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Standard Terms of Engagement

These Standard Terms of Engagement (“Terms”) apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.

  1. Services
    1. The services we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
  2. Financial
    1. Fees:
      1. The fees we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our engagement letter.
      2. If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our services. 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.
      3. Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. Any differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. 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 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. Please note that we always include a small fee for miscellaneous office expenses.
    3. GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
    4. 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, such as a LIM report, Court filing fee or Land Information New Zealand registration fee.
    5. Payment: Invoices are payable within 7 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. If payment of our invoice is overdue we may:
      1. not perform any further work for you until all unpaid invoices are paid in full;
      2. retain custody of any of your property (including documents or files until all unpaid invoices are paid in full;
      3. charge interest on any amount overdue at 12% per annum; and
      4. charge you all costs (on a solicitor and own client basis) incurred by us in recovering or attempting to recover the amount of any unpaid invoice.
    6. Security: We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:
      1. to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
      2. to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account
      3. any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.

    7. 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 (such as a tenant), nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us within the period set out in clause 2.5 or such other time as we may agree in writing.
  3. Confidentiality
    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:
      1. to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us 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 our firm who are providing legal services for you.
    3. We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
  4. Disclosure of information about you : anti-money laundering and tax residency status
    1. Please note that as a result of legislation regarding cross border tax information sharing (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – FATCA in respect of the US tax requirements and the Common Reporting Standard – CRS in respect of other OECD countries) and anti- money laundering we are required to obtain and disclose certain information about you and your transactions.
    2. If you are a tax resident of another country or have any such connection you must disclose this to us and also notify us of any change in circumstances which may affect that tax residency status.

  5. Termination
    1. You may terminate our retainer at any time.
    2. We 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. If 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.
  6. Retention of files and documents
    1. 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.
    2. If you terminate our retainer we may retain copies of any documents or records which we deliver to you or to another lawyer or person and you will pay our reasonable costs of producing such copies.
  7. Conflicts of Interest
    1. We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If any unforeseen conflict or potential 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.
  8. Duty of Care
    1. Our 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.
    2. We are not responsible for advising as to any taxation issues unless you expressly request in writing that we give such advice.
    3. We are not responsible for giving advice in connection with the value, quality or merits of any investment and accept no liability for doing so.
  9. Trust Account
    1. We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices).
    2. 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 may charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.
    3. We may deduct from funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, costs or disbursements for which we have given you an invoice.
  10. General
    1. These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
    2. We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.
    3. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
    4. We may change these terms of engagement at any time and will publish such amended terms on our website. The change will bind you in respect of any matters on which we accept instructions after publication of the change.