Terms of Engagement
These are our Standard Terms of Engagement as your lawyers. They apply to all services that we provide unless varied by written agreement. We will take your continued instructions as your acceptance of these terms so please ask us if you have any questions about them.
1. Services to be provided
We will record with you the services we expect to be providing in our letter or contract of engagement.
We have standard charges for certain aspects of our work such as conveyancing. However our fees are generally charged on a time-related basis but with due regard to the nature, urgency and complexity of the work involved.
The hourly rates (excluding GST) used as a basis for charging for the services we provide you are as follows:
Principal Peter Robinson $310.00
Legal Executive Joanna Mouldey $165.00
Senior Associate Penny Robinson $165.00
Legal Support Janet Conley $115.00
3. Responsibility for Services
The people who will have the general overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are:
Principal of the firm, Peter Robinson, who is assisted with conveyancing, trusts, wills, estate administration and small business matters by Joanna Mouldey, and for immigration and other matters by Penny Robinson and Janet Conley.
4. Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society being the sum of $2,000,000.00.
If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to Peter Robinson who has overall responsibility for your work.
If you do not wish to have the complaint dealt with in that fashion, or you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to The Standards Officer, NZ Law Society, Private Bag 1901, Dunedin 9054, Ph. 03 477-0596.
6. Client Care and Service
The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 specify:
Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:
- Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
- Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from comprising influences or loyalties.
- Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
- Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
- Charge you a fair and reasonable fee and let you know how and when you will be billed.
- Give you clear information and advice.
- Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
- Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
- Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
- Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
The rules also require us to provide information about the Lawyers Fidelity Fund:
The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers and Conveyances Act 2006 the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
7. Limitations on our Obligations or Liability
You will be bound by these terms if after receipt of our letter or contract of engagement, you orally or otherwise advise us of your acceptance and/or you instruct us to proceed with the provision of the services.
STANDARD 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 we otherwise agree with you in writing.
1.1. The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our letter or contract of engagement.
(a) The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our letter or contract of engagement.
(b) If the letter or contract of engagement specifies a fixed or capped fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our service. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on a time-related 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 with regard to time spent on the matter, the hourly rates are set out in our letter or contract of engagement. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff.
2.2. Office Supplies:
In providing services we may incur disbursements such as telephone and internet charges, courier, copying and postage or have to make payments to third parties such as Companies Office or Land Titles Office or Immigration fees on your behalf. These will be included in our invoice to you as office supplies. We may require an advance payment for expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.
(if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
We will send invoices to you on completion of the matter if it is of a single transaction nature like a house sale or purchase, or at appropriate times if it is an ongoing matter with a number of stages, or on termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice where we need to incur a significant expense such as Court or Immigration filing fees or Land Titles Office or Council charges.
Invoices are payable by 20th of the month following date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. If you do not pay an invoice by the due date, we reserve the right to stop doing any further work for you and you agree that we may charge you interest at 1.5% per month on the amount owing until it is paid and our actual costs, on a solicitor-client basis, of any debt recovery proceedings.
You authorise us:
(a) to debit against any amounts prepaid 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 or statement.
We may ask you to pre pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses.
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 will remain responsible for payment to us as a principal party if the third party fails to pay us.
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:
(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.
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.
3.3. We will not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
4.1. You may terminate our instructions at any time.
4.2. We may terminate our instructions in any of the circumstances that are set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
4.3. If our instructions are 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
5.1. You authorise us without further reference to you to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents 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.
6. Conflicts of interest
6.1. 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.
7. Duty of Care
7.1. 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.
8. Trust Account
8.1. We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients except monies received for payment of our invoices.
8.2 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 may charge an administration fee of 10% of the interest derived for the work involved in administering the funds.
8.3 We have no responsibility to you or anyone claiming through you for any loss arising out of failure of the bank or any inability on its part to repay the funds at any time.
9.1. These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
9.2. We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.
9.3. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
10. Verification of Identity
Government legislation relating to financial and property transactions require us to collect and retain identity information such as drivers licence, passport and tax numbers from you for certain types of transactions. We may therefore ask you to produce verifying documents to us and we will retain copies of those documents on our files. We may also carry out other client verification checks as to identity, source of funds or other items that we consider are required by law. We may also have to disclose all or some of those details to official agencies.