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).
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.
1.1 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.
2.1 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:
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.
3.1 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.
4.1 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:
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.
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:
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.
5.1 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.
6.1 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.
7.1 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.
8.1 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.
9.1 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.
10.1 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.
11.1 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
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”).
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
The Law Society client care and service information is set out below.
“Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:
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."