Standard Terms of Engagement
The 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 will be outlined in our engagement letter.
The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived will be set out in our engagement letter.
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 at 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.
Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. The difference in those rates reflect the experience specialisation of our professional staff. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
Disbursements and Expenses
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 disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.
GST (if any)
Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
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.
Invoices are payable as follows:
- On the day of settlement of the transaction; or
- Within 7 days of the date of the invoice, whichever occurs first, 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. Interest will be calculated monthly at the rate of 15% per annum.
Debt Recovery Costs
If you have not paid the fees billed for work done within the timeframe set out above, we may instigate debt recovery proceedings against you. This may include filing the debt with the Ministry of Justice or alternatively placing the debt into the hands of a debt collection agency. Either course of action will result in further costs which will be added to the fees billed and you will be liable for these further costs and disbursements on a solicitor client basis.
We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to me, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us to:
- debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
- to deduct funds held on your behalf in our trust account any account fees or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
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 payments to us if the third party fails to pay us.
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 information to any other person except:
- to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
- to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
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.
We will, of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
You may terminate our retainer at any time.
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.
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.
Retention of files and documents
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.
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.
Duty of Care
Our duty of care is to you and not any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice we must expressly agree to this.
We must 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 these funds on interest bearing deposits with a bank. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.
These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms and update these Terms online.
Our relationship with you is governed by