding and processing of any personal information.
You are also advised that we are entitled to retain all your papers and documents until and unless and disbursements owed are paid.
We will hold your files and documents once the services have been completed in storage for a period of seven years at the end of which You agree that we may destroy them. We will not destroy any documents You ask us to hold in safe custody.
We may record and monitor our telephone calls to help us improve our services to you and for the generation of normal client attendance notes.
13. Anti Money laundering and proof of identity
We are obliged by law not to accept your instructions unless we receive satisfactory proof of you identity. Consequently, unless You are able to provide evidential documents to confirm your identity we will not be able to act for you.
14. Changes in terms and conditions
We may review these terms and conditions from time to time. If we make any changes we shall send You a copy of the agreement and this revised version shall supersede previous versions.
15. Ownership of documents
You agree that we retain the copyright of any documents created for You during the course of this contract and after termination, howsoever caused, and you agree that You are granted a limited non-exclusive licence to use those documents provided to you solely for the purpose of the transaction or matter for which we have been instructed.
Accordingly You have no right to copy; sell, licence or transmit to third parties or use the documents without our express written consent and you agree that regardless of any other contract rights we may have we may seek equitable, including injunctive, relief against any breach of this condition.
16. Third party rights
Nothing in this agreement shall benefit any third party and the Contracts
(Rights Of Third Parties) Act 1999 shall not apply.
17. Law and jurisdiction
The SRA regulates Business Lawyers Limited.
Our agreement will be governed by English law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts except for the collection of unpaid fees, which we may pursue in any appropriate jurisdiction.