These terms set out the general terms on which we provide services to you. When you instruct us to advise on a new matter we will send you a Confirmation of Instruction letter confirming your instructions. The content of that Confirmation of Instruction letter and these Terms of Engagement will together form the contract between us for that matter.
A. Our appointment
When you appoint us to act for you in relation to a particular piece of legal work, you will be
authorising us to take all measures we believe appropriate to protect your interests unless
you instruct us specifically to the contrary; and you will be authorising us to incur reasonable
expenses on your behalf.
B. Equality and Diversity
This Practice is committed to promoting equality and diversity; we operate an Equality &
Diversity policy. The Practice intends to treat everyone equally and with the same attention,
courtesy and respect regardless of their disability, gender, age, marriage or civil partner
status, pregnancy and maternity, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin,
nationality, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
The Practice will treat seriously, and take action regarding all complaints of discrimination or
C. Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interest are taken extremely seriously and must be considered at the earliest
opportunity before accepting instructions and then throughout the matter as it progresses. If
we feel that instructions should be declined you will be informed of this as soon as possible
and offered an explanation and recommendation as the circumstances allow that is
D. Money Laundering regulations/ proof of identity
We are obliged under Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Legislation to verify the
identity of all clients, even those who are known to us from the past. Any delay in obtaining
verification will prevent progress on your matter. If you are abroad then ID would need to be
certified by a recognised individual or body such as an independent legal professional, tax
advisor or accountant for that country and a copy sent as proof of identity.
Being asked for identification does not mean you are under suspicion. The identification
requirements apply to all clients when they are asking their Solicitor to conduct certain types
This means you will have to show us original personal documentation including:-
• Current signed Passport or a photo-card Driving Licence and
• A recent gas, electricity or other household utility or council tax bill (not mobile phone
bills) dated within 3 months and addressed to you at your home address.
We have to inspect the originals of these documents and retain copies of them on our file.
If you do not have all these documents, you will have to ask your Solicitor to advise you on
how best to prove who you are.
In certain circumstances we may be compelled by law to reveal information to the
appropriate statutory authorities in relation to any suspicion of money laundering. The Money
Laundering Regulations 2017 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 set out rules and
regulations for us to comply with as a Firm.
E. Receipt of Funds from you and for you
This firm cannot pay out money on your behalf until we are in possession of cleared funds.
We must therefore receive any cheques at least ten clear days before the money is due to be
paid out. If a longer clearance period is required, we shall advise you nearer the date. Bankers
drafts have much shorter clearance times than personal cheques and CHAPS or BACS funds,
automated transfers from your bank to ours are preferable to cheques. Similarly, if we
receive cheques on your behalf, they have to be cleared through our bank before we pay you.
Money received on your behalf, such as debts, damages or costs recovered from your
opponent, their solicitors or insurers will be paid into our client account. The signing of a copy
of the letter of instruction will act as your authority for this firm to receive on your behalf all
such monies, to pay to this firm any disbursements that have been paid on your behalf and
any billed costs for work that we carry out for you.
F. Cash Transactions
Due to the constraints imposed upon us under Anti-Money Laundering Legislation, we are
generally don’t accept cash at any time, except for payment of our fees in respect of work
already carried out by us. We regret the inconvenience this causes to some clients but this is
beyond our control.
Should any monies be returned to the client at the end of the matter or during the instruction
for whatever reason, then there may be a delay of several weeks in order to complete all anti-
money laundering checks.
G. Financial Services
If during this transaction you need advice on investments, we may refer you to someone who
is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not authorised to offer this advice
ourselves. However, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, we may be
able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal
work we are doing for you.
When we are asked to recommend the services of a third party (such as an advisor
authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, a surveyor, a trade mark agent, accountant or
foreign lawyer) we shall always do so in good faith. However, no warranty is given in respect
of the standing, ability or the quality of the services of the third party. We do not accept
liability for that third party’s services and you will have a contract with that third party, but not
with us in respect of that third party’s goods or services. You will be responsible for the fees
and expenses of that third party.
H. Invoices and Charging Rates
In our Client Care letter sent to all Clients we will provide a written estimate of costs. All work
done by Kidwells Law is charged for on an hourly basis unless a fixed fee, insurance funding
or Conditional Fee Agreement has been agreed. You will have been advised at the time of
your original instructions or shortly thereafter of the identity of the fee-earner responsible for
your matter together with details of the applicable hourly rate or written estimate. Charges
will be made for letters written and received, all telephone calls and emails relating to your
matter. Charges may also be applied for photocopying and facsimile charges together with
other incidental expenses.
Our hourly rates are reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation.
Normally rates are reviewed with effect from 1 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 before
it takes effect.
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 issues, and the
speed at which action has to be taken, any particular specialist expertise which the case may
demand. An increase in the rates may be applied to such factors and we will notify you prior
to undertaking the work should this occur.
For copying documents, you will be charged £0.25 per copy for black and white and £1 per
copy for colour and time taken for copying by an assistant; assistant rates being £95.00 per
Charges are made for copying because documents and bundles may need to be copied so
as to be relied on at court and may have an effect on your matter if incorrectly done.
