Standard Terms of Engagement and information for clients
1.1 The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
a The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our engagement letter and below.
b 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.
c Where our fees are calculated using an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter (and are subject to change). Time spent is recorded in six minute units, with time rounded up to the nearest six minutes.
2.2 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.
2.3 GST (if any) - GST is payable by you on our fees and charges. Any amounts quoted or estimated are exclusive of GST.
2.4 Invoices - We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly, or on completion of the matter, termination of our engagement, or on incurring a significant expense.
2.5 Hourly rates - Our hourly rates are correct as at the date of our engagement letter. We may vary our hourly rates without notice to you to ensure that hourly rates are commensurate with skill levels.
2.6 Payment - Invoices are payable immediately upon receipt of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We may charge interest at the rate of 15% per annum (calculated on a daily basis) on any overdue amount. If we commence enforcement action of any type in relation to unpaid fees, you are liable for the full costs of such action, including but not limited to debt recovery, agency charges and legal fees on a solicitor and client indemnity basis. We are also entitled to recover Braun Bond & Lomas Limited staff time at their usual hourly charge out rate for any steps taken to recover outstanding amounts owing to the firm.
2.7 Credit Card Payments – We accept payment by credit card through the “Make a Payment” facility on our website. All credit card payments are subject to an additional 2.8% surcharge for Westpac’s merchant facility fees. Such merchant facility fees are subject to change by Westpac at any time.
2.8 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, you remain primarily liable for our fees.
3.1 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 anyone except:
a to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
b to the extent required by law or by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
3.2 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.
3.3 We will not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
4.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time.
4.2 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.
4.3 If terminated, you must pay all fees and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.
5 Retention of files and documents
5.1 You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents relating to you (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 to an electronic format.
6 Conflicts of Interest
6.1 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.
7 Duty of Care
7.1 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.
8 Trust Account
8.1 We do not operate a trust account and are unable to hold funds on your behalf.
9.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
9.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time
9.3 If there is any conflict between these Terms and our engagement letter, the engagement letter shall take priority.
9.4 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand Courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
10.1 Where you are a company, the directors of the company (jointly and severally, both between themselves and as between the company and the directors) personally guarantee the obligations of the company to us as principal debtors.
INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society ("Law Society").
1. Fees - The reasonable fee factors are set out by the Law Society. These include:
· The time and labour expended.
· The skill, specialised knowledge, and responsibility required to perform the services properly.
· The importance of the matter to the client and the results achieved.
· The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by the client.
· The degree of risk assumed by the lawyer in undertaking the services, including the amount or value of any property involved.
· The complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved.
· The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer.
· The possibility that the acceptance of the particular retainer will preclude engagement of the lawyer by other clients.
· Whether the fee is fixed or conditional (whether in litigation or otherwise).
· Any quote or estimate of fees given by the lawyer.
· Any fee agreement (including a conditional fee agreement) entered into between the lawyer and client.
· The reasonable costs of running a practice.
· The fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services.
When payment of fees is to be made this is set out in our standard terms of engagement above.
2. Professional indemnity insurance - We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society.
3. Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund - The Law Society maintains the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
4. Complaints - We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly. If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work.
If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to one of the directors of Braun Bond & Lomas Limited:
Toby Braun email@example.com
Kevin Bond firstname.lastname@example.org
Kieran Lomas email@example.com
The Law Society operates the Lawyers Complaints Services and you are also able to make a complaint to that service. To do so, phone 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Service Office, who can provide information and advice about making a complaint.
5. Persons responsible for work - The names and statuses of the persons who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are set out in the letter of engagement.
6. Client care and service - The Law Society client care and service information is set out below.
Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:
· Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
· Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
· Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
· Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
· Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed.
· Give you clear information and advice.
· Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
· Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
· Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
· Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
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 system.
If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.
7. Limitations on extent of our obligations or liability - Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitations or exclusions of liability are set out in our letter of engagement.