Regulatory United Kingdom

Overview

Constitution

Bird & Bird LLP is a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000.

Professional qualifications

Each of Bird & Bird LLP is a solicitor of England and Wales, registered foreign lawyer, registered European lawyer, exempt European lawyer or non-solicitor lawyer manager.

Bird & Bird practices the law of England and Wales and not that of any other part of the United Kingdom, except to the extent that a partner agrees to Bird & Bird advising on the law of any other part or any particular law that may apply throughout the United Kingdom.

Regulatory authority

Bird & Bird LLP is authorised and regulated as a recognised body in the United Kingdom by the Solicitors Regulation Authority ("SRA") to undertake reserved work and immigration work. The SRA is the successor regulator in England and Wales to The Law Society of England and Wales as from 1 July 2007.

Professional regulations

The SRA's applicable professional rules and code of conduct may be found at http://www.sra.org.uk/handbook/ in the English language.

Where a partner agrees to Bird & Bird advising on Scots Law, our Scottish qualified lawyers will provide advice in a manner consistent with the rules of the Law Society of Scotland Regulations, which may be found at http://www.lawscot.org.uk/rules-and-guidance/table-of-contents.

Value Added Tax

United Kingdom GB 927 5739 83.

Client money interest policy

The following policy applies to client money held by our London office.

Our primary bankers are Barclays Bank plc.

In accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority Accounts Rules 2011, it is the firm's policy to account to its clients for a sum in lieu of interest on client money on a fair and reasonable basis.

Client money will generally be held in a general client bank account, designated as client account, in which amounts for different clients (and others) and matters are pooled and held separately from the firm's own money. We will pay an amount calculated for the term of holding the money equal to the Barclays Bank Deposit rate, but if the interest should be less than £50.00 or Non sterling equivalent, then no amount will be paid, unless specifically agreed or authorised. Amounts will not be paid in respect of any days in which money is in transmission. Amounts will be paid net of any bank charges related to the money, if not separately recharged to the client.

If client money is held in a separate designated deposit account for a specific matter, an amount equal to all interest in fact earned on that account will be paid.

Amounts representing interest are paid without deduction for taxation, for which the client as payee will be responsible.

The firm will keep this policy under review and reserves the right to vary it in its discretion, for example, as market conditions change. Any change will take immediate effect, whether or not notified to clients concerned.

We do not provide banking services through client account, so payments into or withdrawals from client account must relate to an underlying transaction, case or legal service on which we are advising.

For other terms on which we receive from, hold for or make available to a client or third party client money, click here.

Reimbursement of expenses policy

In addition to our professional fees we require our clients to reimburse us for expenses paid or incurred on their behalf. These may include:

  • amounts charged to us by third parties for their services, such as counsel, overseas lawyers, notaries, patent attorneys or trade mark agents, other professionals and expert witnesses;
  • disbursements such as, court and officials fees, enforcement fees, real property and other searches, filing and registration fees;
  • expenses incurred by us in providing services such as courier fees, travel expenses, online know-how and data services, hosting online client services, scanning, photocopying, telephone calls, facsimiles, electronic document processing and non-legal work undertaken or outsourced by us; and
  • irrecoverable VAT. Expenses are invoiced at cost.

Payment terms for our invoices

It is our practice to invoice clients at regular intervals, normally monthly, and it is a condition of our accepting your instructions that we will submit interim invoices, and that interim and final invoices will be paid in accordance with our terms of payment. Any variations to this practice, which we may agree with you, will be set out in the terms of our engagement. We reserve the right to terminate our engagement if any interim invoice is not paid by the due date.

Unless otherwise agreed with us, invoices are payable on delivery of our invoice. In the event of non-payment within one month after the date of delivery of the invoice, we reserve the right to charge interest on the outstanding amount of the invoice to the maximum permitted by the Judgment Debts (Rate of Interest) Order 1993 (as modified or replaced from time to time), which currently stands at 8% per annum.

Interest at such rate will accrue from one month after the date of the delivery of the invoice to the date of payment. For this purpose the date of delivery is deemed to be the business day next following the date of dispatch by post, fax or e-mail or, as the case may be, the next following date of submission in an e-billing system, unless in the case of post posted to an address outside the UK in which case the date of delivery is deemed to be the fifth business day following the date of dispatch. For this purpose, business day means a day, not being a Saturday or Sunday (or, as appropriate, the alternative weekend in the country of the addressee) on which on which banks are open for normal business in the country of the addressee.

