HORSLEY CHRISTIE Standard TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
(Incorporating information provided pursuant to the requirements of the Lawyers and Conveyancers (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008, Effective 1 August 2008)
- These Terms of Engagement apply except where we otherwise agree with you in writing. They also incorporate Client Care and Service Information about your rights whenever you receive legal services from Horsley Christie.
- Our firm is committed to serving you professionally and ethically. Whatever legal services we are providing, we must:
- act competently, and 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; and
- 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 rules are subject to other overriding duties including duties to the courts and to the justice system. If you have any questions, please either discuss them with us or contact the New Zealand Law Society at www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.
- Our duty is to you, the person(s) named in our letter of engagement and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to this.
Persons Responsible for Your Work
- The names and status of the person or persons who will have overall responsibility for your work will be set out in our letter of engagement which will be sent to you.
- Our fees will be charged on the basis that they will be fair and reasonable for the services provided, having regard to the interests of both you and us and taking into account the following:
- the time spent, including time spent investigating the facts and researching the law the skill, specialised knowledge, and responsibility required to perform the services properly
- the importance of the matter to you and the results achieved
- the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is carried out
- the degree of risk which we assume in undertaking the services, including the value of any property involved
- the complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved
- the experience, reputation and ability of the lawyer
- the possibility that the acceptance of your instructions will preclude engagement of the lawyer by other clients
- whether the fee is fixed or conditional
- any quote or estimate of fees given to you
- any fee agreements (including a conditional fee agreements) between you and us
- the reasonable costs of running a practice
- the fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services.
(These factors are based on Rule 9.1 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008)
- We charge for expenses such as court filing fees, barristers and experts’ fees, file establishment, toll and mobile calls, faxes, photocopying, travel expenses, couriers and the fees of agents who serve documents and who conduct investigations, searches and registrations. We may charge you an estimated amount in respect of file establishment, phone, faxes and photocopying. Disbursements may be included with our accounts or may be billed separately. Our Firm policy requires us to obtain from you funds in advance for significant disbursements.
- Where monies are held in our trust account on interest bearing deposit for you, we may charge an administration fee of 5% of the gross interest earned.
- Our invoices will include any applicable New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the supply of our services to you.
Legal Aid (if applicable)
- You may wish to apply for a grant of Legal Aid. If Legal Aid is not granted, you will be liable for our fees charged on the basis outlined in these terms.
Retainer (when applicable)
- Before commencing work on your behalf, we may require a retainer from you. The retainer will be deposited in our trust account and used on account of fees and disbursements. Any unused portion of the retainer will be returned to you upon completion or termination of our services. Further retainers may be necessary as the matter progresses and an earlier retainer has been used.
- Our invoices are due for payment 14 days after the date of invoice unless prior arrangements are made with us in writing.
- You authorise us to deduct our fees, expenses and disbursements from any funds held in our trust account on your behalf where we have provided an invoice.
- Interim fees may be rendered and a final account will be forwarded promptly on completion of the instructions.
- If any account is not paid within 14 days, interest will be charged on the outstanding balance at the rate of 18% per annum from the date upon which payment was due, and you will be responsible for any reasonable debt collection costs that we incur in recovering outstanding amounts due to us. We may retain your papers and files until all our invoices are paid.
- If your accounts remain outstanding after 60 days, no further work will be undertaken by us until appropriate arrangements are made to bring the account back into good standing.
- 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.
- For property and financing transactions where payment of monies is due by you, we require clear funds for the correct amount to be deposited with us no later than the morning of the settlement.
Termination of Our Services
- Where you give us any instruction and we rely on that instruction (for example by giving an undertaking to a third party), you may not revoke that instruction.
- You have the right to terminate our services at any time upon giving us reasonable written notice to that effect.
- We may terminate our engagement at any time if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a sufficiently timely manner, or your inability or failure to pay our fees on an agreed basis, or (except in litigation matters) your adopting, against our advice, a course of action which we believe is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with our fundamental obligations as lawyers. If we terminate the retainer we will give you reasonable notice so that you can arrange alternative representation and we will give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer.
- If our retainer is terminated:
- you must pay us all fees and expenses due or incurred up to the date of termination
- provided you have paid all of our invoices, we will (on request) provide to you all documents which we have obtained or created through working for you on the matter or matters in question. Before we provide those documents to you, we may take a complete copy of them.
- these terms continue to apply in respect of your instructions.
Files and Documents
- At the end of a matter we will keep your file for a period of 7 years from completion and thereafter we may destroy it. You are welcome to uplift your file provided that all fees and costs have been paid. Please give us reasonable notice before collecting your file if wish to do so.
Privacy of Information
- Over the course of your involvement with us, we may collect and hold personal information concerning you. Failure to provide us with information may preclude us from providing services to you or limit the quality of the services provided.
- Information relating to you will be used by us to provide you with legal services, to obtain credit or other references, to undertake credit management and to inform you of issues and developments that may be of interest to you. You authorise us to obtain from any person, or release to any person, any information necessary for those purposes and you authorise any person to release information to us that we require for those purposes.
- Subject to the above we will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential and will not disclose any information we hold on your behalf or about you unless we are required to do so by law or authorised by you.
- Information concerning you will be held at our office. Under the Privacy Act 1993 you have the right of access to, and correction of, your personal information held by us.
- The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 and other legislation may require us to collect from you and retain information required to verify your identity.
- If you have a preferred method of our firm communicating with you, please let us know.
- We do not accept any liability for loss arising from non-receipt, interception or defects (including viruses) in or of any communication, including computer e-mail communications.
Limitation of Our Liability
- We provide legal advice, not valuation, financial, tax or investment advice. We do not accept any liability for:
- any valuation, financial, tax or investment advice proffered;
- any losses which exceed our professional indemnity insurance;
- any indirect or consequential losses; nor for
- failing to advise you of any change to the law after the date of advice which we have given to you.
The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund
- The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity fund to provide 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. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers 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 a client.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
- We hold current Professional Indemnity Insurance which meets or exceeds the minimum standards from time to time specified by the New Zealand Law Society.
If you have a complaint
- We will provide you with a competent, timely service following your instructions, but if you have any complaint at all about our service please raise it with the partner responsible for your matter, or, if you prefer, any other partner in our firm.
- 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 Practice Manager.
- He/she may be contacted as follows:
- by letter;
- by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- by telephoning him/her at : 06 349 0090
- You also have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society which runs a complaints service. The New Zealand Law Society may be contacted by writing to PO Box 5041, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145 or on 0800 261 801.
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 follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules.
- These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them. There is no need for you to sign these terms of engagement in order to accept them; you will be deemed to accept these terms of engagement by continuing to instruct us to work for you.
- We are entitled to change these terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended terms.
- These terms of engagement are not affected by any change to our partnership.
- Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
- We look forward to working with you and shall use our best efforts on your behalf.