TERMS OF BUSINESS
1. REGULATORY STATUS 1.1 We are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 1.2 We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the 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 Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register
2. PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2.1 We aim to provide a friendly, efficient and effective service and the best information possible about the likely cost of providing that service. 2.2 We will ensure that you know the name of the partner responsible for your case and the name and status of all persons you are likely to be dealing with. 2.3 We will ensure that you are fully informed as to the progress of the work we are undertaking for you at all relevant times. 2.4 If you feel that the level of the service provided falls below the criteria outlined above or if you have any other cause for complaint you should first raise your concern with the partner responsible for your case. In the event that you have any continuing concern we will provide you with the details of a third party you should approach.
3. FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS 3.1 Fees will be charged on the basis of the terms of engagement agreed with you which apply to the work or transaction in question. 3.2 Our fees are primarily calculated by reference to the amount of time expended. The fee charged will reflect the time expended by the partner responsible and other staff working on your behalf including attendances both in and out of the office; travelling; considering, preparing and working on papers; making and receiving telephone calls; and considering incoming and preparing outgoing documentation and correspondence. 3.3 The time expended is costed at hourly rates which reflect overhead costs and an element of commercial profit. The hourly rates will vary depending upon the seniority and experience of the person undertaking your work. 3.4 The time expended is recorded in units of six minutes. 3.5 The hourly rates are reviewed periodically to take account of changing circumstances including changes in salary and other overhead costs. Details of any relevant revision of hourly rates during the continuance of your case will be supplied to you. 3.6 Where any matter has a substantial financial implication or is particularly complex or urgent, our fees may take into consideration a value element, which reflects the importance of the transaction and the consequent responsibility involved. The Law Society from time to time suggests guidelines for calculating the value elements and where a value element is appropriate the fee will be calculated accordingly. 3.7 Whilst undertaking work on your behalf we may incur a liability for and make disbursements, examples of which are counsel’s fees, search fees, Land or Probate Registry fees, experts’ fees, rail and air travel costs and accommodation expenses. It is the policy of the firm to request from clients a payment to cover any such disbursements before they are made or as soon after as is practicable. 3.8 A separate charge expressed as a disbursement will be made where appropriate in respect of photocopying, facsimile transmission and telegraphic transfer, travel and subsistence expenses. 3.9 Unless your status allows for exemption or application of a zero rate, VAT will be payable, where applicable, on all fees and charges at the rate prevailing on the appropriate tax invoice date. 3.10 Certain fees and disbursements referred to in these terms and conditions may, in the circumstances of a particular matter, be of an unusual nature and as such they might not be recoverable by you where some other person is otherwise liable to pay your costs.
4. PAYMENTS ON ACCOUNT An initial payment on account may be requested at the commencement of your case. This will be held generally on account of fees, disbursements and VAT and will be applied when we consider appropriate in discharge or reduction of any disbursement to be made or any subsequent invoice rendered.
5. PAYMENT 5.1 Unless otherwise agreed in writing we will render invoices for payment every three months or at such other times as we deem appropriate. Each invoice so rendered will be accepted as a “final bill” in respect of the work done during the period it covers. 5.2 Costs are payable whether or not a case is successfully concluded or a transaction completed unless otherwise agreed in writing. If any case or transaction does not proceed to completion for any reason during the period in which we are instructed then we shall be entitled to charge for all work done unless we have agreed otherwise in writing. 5.3 Unless otherwise agreed in writing payment of every invoice is due within seven days of its date. 5.4 We reserve the right to exercise our statutory right to claim interest and compensation for debt recovery costs under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 and the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002 (“the late payment legislation”) if we are not paid according to agreed credit terms. 5.5 In cases where the late payment legislation does not apply and you fail to pay us in accordance with our agreed credit terms, it is agreed that we may charge interest from the date of the invoice on the amount unpaid at the rate of 5% per annum above the base rate from time to time of Lloyds TSB Bank Plc before and after judgement.
6. PROPERTY AND BUSINESS SALES AND PURCHASES TRANSACTIONS An invoice will be rendered prior to completion and payment is required on or before completion. Where sufficient funds are due to you on completion, unless otherwise agreed in writing, the amount of any outstanding invoices shall be deducted from such funds.
7. ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES Invoices will be rendered at intervals during the administration. The first invoice will normally be submitted when the Grant has been obtained. Thereafter, interim invoices will normally be rendered every three months (see paragraph 5.1 above for status of such invoices) and the last account will normally be submitted when the Estate Accounts are delivered for approval.
8. RESPONSIBILITY FOR PAYMENT 8.1 Unless otherwise agreed in writing you will be personally responsible for the settlement of our invoices regardless of any agreement or order for some other person to pay your costs. 8.2 Where an agreement or order exists for another party to pay your costs, invoices will be rendered to you for payment and when, and if, payment is recovered from any person who has agreed to be responsible for your costs such sums recovered will be applied in the following priority:- 8.2.1 in discharge or reduction of any disbursements incurred or made on your behalf in respect of any matter, cause or action being or which has been dealt with by us on your behalf (the “Transaction”); 8.2.2 in discharge of interest accrued on any invoice rendered which remains unpaid in respect of any Transaction; 8.2.3 in discharge of any unpaid invoice in respect of any Transaction; 8.2.4 generally on account of fees, disbursements and VAT in respect of any unfulfilled request made in accordance with clause 4 above in respect of any Transaction; 8.2.5 in payment to you. 8.3 In cases of a contentious nature where court proceedings have been issued the unsuccessful party may be ordered to pay the successful party’s costs of the proceedings. Such an order will not under normal circumstances provide a complete indemnification in respect of your cost’s liability to us for the work done on your behalf. 8.3.1 If the unsuccessful party is in receipt of Legal Aid then no costs are likely to be recovered notwithstanding the terms of any court order. 8.3.2 When you are the successful party and costs do fall to be paid by the unsuccessful party, interest can in certain circumstances be claimed on those costs against the other party as from the date on which the court order for costs was made. 8.3.3 Any interest which may be recoverable on the costs which are to be paid by another party will be retained by us and applied in the order specified in clause 8.2 above.
9. ESTIMATES AND COSTS LIMITS 9.1 Whenever possible, an estimate of fees will be given in advance. Any verbal estimate will be confirmed in writing. Any estimate provided is given in good faith as a guideline but cannot always be adhered to. You will be advised in writing if the nature or circumstances of the work being undertaken on your behalf changes in such a way as to render the estimate given inappropriate, and, if possible, a revised estimate will be given. In any event our fees will be calculated in accordance with clause 0. 9.2 You can set a limit on the costs which are to be incurred. In such a case you will be advised in writing when that limit has been reached and be given the details of the nature of work undertaken on your behalf. At this stage an invoice will be rendered for payment.
10. INTEREST 10.1 If we hold your money on your behalf in our bank account, interest will be due to you in accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 (“the Rules”). Subject to certain restrictions relating in particular to minimum amounts and periods of time, notional interest is payable at a rate comparable to a rate available from a high street bank. The calculation we apply is that provided by the Rules or (if lower) the rate available to us for the particular sum held, less, in respect of each amount of interest as and when accrued, the sum of £20 to take into account the administrative costs of calculation and payment. 10.2 We may apply interest towards settlement of any bill delivered to you or hold it on account of work in progress.
11. LIABILITY 11.1 We will perform the work which we do for you with reasonable skill and care and we acknowledge that we will be liable to you for losses, damages, costs or expenses (“losses”) caused by our negligence or wilful default, subject to the following provisions:- 11.1.1 Kingswalk Law will not be so liable if such losses are due to the provision of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation or due to the acts or omissions of any person other than Kingswalk Law; 11.1.2 the aggregate liability, whether to you or any third party, of whatever nature, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, of Kingswalk Law for any losses whatsoever and howsoever caused arising from or in any way connected with each project upon which we are instructed and/or advice on it, shall not exceed £3 million. 11.2 The liability of Kingswalk Law, whether to you or any third party, in contract or tort or under statute or otherwise for any indirect or consequential economic loss or damage (including loss of profits) suffered by you or any third party arising from or in connection with the project on which we are instructed and/or advice on it, however the indirect or consequential economic loss or damage is caused, including our negligence but not our wilful default, shall be excluded. 11.3 Nothing in this section of these Terms shall impose on Kingswalk Law any liability of any kind or for any amount which we would not have, or preclude any defence which we have, but for this section. 11.4 Nothing in this section of these Terms shall have the effect of restricting our liability in respect of any kind of loss, damage or liability which cannot or must not be excluded or limited under English law.