Interest at such rate will accrue from one month after the date of the delivery of the invoice to the date of payment.

Fees and Contentious Matters

As a client, you may be entitled to apply to the court for an assessment of our invoice under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you apply for an assessment of costs within a month of the date of our invoice your right to a detailed assessment is unconditional; subsequently the court may impose conditions or refuse the application.

In contentious matters it is possible for parties, in appropriate cases, to obtain insurance cover not only for their own legal costs, but also for their potential liability to pay the legal costs of the other party. There are various insurance products available on the market and we can discuss the availability and appropriateness of these products on request.

If as a client you ask us to advise you on a contentious matter, you should be aware of the following in relation to costs: (a) you will be responsible for paying our invoice in full regardless of any order for costs made against your opponent, (b) you will probably have to pay your opponent's costs as well as your own costs if your case is lost, (c) even if you win your case, your opponent may not be ordered to pay or be capable of paying the full amount of your costs, (d) if your opponent is legally aided by the state you may not recover your costs, even if you are successful and (e) certain types of expenses incurred by us (such as for photocopying, faxes etc.) may not be recoverable from your opponent in the event of obtaining a costs order against them.

Complaints: general

We have a written complaints procedure for matters that concern England & Wales and will supply you with a copy on request at any time. In particular:

  • if you as a client have queries or concerns about the conduct of a matter or about our invoice, you should raise these in the first instance with the partner responsible for the matter or your client relationship partner.  If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our service and wish to contact someone unconnected with the file, please contact our Complaints Officer or email us;
  • it is the role of the Complaints Officer to investigate complaints about the conduct of a matter or about our invoice, which you have not otherwise been able to resolve, and to notify you of the action taken; and
  • you may also have a right to object to the invoice by applying to the court for an assessment of the invoice under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

The Complaints Officer for Bird & Bird, London is currently Jenny Cassidy. For other offices complaints may be addressed initially to the managing partner at the address specified under Office Locations in their web site.

Complaints: individuals

A statutory scheme is available to clients of the London office who are individuals and small businesses, charities, clubs/associations or organisations, a trustee of a trust etc (please refer to www.legalombudsman.org.uk to check whether you fall within the Legal Ombudsman's jurisdiction) as follows:

  • as an individual or small business etc, if you remain unhappy about the outcome and it relates to a matter that concerns England and Wales, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.  The Legal Ombudsman's contact details are: PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB; telephone 0300 555 0333; enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk; and www.legalombudsman.org.uk;
  • ordinarily, the Legal Ombudsman expects clients to use the firm's complaints procedure before making a complaint to the Ombudsman.  However the Ombudsman may accept a complaint, in circumstances where a complaint made to the firm's Complaints Officer has not been resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks of being made or the Ombudsman considers that there are exceptional reasons to consider the complaint sooner;
  • otherwise, you may make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of having received a response from the firm's Complaints Officer, resulting in your complaint not having been resolved to your satisfaction;
  • further time limits apply, ordinarily requiring a client to refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within one year from the alleged act/omission or one year from when a client should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint without having taken advice from a third party, whichever is the later;
  • if you object to the invoice by applying to the court for an assessment of the invoice under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 it will preclude you from making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

Bird & Bird (Services) Limited

Bird & Bird (Services) Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registered number 3717269. Its registered office is at 12 New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1JP. Bird & Bird (Services) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bird & Bird LLP, provides staff and related services to Bird & Bird LLP and does not provide services directly to clients. Accordingly, Bird & Bird (Services) Limited is not, and is not required to be, authorised or regulated in England and Wales, or in any other jurisdiction, in respect of the provisions of legal services.

Bird & Bird IP Services Limited

Bird & Bird IP Services Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registered number 8809336. Its registered office is at 12 New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1JP. Bird & Bird IP Services Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bird & Bird LLP and provides brand management services to Bird & Bird and clients of Bird & Bird. Bird & Bird IP Services Limited is not, and is not required to be, authorised or regulated in England and Wales, or in any other jurisdiction, in respect of the provisions of legal services.