Our fee estimates do not include any expenses or payments to third parties which we may
have to incur on your behalf. These are known as “disbursements”. Examples of
disbursements are travel expenses, telephone call charges, experts’ fees, Counsel’s fees and
To help you budget, it is our normal policy to send interim invoices including itemised costing
on a regular basis as and when appropriate and these are to be regarded as final bills for the
work done to the date stated on the invoice and not as a request for payment on account.
Payments to others will be invoiced as and when they are incurred, we reserve the right to
require payment in advance (and will normally do so for any substantial payment to others).
Can include, but are not limited to:
• Rail and air travel is charged out at cost and travel by car is charged at a flat rate of
45p per mile.
• Car Parking.
• The full cost of overnight accommodation if required.
Our bills, whether interim or final, are payable within 14 days of receipt and we reserve the
right to cease acting for you if we do not receive payment in accordance with these terms.
Should any transaction or matter not proceed, we will make a charge for our time and any
payments to others and fixed costs incurred.
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay interim invoices and sums of money from time to
time on account of the 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 unlikely event of any bill or
request for payment not being met, this firm reserves the right to stop acting for you further.
Should Court Action become necessary to recover any unpaid and due invoices you agree to
refund the costs of such action plus interest. If you have any query about your bill, you
should contact the Fee Earner dealing with your matter straight away.
Should your file be complex to cost, you may incur charges for the costing. Our accounts
rates are £95 plus VAT per hour. Should this type of file costing be necessary, we will advise
We accept all methods of payment for our Charges, Expenses and Disbursements and are
happy to discuss this with you. Monies due to you from us will preferably be paid by cheque
or bank transfer and will not be made payable to a third party. The Practice’s policy on cash
receipts is influenced by its responsibilities under money laundering legislation.
All charges (including our costs and payments to others) are subject to VAT at the
In the event our invoice remains outstanding after 14 days we reserve the right to charge
interest upon the outstanding invoice at the rate of 8% per annum and a one off
administration fee of 15%.
When we hold money on your behalf, we will generally account to you for interest in
accordance with rules laid down by the Law Society. Interest will not normally be paid to you
whilst any invoice remains outstanding.
The SRA Accounts Rules 2011 require us in certain circumstances to pay to you money in
lieu of interest on funds which we have held in our client account of your behalf. The interest
will run from the date upon which any funds you send to us clear in our client bank account
until the date we issue any cheque from our client account. This interest will be paid to you
gross (i.e. without any deduction or tax.) It will be your responsibility to account to the Inland
Revenue for any tax due on this interest. No such payment will be made if the amount of
such interest would be less than £20 as the administrative costs chargeable to you of
sending out small sums below £20 would outweigh the amount in question.
We operate a Financial Management Policy dealing with client interest. A hard copy of this
policy is available on request.
Occasionally we are left with money in our client account that needs to be returned to a
client. If this is less than £500 we endeavour to contact the client to return the sum due. We
will use all sources of contact that we have but once every effort has been made, if we do not
have instructions from the client regarding the amount outstanding it will be given to our
chosen charity – in this instance The Law Society Charity.
K. Professional Indemnity Insurance
Provider: Endurance Worldwide Insurance Ltd
Period of Insurance: 1 st October 2018 to 30 th September 2019.
Policy Number: P17A262284P
L. File Retention, Termination and right to lien
You may terminate your instructions in writing at any time but we will be entitled to retain all
your papers and documents while there is money owing for any charges and expenses.
We may terminate this agreement, at any time, by giving you reasonable notice. Reasonable
notice will be determined with regard to all of the circumstances that exist at the time notice
We will store our file of papers (except any of your papers which you ask to be returned to
you) on the understanding that we have the right to destroy it 6 years after the date of the
final invoice we send to you for the matter in question. We do not destroy documents which
you ask us to deposit in safe custody.
M. Termination Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation & Additional Contracts)
Subject to point G above, you may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. In
some circumstances, we may consider that we ought to stop acting for you, for example, if
you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed, or it is clear that you
have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work; or if you have not paid any interim
or final invoice when requested to do so. We may decide to cease acting for you only with
good reason. We will give you reasonable notice that we will cease acting for you. If you or
we decide that we are no longer to act for you, you will be liable to pay our charges up to the
date we cease acting (as set out earlier).
We aim to offer all our clients a helpful, effective and efficient service and we are confident
that we can do so in handling your matter. However, should you feel that there are, or have
been, any problems or difficulties with our service or the account then please raise the matter
initially with the Fee Earner who has conduct of your matter or the Practice Director, Kate
Wargen, via email at email@example.com, by telephone or in writing. We operate a
Client Care Policy to assist in resolving any misunderstanding or difficulties; a hard copy of this
policy is available on request. We have eight weeks to consider your complaint, but aim to
provide a full response to most complaints within 28 days.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal
Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act
2007, which deals with legal services complaints to investigate.
PO Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Legal Ombudsman will look into your complaint if it meets ALL three of the steps below:
1. The problem or when you found out about it, happened after 5 October 2010; and
2. You are referring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within either of the
following: Six years of the problem happening or three years from when you found out
about it; and
3. You are referring your complaint to us within six months of your service provider’s
Alternative complaints bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal
services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.
