Legal and regulatory information
Butler Reichline Skruzmane (BRS) (“BRS”), the trading name of Strange & Butler UK LLP, is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC423551. A list of names of the members is available for inspection at BRS’s registered address at 1 Gray’s Inn Square, London, United Kingdom, WC1R 5AA. The word “partner” is used to refer to a member of BRS or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing and qualifications.
BRS is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales (“SRA”) with the SRA number 652127. The SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 set out our professional and ethical rules and obligations, including the SRA Codes of Conduct and SRA Accounts Rules, and can be viewed at www.sra.org.uk.
Information for our clients
We have set out below some additional information which we are obliged to provide to clients (as provided for in our standard Terms of Business).
Professional indemnity insurance
In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, details of BRS’s compulsory professional indemnity insurance in England and Wales are as follows: our participating insurers are HDI Global Specialty SE-UK and Endurance Worldwide Insurance Limited and this cover extends to acts or omissions wherever in the world they occur.
Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
The advice which we provide is confined to legal advice. We do not advise on the merits of financial products or investment transactions and no communication from us should be treated as an invitation for you to engage in regulated investment activity of any description.
BRS is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (the “Act”). Instead and as above, BRS is authorised and regulated by the SRA. The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Act, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The SRA is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints about lawyers registered in England and Wales. In light of this, we can provide investment-related services (including insurance distribution activities) if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide through BRS, if they can reasonably be regarded as a necessary part of our professional services or if we are otherwise permitted to provide them under the Act. For the purpose of insurance distribution activities (broadly, advising on, selling and the administration of insurance contracts), we are included on a register maintained by the FCA and are permitted by the FCA to carry on insurance distribution activities. This register can be accessed via the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
As a solicitors firm, BRS may be required to verify the identity of its clients. The process varies for different categories of clients but generally, the following procedures will apply:
- If you are an individual who we meet, please bring one form of proof of identity (e.g. a current passport, national identity card or driving licence) and one form of proof of residential address (dated within the last three months, such as a utility bill or bank statement). If you are unable to meet us in person, we will ask you to provide a third document (either proof of identity or address) and have all three documents certified as true copies (photocopies) of the originals by a lawyer, accountant, bank official, embassy or consulate. Unfortunately, we are unable to rely on copies of digital photographs.
- If you are a company, in many cases we will be able to obtain all the information we need through online databases. However, if there is insufficient information about you in the public domain, we will ask you to provide certified copies of your corporate records to enable us to understand your ownership and control structure.
- If we are carrying out a transaction for you, we will ask you to explain how the transaction will be funded and, in some cases, we may ask you to provide supporting documentation.
Notwithstanding your instructions to us, there may be circumstances where we are required to act instead in accordance with obligations or directions arising under the various relevant anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation.
We are obliged in certain circumstances to disclose otherwise confidential information to the National Crime Agency (“NCA”). Where we have reasonable evidence to know or suspect that a transaction involves criminal proceeds, we may be required by law to make a disclosure to the NCA. In this event, and where we have determined that is necessary to make a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or the reasons for it. We will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what actions we may need to take but only where the law permits us to do so. We shall have no liability to you in relation to our duties to comply with such legislation.
Anti-bribery and corruption
BRS’s policy is to act at all times in accordance with the highest professional, ethical and business standards, and we expect the same from our clients and their related persons, entities or affiliates. We have a zero-tolerance approach to bribery or corruption and you agree not to expect or request any conduct from us that might bring our name into disrepute or compromise our integrity and independence and that you or your related persons, entities or affiliates will refrain from any practices involving bribery or any other corrupt activities.
You are responsible for notifying us if you are providing us with information, or if we will be acting for you on matters, which constitute “inside information” in relation to your business. Upon such notification, we will maintain a list of persons employed by us who are acting on your behalf in connection with such a matter and who have access to relevant inside information.
BRS will take measures to ensure that every person is aware of their duties and the sanctions relating to the misuse or improper disclosure of inside information. You may ask us for a copy of the list at any time within five years from the date upon which the information ceases to be inside information.
Client audit and reference requests
At our discretion, we may, but we are not obliged to, respond to reasonable requests for information from a corporate client’s auditors if the directors of the company authorise us in writing to do so. Any response we provide will follow the Law Society’s guidelines for replying to audit letters. We will confirm the amount of any costs and expenses which are due to us, whether we are holding documents and, if so, whether they are held by us as security for our own costs. Non-specific enquires as to our awareness or otherwise of contingent liabilities or litigation or breach or potential breach of regulations and rules relating to the client’s business will not be answered. Where the directors have in writing estimated the amount of such liabilities on a specific matter in respect of which we are instructed, BRS may be prepared to comment upon the directors’ estimate if the directors so request. The time we spend responding to an audit letter will be charged at the appropriate hourly rate. We do not provide bank or other references.
If you wish to make a complaint about BRS then, in the first instance, please contact the person with whom you are working or corresponding to set out your concerns. We will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage and, if applicable, will confirm our complaints handling procedure in writing (which is available to clients at any time on request).
If you are not satisfied with our attempt to handle and resolve matters, you may be able to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the issue (write to: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or phone 0300 555 0333). If you do wish to refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, it should be done within six months of our final response to your complaint and within six years of the act or omission that caused the complaint or, if outside this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have known about the relevant act or omission.
The Legal Ombudsman may refer your complaint to the SRA if they are not the correct body to consider the matter, as the Legal Ombudsman’s services are only available for certain types of complaints and complainants. For full details, please visit: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/helping-the-public/make-a-complaint/ and https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page. Note also that if you are a client and your complaint is about our invoices, you may also apply to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors’ Act 1974. If all or part of any bill remains unpaid, we may be entitled to charge interest.
BRS is registered for VAT purposes under number 303 8293 16.