Terms of engagement
As a matter of good practice and in accordance with the rules and guidelines published by the Law Society, and the regulations issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we wish to record the terms of engagement on which legal work is undertaken by us for you.
Instructions and service levels
On receiving instructions we will write to you to record your instructions, and of any substantial variations, which may be made from time to time.
If we are acting for more than one client in a transaction, we are authorised to accept instructions of any one of the joint clients as the instructions of all.
We will review your matter regularly, and in particular, will:
- explain to you by telephone or in writing the legal work required as your
- advise you of any changes in the law
- update you by telephone, in writing or by email with progress on your
matter when there is positive information to relay to you
- communicate with you in plain language
- update you on the cost of your matter at regular intervals where an
estimate has been given
- update you on the likely timescales for each stage of the matter and
any important changes in those estimates.
In return, we expect you to:
- provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions
- provide all documentation required to complete your transaction in a
- safeguard any documents that are likely to be required to be disclosed.
Terminating the retainer
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.
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.
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 or by a proportion of the agreed fee depending upon the terms of your original retainer.
Evidence of identity and anti-money laundering practice
The law requires solicitors to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of their
clients and sometimes people related to them. This is because solicitors
who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by
criminals wanting to launder money.
To comply with the law, we need to get evidence of your identity as soon as
Our practice is to ask you for one item of photographic identification such as a
current passport or driver's licence and a utility bill of not more than 3 months
old to confirm your address.
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.
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential.
However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the
Serious Organised Crime Agency where they know or suspect 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.
Our practice policy is to not accept cash from clients where the sum exceeds
£250. 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.
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.
Disclosure to mortgagees
Where we are also acting for your proposed lender in a transaction, we have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the transaction and mortgage. This includes any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction, any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you.
Person with conduct of the matter
We will keep you informed as to the member(s) of the firm having conduct of your matter from time to time. We may involve other personnel to assist on an ad hoc basis as necessary.
We will provide you with either a fixed price for the work you have asked us to do, or an estimate of the cost applicable.
Where you will receive an estimate, it is often difficult to provide an estimate accurately at an early stage because of unknown factors and unforeseeable contingencies, and in such event we will try to revise our estimate as the matter develops. Estimates are for guidance only and are not intended to constitute binding limits.
In addition our charges may, where appropriate, also reflect other discretionary factors, such as the value of the transaction, its complexity, the responsibility involved and time constraints.
When estimates are given you will be informed of the hourly charging rate which applies to each member of staff dealing with the matter. These rates are periodically revised, and you will be informed of the new rates, if applicable to your case.
We may need to incur expenses (disbursements) on your behalf from time to time. Such disbursements will be recharged to you.
Value added tax
VAT will also be payable on our charges and on taxable disbursements
incurred on your behalf, except where charges and/or disbursements are VAT
exempt or zero-rated.
Payment of bills
We will submit our bill at the conclusion of the matter or when the document you have asked us to prepare has been drafted on your behalf, or at intervals during the transaction.
We may also ask you to make a payment on account of costs and disbursements both at the outset of your matter and during the progress of your file. We reserve the right to stop work on any matter for which we have not received the payment on account of costs requested. Money held on your behalf may be applied to our bills.
Bills are payable on presentation and interest at the rate payable on Judgement Debts will be charged on any part of a bill unpaid for more than twenty eight days after delivery.
In conveyancing cases, all fees and disbursements must be paid in full before we complete the transaction on your behalf.
Payment of our costs by others
Even if some other person agrees to pay your costs, you remain primarily liable for all our costs and disbursements as they become due. Payment of our bills cannot ordinarily be postponed on the basis that they are likely to be, or should be, paid by some other person.
Payment of interest
We will account to you for interest earned by us on cleared funds held by us on your behalf in a separate designated deposit account. We will also pay you an equivalent amount in relation to any cleared funds not kept in a separate designated deposit account where such interest would be in excess of £35 and this will be paid gross where deduction of tax is required by statute.
Unlike many other law firms we neither receive commission from anyone in connection with your matter, nor do we pay introducer or referral fees to any third party agents.
King Prior MacDonald Bridge is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please raise the matter first with the member of staff with conduct of your matter, or contact our complaints handler, Neana Allen on 01474 546452, or if not available, Ron Prior on 01474 325678, or send your comment to us in writing at our office at 183 Parrock Gravesend Kent DA12 1EN. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints a copy of which is available from us upon request.
We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not resolved it within this time you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 15870, Birmingham B30 9EB or 0300 555 0333 or email at email@example.com to consider the complaint. 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 or within a year of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or you becoming aware of it).
We want to offer you, and all our clients, a friendly, efficient service. If you have any positive feedback for us, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Storage of papers
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.
We will keep our file of your papers for the period recommended by the Law Society, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them after the time recommended by the Law Society. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
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.
However, we may charge you both for:
- time spent producing stored papers that are requested, and
- reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.
Auditing and vetting of files
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.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
• updating and enhancing client records
• analysis to help us manage our practice
• statutory returns
• legal and regulatory compliance.
Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 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 we hold about you.
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.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Cover is held with an insurance company of repute in strict compliance with
King Prior MacDonald Bridge Solicitors
Authorised & Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation
Please Note: The contents of this website are for information only and do not constitute legal advice to be relied upon. Professional advice should always be sought for specific issues