We deal with a variety of legal questions and queries on a daily basis. With our team's vast legal knowledge and experience, we are ready to answer any queries you may have. 


We've put together our most frequently asked questions to provide you with an efficient and quick answer, saving you time and possibly money in hunting it down.

Can't find the answer you're looking for?


General questions

How long has John W Davies been in business?

Established in 1927, John W Davies Solicitors has been in business for 90 years.

What are your opening hours?

John W Davies Solicitors' Newport and Chepstow offices are  open 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday. We are closed on Bank Holidays, Good Friday, Easter day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

What legal services do you offer?

We have dedicated and professional staff in both of our offices specialising in all aspects of family and divorce law, wills and probate, and residential and commercial conveyancing.


How do I prepare for my meeting with John W Davies?

In order for us to understand your circumstances, make sure you come to your meeting with as much information as possible. The more preparation you do, the more you will get out of the meeting. Make a list of all the things you want to discuss and the questions you want to ask. Also bring along any relevant paperwork. 

What costs are involved?

This depends on your matter. Any fees and costs involved should be made clear to you in your initial correspondence with a member of our team.

How do I know you're qualified to do the job?

John W Davies is Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) approved. The SRA ensures its members are qualified and insured to provide legal services. They make sure individuals and firms operate independently and with integrity in the interest of their clients, and in the wider public interest.

How do I make a complaint?

See our Complaints Handling Policy

Conveyancing questions

How long will my conveyancing take?

It is difficult to give an estimate, however typically, conveyancing takes six to eight weeks. It can take longer in some circumstances.

How much stamp duty do I have to pay?

Stamp duty is payable in sections. These are:

  • First £125,000 of purchase price = no tax payable

  • Next £125,000 of purchase price = 2% charge

  • Next £675,000 of purchase price = 5% charge

  • Next £575,000 of purchase price = 10% charge

  • The top rate of stamp duty, which is 12%, will apply to the section above £1.5 million.

At what stage can a buyer or seller pull out?

You can decide to pull out of a sale or purchase at any point up until the exchange of contracts.

Why do you need my ID?

As a company, we are subject to money laundering regulations. The Law Society requires us to inspect ID from all of our clients. This usually includes photographic identification such as a driving licence or passport, and proof of address such as a utility bill.

What are Searches?

Searches are enquiries sent to various authorities including Local Councils, Coal and Mining Authorities and the Environmental Agency. These searches provide you with detailed information in relation to the property you are buying.

When can I book the removal company?

We strongly advise that you do not book any removals until contracts have been exchanged. The moving date is not confirmed or legally binding until then. This could result in the loss of any deposit you may have given to the removal company.

Where do I collect the keys to my new property?

The keys can be collected from the Estate Agent as soon as the purchase money has been received by the seller's solicitors. We will notify you as soon as this happens.

Divorce and family law questions

Do I have Parental Responsibility (PR)?

If you're the mother or father of the child, you automatically acquire Parental Responsibility.

What is mediation and is it necessary?

Mediation has been an established process for many years. It is used as an alternative method to the Court. Mediation is voluntary (but you and your husband/wife must both agree to it)  and is suggested before going down the route of Court to resolve any family or divorce matters. 


How long do I need to have been married before getting a divorce?

Before you can get divorced, you must have been married for at least one year. If your marriage happens to break down before you've been married for one year, you can separate until then. 

What do I need to prove in order to get a divorce?

In order to proceed with a divorce, you must be able to prove that the marriage has broken down and cannot be fixed. A divorce can proceed for any of the following reasons:

  • Unreasonable behaviour - you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your husband/wife

  • Adultery - you find it intolerable to live with your husband/wife

  • Your husband/wife has deserted you for two continuous years

  • You've lived apart for two continuous years and your husband/wife consents to the divorce

  • You've lived apart for five continuous years

Can I get a 'quickie divorce'?

You hear about a 'quickie divorce' a lot amongst the media, however in England and Wales there is no such option. The average time-frame in which a divorce can happen is six months.


How can I get advice on domestic violence?

If you are currently a victim of domestic violence, our family and divorce law team can advise you about legal action to protect you, your children and your home. If you are particularly concerned for your safety or that of your children, it is important that you call your local emergency services on 999.

How do I get my partner to make payments for our child?

The Child Support Agency (CSA) govern and administer payments for children. The payment will be calculated based on the absent parent's disposable income and the number of children. However some payments, such as school fees, are determined by the court. 

Will and probate questions

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which you create to give directions for the distribution of your estate (assets, property, money, jewellery) you own on death to Beneficiaries.


Should I have a Will?

If you are older than 18 and would like to ensure your wishes are met after you die, then a Will is vital.

What happens if I die without a Will?

If you die without a Will, state law will determine who benefits from your estate. This is usually your next of kin or closest relatives. If no relative is found, then the state will benefit from your estate.

Can I change my Will?

If you require amends to your original Will, please get in touch with us. Any markings you make on the original document can indicate foul play and therefore create problems in the future. 

Can I collect my / someone else's documents?

For various reasons, you may want to hold your documents at your home or hold them at another solicitor firm. You might be requesting them on behalf of someone else. Depending on the circumstances and who is requesting the documents, we ask for the following information.

If you're requesting your own documents:

  • A certified copy (signed by the Post office or a professional) of photographic ID e.g. a passport or driving licence for yourself

If you're requesting documents on behalf of someone else (who is alive):

  • You must be a Beneficiary or Executor of the Will you are requesting

  • A letter of authorisation from the holder of the Will, with their signature

  • A certified copy (signed by the Post office or a professional) of photographic ID e.g. a passport or driving licence for yourself and the Will holder

If you're requesting documents on behalf of someone else (who is deceased):

  • You must be a Beneficiary or Executor of the Will you are requesting

  • Other Executors (if applicable) need to give their authority

  • A certified copy (signed by the Post office or a professional) of photographic ID e.g. a passport or driving licence for yourself

  • The original death certificate of the deceased Will holder

What is the difference between an Executor and a Beneficiary?

A Beneficiary is someone mentioned in a Will who benefits from the distribution, especially of an estate, and an Executor is someone appointed by a testator to administer a Will.

Can an Executor of a Will also be a Beneficiary?

Yes, an Executor of a Will can also be a Beneficiary.

What is probate?

Probate is the name given to the process of administering someones estate when they die. 

Do I need probate?

If your estate is less than £5,000 (as an example) and only includes cash funds held in deposit accounts, you do not need to obtain a grant. However if your estate contains certain assets such as land or shares, you will need to obtain a grant.