We agree to use Clerksroom www.clerksroom.com/mediators.php.
If your complaint relates to our invoice then you may also have the right to have the account
assessed under the Solicitors Act 1974 (Part III).
O. Litigation: your costs and those of the other party
If we act for you on a contentious matter you will be responsible to us for all the legal fees
and expenses that you incur although you may be able to recover some of them from your
opponent. In some cases, particularly where your opponent is legally aided and in cases
before the Employment Tribunal, your opponent is unlikely to be ordered to pay any or all of
your fees and expenses, even if you are wholly successful in your action.
Even where a Court orders your opponent to pay your costs and expenses you may
encounter an insolvent opponent who cannot pay. In these circumstances you are still liable
to pay us for all the legal fees and expenses that you incur. You will also be responsible for
paying the charges and expenses of seeking to recover any charges and expenses that the
Court orders your opponent to pay. If the court does order your opponent to pay some or all
of your charges and expenses, in that case, interest can be claimed from your opponent from
the date of the court Order.
You agree to be liable for our charges and expenses on the basis agreed between us in the
Confirmation of Instruction letter and these Terms Of Engagement (and subject to any
changes notified to you), notwithstanding that this amount may exceed the amount of costs
which you would be permitted to recover from any other party.
If you are unsuccessful the Court may order you to pay all or a significant proportion of your
opponent’s fees and expenses (together with interest). You may also have to make payments
in respect of your opponent’s fees and expenses at various stages in the course of the
action. If you withdraw from a case you will usually be ordered to pay your opponent’s fees
P. Non-Contentious matters
In certain non-contentious matters, you may also be responsible for paying another party’s
costs. An example of this would be if you are the tenant of a property and you wish to assign
or transfer your Lease to a third party, then if the terms of your Lease so provide, you may be
responsible for paying Landlords’ costs, legal costs and surveyor’s fees. It is not always
possible for us to advise you of the precise amount of these third party costs at the outset of
the matter but as soon as we become aware of the same we shall notify you of the amount.
The Practice will keep the file of papers or a digital copy relating to your matter for no more
than six years from the date when the file is closed. Documents you ask to be deposited in
safe custody will not be destroyed.
If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions
to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However,
we may make a charge based on time spent producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work
necessary to comply with the instructions given by you or on your behalf.
R. Data Protection and Confidentiality
In common with many modern businesses, we store information relating to our clients’
matter electronically. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have the right to see a copy of
the information we hold in relation to your matter.
Whilst we will at all times keep your business and instructions to us confidential (subject to
any statutory obligations to the contrary where we may be required by law to disclose
information that we hold about you) there are some circumstances where we may need to
release or to share or provide information about your transaction to other third parties and in
instructing us you are irrevocably consenting to us doing so for the duration of our
instructions on the work in question.
We monitor the professional standard of our work and bodies such as the Law Society
periodically inspect our work. This means that it may be necessary for a small number of our
files to be audited by external examiners to ensure that we maintain our quality systems.
Please let us know if you object to your file being submitted to audit. Unless you notify us
otherwise, we shall assume that you have no objection. Our work for you will not be affected
whether or not you allow us to make your file available for audit.
S. Hours of Business
Our usual business hours are between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. Monday to Friday, excluding
Bank Holidays. However, we are generally pleased to offer clients out-of-hours appointments.
We strive to be as flexible and accommodating as possible. Outside normal business hours
our main office telephone number is manned by a Lawyer at all times giving you the
confidence that you will always be in safe hands.
T. Banking Crisis
We confirm that we bank with Lloyds TSB where, any monies paid to us by you held on
account will be held in a specified Client Account at that bank. We will not be liable to repay
any money that we hold for you in our client account at Lloyds TSB which is lost as a result of
a failure of the bank. It is however unlikely that we, Kidwells, will be held liable for losses
resulting from any banking failure. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
provides for a £85,000 limit to any individual Client and therefore, if you hold any other
personal monies yourselves at Lloyds TSB, including joint, partnership and sole trader
accounts, the limit remains £85,000 to include the amounts that you have paid to Kidwells to
hold on account for you.
It is your duty to investigate whether or not Lloyds TSB is a subsidiary or owner of other
accounts that you hold with other banks. As where the same institution is trading under
different names, you will still only gain the protection of the £85,000 maximum cover.
By your continuing to instruct this Practice, we are receiving your consent for the disclosure
to the FSCS of your details in the event of a bank failure.
If the instructions to Kidwells are from a limited liability company, then they only meet the
protection cover of the £85,000 provided they meet 2 of the following criteria, namely:
There is an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million
The balance sheet has a total of less than £3.26 million
The company has fewer than 50 employees
U. Application of these terms and amendments
Unless otherwise agreed, these Terms of Engagement save for the amount of any estimate,
will apply to any future instructions you give us. However, we reserve the right to amend our
Terms of Engagement from time to time and any such amendments in force at the
commencement of any such future work shall apply to that work and be communicated to