We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
- ACT in your best interests and keep your business confidential
- EXPLAIN to you the legal work required and advise you in plain language
- KEEP YOU regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us
- DEAL with your queries promptly
- ADVISE you of changes in the law or any other circumstances that could affect the outcome of your matter
WHAT WE EXPECT FROM YOU
- Treat all our staff with respect, politeness and courtesy
- Give us instructions that allow us to do our work properly
- Provide all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner
- Not ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way
- Co-operate with us and not deliberately mislead us
- Tell us if you change your address or telephone number
- Tell us if you are likely to be out of contact for more than a few days and give alternative contact details
- Authorise us to approach such third parties as may be necessary for information that we consider necessary to deal with your affairs
- Keep us informed of changes in your marital circumstances
- Telephone calls and emails – we would ordinarily expect to return your calls and emails within 24 hours (excluding weekends). Sometimes this is not possible but we will always respond to calls within three working days.
- Letters – we would ordinarily expect to reply to letters within three working days. Sometimes this is not possible but we will always respond to letters within seven working days.
- Reporting to you – we will communicate with you whenever it is appropriate to do so and if you have any queries we will deal with them. You may request a different level of service for example weekly/fortnightly/monthly updates on the progress of your matter. If you ask for this you will be charged one quarter of your fee earner’s hourly rate for each report, this would be in addition to any fixed fee quoted.
OUR HOURS OF BUSINESS
- The normal hours of opening at our office are between 9.00am and 5.00pm weekdays.
- Our office has a number of steps outside. If this is a problem please let us know beforehand so we can arrange to see you elsewhere, at home, or take instructions via video conference.
PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WORK
- If the fee earner responsible for dealing with your work is unavailable please speak to one of the assistants, who may be able to deal with your queries and who will be pleased to take any message for you. We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided we will tell you promptly of any change.
CHARGES AND EXPENSES
- Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the fee earner on work which they do on your behalf. This will include meeting with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary. This does not apply to routine conveyancing work where we will give you a fixed price quotation.
- We charge for the time spent on matters in six minute units.
- The current hourly rates are: Solicitors with over 8 years experience and other similarly qualified staff £225.00 per hour, other solicitors and similarly qualified staff £170.00, paralegals £125.00 per hour, VAT is chargeable at the current rate on all costs.
- These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1st January each year. If a review is carried out before your matter has been concluded , we will inform you of any variation in the rate, when it takes place.
- In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issue and the speed at which action has to be taken. In particular, in property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a client, an additional charge reflecting the price of the property, the size of the estate or the value of the financial benefit to you may be considered.
- Where possible, we will send you a written estimate of our charges in connection with each matter on which you instruct us. However, estimates are estimates and are not intended to be fixed or binding. In appropriate cases you can ask us to set an upper limit on the costs we may incur on your behalf, unless we obtain further authority from you.
- Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land or Probate Registry fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on some of these. We refer to such payments as disbursements.
- Where we prepare on your behalf a deed or document which is intended to have effect after you have lost mental capacity or after your death (for example, a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Will) and that document is subsequently queried or challenged by a third party, we shall be entitled to charge you or your Estate for all work carried out by us in response to that query or challenge.
- If for any reason your matter does not proceed to completion we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
- Property transactions. We will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts and payment is required on a purchase prior to completion and on a sale at completion. If sufficient funds are available and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct our charges and expenses from the funds on completion.
- Administration of estates. We will normally submit an interim bill at regular stages during the administration, starting with the obtaining of a Grant. The final account will be prepared when the Estate Accounts are ready for approval.
- Other cases or transactions. It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account for charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. We find that this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of a case may result. In the event of any invoice or request for payment not being met, we reserve the right to stop acting for you further until payment is made in full.
- We take a lot of trouble to ensure that our systems are secure from cyber fraud but please be aware of the risk of your own systems being compromised. If a hacker can access your emails he can fraudulently create an email purporting to be from us. If you receive any communication asking for funds to be transferred to a different account from the one we have given you details of verbally or by post please contact us at once and do not under any circumstances transfer any funds.
- Payment is due to us within 28 days of our sending you a bill. In cases where payment is not made within 28 days of delivery by us of the bill then interest may be charged on a daily basis at 8% per annum over Lloyds Bank plc’s base rate.
- Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum accounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 2019, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on our bank’s Designated Client Accounts. The rate of interest payable may well be less than you are able to obtain yourself.
- If we use our own money to pay bills on your behalf we may charge you interest on this at 8% p.a. and if we do, we will set off any interest due to us on Office Account against any interest due to you on Client Account.
STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS
- After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all of your papers, information and documents while there is money owing to us. Your matter file may be stored electronically on the cloud and if so any paper copies may be destroyed. Therefore, if you wish to retain the paper copy you must tell us before you pay your invoice. We will keep the scanned copies or the hard copy file for not less than seven years but thereafter they may be deleted/destroyed.
- We will not of course destroy any documents such as wills, deeds and other securities, which you ask us to hold in safe custody. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which would be specified in that notice.
We reserve the right to stop working for you if:
- You fail to give us instructions
- You ask us to do anything improper on your behalf
- We know or suspect you are involved in money laundering
- You become bankrupt or mentally incapable
- You fail to pay any costs or disbursements outstanding
- There is another good reason why we would no longer wish to work for you. Examples include a serious breakdown in confidence, being in breach of the rules or principles of conduct if we were to act and where we are unable to obtain proper instructions. If there is good reason to cease acting for you, we will give reasonable notice to you.
- You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.
- If we decide to stop acting for you, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
- If we are acting for you in the purchase of a property and you are buying with the assistance of a mortgage, we will be acting on behalf of your lender also and we have to pass them information you give us that might be relevant to their decision whether to finance the purchase. If you tell us things or we become aware of things that you do not want the lender to know and they are relevant to the lender, we have to stop acting for the lender and possibly also for you.
