BILLING AND ACCOUNTS
- We will issue regular bills of costs (usually monthly, on completion of the matter or on termination of our engagement) unless otherwise agreed. Payment is due 14 days from the date of the invoice. Unpaid accounts may incur penalty interest at our banker’s unauthorised overdraft rate plus 5% per annum.
- If your account remains unpaid and there is no satisfactory explanation for non-payment we:
(a) will not release your papers and files until all accounts are paid;
(b) will charge interest on any unpaid amount, at the rate charged by our bankers on unauthorised overdraft rate plus 5% per annum;
(c) may refer the unpaid account to a debt collection or credit listing agency;
(d) may start proceedings to recover the amount owed, plus interest, and any collection costs incurred; and
(e) may do no further work for you.
- Even if you expect another party to reimburse you for our fees and/or charges, we have no recourse to any person other than you, and so look to you for payment, even if reimbursement is delayed or you fail to get reimbursed.
- We shall be entitled to deduct fees and disbursements owing to us from monies held in our trust account on your behalf on provision of an invoice.
- 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
- At the end of your matter we will keep your file and documents for the minimum period stipulated by any relevant legislation. At the end of this period we may destroy your file and documents. All files and documents will be destroyed in a confidential manner.
- If you do not want this to occur, you must contact us to arrange to uplift your files and documents.
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.
- Confirmation of acceptance is acknowledged below.