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.
1.1 The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our letter of engagement.
- The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our letter of engagement and will be in accordance with the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
- If the letter of engagement 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.
- Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, these rates are available on request. Differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. Hourly rates are regularly reviewed and may be amended from time to time without reference to you. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
2.2 Disbursements and expenses:
- Payments may have to be made to other people for work to be done, for example, filing fees, search fees, agency fees, service fees and similar payments (called disbursements). We cannot pay these amounts on your behalf unless we first receive payment from you. We reserve the right to ask you either for the specific amount or for an approximate amount to cover these expenses. If you pay this amount into our trust account, you authorise us to make payment on your behalf to cover these disbursements. This will ensure that we are not out of pocket.
- If we instruct any other person (including counsel or another practitioner), we reserve the right to require payment of that person’s estimated fees into our trust account beforehand and you authorise us to make payment to that person from the money paid into our trust account. By instructing that person, we are obligated to pay that person’s fees and accordingly we require protection for payment. We may require you to enter into a payment arrangement directly with that person.
- We charge an additional office expense fee calculated at 5% of our fee to cover photocopying, phone calls, fax, postage and other incidental office expenses.
- Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) e-dealing office fees are charged on land transactions to cover our administration costs, together with search and/or registration fees incurred on your behalf.
2.3 GST (if any) : GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2.4 Invoicing: We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on the completion of the matter or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
2.5 Payment: Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 12% p.a. All costs in relation to the collection of overdue accounts will be added to your account.
2.6 Payment by Credit Card: We accept payment by VISA and Mastercard. Credit card payments will incur a surcharge which, at the date of our engagement, is 1.85%. This rate is subject to change and we will notify you of any changes.
2.7 Security: We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:
- to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
- to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
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 will nonetheless remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.
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 any other person except:
- To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
- To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s 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.
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 our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of the termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.
5. Retention of Files, Documents, Records and Information
5.1 We will keep a record of all important documents which we receive or create on your behalf on the following basis:
a. We may keep a record electronically and destroy originals (except for Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney where the existence of an original is legally important). Wherever possible we will return the originals of all other documents to you.
b. At any time, we may dispose of documents which are duplicates, or which are trivial (such as emails which do not contain substantive information), or documents which belong to us.
c. We are not obliged to retain documents or copies where you have requested that we provide them to you, or to another person, and we have done so. However, we are entitled to retain copies for our own records if we wish to do so.
5.2 We will provide to you on request copies or originals (at our option) of all documents to which you are entitled under the Privacy Act 1993 or any other law. We may charge you our reasonable costs for doing this.
5.3 Where we hold documents that belong to a third party, you will need to provide us with that party’s written authority to uplift to obtain a copy of that document.
5.4 Unless you instruct us in writing otherwise, you authorise and consent to us (without further reference to you) destroying (or deleting in the case of electronic records) all documents held by us seven (7) years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those documents to an electronic format (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you or are otherwise obliged by law to retain for longer). We may retain documents for longer at our option.
5.5 We own copyright in all documents or work we create in the course of performing the services, but grant you a non-exclusive licence to use and copy the documents as you see fit for your own personal or commercial use. However, you may not permit any third party to copy, adapt or use the documents without our written permission.
6. Conflicts of Interests
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 maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf and you have returned your signed FATCA/CRS self-certification form, we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 7% of the interest derived.
9. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
9.1 Our bank (ASB) is required by law to obtain certain information about funds held in our trust account and advise the IRD, who may in turn forward the information to foreign tax authorities. The IRD has the power to compel any person, including our firm to supply such information to the IRD. The FATCA/CRS information required relates to funds held in our trust account on Interest Bearing Deposit (IBD) for an entity or individual that is a foreign tax resident. Entities are also required to disclose whether they conduct active or passive business, and whether they are financial institutions.
9.2 You agree and consent to us providing any information held by us in relation to your FATCA/CRS status or FATCA/CRS matters to the IRD and the ASB.
9.3 You acknowledge and agree that we are unable to place funds in our trust account on IBD unless we have received your signed FATCA/CRS self-certification form. This means that interest will not be earned on your funds until we receive the signed form.
10.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
10.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you another amended Terms.
10.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law.
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 basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our letter of engagement. When payment of fees is to be made is set out in our Standard Terms of Engagement.
We may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
2. Professional Indemnity Insurance: We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets the standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the Law Society standards on request.
3. Lawyers Fidelity Fund: The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purpose 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 $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances 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 Procedure: It is our goal to ensure that we provide you with premium customer service. If you have any concerns with services provided by Haigh Lyon, please take the following steps to make sure the issue is resolved:
- Talk to the solicitor who is handling your file. Your concern can probably be resolved straight away.
- If you feel uncomfortable talking to the solicitor in charge of your file, or you are not satisfied with their response, contact the Practice Manager. The Practice Manager will listen to what you have to say and enquire into the matter on your behalf while keeping you informed of the progress. It is in everyone’s interest that your concerns are resolved in a timely manner.
- If you are still dissatisfied, write to your Client Care Partner. We are committed to making sure your concerns are addressed.
Client Care Partner
PO Box 119
Please include the name of the solicitor handling your file, together with any other information you feel will help to bring about a resolution. Clearly state what you are expecting as an outcome.
We will begin an immediate review of your file and report to you forthwith.
- In the unlikely event that we are unable to resolve your concern, you are able to make a complaint to the Law Society complaints service. To do so, you need to contact the New Zealand Law Society.
Level 5, WHK Tower
51- 53 Shortland Street, Auckland
PO Box 4417
Telephone: (09) 304 1000
5. Persons Responsible for the Work: The names and status of the person or persons who will have overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are set out in our 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.lawyers.org.nz.
7. Limitations on extent of our Obligations or Liability: Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in our letter of engagement. We will not provide any financial advice (including accounting, tax or GST advice) or services beyond that incidental to the provision of the legal services for which you have engaged Haigh Lyon.