Terms of engagement

This Client Engagement Agreement applies in respect of current and future services that we provide to you except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.

  1. 1.Financial
    1. 1.1Fees
      1. a)Unless we agree with you otherwise, the manner in which our fees will be arrived at are set out in our letter of engagement.
      2. b)If we have given you a written estimate of our fees it is provided to you only as a guide to assist you in budgeting and should not be regarded as a fixed quotation unless otherwise agreed in writing. We will update any such estimate from time to time. We will also inform you if any unforeseen but significant additional work becomes necessary (for example, due to unexpected difficulties or if your requirements or the circumstances significantly change during the course of the matter). We will inform you as soon as possible if we become aware that any significant extra charges or expenses are likely to be incurred.
      3. c)If we agree a fixed fee, we will record this in a letter which sets out the scope of the services to be provided for that fee. Work which falls outside that scope will be calculated in accordance with New Zealand Law Society requirements for calculating a reasonable fee. 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.
      4. d)We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us or to provide security for our fees, disbursements and expenses.
      5. e)We may deduct our accounts from any money we hold for you. We may also use that money to meet payments we have made or which are payable by us on your behalf.
      6. f)We reserve the right to charge expenses of travel, accommodation and meals while travelling away from the office.
      7. g)We reserve the right to make a charge for services other than those provided by legal personnel, including but not limited to photocopying which we carry out ourselves (as opposed to copying which is carried out externally by third parties), bank transfers, company formations, searches, and mileage reimbursed to employees and partners.
    2. 1.2Disbursements and expenses: In providing our services we may incur disbursements or other expenses 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 will also charge you for estimated office expenses based on a percentage of the fees we charge you for the services we provide to you. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf. On request you must immediately pay us all money properly paid or payable by us on your behalf.
    3. 1.3GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges and on expenses and disbursements. All estimates or fixed fee quotes given by us are plus GST unless specified otherwise.
    4. 1.4Invoices: 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.
    5. 1.5Terms of payment: All fees rendered are payable within 14 days following the date of the invoice with the exception of property sales and purchases where we may require that fees are paid immediately prior to the settlement date. If you have difficulty paying any account, please discuss this with us. We reserve the right to stop working on your behalf where accounts are overdue. Where we have agreed to extend the time for payment of an account interest at 14% per annum may be charged on the amount payable (compounding monthly).
    6. 1.6Overdue accounts: As we do not offer credit facilities, 14% per annum may be charged on all accounts, fees, disbursements and charges remaining unpaid one month after the date of issue of the account. This is without prejudice to our other rights.
    7. 1.7Recovery of fees and expenses: If we are required to take any action to receive payment of our fees, disbursements or expenses, we are authorised to use, only to the extent necessary to receive such payment, your private information as that term is used in the Privacy Act 1993. You are also liable to pay all costs including debt collectors and legal fees incurred in taking action.
    8. 1.8Reporting: Because we wish to keep you updated on the work and costs incurred, we shall report to you regularly so that you always have an accurate understanding of the progress of the work and costs incurred. At any time you may instruct us to stop and you will be liable at that point only for the fees and expenses to date.
    9. 1.9Third 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 of our fees and expenses.
  2. 2.Confidentiality
    1. 2.1We 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:
      1. a)to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
      2. b)to the extent required by law including but not limited to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“Anti-Money Laundering Legislation”) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”)or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers;
      3. c)to the extent necessary to carry out credit checks in relation to you where applicable, you acknowledge that we are entitled to obtain, use, process and disclose your personal data to enable us to discharge the services which we have agreed to provide, and for other related purposes including carrying out credit checks in relation to you, updating client records, analysis for management purposes, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance. We may use the personal data for the purpose of notifying you of changes in the law and for other marketing purposes. Please notify us if you would rather not receive this material.
    2. 2.2Confidential 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. 2.3We reserve the right to request the production of documents and other evidence necessary to verify:
      1. a)your identity and address or that of any other entity or person on whose behalf you are acting; and
      2. b)the source, application and ultimate ownership of any funds or property, as may be required in order for us to satisfy our obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation and FATCA.
    4. 2.4We reserve the right to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation and FATCA in all respects as we determine in good faith. In particular the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation and FATCA impose reporting obligations on us which override our duty of confidentiality to you. Where we have notified the relevant authorities you agree that we may provide such further information as they may require.
    5. 2.5The requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation may either prevent us from taking particular steps, or from acting further, on your behalf and we may be prohibited by law from informing you of these matters. In these circumstances we reserve the right to cease acting and to charge you for our work done to that date.
    6. 2.6You accept that our compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation and FATCA or guidance issued by the courts or any regulatory body may prevent us from informing you for all relevant matters either promptly or at all.
  3. 3.Termination
    1. 3.1Where you give us any instructions and we rely on that instruction (for example by giving an undertaking to a third party) you may not revoke that instruction. Otherwise, you may terminate our retainer at any time.
    2. 3.2We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
    3. 3.3If 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.
  4. 4.Retention of files and documents
    1. 4.1You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for any matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) seven years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
  5. 5.Conflicts of Interest
    1. 5.1We 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.
  6. 6.Duty of Care
    1. 6.1Our 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.
  7. 7.Trust Account
    1. 7.1We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (including monies received for payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we may lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank if the amount of the funds held and the period of time that it is likely we will hold the funds warrants it. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 7.5% on the gross interest derived. If we hold a dormant balance for you we will generally make reasonable efforts to locate you to arrange for the dormant balance to be paid to you. We may deduct our reasonable costs of trying to locate you from the dormant balance. If the dormant balance is small, it is not economic for us to try to locate you and we are not holding current contact details for you we may not attempt to locate you.
  8. 8.Liability for Payment
    1. 8.1Each client named in this agreement is jointly and severally liable to us under this agreement. If a client is a company, then each person who signs this agreement on the company’s behalf (or if the agreement is not signed and returned to us but you still have us do work for the company, each person to whom this letter is addressed) acknowledges that he or she has asked us to supply services to the company, that he or she has authority to enter into this agreement on behalf of the company and, in consideration of us supplying services to that company, agrees:
      1. a)to guarantee the company’s payment to us of all money it (from time to time) owes;
      2. b)that he or she can be treated by us as a principal debtor for that money; and
      3. c)to indemnify us against all costs, losses, and liabilities we incur or suffer because the company fails to pay us that money.
  9. 9.Trusts
    1. 9.1If a client is a trust and this agreement is not signed by all trustees of the trust, each trustee signing this agreement acknowledges that he or she has asked us to supply services to them in their capacity as trustee of the trust and certifies that they have authority to enter into this agreement as agent for the remaining trustee/s of the trust.
  10. 10.General
    1. 10.1Subject to clause 10.2 below, this agreement applies to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of this Client Engagement Agreement.
    2. 10.2This agreement may be amended from time to time. You will be notified of any amendments by us in writing to you or, by a new Client Engagement Agreement being placed on our website. The new agreement will apply to all services from the date we write to you or place the new Client Engagement Agreement on our website.
    3. 10.3Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
Operational period : 03.05.2016 - 30.06.2017