STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
The engagement letter, the schedule of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by, and should be construed in accordance with English law. Each party agrees that the courts of England will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning the engagement letter and any matter arising from it. Each party irrevocably waives any right to object to any action being brought in those Courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or to claim that those Courts do not have jurisdiction.
We may from time to time hold money on your behalf. Such money will be held in trust in a client bank account, which is segregated from the firm’s funds.
Communication between us is confidential and we shall take all reasonable steps to keep confidential your information except where we are required to disclose it by law, by regulatory bodies, by our insurers. In the event we are required to disclose such communication or information by law, regulatory bodies, by our insurers, we shall give you a notice in writing five working days before such disclosure and where impracticable, as soon as reasonably practicable. Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf this undertaking will apply during and after the engagement.
Conflicts of interest
We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client. Where conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we will be unable to provide further services and shall provide you a notice in writing of the same as soon as we become aware of such event.
If there is a conflict of interest that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests then we will adopt those safeguards. Where possible this will be done on the basis of your informed consent. We reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are not the same as or are adverse to yours subject of course to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.
We confirm that we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Should we resign or be requested to resign we will normally issue a disengagement letter to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.
Electronic and other communication
Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties via email or by other electronic means. The recipient is responsible for virus checking emails and any attachments. With electronic communication there is a risk of non-receipt, delayed receipt, inadvertent misdirection or interception by third parties. We use virus-scanning software to reduce the risk of viruses and similar damaging items being transmitted through emails or electronic storage devices. However electronic communication is not totally secure and we cannot be held responsible for damage or loss caused by viruses nor for communications which are corrupted or altered after despatch. Nor can we accept any liability for problems or accidental errors relating to this means of communication especially in relation to commercially sensitive material. These are risks you must bear in return for greater efficiency and lower costs. If you do not wish to accept these risks please let us know and we will communicate by paper mail, other than where electronic submission is mandatory.
Fees and payment terms
Our fees may depend not only upon the time spent on your affairs but also on the level of skill and responsibility and the importance and value of the advice that we provide, as well as the level of risk. If we provide you with an estimate of our fees for any specific work, then the estimate will not be contractually binding unless we explicitly state that that will be the case or where we have quoted a fixed fee.
Where requested we may indicate a fixed fee for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment. If it becomes apparent to us, due to unforeseen circumstances, that a fee quote is inadequate, we reserve the right to notify you of a revised figure or range and to seek your agreement thereto.
For ongoing or management based work our fees will be invoiced monthly in arrears, for project based work our fee note/s will be issued at the end of the project or in part during the course of the project, for contingency work our fee note will be issued on receipt of any refund or presentation of the saving/reclaim to HMRC. Our invoices are due for payment within 30 days of issue, . Our fees are exclusive of VAT which will be added where it is chargeable. Any disbursements we incur on your behalf and expenses incurred in the course of carrying out our work for you will be added to our invoices where appropriate.
Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees. We reserve the right to suspend our services or to cease to act for you on giving written notice if payment of any fees is unduly delayed. We intend to exercise these rights only where it is fair and reasonable to do so. If you do not accept that an invoiced fee is fair and reasonable you must notify us within 30 days of receipt, failing which you will be deemed to have accepted that payment is due.
We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.
Intellectual property rights
We will retain all copyright in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the engagement save where the law specifically provides otherwise.
If any provision of the engagement letter or enclosed schedule is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract.
In the event of any conflict between these terms of business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedule will take precedence.
Insofar as we are permitted to do so by law or professional guidelines, we reserve the right to exercise a lien over all funds, documents and records in our possession relating to all engagements for you until all outstanding fees and disbursements are paid in full.
Limitation of liability
We will provide our services with reasonable care and skill. Our liability to you is limited to losses, damages, costs and expenses caused by our negligence or wilful default to a maximum of £250,000.00.
Exclusion of liability for loss caused by others
We will not be liable if such losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities are due to the acts or omissions of any other person or due to the provision to us of incomplete, misleading or false information or if they are due to a failure to act on our advice or a failure to provide us with relevant information.
Exclusion of liability in relation to circumstances beyond our control
We will not be liable to you for any delay or failure to perform our obligations under the engagement letter if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.
Exclusion of liability relating to the discovery of fraud etc
We will not be responsible or liable for any loss, damage or expense incurred or sustained if information material to the service we are providing is withheld or concealed from us or misrepresented to us. This applies equally to fraudulent acts, misrepresentation or wilful default on the part of any party to the transaction and their directors, officers, employees, agents or advisers.
This exclusion shall not apply where such misrepresentation, withholding or concealment is or should (in carrying out the procedures which we have agreed to perform with reasonable care and skill) have been evident to us without further enquiry.
Indemnity for unauthorised disclosure
You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure by you or by any person for whom you are responsible of our advice and opinions, whether in writing or otherwise. This indemnity will extend to the cost of defending any such claim, including payment at our usual rates for the time that we spend in defending it.
We agree to indemnify you and your agents in respect of any loss (including any loss arising form a claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure by us or by any person for whom we are responsible of the information provided by us, whether in writing or otherwise, beyond purposes of carrying the services set out in the engagement letter and schedule. This indemnity shall include but not limited to any cost arising from making or defending any claim arising out of such claim, including any legal or any such other professional cost.
Limitation of Third Party rights
The advice and information we provide to you as part of our service is for your sole use and not for any third party to whom you may communicate it unless we have expressly agreed in the engagement letter that a specified third party may rely on our work. We accept no responsibility to third parties, including any group company to whom the engagement letter does not include, for any advice, information or material produced as part of our work for you which you make available to them. The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 shall not apply to this contract.
Period of engagement and termination
Unless otherwise agreed in the engagement letter our work will begin when we receive your explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.
Each of us may terminate this contract by giving not less than 30 days notice in writing to the other party except where you fail to cooperate with us or we have reason to believe that you have provided us or HMRC with misleading information, in which case we may terminate this agreement immediately. Termination will be without prejudice to any rights that may have accrued to either of us prior to termination.
In the event of termination of this contract, we will endeavour to agree with you the arrangements for the completion of work in progress at that time, unless we are required for legal or regulatory reasons to cease work immediately. In that event, we shall not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.
Reliance on advice
We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. Advice given orally is not intended to be relied upon unless confirmed in writing. Therefore, if we provide oral advice (for example during the course of a meeting or a telephone conversation) and you wish to be able to rely on that advice, you must ask for the advice to be confirmed by us in writing.
Retention of papers
You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your customs duty affairs. During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your customs duty affairs. We will return any original documents to you if requested. Documents and records relevant to your customs duty affairs are required by law to be retained for a period of four years and returned to you after such period.
Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you we may destroy copies of correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than 7 years old. You must tell us if you require the return or retention of any specific copy documents for a longer period.