1.1 By instructing us to act for you, you agree to the following terms of engagement.
1.2 We will carry out the work you instruct us to do (from time to time) in a professional manner and will give you a full statement of account for that work.
1.3 Upon request, we will provide you of our charge-out rates and (where possible) give you an estimate of the cost of that work.
2.1 Our fee is generally based on the time spent on your work. In accordance with the New Zealand Law Society Guidelines, we may also take into account other matters such as urgency, importance and the complexity of your work.
2.2 We will also charge you fees for office expenses. This includes general office disbursements which are usually 4% of the legal fee and an agency fee of $5 per title or interest searched from LINZ.
2.3 Unless otherwise specifically agreed in writing with you, our right to charge fees is not contingent upon any outcome desired by you, or the completion of any event.
3.1 Upon request, you agree to pay us all money properly paid or payable by us on your behalf.
3.2 We may require advance payments into our trust account. Those payments may be credited against our accounts and be used to make other payments payable by us on your behalf.
3.3 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.
3.4 Our accounts are payable in full within 7 days after the date of the invoice, unless we specify otherwise. We may render interim accounts from time to time. Our trust account number is ASB 12-3191-0027188-02.
3.5 If we are holding funds in our trust account on your behalf, we may, if we consider there to be a material benefit accruing, place these funds on interest bearing deposit at the applicable call account rate. All interest earned on your funds is subject to our administration fee of 5% and applicable resident withholding tax (RWT) deductions.
3.6 If any payment is not made by you in accordance with these terms then, without prejudice to any other rights, we may charge interest on the outstanding amount at the rate of 2% per month (calculated daily) until payment is made.
3.7 You are liable for all collection costs incurred by us in trying to recover any account or invoice not paid by the due date. You also agree to us charging any or all of our time incurred (including on a solicitor-client basis) in following up and reminding you of your obligations set out in these terms of engagement, and/or any enforcement action undertaken by us or our agent (including any debt collection agency). You also agree we may provide information about your default to any debt collection agency.
4.1 We may assign these terms to a third party.
4.2 In the event of assignment, unless otherwise agreed, you remain liable for the fulfilment of all terms and conditions including any fee rendered.
5.1 If you make an application for legal aid, which is declined or not granted for any reason, you will be liable for the payment of our fee, based on these terms of engagement.
5.2 If legal aid is granted, we will invoice the Ministry of Justice (Ministry) for the work we do for you on your matter.
5.3 You may have to repay some of your legal aid to the Ministry, depending on how much you earn, what property you own, how much your case costs, and on how much money you win from the case, if applicable. The Ministry will tell you the maximum amount of any legal aid you may have to repay when it tells you if you have been granted legal aid.
5.4 The Ministry uses the financial information you give on your legal aid application form to work out whether you have to pay anything.
5.5 You must inform us or the Ministry immediately if your address or financial circumstances change.
5.6 Section 18A(3)(a) Legal Services Act 2011 states that we may decline to provide any services under a grant of legal aid until the user charge is paid.
5.7 You authorise us to take any matter relating to your case and /or our fee to the Legal Aid Tribunal, or equivalent body who will determine such matters.
6.1 If you do not comply with these terms then, without prejudice to any other rights we may have, we may cease work immediately.
6.2 We are entitled to retain all files and documents held on your behalf for as long as there are any fees or other monies outstanding to us.
6.3 We reserve the right to disclose your name and address to a credit agency to perform a credit reference or as part of our credit management process.
6.4 If more than one client is named above, or we do work for more than one client jointly, their liabilities to us are joint and several.
6.5 If the client is a company, it is agreed and warranted that these terms have been accepted by and consented to by all directors and shareholders, and further, all directors and shareholders agree to be jointly and severally liable for the fulfilment of all terms and conditions including any fee rendered. 6.6 We may collect from any person, retain, use and disclose information about you for the purpose of carrying out the work you instruct us to do. You may ask us to supply you with a copy of that information and you may correct it.
6.7 We will endeavour to store your file, including documents belonging to you, for at least 2 years after your file is closed by us. However, you grant us permission to destroy your file and all documents belonging to you at any time after your file is closed by us. This does not include documents we have agreed to keep in long-term storage, such as wills.