Our Terms of Engagement (incorporating information disclosed to you for the purposes of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006)
These Terms of Engagement (“Terms”) apply in respect of conveyancing work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.
a. The services we are to provide and 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 work. 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, and the hourly rate applicable.
Disbursements and expenses: We may incur disbursements or have to make payments on your behalf in which case we may require an advance payment to cover these.
GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2. 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. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.
3. Retention of files and documents
We may 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.
4. Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold professional indemnity insurance that exceeds the New Zealand Law Society’s minimum standards. If you would like further information about our insurance, please ask.
5. Lawyers Fidelity Fund
The Lawyers Fidelity Fund provides protection against loss arising from theft by lawyers. This is currently limited to $100,000 for each claimant. Except in certain circumstances the Fund does not cover for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of a client.
If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work. If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to our General Manager, by either phone, post, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Law Society also has a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so you should contact the NZ Law Society whose contact details can be found in your local telephone book.
7. Client Care and Service
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 compromising 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 fee that is fair and reasonable 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 obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.
If you have any questions, please visit www.lawyers.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.
8. Limitations on extent of our Obligations or Liability
Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion or liability are set out in our letter of engagement.
We do not accept liability for any loss arising from non-receipt or non-opening of any communication including email communications.
9. Email Correspondence
When you provide us with any email address for communications with you, you authorise us to use that email address for all electronic communications we have with
you regarding the legal matter we are handling for you.
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.