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Standard Terms of Engagement

Standard Terms of Engagement

The purpose of this page is to provide you with as much information as possible with respect to our commitment to you.

For each new project we undertake we will send a “letter of engagement”. The letter will outline the level of fees which you can expect to pay, our client care commitments and standard terms of contact”. This information is also detailed below for your reference. 

Client Care and Standard Terms of Engagement

We are committed to doing our best to ensure that your legal needs are fully met. We will:

  1. Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
  2. Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
  3. Act competently, in timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
  4. Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
  5. Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
  6. Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
  7. Give you clear information and advice.
  8. Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
  9. Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed.
  10. Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.

We are also obliged to identify conflicts of interest. If we find a conflict at any time we will advise you immediately and discuss a possible resolution.

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 the justice system.  If you have any questions, please contact us on 07 5779966 or the New Zealand Law Society on 0800 261 801 or www.lawsociety.org.nz.

Mike takes overall responsibility for all work carried out by the firm, including work carried out by his staff members.  He works closely with all of his  staff so please feel free to contact either him or or any of his staff members at any time.

All fees we charge are based on criteria approved by the New Zealand Law Society. These include the time spent on the project, skill and knowledge required, importance, urgency, results achieved, value of property involved, risk and complexity.

In addition to the fee referred to above, our final statement to you will include additional fees, costs incurred by us on your behalf and disbursements which are also paid on your behalf. These are charged at the actual cost or our best estimate of the actual cost.  The additional fees depend on the matter(s) undertaken and may include, for example, a small fee payable for setting up and managing the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) computer based dealing for the registration of land title documents.  There is also a small bureau/office service fee which relates to photocopying, facsimile charges, forms and postage.  The disbursements are payments made to a third party, for example LINZ, billed to you as a charge against our practice.  The firm is solely responsible for payments of these.

Occasionally we may have to refer you to other professionals such as specialist barristers. In such cases we remain liable as instructing lawyers for their charges. We will first discuss with you the need to instruct specialists and advise you of costings.

If you have in the past instructed us to complete legal work on your behalf you will be aware that the fees we charge are both fair and reasonable.

To help you budget, we can if you request, issue interim accounts, usually monthly, while work is in progress, with a final bill on completion.  Current payment terms are set out on the invoices from time to time and unless otherwise stated are due for payment within 14 days.  We may deduct from funds held on your behalf any fees, disbursements or expenses for which we have provided an invoice.

The firm holds professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds standards specified by the Law Society.

The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund also provides a limited form of cover up to specified maximums in certain circumstances, generally excluding investment monies.

If you have any concerns or complaints please refer such matters to Mike in the first instance.  He undertakes to deal with any concern or complaint promptly and fairly and provide you with a written response.  If you prefer not to raise any concern or complaint with him you may either refer the matter to another lawyer who will discuss your concerns with him or you may refer the matter directly to the New Zealand Law Society’s Lawyers’ Complaints Service, PO Box 5041, Wellington 6145 (telephone 0800 261 801).

When your matter is completed, we will advise you and provide a brief summary of the work undertaken.  This is normally included in our final statement to you.  Where appropriate we will also identify any necessary further action that may be required.

We value your instructions and look forward to the successful completion of matters we undertake for you.  We also look forward to an ongoing relationship with you. 

Please refer to this information as the core basis of our relationship and our commitment to you - to attend to your affairs diligently, with an efficient, effective and professional service.

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