Terms of Engagement

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 Services

1.1 The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.

2 Financial

2.1 Fees:

  • The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are 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 on an hourly rate basis. Work carried out under urgency will necessarily incur higher fees. 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 (plus GST) are: Partner $475.00, Consultant $475.00, Senior Associate $425.00, Associate $375.00, Senior Solicitor $325.00, Special Counsel $375.00, Solicitor $275.00 and Legal Executive $300.00 per hour plus GST.  The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff.  

  • We note that you may be eligible for Legal Aid. Please advise if you wish to make an application for Legal Aid or if you have completed a Legal Aid Application Form. If Legal Aid is granted you will be bound by the provisions of the Legal Services Act 2000. 
  • For conveyancing matters, payment of fees and disbursements is required on settlement of the transaction. We reserve the right to require payment of fees and disbursements in advance or at any time during the course of a transaction.

2.2 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 the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

2.3 GST (if any):

Is payable by you on our fees and charges.

2.4 Invoices and Payment:

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. Our invoices contain a simple explanation of the work undertaken which we found most clients prefer. We can however provide a more detailed bill if required on an individual request basis.

You authorise us to deduct any outstanding fees and disbursements from funds held on your behalf. We will provide a statement of money received on your behalf and any fees that are deducted. By engaging our services you acknowledge that payment by this method is for your convenience and at your request and in lieu of payment by any other means and that such deduction is to be treated in all respects as if you had remitted such payment to us without reservation.

Invoices are payable within 7 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us.  We may require interest at the rate of 15% per annum to be paid on any amount which is more than 30 days overdue. If payment in full is not received with three months from date of invoice then a Collection Agency will be instructed.  Any collection costs will be added to the amount owing, which may include solicitor-client costs.

All invoices and payments are in New Zealand dollar currency, unless otherwise agreed with us, by you, in writing.

2.5 Credit Card Payments:

A payment by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) attracts a merchant service fee which is charged to our firm. As such, the credit card payment facility is to be used for payment of our fees only. Please contact our office before any credit card payment is made for disbursements paid out on your behalf, as these will incur a surcharge of approximately 3%.

Accidental overpayments will be refunded to you, less the merchant service fee payable.

For online credit card payments, we use the payment technology ‘Click’ to ensure your credit card details remain secure. Please refer to Paymarks’ Privacy Policy for more information about collection of your personal information: https://www.paymark.co.nz/privacy-policy/

2.6 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.

2.7 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 us if the third party fails to pay us.

2.8 Investment Advice:

You agree that neither our firm nor any of its partners or employees is responsible for providing, nor provides, any financial or investment advice in connection with any engagement.

3 Confidentiality

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:

  • 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.

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 including administration and word processing staff.

3.3 You will have a right to access and request correction of your personal information.

3.4 We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.

3.5 If required, we use the cloud sharing service of Dropbox for Business, which is a secure and encrypted service to securely share large files which cannot be shared via email. Please refer to Dropbox’s Policy and advise us in the first instance if you wish to opt out of this service.

4 Termination

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 Professional Indemnity Insurance

5.1 We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standard specified by the Law Society. We can provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon requests.

6 Retention of files and documents

6.1 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) 10 years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

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 3.8% of the gross interest derived.

10 General

10.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

10.2 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.