These Terms of Engagement (Terms) apply to all work carried out by us for you.
The services we provide for you are as discussed with you at the time you engage us. They may be altered from time to time as your matter progresses.
- There are a variety of ways Fees can be charged. This section sets out the options.
- We will provide an estimate of likely costs as requested. If possible, we will provide you with a Fixed Fee. Otherwise, costs will be based on a number of factors including time spent on the file, the urgency and expertise required and the overall value of the transaction. If we agree a Fixed Fee it will be based on an agreed scope of our services. If work falls outside that scope, we will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable and if requested give you an estimate for the additional work.
- Our hourly rates are available on request.
- Time spent is recorded in 6-minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
- With the exception of Fixed Fees, we charge separately for significant out of pocket expenses such as Court Fees, Central and Local Government fees and outside research fees.
- For transactions taking a relatively short time to resolve we will render accounts at the end of the transaction. Otherwise, we will send monthly interim accounts.
- Payment is due 14 days following the date of invoice.
- If we receive funds to hold on your behalf, we will deduct fees and costs as appropriate and after rendering an invoice. You can advise us otherwise in writing not to deduct fees and costs.
- If accounts are overdue we may (at our discretion) charge interest at the rate of 2% per month. You will also be responsible for any debt collection costs including legal fees incurred in collecting any overdue amounts.
- GST (if any) is payable by you on our Fees and charges.
- If you are receiving Legal Aid your fees will be as outlined by the Legal Aid section of the Ministry of Justice.
- At our sole discretion we may charge a cancellation fee. For fixed fee matters the cancellation fee will be $300.00 (incl GST). For other matters the fee will be 50% of time recorded at the appropriate billing rate.
For dispute related matters other than Legal Aid we require pre-paid amounts for our estimated Fees and expenses. Such pre-payments will be held in our Trust account.
You authorise us:
- Debit against any amount pre-paid by you.
- Take payment from any funds held on your behalf in our Trust account.
4. THIRD PARTIES
Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses and although our invoices may request or with approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for the debt until it is paid.
We will hold in confidence all information concerning you and your affairs that we acquire while 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.
- To the extent required by law or by the NZLS rules of Conduct and Client care.
- As far as practicable confidential information will only be made available to those within our firm who are providing legal services to you.
You may terminate your relationship with us at any time. We may terminate our professional relationship in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. In the event of termination, you must pay us all fees and expenses due and incurred up the date of termination.
7. RETENTION OF FILES AND DOCUMENTS
- You may uplift your file or ask us to transfer it to another firm at any time providing all outstanding costs have been paid. We reserve the right to retain a copy of the file and to charge you for making that copy.
- You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for all matters including previous and future matters (other than documents we hold in safe custody for you) 7 years after our engagement ends or at any time if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
8. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
We have procedures in place to identify and respond to Conflicts of Interest.
In particular if we are being asked to represent both sides of one transaction we will need both parties to agree in writing before we can act.