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.
The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
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 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 specialization in our professional staff. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
2.4 If we give you an estimate of our fee:
a) it is an estimate only and we will review it if necessary. The final fee may be more or less than the amount of the estimate (although our estimates are as accurate as possible, based on information available to us at the time).
b) the estimate does not include disbursements or GST.
2.5 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.
2.6 GST (if any) Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2.7 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.
a) Invoices are payable within 7 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 7 days overdue.
b) Interest will be calculated at the rate of 15% per annum from the date payment became due until the date payment is made in full. This does not affect our other rights to recover payment.
c) If you pay by cheque, your payment is treated as made when the cheque has cleared.
d) You will be liable for all legal and debt collection costs that we may incur, including solicitor/client costs in enforcing or attempting to enforce, our rights under these terms of engagement.
2.9 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.
2.10 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.
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.
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.
4.4 If our retainer is terminated and/or you wish to uplift any files, records or documents that we hold on your behalf you agree to our taking and retaining copies of any files, records or documents that are to be uplifted and you agree to meet the reasonable costs of copying and transporting such files, records or documents prior to release
5. Retention of files and documents
You authorise us (without reference to you) to destroy all files and documents in respect of any engagement (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. Conflicts of interest
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.
7. Duty of care
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.
8. Trust account
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 may charge an administration fee of 10% of the interest derived.
Withholding tax will also be deducted by our bank each month as interest accrues and when any term deposit matures.
9.1 These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
9.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.
9.3 Where we are providing services to you for the purposes of a business, the Consumer Guarantees Act will not apply.
9.4 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.