Information for Clients

Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (“Law Society”).

1. Fees: The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in my letter of engagement. When payment of fees is to be made is set out in my Standard Terms of Engagement.

I may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in my trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which I have provided an invoice.

2. Professional Indemnity Insurance:

  • I hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society.  I will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.

3 . Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund: The Law Society maintains the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund for the purpose of providing 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 and 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 the client.

4. Complaints:
I maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.
If you have a complaint about my services or charges, you may refer your complaint to me.
Otherwise the Law Society operates the Lawyers Complaints Service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so, phone 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Service Office, which can provide information and advice about making a complaint.

5. Persons Responsible for the Work:

The names and status of the person or persons who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services I provide for you are set out in our letter of engagement.

6. Client Care and Service:

The Law Society client care and service information is set out below.

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.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.

7.  Limitations on extent of our Obligations or Liability

Any limitations on the extent of my obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in my letter of engagement.

STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT

  1. Services
    1. The services I are to provide for you are outlined in my engagement letter.
  2. Financial
    1. Fees:
      1. The fees I will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in my engagement letter.
      2. If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, I will charge this for the agreed scope of my services.  Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis.  I will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for me to provide services outside the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.
      3. Where my fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in my engagement letter. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
    2. Disbursements and expenses: In providing services I may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf.  These will be included in my invoice to you when the expense is incurred. I may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which I will be incurring on your behalf.
    3. GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
    4. Invoices: I will send interim invoices to you, periodically and on completion of the matter, or termination of my engagement.  I may also send you an invoice when I incur a significant expense.
    5. Payment: Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with me.  I 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 90-day bank bill buy rate as at the close of business on the date payment became due. If I incur any collection costs on overdue accounts I will require payment of those costs as well.
    6. Security:I may ask you to pre-pay amounts to me, or to provide security for our fees and expenses.  You authorise me:
      1. to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
      2. to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account
        any fees, expenses or disbursements for which I have provided an invoice.
  1. Third Parties: Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for I fees and expenses, and although my invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to me if the third party fails to pay me.
  2. Confidentiality
    1. I will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that I acquire during the course of acting for you.  I will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:
      1. to the extent necessary or desirable to enable me to carry out your instructions; or
      2. to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
    2. Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within my practise who are providing legal services for you.
    3. I will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which I have in relation to any other client.
  3. Termination
    1. You may terminate my retainer at any time.
    2. I may terminate my retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. This can include the situation if my fees and charges have not been paid on time.
    3. If my retainer is terminated you must pay me all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.
    4. When you pay your account you have a right to uplift your file. Until your account is paid I have a right to keep any of your property in my possession (this is called a solicitor’s lien).
    5. The enforceability of this agreement is not affected by termination of our engagement.
  4. Retention of files and documents
    1. You authorise me (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that I hold in safe custody for you) more than 7 years after my engagement ends, or earlier if I have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
  5. Conflicts of Interest
    1. I have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest.  If a conflict of interest arises I 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.
  6. Duty of Care
    1. My duty of care is to you and not to any other person.  Before any other person may rely on my advice, I must expressly agree to this.
  7. Trust Account
    1. I maintain a trust account for all funds which I receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices).  If I am holding significant funds on your behalf I will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank.
  8. General
    1. These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not I send you another copy of them.
    2. I am entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case I will send you amended Terms.
    3. My relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.