These 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 Law Company looks forward to working with you in the near future.
1.1 The services we are to provide for you are outlined in our Letter of Engagement.
a The fees 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. Work outside the scope of a standard service will usually be listed in our letter of engagement to you. We will advise as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope or a services which is not listed in our letter of engagement 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.
d If there is no hourly rate specified in our letter of engagement, our current hourly rates are $200+GST per hour for a Legal Executive / Solicitor and $250+GST per hour for the Principal.
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 Office Fee:There will usually be a standard Office Fee charged for each of your matters. This covers general postage, stationery, phone calls, faxes, storage of your files etc. We will charge for couriers and other disbursements separately. International phone calls and other unexpected expenses may incur an increased office fee charge.
2.5 Invoices: We will send invoices to you either just prior to completion of the matter, on completion of the matter or on termination of our engagement. We may also at our discretion issue interim invoices for ongoing matters.
2.6 Payment: Invoices are payable within 7 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. If an invoice remains outstanding and we employ a debt collection agency or commence proceedings against you to recover our costs, you will be liable for all costs, any interest and fees associated with recovering your outstanding account.
2.7 Legal Aid: Please note that The Law Company is not registered for Legal Aid. If you think you may be eligible for Legal Aid, please discuss this with us as soon as possible, so we are able to put you in touch with someone at the Legal Services Agency or a Legal Aid Solicitor.
2.8 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; 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.
2.9 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.
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.
4.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time by giving us either written or oral notice. We will acknowledge your notice by advising you of any outstanding fees and once your account has been cleared, your file will be closed.
4.2 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.
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. If we are holding funds for more than a couple of weeks we may charge an administration fee of 7% of the interest derived.
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, the Terms applicable will be the version that was current at the date of your Letter of Engagement.
9.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
If you would like a hard copy of these Terms to be posted to you, please do not hesitate to contact us
These terms are correct at 1 February 2011.