Standard 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.
1.1 The services we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
a The fees we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our engagement letter.
b 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.
c 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. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
2.2 Disbursements: In providing services we may incur disbursements or costs 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 which we will be incurring on your behalf.
2.3 Office expenses: We may also charge you for general office expenses including tolls and photocopying.
2.4 GST: GST (if any) is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2.5 Invoices: We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
2.6 Payment: Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. For conveyancing matters we require invoices to be paid prior to settlement. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 20 days overdue. Interest will be calculated at 10% p.a.
2.7 Security: We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:
a to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
b to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account
any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
2.8 Third Parties: 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.
2.9 Legal Aid
We undertake legal aid work. Your eligibility is based on your income and assets. We can assist you to complete an application.
If you are in receipt of a grant of aid you will receive a copy of all invoices submitted to the Ministry. You can contact us if you have any queries about that invoice.
Your grant may be based on a condition to repay your grant. The Ministry will contact you about this.
You must inform the Ministry directly or us if there is any change to your financial circumstances.
3.1 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:
a to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
b to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
3.2 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.
3.3 We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
3.4 The lawyers at our firm have ongoing external supervision in order to maintain effective legal practice. From time to time a lawyer working on your file may talk to their supervisor about your matter, but this will be done in a way that protects your identity.
4.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time.
4.2 We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers
4.3 If our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.
5 Retention of files and documents
5.1 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.
6 Compliance with anti-money laundering laws
6.1 We are obliged to comply with all laws applicable to us in all jurisdictions, including (but not limited to):
a Anti-money laundering (AML) and countering financing of terrorism (CFT) laws; and
b Laws relating to tax and client reporting and withholdings.
6.2 We may be required to undertake customer due diligence on you, persons acting on your behalf and other relevant persons such as beneficial owners and controlling persons. This may include requiring you to provide and us to retain identity, address, and source of wealth/funds verification documents. We may not be able to begin acting, or to continue acting, for you until that is completed.
6.3 To ensure our compliance and yours, we may be required to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf or other relevant persons to third parties (such as government agencies). There may be circumstances where we are not able to tell you or such persons if we do provide information.
6.4 Please ensure that you and/or any of the persons described previously are aware of and consent to this. It is important to ensure that all information provided to us is accurate. If the information required is not provided, or considered by us to be potentially inaccurate, misleading, or in contravention of any law, we may terminate or refuse to enter into an engagement.
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. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.
10.1 We note that we do not provide advice as to the quality of investment in conveyancing matters.
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.
Updated 1 August 2020