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homeTerms of Engagement

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 & 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 matter progresses
  • 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 timely manner
  • 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.

CONSUMER PROTECTION (DISTANCE SELLING) REGULATIONS 2000

When we have not met with you, the above regulations (?the Regulations?) apply to this work. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within 7 working days of the date of the letter enclosing these terms. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by post or by fax to our Gravesend office.

Once we have started work on your file, you may be charged if you then cancel your instructions. If you would like us to commence work on your file within the next seven working days, please confirm the same to us by post, fax or email to the Gravesend office.

EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY & 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 possible. 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.

Our professional rules and obligations also oblige us to carry out anti-money laundering(AML) searches against clients, which we will do once you provide your identity documents and return the signed slip on the last page of these terms and conditions.

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.

OUR CHARGES

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.

We may need to incur expenses (disbursements) on your behalf from time to time. Such disbursements will be recharged to you.

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.

In certain circumstances, you have the right to challenge, or complain about, the bill. This includes in certain circumstances, the right to apply for assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

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 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.

COMPLAINTS

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, 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 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or 0300 555 0333 or email at enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk 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).

Some clients may not have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, for example:

  • most businesses (unless they are defined as micro enterprises)
  • charities or clubs with an annual income ofmore then 1m,or
  • trustees of trusts with asset value of more than 1m

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.

COMMISSION/REFERRAL FEES

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.

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 & 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.

PRIVACY POLICY

This privacy policy sets out how King, Prior, MacDonald Bridge solicitors uses and protects any information that you give King, Prior, MacDonald Bridge when you use our website and/or instruct us to represent you.

King, Prior, MacDonald Bridge is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. If we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when instructing us to represent you, then it is confirmed that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

King, Prior, MacDonald Bridge may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 25th May 2018

Cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular website. We currently do not use Cookies

Links to other websites

Our website may in future contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over such other websites or their privacy policies. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites as such sites are not governed by this privacy statement.

What we collect

We may collect the following information:

  • name and date of birth
  • contact information including email address
  • demographic information such as postcode
  • other information relevant to customer care

What we do with the information we gather

We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:

  • Internal record keeping
  • For compliance purposes associated with our regulatory bodies
  • To improve our services
  • We may periodically send promotional emails about new services, our own other areas of expertise or other information which we think you may find interesting, using the email address which you provide
  • From time to time, we may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail. We may use the information to customise our website according to your interests
  • Using your data to carry out whatever services you engage us to do on your behalf

Security

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information you supply to us.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • You may at any time indicate in writing that you do not want your information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes
  • if you ever do agree to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to us
  • We will in any event not currently sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties. We do not use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties. If that policy changes we will only do so in your case if you sign to opt in to such a service.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee may be payable. If you require a copy of the information held on you please write to 183 Parrock Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1EN

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to us as soon as possible, at the above address. We will correct any information found to be incorrect.

Retention and Destruction of Data

Whenever you instruct us to represent you, your data will be retained for the length of time recommended for that type of case by the Law Society and/or The Solicitors Regulation Authority. Thereafter those records and data will be securely destroyed.

SOLICITORS' CODE OF CONDUCT & REGULATION

The firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) who issue a Code of Conduct. The SRA Handbook includes the Code of Conduct, details of which can be found on their website www.sra.org.uk.

PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

Cover is held with an insurance company of repute in strict compliance with SRA criteria, contact details for which can be made available on request.

KING PRIOR MACDONALD BRIDGE SOLICITORS

Authorised & Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No: 628553

(May 2018 edition)

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

“On behalf of myself and my family I would like to thank you for your professional care and kindness at a very difficult time.”

Probate client