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.
The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
a. the fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, 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. 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, the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. 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 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.
These disbursements and expenses are charged to you at the same amount they are charged to us.
2.3 General Office Services
We also charge for general office services in addition to our fees, for things such as photocopying, facsimile charges, telephone calls, postage and deliveries, and other similar things.
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 upon receipt, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us.
If an invoice is not paid when due, then we may elect:
a. to deduct any money outstanding from any other money we are holding on your behalf;
b. not to do any further work, and to retain custody of your documents or files, until all accounts are paid in full; or
c. to charge interest at 10% per annum on any amount outstanding one month after the date of the invoice (with interest payable from the date of the invoice up to and including the date of payment).
We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us to:
a. debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
b. deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account,
any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
2.8 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.
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:
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 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.
5. Retention of Files and Documents
We retain the files we establish on a matter, and any documents you leave with us, for at least six years after completion or termination of the matter. We may then destroy the files and documents. Other arrangements can be made if you prefer.
If at your request or if we are obliged to do so, we destroy any files or other documents in advance of our usual document destruction date, then any liability we may have in relation to the matter, files and/or documents however arising will be deemed to have been waived and will end, and you will indemnify and hold us harmless against any liability to a third party.
If you uplift your files or other documents at any time, we may make copies of them before they are uplifted.
6. 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.
7. Duty of Care
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.
8. Trust Account
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.
9. Electronic Communications
Unless otherwise agreed with you, we may communicate with you and others at times by electronic means. Those communications can be subject to interference or interception or contain viruses or other defects (“corruption”). We do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or loss caused in connection with the corruption of an electronic communication. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of any communication or document you receive, please contact us immediately.
10. Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism
We have obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML/CFT Act”). We will be undertaking customer due diligence on all new clients of the firm and ongoing account monitoring for all clients. We will also report any unusual or suspicious transactions where required by the AML/CFT Act or any other law. We will not be permitted to tell you that we have done that.
We are required to complete customer due diligence before we establish a business relationship with any new client of the firm. We require information about you, your beneficial owners (including persons with effective control of you), and any persons acting on your behalf. In some situations we may need information about the source of your wealth or funds. We will let you know what information you need to provide us. We request that you provide the information promptly so that we can commence acting for you.
We are also required to ensure that the information remains current, so we may ask you from time to time to update the information
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.