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Terms of Engagement

The lawyer-client relationship is one of mutual trust and respect and it is important that you, the client, and we, your legal advisers, each know and understand clearly what will be expected of us and the duties, rights and responsibilities upon which our relationship will be based.

 

Letter of Engagement

All client services will be provided pursuant to a letter of engagement which will be supplied prior to or at the commencement of any services provided, which will tell you what services we have agreed to provide for you, who of personnel will provide those services and what those services will cost.

Terms of Engagement

These Standard 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 The services which we are to provide for you are set out in our Engagement Letter.

2. Fees and Disbursements

2.1 The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our Engagement Letter.

2.2 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 charged on an hourly rate basis. 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.

2.3 Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in our Engagement Letter. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. An additional fee for urgency and/or complexity of the matter may be charged.

2.4 In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf. These will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

2.5 GST is payable by you on our fees and disbursements.

3. Payment of Fees and Disbursements

3.1 Our fees and disbursements are to be paid within 14 days of the date of the invoice unless alternative arrangements have been made with us.

3.2 Our final account will be sent to you shortly after we have completed your matter.

3.3 We do however issue interim accounts where that is appropriate.

3.4 You authorise us to deduct our fees from funds held in our trust account on your behalf.

3.5 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.

3.6 Interest will accrue on unpaid accounts at the rate of 15% per annum as 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 payable by you.

3.7 Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

4. Suspension of Services

4.1 We reserve the right to cease working on the matter if interim accounts are not paid on time or request for information or action remains unsatisfied.

5. Privacy and Confidentiality

5.1 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.

6. Retention of Files and Documents

6.1 You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) 7 years after our engagement ends, 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 for 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. We do not charge an administration fee for this service.

10. Termination

10.1 You are entitled to terminate your instructions to us upon giving us reasonable notice.

10.2 We may terminate the retainer if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a sufficiently timely way or your unwillingness, inability or failure to pay our fees on an agreed basis, or, except in litigation matters, you adopting against our advice a course of action which we believe is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with our fundamental obligations as lawyers.

10.3 If we terminate this retainer we will give you reasonable notice so that you can arrange alternative representation and we shall give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer.

10.4 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.

11. General

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

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

11.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand Courts have non‑exclusive jurisdiction.

 

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 is set out in our Letter of Engagement. When payment of fees is to be made is set out in our Standard 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 exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society.

3. Lawyers Fidelity Fund

The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purpose 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 & 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 will provide you with a competent, timely service following your instructions but if you have any complaint at all about our services 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 services and may be contacted at 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 responsibility 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, the lawyer must:

 

 

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 http://www.lawyers.org.nz/.

7. Limitations on Extent of our Obligations or Liability

Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in our Letter of Engagement.