Terms of Business
Our commitment to you
Kang & Co Solicitors Limited value your instructions and our aim is to help you achieve your goals quickly and effectively in an approachable and cost-efficient way. This document sets out the terms on which we agree to act for you. You should read this in conjunction with your Client Care Letter and your Letter of Engagement, please ask us if there is anything which you do not understand. We may take your continuing instructions in any matter as your acceptance of these Terms of Business.
Kang & Co Solicitors Limited is regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Our company registration number is 10350638 and our SRA number is 638269. We use the trading name of Kang & Co Solicitors. You can access the professional regulations which apply to us from the SRA website, www.sra.org.uk or by calling the SRA on 0370 606 2555.
Scope of work
The scope of our work we have agreed to undertake for you is set out in the Engagement Letter sent to you by us (“Engagement Letter”) or (in the absence of an applicable Engagement Letter) as we may otherwise have agreed with you. Our responsibilities do not include tax advice of any kind. Unless we expressly agree in writing otherwise, we shall not advise, or be under any duty to advise you on the commercial implications of any matter or transaction with which you are involved. No third party has the right under the Contracts (rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of the Engagement Letter or these terms of business.
A: When you instruct us
Responsibility for work
We will tell you which Director or Senior Manager has overall responsibility for your matter, the person who will be dealing with your matter on a daily basis (if this is a different person). If we have to involve other people within Kang & Co Solicitors, for example, if your matter covers another area of law, we will tell you their name, job title and the area of your matter that they will deal with.
Conflicts of interest
We search our records to protect you from conflicts of interest. Where a conflict arises or may arise (for example, where we find that your opponent is or has been our client), we may not be able to accept or continue working on your matter. We may act for two or more of you if there is no conflict. If a conflict arises during our retainer then we may have to cease to act for one or more of you.
we may ask you for information confirming your identity. You must comply with requests for proof of identity as set out in our letter of engagement, and if requested, you will meet us to enable us to verify your identity. If you fail to comply with requests for identity, we may be unable to act for you. We are required to monitor transactions and maintain records relating to your identity, and we may ask you to provide updated proof of identity from time to time.
If you are a director or other representative acting on behalf of a company, we are entitled to assume that the instructions we may receive from you have been authorised by the Company.
B: Right to Cancel
If we have not met with you in person, and you are an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside your trade, business, craft or profession, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to this matter. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within fourteen days without giving any reason. The cancellation period will expire at the end of fourteen days after the date that we enter into the retainer. To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post or email). To meet the cancellation deadline, it is enough for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired. Signing and returning the Engagement Letter will suffice as asking us to undertake work before the end of the 14-day period. The agreed fee payable is non-refundable.
Equality & Diversity
We are committed to acting in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
C: Our Charges
Our charges for professional services consist of our legal fees only. We will commence working on your matter once the agreed fee has been paid in full. Disbursements, which are sums spent on your behalf are not included as part of the agreed fee.
We seek to be open and transparent with our clients from the outset and for that reason, we work on an ‘agreed fee’ basis. This is a fee set from the outset, paid at the start of the case, or at a stage within the case and covers the case up to a certain point, for example up to the Police Interview or the First Court Hearing only. The agreed fee is non-refundable. This means that we shall prepare the case and represent you up to the agreed stage for the agreed fee, even if we spend more time than initially anticipated. As an example, we may estimate that 10 hours of time is required on a case and set an appropriate agreed fee, other issues may arise resulting in us dedicating 13 hours of time to the case, as you have entered an agreed fee arrangement, we would not charge for the additional 3 hours of time. The agreed fee is set before we undertake any work and is set to a specific stage. The work which we will do for this agree fee is contained within the Engagement Letter and it should be considered in detail. The agreed fee will include drafting documents, advising, reporting, dealing with correspondence, telephone calls, preparing for and attending meetings and notes of those meetings, drafting instructions to Counsel, reading papers, researching the law, attending Court and travelling.
Agreed Fees are non-refundable even if your circumstances change. The money you pay is not considered as client money and therefore is not subject to the protections of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Compensation Fund.
Disbursements are usually items such as mileage, parking fees, toll charges, rail fares, barrister fees, fees for medical notes, courier charges and expert fees. The agreed fee covers any work that we have agreed to undertake anything that falls outside our role is likely to be considered as a disbursement. Typically, if a lawyer instructs a barrister, the cost of the barrister would be a classed as a disbursement because the barrister charges a separate fee, however if you do not object to the specialist barrister / solicitor we select to represent you at Court, we will include the barrister’s fee within our agreed fee. However, if you have a specific barrister or expert you would like us to instruct for your case, their fee will be classed as a disbursement and will not form part of the agreed fee. Travel costs are also considered as disbursements (rail fare, mileage, parking, toll fare etc.) however to maintain transparency, give our clients piece of mind and to provide real value for money we have decided to absorb all reasonable travel disbursements within the agreed fee. If your case requires an expert we will notify you as soon as possible so that you can make an informed decision on whether you would like us to instruct an expert on your behalf to produce a report / attend Court and give evidence. Expert fees are not included within the agreed fee and are considered as a disbursement. The cost for an expert depends on the type of expert required, the nature of the report and the experience of the expert. If disbursements are required, we will notify you as soon as possible and will seek your instructions on whether you wish to incur those disbursements. We will only formally incur disbursements once the necessary amount has been paid to Kang & Co Solicitors or the expert / barrister in full. If you choose to appoint an expert or independent barrister for your case, you will be responsible for any outstanding or unpaid fees to the expert or barrister.
Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we will invoice you at the beginning of your matter for the Agreed Fee and the invoice must be paid in full upon receiving it.
Please note that it is extremely unlikely that we will change our bank details during the course of a transaction or that we will e-mail you with alternative banking details at any time. You must treat any communications to you purporting to change our bank details as fraudulent. If you receive any such e-mail, please contact the lawyer dealing with your case by telephone immediately (not by e-mail).
Legal Expenses Insurance
In certain types of legal disputes, you may have Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) which may cover all, some or none of your legal fees. It is your responsibility to check with your insurance company whether you have LEI and to tell us when first instructing us if you have any form of insurance cover that you think may pay our fees. You must also tell us when first instructing us if there is a third party who may pay our fees. If a third party agrees to pay all or part of our bills, you will still remain responsible to us for payment until those bills have been paid in full.
Recovery of Legal Charges from Third Parties and Payment of Third Party Charges
Even if successful in litigation, you can only expect to recover a proportion of the charges you pay us from your opponent. In fact, your opponent may not be ordered to pay or may not be capable of paying the full amount of your costs. If your opponent is legally aided you may not recover costs, even if you are successful. You will remain liable to pay our charges in full even though a court has ordered that they should be reimbursed by a third party. In the event of unsuccessful litigation, you should be aware that you will be responsible not only for your own costs but, in all probability, for those of your opponent.
Public Funding (Legal Aid)
As a specialist high-end law firm which represents clients on a private fee-paying basis only, we do not have a Legal Aid Contract and as such we do not accept cases via Legal Aid. As we do not cover legally aided cases we are unable to advise you on whether you would qualify for Legal Aid. If you would like more information on whether your case would qualify for legal aid and whether you meet the financial criteria for legal aid, please contact a law firm which offers legal aid as they will be able to provide you with information on your eligibility for Public Funding.
Claiming Costs from Central Funds
We do not have a Legal Aid contract and therefore in the event you are found ‘not guilty’ in the Crown Court, you will be ineligible to issue a claim for a percentage of your legal fees back from Central Funds at legal aid rates, unless you have applied for legal aid with another law firm and have been refused legal aid. If you are found ‘not guilty’ in the Magistrates’ Court the Court may make a Defence Costs Order which if granted will result in you receiving a percentage of your legal fees back from Central Funds.
D: Extra Payments
Value Added Tax (VAT)
We will add VAT to our charge and to certain disbursements at the rate that applies when the work is done. At the date of these terms and conditions, VAT is charged at the current rate.
E: Your responsibilities
We may ask you for information to help us with your matter. You must give us information we ask for as soon as possible, and tell us if you think it is not complete or accurate. It is also your responsibility to carry out any other tasks that we agree you should do and you should provide us with any required documents promptly. We will not be responsible for anything that happens because you have not done something we asked you to do promptly.
Paying our charges
We expect you to pay our invoices when they are due. If our invoice has not been paid in full, we are not required to represent you in accordance with the Agreed Fee. If your Agreed Fee includes representation at Court or at an Interview, we are not required to represent you at Court / at Interview unless we are in receipt of the full payment of the Agreed Fee, including the VAT.
We will not advise you on any tax consequences of your matter. You should ask your accountant to advise on tax and similar matters including VAT.
We are obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, we may be required to disclose certain information and documents about you to authorities such as the Police, HM Revenue & Customs, Serious Fraud Office or National Crime Agency in relation to matters such as tax, fraud, bribery, money laundering or terrorist financing. In the unlikely event, we may have to share such information and documents with colleagues within Kang & Co Solicitors and third parties, in this respect you agree to waive our duty of confidence to you and the ‘legal professional privilege’ that attaches to your communications with us and in particular to the communications between you and the person at Kang & Co Solicitors handling your matter. If we are required to 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.
We take client confidentiality very seriously and shall not discuss your case with your family members, your work colleagues or your friends, unless you provide us with written authority to do so. We will also only take instructions from you as you are our client unless you provide us with written authority to take instructions from someone else.
In certain cases, in order to actively progress your matter, we may need to discuss your case, or elements of your case with the Court, the Prosecution, Independent Experts, Barristers, Kang & Co employees / agents or third parties. We will only discuss the aspect of your case which are relevant and necessary to progress your case.
We keep all copyright and other rights to all reports and draft agreements we produce, written advice or other materials we provide and all systems we work out while we are acting for you. You have the full right to use these materials within your own organisation or on another matter we are dealing with on your behalf. If you want to use these materials in any other way, you will need our prior written permission.
Releasing your papers
We have the right to keep your papers and other items held for you until our charges and expenses have been paid in full.
