Standard terms of engagement

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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 in writing.

1. Services
The services we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.

2. Financial

(a) The fees we will charge or the manner in which they will be determined, 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 and/or on the basis of all or any of the ‘reasonable fee factors’ set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008. 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 our usual hourly rates for that type of work will be charged. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and skill of our professional staff. Time spent is recorded in units of 6 minutes each. Time is rounded to the nearest unit.

3. Storage
You will be charged a file storage fee of:

(a) $10 for small files (eg. buying or selling a home).
(b) $25 for larger files.
(c) $50 for estates or big files.

4. Compliance with legislation:
You (or we) may have to comply with:

1.    Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (further information here).

2.    Overseas Investment Act 2005.

3.    Income Tax Act 2007.

You will be charged a standard compliance fee of $25 plus gst per matter.

If your compliance is complex, difficult or time consuming to complete, you may be charged an additional fee based on time.

5. 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.

6. GST:
GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.

7. Invoices:
We may send interim invoices to you and/or invoice you on completion of the matter, or on termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense on your behalf.

8. Payment:
Payment is due within 10 days of the date of your invoice. You will be required to pay interest on any amount that is overdue. Interest shall be calculated at the rate of 12.5% per annum.

9. Exclusion of Liability for Mistaken Payments
We are not liable for mistaken payments made by us or you to a wrong bank account.

10. 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.

11. 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, you nevertheless remain responsible for payment.

12. Confidentiality
We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you. We may use “cloud” based information technology services to store information about you. Those services are currently supplied to us by Microsoft. 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.
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 not disclose to you any confidential information which we have in relation to any other client without that client’s express authority.

13. Termination
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 on your behalf.

14. Retention of files and documents
We may store your physical file or an electronic copy. If we keep an electronic copy, you authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all physical files and documents when our engagement ends.

15. 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.

16. Duty of Care
Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person.

17. Trust Account
We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices). We may charge an administration fee for administering your funds in our trust account. If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank unless the administration cost is likely to exceed the interest earned. As a general rule, if we do not expect you to earn more than $25, we will not put funds on interest bearing deposit.

18. General
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. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand Law and New Zealand Courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.


November 2020