Terms and Conditions of Engagement
Our Obligations to You
We will carry out your instructions and advise you on all legal matters that properly fall within the scope of your instructions. We will use all due care and skill in doing so.
Client Care Obligations
Our detailed obligations to you are:
- to act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
- to protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
- to discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
- to provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
- to charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed.
- to give you clear information and advice.
- to protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
- to treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
- to keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
- to let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
We will maintain records of the work that we carry out on your behalf. Unless you direct us otherwise, you authorise us to dispose of such records upon the expiration of the periods recommended by the New Zealand Law Society for the retention of such records.
Your Obligation to Us
In order for us to carry out your instructions you have an obligation to ensure that we receive all relevant information when we are initially instructed to act. You must ensure that we are promptly advised of any change to known information, any new information or a change in your circumstances that may affect our ability to carry out your instructions. You are responsible for the accuracy of the information that you provide to us.
We will charge a fee which is fair and reasonable for the services provided having regard to your interests and our interests. In determining the fee, the following may be taken into account:
- the time and labour expended;
- the skill, 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 or value of the property involved;
- the complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
- the experience, reputation and ability of the members of our firm working on your matter.
- the possibility that the acceptance of the particular instructions will preclude employment of us by other clients.
- whether the fee is fixed or conditional;
- any quote or estimate of fees given by us;
- any fee agreement entered into between you and us;
- the reasonable costs of running our firm;
- the fee customarily charged in the market and locality for work similar to yours.
Unless otherwise stated all fees are plus GST.
Disbursements such as search and registration fees, tolls and faxes and photocopying will be charged at cost plus an agency charge.
Other charges which we make are:
- A commission of 5% on interest accruing on funds deposited with our banks through our bulk deposit scheme; and
- A computer bureau charge and a photocopying charge for each matter.
We will provide you with an estimate upon request. If that estimate is likely to be exceeded we will let you know.
Payment of Fees
- Our fees and disbursements are to be paid within 14 days of our account being sent except on conveyancing matters where fees and disbursements are payable immediately prior to settlement.
Our final account will be sent to you shortly after we have completed your matter.
We will issue interim accounts where appropriate.
You authorise us to deduct our fees, disbursements and office expenses from funds held in our trust account on your behalf on our issuing an invoice.
We may ask you to pay fees in advance, but in those instances your payment will be held in our trust account and only paid to us by deduction when an account has been forwarded to you.
Disbursements are to be paid by you immediately upon request but substantial disbursements will be asked for in advance.
If you instruct us to invoice any person for our work you will nonetheless be liable to pay our account if the person invoiced does not pay it when due. You will also be liable to pay our account for work which we carry out in accordance with your instructions if we invoice a third party who is contractually bound to you to pay our account and that third party does not pay it when due.
- Interest will accrue on unpaid accounts at the Westpac Business Lending Rate plus 4% from the due date until payment. Other action to recover unpaid fees may also be taken and the cost of such recovery may be added to the account due by you.
The Lawyers' Fidelity Fund ("the 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 Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 the Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold current Professional Indemnity Insurance which exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society. Currently those standards specify, for our firm, a minimum indemnity limit of $8,250,000.00.
Limitation of Liability
Our liability for breach of any legal or equitable obligations can never exceed the limit of our indemnity under our Professional Indemnity Insurance. We do not accept liability at all for any loss arising from non receipt of any communication including email communications. Other limitations on the extent of our obligations or liability to you or other exclusions from liability (if any) are set out in our letter of engagement.
Right to Terminate your Retainer
You are entitled to terminate your instructions to us upon giving us reasonable notice. Our fees for services reasonably and properly provided to you prior to the termination of retainer shall be paid by you prior to uplifting your records and we may retain copies of your documents and records.
We may terminate the retainer if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a sufficiently timely way or in your inability or failure to pay our fees and disbursements. In the event of such termination we may retain your records until you have paid our fees and disbursements.
Suspension of Service
We reserve the right to stop work on your retainer if interim accounts are not paid on time or a request for information or action remains unsatisfied.
If you have a Complaint
We will provide you with a competent, timely service following your instructions, but if you have any complaint at all about our service please raise it with the partner responsible for your matter, or, if you prefer, any other partner in our firm. If it cannot be resolved immediately to your satisfaction we shall appoint a partner who has not been involved in your matter to deal with it promptly and fairly. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society which runs a complaints service. The Law Society’s phone number is 0800 261 801.
Privacy and Confidentiality
We will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential and will not disclose any information we hold on your behalf or about you unless we are required to do so by law or where it is necessary to do so to provide our services to you or when requested by you or with your consent.
These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any further engagement whether or not we send you another copy of them. We are entitled to change these terms from time to time in which case we will send you amended terms.