- If we stop acting for you for any reason you will be obliged to pay our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out above.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND US
- We aim to offer our clients a friendly and efficient service. During the course of the matter, if there is any aspect about which you are concerned or require clarification, then please raise it with the person who is handling the matter, with a view to the matter being resolved quickly. If you remain concerned or we could not agree an appropriate course of action, then your complaint would be referred to Litini Newcombe, the firm’s managing partner, who will contact you and attempt to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.
- The firm has a Complaints Procedure, which is available on request from our office and which would be sent to you should you make a complaint.
- We may, unless you instruct us not to, send information to you by email.
- Use of internet email carries certain risks. Confidentiality may be breached, messages may be lost, delayed or not read and viruses may be transferred through the use of email. We cannot accept responsibility for loss which you suffer as a result of the use of internet email for communication between us or between Kilvington Solicitors Limited and third parties. Inherent in the nature of emails is the possibility of impersonation. If you are in any doubt as to whether an email purporting to come from us is genuine, please contact the person who is named as the sender to verify authenticity.
- We suggest that, when sending time critical email to us, you telephone to ensure the intended recipient is aware that a message has been sent. But do not do this simply as a matter of course.
- The Government has introduced regulations to make it more difficult for criminals to make money from their crimes and for this reason, has imposed compulsory checks that solicitors must make of their clients. You must therefore provide such evidence of identity as we may require and this will vary according to the type of entity you are. If you are a company it will include the identity of the beneficial owners and in the case of trusts of trustees and beneficiaries. If you fail to provide such information promptly, we will not be in a position to act for you or may cease to act.
- Our practice is to obtain verification by way of passport or driving licence and utility bill or bank statement confirming your address. We may also use your personal information for identity verification purposes through electronic data sources.
- From time to time we will require up to date evidence of identity to be supplied to ensure our ongoing compliance with the money laundering regulations.
- The evidence of identity that we hold from time to time will be made available to third parties whom we instruct on your behalf if they require it to comply with money laundering legislation.
- We do not accept large payments in cash. The maximum payment accepted in cash is £200.00. We will not accept payment unless the source has previously been identified to our satisfaction and we have agreed to accept payment from that source.
- We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors are required by statute to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you and we may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time without telling you why.
- We may, exceptionally, have statutory obligations that lead to our disclosing details of your affairs to the relevant authorities. We will not always be permitted to inform you of this. In some cases, compliance with these obligations may cause delay in proceeding with the matter and provided we have acted in good faith, we will not have any liability to you for the consequence of any delay.
- Please note that:
- It is your responsibility to disclose to HM Revenue and Customs certain types of VAT avoidance/mitigation schemes to which you are party. Because the existence of such a scheme will not necessarily be apparent to us, we can accept no responsibility to advise you to make such a disclosure.
- We may be obliged to disclose to HMRC certain details of arrangements intended to mitigate or avoid corporation, income or capital gains or stamp duty land tax, unless legal professional privilege applies in which case any obligation to disclose information is your responsibility.
- External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
- If we make a claim under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in respect of client money on your behalf we will give certain client information to the FSCS to help them identify any clients accounts to which they are entitled.
- We will provide advice and legal services to you with reasonable skill and care. Our responsibility shall only extend to the advice and services we provide on matters upon which you have actually instructed us. In particular we do not give tax advice unless it is a specific term of our retainer. We strongly advise you to obtain taxation advice from your accountant.
- We will be reliant upon you for the accuracy of the information and/or documentation you provide. We will not be liable to you for any losses caused wholly or in part by the provision by you or third parties of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation. If you have concerns or queries which are particular to you and not of general application, it is your responsibility to advise us of them.
- We will perform the work which we do for you with reasonable skill and care as we acknowledge that we will be liable to you for losses, damages, costs or expenses caused by our negligence or wilful default, except for any consequential economic special indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.
- If we are holding money for you this is held in a client bank account. Under current law it is unlikely that we would be liable for losses resulting from a bank failure. All client funds are held with Svenska handels banker. If there is a banking failure you may be helped by the Financial Service Compensation Scheme (FSCS) dependent on the circumstances.
- Any claims made against us must be notified to us in writing within three months of you first becoming aware of them and any proceedings must be commenced within one year of you becoming aware of the circumstances leading to the claim.
- The company has worldwide professional indemnity insurance to the limit of £3 million.
INSURANCE AND INCIDENTAL INVESTMENT BUSINESS
- We are not in the business of selling insurance products. Occasionally it is appropriate for us to provide insurance ancillary to legal work, we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by them so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Law Society. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
- We do not research the market before any recommendation is made as this would not be cost effective. We do however review the market from time to time to ensure that we are proposing a reasonable product. On request we will supply a demands and needs statement.
- We are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but we are able, in certain circumstances, to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are members of the Law Society. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
- Updating and maintaining records
- Analysis to help us to manage our practice
- Statutory returns
- Legal and regulatory compliance
Any personal data obtained for the purposes of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing will only be used for those purposes. This information will be scanned and stored on our system for seven years after the conclusion of our business with you.
Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 2018 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have the right of access under the data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information, please notify our office in writing.
In most circumstances we meet our clients personally at our offices. If we have not met you or meet you in your home the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 will apply. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within 14 days of receiving these Terms & Conditions of Business. You can cancel your instruction by contacting us by post or fax to this office. For further information on distance selling requirements, see the Ombudsman Association website (http://www.ombudsmanassociation.org)
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
- Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this company.
- Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business.
- Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh Courts.
- Please ask us if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
A large print version of these terms & conditions is available on request.