They set out the basis of our professional relationship with you in accepting and actioning your instructions.
We will provide you with the legal services you request or we agree on, unless a conflict of interest or other factors prevent us from providing the legal services to you.
We will use due care and skill and will act in accordance with your instructions, subject to any ethical and/or legal duties we may have.
We are not qualified, nor will we provide you with investment or taxation advice.
The Director or staff member you ask to be responsible for your matter will work with you. That person may also work with other Directors and staff on your matter.
Yes. We will give you a fee estimate on request. This will be a guide only and is not a fixed quote, unless expressly stated so. We will advise you if it becomes apparent that the fee estimate will be exceeded, and obtain your approval before incurring any additional fees.
In setting our fees we take into account a number of factors, including the following*:
* These factors are based on Rule 9.1 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 (Client Care Rules).
These charges may include expenses such as travel and accommodation costs, searching, registration and filing costs, court charges, document production, delivery and telephone calls, and also includes payments made on your behalf, such as fees of agents, experts, and other professionals. Where you have requested 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 unless you are, or the matter is, zerorated or exempt for the purposes of GST.
If funds are lodged on interest-earning deposit on your behalf, we will need your IRD number or a copy of your Resident Withholding Tax (RWT) Exemption Certificate. If you do not provide one, RWT will be deducted by the bank at the non-declaration rate. We will charge you an administration fee of 5% of the gross interest earned while these funds are held and managed by us.
You will receive regular bills of costs (usually monthly) or an account when the matter is completed unless otherwise agreed. Payment is due on receipt or as otherwise arranged with us. If you do not pay within 30 days, we reserve the right to charge you interest on any unpaid amount at the rate of 5% per annum above our principal banker’s usual lending rate, compounding monthly.
If your account remains unpaid and there is no satisfactory explanation for non-payment we:
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. Accordingly, we 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 accounts.
We may ask you for a payment in advance for expenses payable to third parties on your behalf and/or as security for our fees.
This money will be held in our trust account on your behalf and will be used to pay:
You will receive a statement showing you how this money has been spent.
Any information that you give us will be treated as confidential by the firm.
We may also need to disclose this information to:
We comply with the information privacy principles set out in the Privacy Act 1993 when we collect, use and disclose information about you (Personal Information) and if the circumstances require, about people who are your employees, directors or principals. In such circumstances, we ask that you help us to make sure that these people are aware that our acting for you may involve collection of Personal Information about them.
If we do not collect this Personal Information, we may not be able to carry out your instructions. In most cases, anyone can request access to the Personal Information we hold about them.
We may also use contact details and other information to keep you informed about developments in relevant areas of law, other legal services, or seminars we offer. Please let us know if you do not want your Personal Information used for this purpose.
We have procedures to deal with issues that arise if the interest of two or more clients conflict.
We may accept instructions from other clients or potential clients working in the same and competing markets and whose commercial interests conflict with your own, as long as those instructions:
A legal conflict may arise on a matter which you have instructed us. If this happens, we will contact you as soon as possible.
If we stop acting for you or have not been instructed by you on a matter, we may act for other clients whose interests are adverse to your own, as long as we:
During the course of matters, we will usually and frequently communicate with you by email. Please let us know if you prefer us not to communicate with you by email.
As emails are not always secure, or may have defects (such as viruses), we do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any direct or indirect damage or loss caused by an email that is intercepted, or has a virus or other defect.
We often have to obtain and rely on external information or public records (e.g. from a government agency or registry) to carry out your instructions. This information may not always be accurate or complete. We do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any direct or indirect damage or loss caused by errors or omissions in external information or public records.
Subject to the Client Care Rules, you may end our engagement by giving us written notice at any time. You must pay our fees for work done and for other charges incurred up to the end of our engagement.
We may end our engagement on reasonable notice at any time. For example, we may cease to act if our fees and charges are not paid when due.
If we end our engagement, all outstanding fees and other charges (up to the time of termination) will be billed to you. When you pay your account, you have a right to uplift your file. Until your account is paid, we have a right to keep any of your property in our possession.
At the end of your matter, we will keep your file and documents for the minimum period required by law. At the end of this period, we may destroy your file and documents. All files and documents will be destroyed in a confidential manner
These terms and any other agreement we have with you are:
You may not assign or transfer any rights or obligations under these terms or any other agreement that we have with you.
By instructing us to provide you with legal services, you are deemed to have accepted these terms
We are required to provide to clients with the following information under the Client Care Rules of the New Zealand Law Society (Law Society):
The basis on which fees will be charged and payment is to be made is set out in our Terms above.
We may deduct, from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account, any fees, expenses and other charges for which we have provided an invoice. Any costs incurred by us on your behalf charged by another entity (disbursement) will also be charged to you and noted on our invoice as disbursements.
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 on request.
The Law Society maintains the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund to provide clients with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund as compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000. 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.
The names and status of the person or persons who will have overall responsibility for your work are set out in our email or letter of engagement.
We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients. Any complaint will be dealt with promptly and fairly. You may refer any complaint either to the person who has overall responsibility for your work or to our Quality Manager, who will be one of our Directors, by:
The Law Society operates the Lawyers Complaints Service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so, phone 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Service Office, which can provide information and advice about making a complaint
The Law Society client care and service information is set out below. Whatever legal services your lawyer provides, he or she must:
Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in our email or letter of engagement.