KiwiLawyers Terms of Engagement
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
You will find herein below information required to be provided to you by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Firms of the New Zealand Law Society ("Law Society").
The terms of Engagement confirms how KiwiLawyers (“the Firm”) will charge its fees.
The firm’s standard form Terms & Conditions of Engagement confirms when payment of fees is to be made.
Please note the Firm may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in the Firm’s trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice to you.
2. Professional Indemnity Insurance:
The firm holds professional indemnity insurance with NZI and further, meets the minimum standards specified by the Law Society.
3. Firms' Fidelity Fund:
The Law Society maintains the Firms' Fidelity Fund for the purpose of providing clients of firms with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by
The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. The Firms and Conveyancers Act 2006 specifies the circumstances where the Fidelity Fund covers a client for loss of money. Please note the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a firm is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
The Firm has a system for dealing with any complaints by clients. This ensures complaints are dealt with in a prompt, fair and efficient manner.
If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to Taufil Omar:
He may be contacted:
· by letter;
· by email at firstname.lastname@example.org;
· by telephoning him at 09 270 8595.
The Law Society also operates the Lawyers Complaints Service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. Please phone 0800 261 801 to speak to your nearest Complaints Service Office, which can provide information and advice about making a complaint.
5. Client care and service:
The Law Society client care and service information is set out below.
Whatever legal services the Firm is providing, the Lawyer must:
· Act competently, in a timely manner, 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 aims and instructions and how they should best be achieved.
· Provide you with information about the work to be done and the way the services will be provided by the Firm.
· 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 either in verbally or in written form.
· Protect your privacy at all times and ensure 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 firms owe to clients are described in detail in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Firms. However, these obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.
You may visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801 if you have any further questions in
respect of the above.
6. Limitations on extent of our Obligations or Liability:
Any limitations on the extent of the Firm’s obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in the Firms letter of engagement.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT
These Terms and Conditions of Engagement ("terms and conditions") apply in respect of all work carried out by KIWILAWYERS for the client ("you"), except to the extent that KIWILAWYERS otherwise agrees with you in writing.
The services KIWILAWYERS is to provide to you are confirmed in KIWILAWYERS’ engagement letter.
KIWILAWYERS will only act on your clear confirmed instructions. Where you cannot or will not provide such instructions KIWILAWYERS will cease work until these are received and cannot accept any liability in such circumstances.
By instructing KIWILAWYERS you hereby accept liability to pay the account that KIWILAWYERS will render for work done and all agency disbursement costs incurred relating to such instructions.
If KIWILAWYERS provides professional services to you for the purposes of a business, or in relation to your business, you acknowledge that, pursuant to Section 43 of the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 ("the Act"), the provisions of the Act shall not apply to such professional services.
When KIWILAWYERS opens a file KIWILAWYERS does not know how significant the work involved will be. It is therefore usually impossible to give a fixed quote. We will however attempt to provide you a range as an estimate of our fees.
The fees KIWILAWYERS will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in KIWILAWYERS’ engagement letter.
The said estimate will attempt to state what the fee is likely to be. If however the work does not proceed as KIWILAWYERS had expected due to unexpected complexities, or if the work proves more complicated than originally anticipated, KIWILAWYERS reserves the right to charge for all additional work done. This will be based on KIWILAWYERS's usual hourly rate as advised to you.
If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, KIWILAWYERS will charge this for the agreed scope of KIWILAWYERS' services. Please note all work falling outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis. KIWILAWYERS will advise you as soon as it is able to confirming the provision of services outside the agreed scope and, if requested, confirm the likely amount of the further costs. KIWILAWYERS may request a fee retainer.
Where fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. For time and attendance, time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes. This is also standard practice across the legal profession.
Disbursements and expenses:
In providing services KIWILAWYERS may incur disbursement costs or have to make agency payments to third parties on your behalf. Sometimes the fixed or fee estimate may change due to having to undertake the necessary searches for example land covenants, easements, consent notices, deposit plans and so forth. These will be included in KIWILAWYERS' invoice to you when such expense is incurred. KIWILAWYERS requires an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which KIWILAWYERS will be incurring on your behalf.
Is payable by you on KIWILAWYERS fees and charges.
When will you be billed?