12. OUTSOURCING OF WORK 12.1 Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do typing/photocopying/other work on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.
13. AUDITING AND VETTING OF FILES 13.1 External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit/quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business. If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.
14. CLOUD COMPUTING 14.1 We use cloud storage for client files. Our cloud software provider is LEAP. LEAP’s cloud infrastructure is provided and maintained by industry leading cloud-platform provider Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services demonstrates a commitment to information security at every level of the organisation and complies with internationally recognised standards, the EU Data Protection Directive, and regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018. If you object to your files/other details being stored in this way, please let us know.
15. DATA PROTECTION 15.1 We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including: 15.1.1 updating and enhancing client records; 15.1.2 analysis to help us manage our practice; 15.1.3 statutory returns; 15.1.4 legal and regulatory compliance. 15.2 Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679), 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 a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. 15.3 We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.
16. STORAGE OF DOCUMENTS 16.1 After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. 16.2 We will keep electronic copies of your papers for up to 12 years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. 16.3 We do keep paper keep files for Probate and Trusts matters . We will not destroy those files nor will we destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody. 16.4 Any papers we retain for you are held off site in a bespoke storage facility. If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval 16.5 However, we may charge you for: 16.5.1 Third Party costs of returning the files from our offsite file storage facility, 16.5.2 time spent producing stored papers that are requested, and 16.5.3 reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.
17. NOTICE 17.1 Pursuant to Article 4 of the Solicitors (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 1994 (the “Order”) you may within one month after receiving an invoice in respect of non-contentious business where the fee element charged does not exceed £50,000 require us to obtain a certificate (“Remuneration Certificate”) from The Law Society stating whether the fee charged is fair and reasonable. 17.2 Pursuant to Article 11 of the Order you must, on requiring application for a Remuneration Certificate to be made, pay all of the paid disbursements and all of the value added tax comprised in the invoice together with 50% of the fee element shown on the invoice. If it can be shown that exceptional circumstances apply you may ask The Solicitors regulation Authority (the SRA) at www.sra.org or Ipsley Court Berrington Close, Redditch B98 0TD to waive the requirements of Article 11. 17.3 Your rights are more fully set out in the Order. 17.4 Pursuant to sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974 you may (in accordance with the provisions of those Sections) make an application for taxation which is an assessment by the court as to the reasonableness of any costs claimed in any invoice delivered to you in respect of work undertaken on your behalf.
18. TERMINATING THE RETAINER 18.1 You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses. 18.2 We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. 18.3 If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis plus expenses/by proportion of the agreed fee as set out above.
19. ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING 19.1 The Money Laundering Regulations require solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and, where there is a beneficial owner who is not the client, the beneficial owner. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be targeted by criminals attempting to launder money. 19.2 To comply with the law, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to request original or certifies copies of passports, driving licences and bank / building society statements, as well as a utility or council tax invoice which is less than three months old ( we do not accept mobile telephone invoices). If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity. MAKING A DISCLOSURE 19.3 We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be 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 that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.
20. TRANSFER OF FUNDS 20.1 Our practice's policy is to only accept cash up to £500.00. 20.2 If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds. 20.3 Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
21. FUTURE INSTRUCTIONS Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates (if appropriate), these terms and conditions of business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to us. Any future instructions given by you to us and your continuing instructions on work currently being undertaken on your behalf will amount to an acceptance of these terms and conditions of business save and to the extent otherwise agreed with you in writing.
