- We may ask you for a payment in advance for disbursements payable to third parties on your behalf and/or as security for professional fees.
- This money will be held in our trust account on your behalf and will be used to pay:
(a) any charges as they are due; and
(b) ourselves, immediately after sending you our account.
- We will provide you with a statement showing you how this money has been spent.
- If we hold significant funds on your behalf, we will place the funds on interest bearing deposit. The interest received as a consequence will be payable to you, unless otherwise discussed. An administration fee of 6% of the interest will be charged to meet our costs in this respect, with a minimum fee of $25 applying. The maximum fee shall be no more than $500.
- Please contact us immediately if you have any concerns about our account.
- We have procedures in place to deal with issues that arise if the interests of two or more clients conflict.
- We may accept instructions from other clients or potential clients working in the same or competing markets and whose commercial interests conflict with your own, where you have agreed, or as long as those instructions:
(a) are not substantially related to any active matter on which we are acting for you; and
(b) do not involve us using confidential information we have obtained from you.
- It is possible that a legal conflict of interest may arise in a matter on which you have instructed us. If this happens, we will contact you as soon as possible. As a result, we may be required to refer you to another law firm.
- If we stop acting for you or have not been instructed by you on a matter, we may act for other clients whose interests are contrary to your own, as long as we:
(a) do not hold confidential information belonging to you that is relevant to the matter; or
(b) have taken steps to keep your information confidential.
LITIGATION, EXPERTS AND SPECIALIST MATTERS
- For litigation and matters requiring specialist advice, we will retain the services of experts and/or outside counsel to act on your behalf where appropriate.
- We reserve the right to charge a service fee of not less than 12.5%, calculated as a percentage of counsel and/or the expert’s fee, where we instruct such a party on your behalf.
- Payment of the costs of counsel and experts shall be in accordance with clauses 25, 27 and 29-35 above.
- We use e-mail for timely and efficient correspondence with our clients and other parties. If you prefer us not to, please let us know so that other arrangements can be made.
- As e-mails are not always secure, or may have defects (such as viruses), we do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by an e-mail that is intercepted, or has a virus or other defect.
- If you have any concerns regarding the authenticity of any communication or document purportedly sent by us, please contact us immediately.
USE OF EXTERNAL INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RECORDS
- We often have to obtain and rely on external information or public records (for example, government agencies or registers) to carry out your instructions. This information may not always be accurate or complete.
- We do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any direct or indirect damage or loss caused by errors or omissions in external information.
- You may end our engagement by giving us reasonable written notice at any time. You must pay our fees for work done and for other charges incurred up to the time of termination.
- We may end our engagement, at any time before the completion of your matter, by giving you reasonable notice. We may also end our engagement if our fees and charges are not paid when due.
- If we become unable to act for you, all outstanding fees and other charges (up to the time of termination) will be billed to you. When you pay your account you have a right to uplift your file. Until your account is paid we have a right to keep any of your property in our possession (this is called a solicitor’s lien).
- The enforceability of this agreement is not affected by termination of our engagement.
FILES AND DOCUMENTS
- We may convert and store copies of any communication between you and us, or any document provided to us or prepared by us, in an electronic format.
- We may convert hard copy files, documents and records to an electronic format. Where we make such electronic copies of the physical files, we will retain the physical file for a minimum of one (1) year from when our engagement ends (“the Retention Period”), after which the hard copies will be confidentially destroyed. You may notify us at any time prior to the expiry of the Retention Period that you wish to take over storage of your physical file. Prior to delivering any physical file into your possession, we may copy any material on the physical file. We may also remove from the physical file any information that belongs to our firm.
- We are not obligated to hold files, documents and other records (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you), in any format, beyond ten (10) years from when our engagement ends. We reserve the right to destroy and/or delete both physical and electronic files, documents and records after this time.
- You may also notify us at any time after the Retention Period that you wish to obtain an electronic copy of your file. If we receive a valid request, in writing, for the physical or electronic copy of a file prior to its destruction, we will arrange for it to be delivered into your care. Where the file involves multiple clients, or we are made aware of what we determine to be a legitimate claim to all or part of the file from a third party, we will need the written authority of all the clients and/or the third party, before the file can be released.
- By instructing us, you authorise us to deal with the files and documents relating to work we do for you in this manner.
- Where a physical and/or electronic copy of a file is destroyed by us in accordance with the above authority, you release us from all liability whether direct, indirect or consequential, arising out of or flowing from such destruction.
ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING, FOREIGN ACCOUNT TAX COMPLIANCE ACT, COMMON REPORTING STANDARD AND OTHER LAWS
- We must comply with our obligations under all laws binding on us, including:
(a) Anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism laws; and
(b) Laws relating to tax reporting and withholdings.
- In order to do so, we may be required to conduct customer due diligence on:
(b) Persons acting on your behalf; and
(c) Other relevant persons such as your beneficial owners or persons who have effective control of you and, in the case of a trust, the beneficiaries of the trust.
- We may not be able to act or continue acting for you, or to complete trust account transactions for you, until this is completed.
- We may be required to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf, and other relevant persons, as described above, to government agencies. We may not be permitted to tell you or such persons if we do provide such information. We may also be required to provide such information to banks with which we place your funds through our trust account, and information provided to banks may be in turn be passed on by them to tax and other regulatory authorities in New Zealand and offshore.
- Please ensure that any of the persons described above in respect of whom we collect information are aware of and consent to this. Please also ensure that all information provided to us is accurate. We are not responsible to you, or anyone else, for anything done or not done by us (including any provision of information by us to any third party or any withholdings made) in order to comply with our legal obligations.
LAW AND JURISDICTION
- These terms and any other agreement we have with you are:
(a) governed by New Zealand law;
(b) subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts; and
(c) binding on you and your executors, administrators and successors.
- You may not assign or transfer any rights or obligations under these terms or any other agreement that we have with you.
- Where our instructions are to act on behalf of a company or other similar legal entity, you confirm that you have the authority to issue the instructions on behalf of the company or other entity and that the company or other entity will be bound by these terms of engagement.
- It is acknowledged that where the client is a company or other separate legal entity, we require the client’s obligations to be guaranteed by a natural person.
- Where the name of a guarantor is completed in the Schedule to this agreement, then that person guarantees full payment of the client’s fees and disbursements in terms of this agreement.
- It is acknowledged that clause 15 of these terms applies to any guarantor of the obligations imposed by these terms.
ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
- By instructing us to provide you with legal services you are deemed to have accepted these terms of engagement.