If the work is going to extend over a longer period of time KIWILAWYERS will bill you on a monthly basis. This will help you by spreading the payments over the period of work. This also allows you to keep track of how much the work is costing you. Such billing is also done on the basis of the time spent. When the final bill is rendered an adjustment may be made to take into account the above.
You may at KIWILAWYERS’ sole discretion be allocated a credit limit and such arrangement shall be confidential between you and KIWILAWYERS.
KIWILAWYERS shall determine the total amount that KIWILAWYERS will allow to be owed or due to it by you at any time and whether the amount is able to be increased or decreased or withdrawn by KIWILAWYERS at any time.
KIWILAWYERS may stop doing work for you if your credit limit is exceeded and payment not received by KIWILAWYERS when invoiced.
When do you have to pay?
KIWILAWYERS' accounts are all due strictly within seven (7) days of rendering an invoice. If KIWILAWYERS is holding money for you (for example from the sale of your house) KIWILAWYERS will deduct the account from that money and give you a full statement upon completion.
KIWILAWYERS may deduct its fees once an account is rendered for work done in respect of monies held in the trust account.
In certain circumstances KIWILAWYERS may agree to fees being paid by way of automatic payment authority. KIWILAWYERS is not obliged to agree to such a proposal.
KIWILAWYERS reserves the right to stop work until all accounts are paid up to date.
KIWILAWYERS may ask you to pay in advance fees and disbursements to KIWILAWYERS, or to provide security for KIWILAWYERS' fees and disbursements. You authorise KIWILAWYERS:
· to debit against amounts paid in advance by you; and
· to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in KIWILAWYERS' trust account any fees, costs, expenses or disbursements for which KIWILAWYERS has provided an invoice.
Third Party Invoices:
Even though you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for KIWILAWYERS' fees and disbursements including expenses, and although KIWILAWYERS' invoices may at your request be addressed to a third party, nevertheless you solely remain responsible for payment to KIWILAWYERS if the third party fails to pay KIWILAWYERS within seven (7) days of rendering the invoice.
If Counsel is to be instructed KIWILAWYERS reserves the right to require advance payment of Counsel's estimated fees into KIWILAWYERS' trust account. By instructing Counsel KIWILAWYERS undertakes an obligation to pay Counsel's fees and accordingly requires to be protected for these. You may be required to enter into a payment arrangement directly with Counsel. If this is the case then you will need to sign a separate instruction form that will outline clearly your obligations for payment of any administration fees and charges to KIWILAWYERS and fees to Counsel.
You authorise any person, agency or company to provide KIWILAWYERS with such information as KIWILAWYERS may require in response to KIWILAWYERS’ credit enquiries.
What if you can't pay on time?
If you anticipate difficulty in the payment of any account you must contact KIWILAWYERS at the first available opportunity and discuss arrangements for payment. If KIWILAWYERS incurs costs and expenses in obtaining outstanding payment you will be liable for those costs.
All debt recovery costs incurred by KIWILAWYERS arising out of your failure to pay by due date including full legal costs, expenses and all disbursements shall be payable by you on demand.
Companies and Trusts:
If you are instructing KIWILAWYERS in your capacity as a director or shareholder of a company or as a settlor or trustee of a trust or executor or administrator of an estate then your instructions are accepted on the basis that you or the authorised person and shall remain at all times personally liable (along with the company, trust or estate) to pay KIWILAWYERS' fees and disbursements. This is regardless of the instructions received either by the company or trust and whether or not any invoices have been rendered in your company's or trusts name.
When work has been done by KIWILAWYERS but KIWILAWYERS has not been paid by you then as a general rule KIWILAWYERS has the right to retain any original documents and correspondences whether in paper or electronic form in which information may be held on your file until all our outstanding fees, disbursements and other expenses have been paid in full. This shall be known as a lien. This will be vital in a situation where you decide for whatever reason to instruct another Law Firm or company. KIWILAWYERS will require that Firm to give an undertaking to pay all outstanding fees and disbursements before your file or original documents is or are released to it.
