Thank you for contacting me. I will be pleased to act for you in this matter. The following document sets out;
• What you can expect when you deal with me;
• Ways you can help me give you the best service;
• Who I am; and
• The New Zealand Law Society’s client care and service information
1. What you can expect from me
- 1.1) I will give you an estimate of the fee for the work if you want me to, unless it is a fixed fee transaction.
- 1.2) I am happy to give you this estimate of the likely costs of your work. This will be based on the information you give me about what you need. Before I begin work, I can also give you an estimate of other costs you will have to pay (such as government charges).
- 1.3) I will let you know later if the actual fees are likely to be different from the amount I estimated.
- 1.4) When setting my fees I consider:
- 1.5) my standard fees for carrying out certain actions; the time and work involved; the skill, specialised knowledge and experience; the project’s importance, complexity, and the outcome; how quickly you need me to carry out the work; the possibility that acting for you may prevent me acting for other clients; the estimate of fees we gave you, or our fee agreement; the reasonable costs of running a practice; and the market fee for similar services.
- 1.6) Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set between $180.00 -$280.00 (unless otherwise advised at the start)
- 1.7) 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. GST (if any) Is payable by you on my fees and charges.
- 1.8) Invoices: We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
- 1.9) Payment: Invoices are payable within 7 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 1.5 % per month as at the balance date of the last unpaid statement. Unpaid invoices after 90 days may be assigned to a debt collection agency without notice.
- 1.10) Security: We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our costs and expenses. You authorise us: to debit against amounts pre-paid by you for this or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
- 1.11) 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.
- 2.1) 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: to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. 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. We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
- 2.2) 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.
3. Conflicts of Interest
- 3.1) 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.
- 4.1) I do run a trust account. Monies received by me are for the payment of my invoices issued for work carried out or to pay expenses incurred by me.
- 5.1) These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them. We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
- 6.1) If you have a complaint about me, I want to know If I have failed to meet your expectations, please tell me. I take clients’ complaints seriously, and want to do what I can do to put the problem right. If you are unhappy, I encourage you to talk to me to see whether the problem is simply a misunderstanding. If this does not sort your problem or If you are still not satisfied with the way I have responded to your complaint, you can make a formal complaint to the New Zealand Law Society. My professional indemnity insurance meets New Zealand Law Society standards. This insurance covers claims brought against me because of professional negligence. Our insurance meets or goes beyond the minimum standards set out by the New Zealand Law Society. Please ask me if you would like details of the minimum standards. The New Zealand Law Society’s Fidelity Fund The New Zealand Law Society’s Solicitors’ Fidelity Guarantee Fund (the Fidelity Fund) gives clients of lawyers protection against theft by a lawyer or a lawyer’s employee or agent.
7. Ways you can help me give you the best service
- 7.1) Return your signed account application form quickly If you are a new client, I will usually ask you to sign and return an account application as soon as you instruct us. Pay your deposit ( if I ask for one) so I can begin work. Sometimes I may also ask you to pay a deposit based on our estimate of the fees and disbursements. I may choose not to begin work until I receive your deposit, even if deadlines are due
- 7.2) Give me all relevant information before I start work So I can give you effective advice, please tell me all relevant information about your matter at the start of our discussions. Instruct me well before deadlines to save money – you will avoid paying expensive urgency costs. I act for you When I give you advice I will consider your particular situation and needs. No-one else may use the advice I give you, unless I agree otherwise. If you instruct me, you are responsible for paying my fee. Make sure you pay my invoices on time Please make sure you pay my invoices on time. My invoices are due to be paid on the due date shown on the invoice. Please discuss any questions you have about an invoice with me before your payment is due. In rare circumstances (for example, if you have not paid my invoices), I may be forced to stop acting for you even if important deadlines are due. I am entitled to keep your files and documents until you have paid my invoices.
8. New Zealand Law Society’s client care and service information Here is the Law Society’s ‘Rules of client care and service information for lawyers’. “Whatever legal services your lawyer provides, they must:
- 8.1) act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with the instructions received and arrangements made;
- 8.2) protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties;
- 8.3) discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved;
- 8.4) provide you with information about the work to be done, and the way the services will be provided;
- 8.5) charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed;
- 8.6) give you clear information and advice;
- 8.7) protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality;
- 8.8) treat you fairly respectfully and without discrimination;
- 8.9) keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed; and
- 8.10)let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
- 8.11) 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