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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.

Our Charges:  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.  We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope.  If requested, we will give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.

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 is charged for in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.

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.  We may deduct from funds held on your behalf any fees, disbursements or expenses for which we have provided an invoice.

GST (if any):  Is payable by you on our fees and charges.  The current rate is 15%.

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

Payment:  Invoices are payable within 21 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us.  We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 7 days overdue.  Interest will be calculated at the rate of 2% above our firm’s main trading bank’s 90-day bank bill buy rate as at the close of business on the date payment became due.

Third Parties:  Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices may be at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain primarily responsible for payment to us.

Confidentiality:  We will hold in confidence all information concerning you 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; or

  • 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.

Termination:  You may terminate our retainer at any time. We may terminate our retainer only for good cause and after giving you reasonable notice specifying the grounds for termination.

If our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to that date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.  We may be entitled to keep your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

Retention of Files and Documents:  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) seven years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

Provision of Files and Documents:  If you request us to provide files and documents to you, either during the course of or after the conclusion of a retainer, we may charge you for costs incurred by us in providing those files and documents.

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 explain how to resolve it.

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.

Scope of our Retainer:  We will prove you with professional advice in relation to your legal rights and obligations.  We do not provide investment, tax, accounting or other financial advice and we do not advise on the business aspects of any decision or action by you.

Trust Account:  We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies 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 5% of the interest derived.

Your Responsibilities to us Include:

  • You will provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions.

  • You will provide all documentation required to complete the matter we are dealing with for you in a timely manner.

  • You will safeguard any documents which are likely to be required for discovery.

Duration of Terms:  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.

Applicable Law:  Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.