Unless you notify us in writing otherwise, you consent to the exclusive electronic storage of all documents (including documents belonging to you) during the course of your matter and the disposal of all paper versions. At the end of your matter we will continue to store your documents electronically. Any original paper documents will be returned to you. If we store them we will do so without charge for a limited period of time which will depend on the nature of the matter. We may make a reasonable charge for obtaining your documents from storage, producing paper copies of electronically stored documents, delivering them to you or for providing information about them.
Methods of payment to us
We do not accept any payment in cash. We will only accept payments by credit card / debit card or electronic funds transfer (such as CHAPS, BACS or Faster Payments). If you choose to make a payment by credit card a handling fee may be charged. The amount of this handling fee will vary depending upon the type of card used and will be confirmed to you prior to payment. This amount will be debited from your card at the same time as your payment is processed.
Terms of payment
You must pay our invoices as soon as you receive them.
The matter on which we are advising you may have been referred to us by an introducer. If your case has been referred to us by an introducer any advice, we give you will be independent and you are free to raise questions on all aspects of the matter. Where we are also acting for the introducer in your matter and a conflict of interest arises we may be obliged to cease acting.
I: Financial Services
We are legal advisers and we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We cannot advise you on the merits of investment transactions or exercising investment rights or act as an arranger or broker of transactions. We assume that your decision to enter an investment transaction is yours alone based on your own assessment of the transaction and any advice you receive from a person authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Nothing in our communications with you or made on your behalf should be interpreted as an inducement or invitation to engage in investment activity.
J: Professional Indemnity Insurance
We maintain professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Details of our insurers are available on request. We are required under the terms of our professional indemnity insurance Policy to notify our insurers immediately of any instance which appears to be or could potentially become a claim against us. If we do, then your rights to client confidentiality are automatically waived and full details of your matter, your instructions and the advice we have given to you will be disclosed to our Professional Indemnity Insurance Provider, Insurance Broker and any other party concerned with investigating or resolving the complaint or potential complaint in connection with your matter. Our liability under, or in connection with this agreement, is £3,000,000 (this sum being the limit of our professional indemnity insurance) and shall under no circumstances exceed that amount.
K: Disclaimer and third parties
We shall not be responsible for any losses whatsoever suffered, sustained or incurred by you or any third party because of our compliance with obligations imposed on us by 1) The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and/or 2) The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and/or 3) other legislation relating to or connected with the prevention of crime and/or 4) the instructions of any law enforcement agencies.
L. Data Protection
We act in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018. During our service, we may be required to share your information with other individuals involved in your legal matter. This may include the relevant court, barristers, other lawyers, agents, 3rd parties, experts and suppliers. Those handling or processing your data will also be bound by the GDPR rules. In the event that we are bound by a legal duty to release your personal information as part of our service to you, we will only release what we believe is reasonable and appropriate. By providing your personal information you, therefore, consent to us processing it as required by any legal duty, unless you clearly tell us not to do so.
We will communicate with and on behalf of you in the most effective way. We may send emails which, for convenience, are not in encrypted format. We will scan any emails we send for computer viruses although we cannot guarantee they will be virus free. We may monitor e-mails in accordance with the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000. We will inform you about our services from time to time unless you notify us otherwise.
You can ask us to cease acting for you at any time. If you do so, we draw your attention to the paragraph headed ‘Releasing your papers’ under Section G of these terms of business.
If you decide that we should no longer act for you on this matter, you will not receive a refund, because you have entered into an agreed fee arrangement.
We may refuse to act for you if you do not pay our invoices on time and in full, appoint us at short notice or you do not provide us with instructions when we ask you to. We may also refuse to continue to act for you if there are other circumstances giving us good reason to do so (for example, where there is a conflict of interest). We will give you reasonable notice if we are no longer going to act for you. If we do this, you will continue to be responsible for any commitments we may have entered into on your behalf, such as expert fees or counsel fees. We may also charge you for transferring your papers to another adviser.
O: Law and Jurisdiction
These terms of business and the services we provide shall be interpreted in accordance with English Law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales shall apply to any dispute arising out of the services we provide.
Unless otherwise agreed, these terms of business apply to any future instructions you give us. Full or partial payment will amount to your acceptance of these terms and conditions along with the terms contained within the Engagement Letter. Your continuing instructions will also amount to your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business.
We expect that you will receive a comprehensive, efficient and effective service. In the unlikely event of a problem arising or you being dissatisfied with the service provided or an invoice you have received, we have a comprehensive complaints procedure. Initially you should raise your concerns with the person handling your case and that person will seek to resolve your concerns. If those concerns are not addressed, you can contact our Complaints Director, Manjinder Kang, using the contact details on our website. A copy of our complaints procedure can be provided upon request. If you are still not satisfied once your complaint has been investigated and we have provided you with our final written response then you may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman P.O. Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the date of our final written response to your complaint or within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). For further information you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information is also available on their website www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
These Terms of Business govern our relationship with you and replace any earlier Terms of Business sent to you by us. It would assist us if you were to sign and return one copy of these terms of business but if you do not, your continuing instructions in this matter will signify your acceptance of them in any event.