Agreement to mortgage:
In consideration of the provision by KIWILAWYERS of professional legal services and extending credit to you pursuant to this terms and conditions you hereby agree to mortgage all your estate and interest in all real estate owned by you from time to time. Pursuant to this agreement to mortgage you hereby irrevocably grant to KIWILAWYERS a power of attorney to execute on behalf of you a client authority and instruction form for an electronic transaction (EDealinig) with a suitable priority amount and memorandum for a registrable mortgage to secure unpaid fees and disbursements. You shall be liable for any costs incurred in registering a caveat or charge and collection costs via third party debt collection agencies the firm may use from time to time. You shall also be liable for all the extra costs incurred once a reasonable opportunity has been provided to you to pay your outstanding invoice(s).
KIWILAWYERS will maintain all information concerning you or your affairs that KIWILAWYERS acquires during the course of acting for you in a confidential manner. KIWILAWYERS will not disclose any of the confidential information to any other person except:
· to the extent necessary 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 Firms.
Please note however, confidential information relating to you will be made available only to those working within KIWILAWYERS.
We will also not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
You may at any time, terminate KIWILAWYERS' retainer.
KIWILAWYERS may terminate its retainer under any of the limbs set out in the Law Society's Rules of Conduct and client Care for Firms
You must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date should you terminate KIWILAWYERS’ retainer.
RETENTION OF FILES AND DOCUMENTS
You hereby authorise KIWILAWYERS (without further update to you) to destroy all files and documents seven (7) years after the file is closed. KIWILAWYERS may destroy all files or documents sooner if it has converted those files and documents to an electronic format for filing and you hereby agree for KIWILAWYERS to undertake conversion to an electronic format and waive any rights to receive an update in respect of the same. Please let us know if you would like to retain a physical copy of the file and this can be passed onto you.
KIWILAWYERS will hold certain deeds and documents in safe custody for you. KIWILAWYERS may audit the deeds and documents held and in the event that KIWILAWYERS believes that certain deeds and documents have expired then you will be notified at your last known address to uplift the deed or documents. You authorise us to destroy the deed or documents should we note hear from you.
You also authorise us to use your comments via email or text message on the firms testimonials page on the website.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
KIWILAWYERS has a system in place to identify conflicts of interest arising on client matters. KIWILAWYERS will advise you of any conflict of interest and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Law Society's Rules of Conduct and client Care for Firms should the need arise. It is quite standard to ask you or any other associated person to seek independent legal advice should a conflict of interest arise. Separate fees may be payable for such independent legal advice.
DUTY OF CARE
Please note that KIWILAWYERS' duty of care is to you and not to any other person. KIWILAWYERS must expressly agree to extending this duty of care to a third party before it will be liable in respect of the same.
KIWILAWYERS maintains a trust account for all funds which it receives from clients. The name of the account is KIWILAWYERS Trust Account, ASB Bank, St. Lukes Branch, Auckland, Account Number: 12-3077-0724799-002 (SWIFT CODE: ‘ASBBNZ2A’). All monies received for payment of our invoices are banked into a separate bank account. If KIWILAWYERS is holding significant funds on your behalf KIWILAWYERS is required by law and will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank. You authorise KIWILAWYERS to charge an administration fee of 5% to cover for any associated costs.
::IMPORTANT NOTICE:: FROM 1 JULY 2018 WE WILL BE ASKING CLIENTS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
New legislation affecting law firms will require us to gather more information from our clients. You should read more about this here. You will be required to provide government issued official identification for instance your driver licence, your passport, a copy of your bank statement and a utility invoice relating to your proof of address. You will be asked to fill out the necessary forms at the time of engagement.
These terms and conditions shall apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement. KIWILAWYERS is not obliged to send you further terms and conditions. KIWILAWYERS’ website features the current terms and conditions for you to view at anytime.
KIWILAWYERS is entitled to alter these terms and conditions from time to time. Likewise, the website may feature the updated terms and conditions for you to view at anytime. An updated copy will be sent to you should the terms and conditions be altered during your current engagement.
KIWILAWYERS' relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
You may be eligible for legal aid. Please note it is your sole responsibility to ensure you provide all required information to Legal Aid.
If legal aid is granted, you hereby acknowledge that you have been advised by KIWILAWYERS a charge to repay the cost of legal services may be taken over any
property you may own now or in the future or you may be required to repay from your income.
You hereby acknowledge that you shall be fully liable for payment of all our fees incurred if legal aid is either not granted or is withdrawn. KIWILAWYERS currently does not undertake legal aid work.