Every new client will be sent an engagement letter which attaches information for new clients and standard terms of engagement. This letter is sent in accordance with New Zealand Law Society rules for client care. The following are the Standard Terms of Engagement.
STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
These Standard Terms of Engagement (“Terms”) apply in respect of all work carried out on your behalf, except to the extent that we otherwise agree in writing.
1.1 The services we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
a The fees I will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in my engagement letter.
b If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, I will charge this for the agreed scope of my services. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis. I will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for me to provide services outside the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.
c My fees are calculated on an hourly basis as set out in my engagement letter. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
2.2 Disbursements and expenses: In providing services I may incur disbursements (expenses) on your behalf. These will be included in my invoice to you when the expense is incurred. Standard expenses incurred within my office such as photocopying, printing, postage, tolls, facsimiles and other administrative overheads will be charged at 4% of my fee.
2.3 GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2.4 Invoices: I may send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and invoice you on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement. I may also send you an invoice when I incur a significant expense.
2.5 Payment: Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made. I may require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 14 days overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 1.5% per month.
2.6 Debt Collection: Should payment of my invoice not be made within the specified time (14 days unless otherwise agreed in writing) I reserve the right to refer any unpaid invoice to a debt collection agency or take any such legal action as considered necessary. Details and particulars of your account may be submitted to a credit reporting agency which might affect your credit rating and ability to make certain transactions with other companies. Should such action be taken you will be liable for collection fees and late payment fees that are incurred as a result of non-payment within the specified time.
2.7 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 me if the third party fails to make payment.
3.1 I will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that I acquire during the course of acting for you. I 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 I will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which I have in relation to any other client.
4.1 You may terminate my retainer at any time.
4.2 I may terminate my retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers
4.3 If my 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 me (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 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
6.1 I have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises I 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
7.1 A duty of care is owed to you and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on my advice this must be expressly agreed.
8 NO TRUST ACCOUNT
8.1 I do not maintain a trust account and accordingly I will not receive funds on your behalf. Should the situation arise where any payment becomes due to you, arrangements will be made for these to be paid directly to you unless that payment is used to deduct any fees, expenses or disbursements for which I have provided an invoice.
8.2 You will not be asked to pre-pay money in advance of fees or expenses being incurred. Accordingly where it is necessary to incur the services of another party such as a consultant or expert witness you will be advised and an arrangement will need to be made between you and that other party for you to pay their costs directly.
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 These Terms may be changed from time to time, in which case I will send you amended Terms.
9.3 My relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.