44C Ihakara Street
Paraparaumu 5032

Terms and Client Information

This document is in two parts. The first part sets out our standard terms of engagement and the second part sets out information for clients required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers issued by the New Zealand Law Society (Law Society).

Terms of Engagement

These Terms of Engagement (“Terms”) apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.

1. Services

1.1 We will provide you with the legal services that you request or that we agree on, unless a conflict of interest or other factors prevent us from doing so. If this is the case, we will contact you immediately.

1.2 We will use due care and skill and will act in accordance with your instructions subject to any ethical and/or legal duties.

We provide our advice to you and only you. Other people or entities (including those closely associated with you) who want to rely or act on our advice can do so only if we both agree in writing.

2. Confidentiality

2.1 We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:

  • To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
  • To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

2.2 Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services for you.

2.3 We will, of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.

3. Who Will Act for You?

3.1 A particular Principal or staff member may be responsible for your matter or you may have requested a particular Principal or staff member. Generally, that person will work with you, however, they may also work with other Principals and staff on your matter. You will be advised who will be responsible for your work in our engagement letter.

4. How Are Our Fees Calculated?

4.1 If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our services. Work which falls outside that scope will be additional to the agreed fixed fee. We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope and if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.

4.2 In setting our fees, we take into account a number of factors including the following:

  • The time and labour expended including time spent investigating the facts and researching the law;
  • The skill, experience, specialised knowledge, and responsibility required to perform the services properly;
  • The importance of the matter to you and the results achieved;
  • The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by you;
  • The degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the services, including the amount of value or any property involved;
  • The complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
  • The possibility that the acceptance of the particular retainer will preclude engagement by other clients;
  • Whether the fee is fixed or conditional;
  • Any quote or estimate of fees given by us;
  • Any fee agreement (including a conditional fee agreement) entered into between us;
  • The reasonable costs of running a practice;
  • The fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services.
  • These factors are based on the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

4.3 Other Charges

Our charges include disbursements incurred on your behalf. Disbursements are expenses such as registration and filing costs, court charges, photocopying, printing, facsimiles, toll and mobile charges, deliveries, travel and accommodation costs, enquiries and matters of a similar nature. We may charge you an estimate of some disbursements such as photocopying, printing, facsimiles and phone charges.

Disbursements also include payments made on your behalf such as fees of agents, experts and other professionals, and are charged at the amount charged to us. Where you have asked us to instruct outside counsel then you will, on demand, pay to us the fees billed to us by that outside counsel.

4.4 GST

You will also be charged GST at the current rate as required by law in addition to the fees agreed, estimated or rendered unless you are exempt for the purposes of GST.

4.5 How Do We Bill?

We will issue you regular accounts (usually monthly) unless otherwise agreed and on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense. Payment is due on receipt of the invoice or as otherwise arranged with us.

If your account remains unpaid after thirty (30) days and there is no satisfactory explanation for non-payment we:

  • May start proceedings to recover the amount owed, plus interest at the rate of 14 % per annum.
  • May do no further work for you, and will not release your papers and files until all accounts are paid.
  • Even if you expect another party to reimburse you for our fees and/or charges, we have no recourse to any person other than you, and so look to you for payment, even if reimbursement is delayed or you fail to get reimbursed.

Please contact us immediately if you have any concerns about our account.

4.6 Fees in Advance

We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. In such cases you authorise us to deduct from such funds any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.

4.7 Fees paid by Deduction

Where we hold funds on your behalf in our Trust account you authorise us to deduct from such funds any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have rendered an invoice.

5. Termination

5.1 You may terminate our services at any time.

5.2 We may refuse to continue to act for you in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

5.3 If our services are terminated or we no longer act for you, you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.

6. Retention of Files and Documents

6.1 You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for any matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) 7 years after the matter is concluded, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

7. Conflicts of Interest

7.1 We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

8. Duty of Care

8.1 Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to this.

9. Trust Account

9.1 We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received as payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.

10. General

10.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

10.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.

10.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.

11. Feedback

11.1 We value feedback, positive or negative. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any comments or questions about these terms or any related matters. Please send your feedback to the relevant Principal or to our Chief Executive Officer at PO Box 140, Paraparaumu.

By instructing us to provide you with legal services, you are deemed to have accepted these terms of engagement

Information for Clients

Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (“Law Society”).

1. Fees

The basis on which fees will be charged and when payment of fees is to be made is set out in our terms of engagement.

We may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.

2. Professional Indemnity Insurance

We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.

3. Lawyers Fidelity Fund

The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.

4. Complaints

We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly. If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work.

If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to our Chief Executive Officer, Mark Kennedy. He may be contacted by email at mark@bmc-law.co.nz or by telephoning him at (04) 296-1105.

The New Zealand Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so you should contact them on (04) 472-7837 or by mail to PO Box 5041, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145.

5. Persons Responsible for the Work

The names and status of the person or persons who will have the primary and overall responsibilities for the services we provide for you are set out in our letter of engagement.

6. Client Care and Service

The Law Society client care and service information is set out below.

“Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:

  • Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
  • Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
  • Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
  • Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
  • Give you clear information and advice.
  • Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
  • Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
  • Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed.
  • Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
  • Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.

The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.

If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call (04) 472-7837."