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Standard Terms Of Engagement
 
 
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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 that we otherwise agree with you in writing.

1. Services

1.2 The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our Letter of Engagement.

2. Financial

2.1 Fee:

(a) The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our Letter of Engagement.

(b) If the Letter of Engagement specifies a fixed fee, this is based on the premise that the matter proceeds in a straightforward manner and that no extra documentation, negotiations or correspondence are required. 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 Letter of Engagement. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. Time spent may be recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.

(d) Please note that urgency will increase fees charged to you.

(e) An estimate is not a fixed price quote and can only be used as a guide of possible costs.

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.

2.3 GST (IF ANY): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.

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

2.5 Payment: Invoices are payable within 14 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 5% above our firm’s main trading bank’s current standard commercial overdraft rate.

2.6 You will also be liable for all legal costs incurred and debt collection costs, incurred, including costs on a Solicitor/Client basis in our enforcement, or attempted enforcement, of our rights under these terms.

2.7 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;

(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; and

(c) You expressly authorise us to take our fees and disbursements at the time of settlement of any conveyancing transaction notwithstanding that at the time of settlement an invoice may not have been issued provided that we provide you with an invoice within 7 days of such settlement.

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.

2.9 We reserve the right to stop performing any work for you in any matter should any fee invoiced to you be outstanding after the due date for payment.

2.10 Personal Guarantee: Where the instructing client is a limited liability company, trust, society or other institution, the directors, shareholders, trustees or other individual instructing us on that client’s behalf shall remain personally liable for fees and disbursements incurred on the client’s behalf. If you instruct us on behalf of someone else you are liable to pay our fees and disbursements if the person on whose behalf you instruct does not do so.

2.11 Any estimate provided to you is based on information you have provided to us. Accordingly the more detailed information you can provide to us the more accurate our fees estimate will be. We note that due to the nature or extent of your instructions and the way in which other parties who we are dealing with in this matter conduct business may cause additional costs to be incurred. Our estimate may also be varied by new facts or circumstances coming to our attention or delays outside of our control.

3. Confidentiality

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 of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.

4. Termination

4.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time.

4.2 We may terminate or suspend our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. These include discovery of a conflict of interest, failing to provide us with adequate instructions/responses, non-payment of our fees and disbursements, not following or ignoring our advice, or our considering that the relationship between us is such that you may be better served if we did not continue to act for you.

4.3 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

5.1 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) 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). 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 5% of the interest derived.

9. Intellectual Property

9.1 All work produced by us, and any intellectual property connected with such work, belong to us. We may re-use or modify such work for other clients, while maintaining confidentiality.

10. General

10.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

10.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.

10.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand Courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.

10.4 We are members of the Auckland District Law Society and the New Zealand Law Society. You therefore have rights as our client and these may be viewed on their Websites at www.adls.org.nz and www.lawyers.org.nz.

10.5 If you do not return the Acceptance Form attached to our Letter of Engagement, but nevertheless expressly or impliedly instruct us to proceed with the work, you are deemed to have accepted our Letter of Engagement and Standard Terms and Conditions, and you will be responsible for payment of our costs in respect of all work carried out by us on your behalf.

 


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