22. CLIENT CARE CODE 22.1 Kingswalk Law is committed to meeting the highest quality standards in the delivery of the services we provide to our clients. We take any problems that do arise with clients very seriously indeed and aim to ensure that any complaints clients may have are identified quickly and dealt with thoroughly in accordance with this procedure. 22.2 Every client has the benefit of a single partner (“the Client Partner”) who is ultimately responsible for the relationship with that client. The Client Partner will be actively involved in day to day work for that client. Occasionally the work is delegated under the supervision of the Client Partner. The Client Partner will make every effort to ensure that the standard of services provided by the firm meets the client’s expectations. 22.3 Any complaint from a client is potentially a very serious matter, and we have procedures in place to ensure that complaints are identified as early as possible and that appropriate action is taken quickly to deal with them. Initial responsibility for identifying a complaint and ensuring appropriate action is taken rests with the Client partner dealing with the matter or supervising those involved in dealing with the client. 22.4 If the firm cannot satisfy the client in this way, the Client partner should remind the client of his right to request us to provide a remuneration certificate and/or to have the bill referred for a detailed assessment by the Court. 22.5 Those complaints which cannot be resolved between the client and the Client Partner will be investigated in accordance with an internal written procedure which involves:- 22.5.1 acknowledging any complaint and responding in full within 28 days or, if that is not possible, letting the client know within that time when we will be able to respond fully; 22.5.2 ensuring that a full review of the client’s file is conducted; 22.5.3 responding to the client with our views on the complaint and how we propose to resolve it. 22.6 If the client remains unsatisfied after our Client Partner has reviewed the complaint, and the full review has been undertaken he/she/it may take their complaint to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors, or the Legal Ombudsman and/or another solicitor. 22.7 A copy of our written complaints procedure will be provided to you upon request. Terms of business: payment within seven (7) days of invoice date.
Our complaints policy
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
Henry Cave is the firm’s Designated Complaints Handling Partner and the person with overall responsibility for complaints. He can be contacted on 0191 2336337 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at
Kingswalk Law The Grainger Suite Dobson House Regent Centre Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 3PF.
Our complaints procedure
If you have any concerns about the way in which your matter is being conducted please raise it in the first instance with the person dealing with your file.
If they are unable to deal with your concern to your satisfaction, you may then ask that the matter be formally investigated under our Complaints Procedure.
If your concern has not been addressed to your satisfaction by the person dealing with your file then please write or email their Supervisor (their details will be in client care letter) who will conduct an independent investigation of the complaint. You will find the Supervisor’s details in your initial paperwork or through you’re the person dealing with your file. If you are unable to locate this information you can contact the firm’s Designated Complaints Handling Partner (details above). Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 days and a written response will be provided within 28 calendar days of the complaint being received.
If the complaint remains unresolved, it will at your request be escalated to Henry Cave who is our Designated Complaints Handling Partner. The complaint will be reviewed and further investigations may be carried out, if deemed necessary. We will write to you within 28 calendar days of receiving your request for review and confirm our final position on your complaint and explain our reasons.
We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. Following our final response, you may have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman if your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman’s contact details are as follows:
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
From overseas: +44 121 245 3050
PO Box 6806
Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman cannot deal with all complaints and will only deal with complaints from members of the public, certain very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts. The Legal Ombudsman will tell you whether they are able to deal with your complaint.
If we are unable to meet any of the timescales given to you we will let you know and explain why.
If there are any circumstances which make it difficult for you to make a complaint in writing, please call Henry Cave on 01912336337 who will do all they can to assist you. He will ensure that your complaint about the service provided by Kingswalk Law is carefully examined and resolved as quickly as possible.
You will not be charged for our work investigating a complaint made by you.
If because of a special need, you require us to deal with your complaint or communicate with you in a particular way please let us know so that in as far as is practicable, this may be accommodated.
We have, however, chosen not to adopt an ADR process. If, therefore, you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman.
Complaints referred by the Legal Ombudsman
You must first raise a complaint with us before lodging it with the Legal Ombudsman and follow the complaints set out above. If you approach the Legal Ombudsman before our procedures are complete, the Legal Ombudsman will immediately refer the complaint back to our Designated Complaints Handling Partner. Our normal complaints procedures will then be followed.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.