1. Application of Terms: These Terms of Engagement apply in respect of all work carried out by Akarana Legal Ltd for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.
2. Client Care Charter - Our Commitment to You
2.1 We aare committed to doing our best to ensure that your legal needs are met.
- Protect and promote your interests and act for you without any compromising influences or loyalties.
- Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
- Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
- Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
- Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
- Treat you fairly and without discrimination.
- Give you clear information and advice.
- Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
- Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be invoiced.
- Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
2.2 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:
- Phil Sheat either by telephone on 09 574 6770 in the first instance, or firstname.lastname@example.org ; or
- The New Zealand Law Society on 0800 261 801; or www.lawsociety.org.nz.
3. Financial and Invoicing Information
3.1 The Basis of My Charges:
We calculate our fees so as to give a fair and reasonable return for the services we provide, having regard to your interests and ours. In determining a fair and reasonable fee, the following factors applied by the New Zealand Law Society are taken into account by us:
- The time and labour expended
- The skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the services properly.
- The importance of the matter to you and the results achieved
- The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed
- The degree of risk, including the 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 acceptance of your instructions will preclude me from acting for other clients
- Whether the fee is fixed or conditional
- Any quote or estimate we may give
- Any fee agreement or special arrangement we may have with you
- The reasonable costs of running my practice
- The fee customarily charged in the market for similar legal services
If we give you a fee estimate:
- It is an estimate only and we will review it if necessary. The final fee may be more or less than the estimate (although we endeavour to make our estimates as accurate as possible, based on the information available to us at the time)
- Fee estimates do not include office charges, disbursements or GST unless specifically stated
If we reach a fixed fee agreement with you, we will charge the fixed fee for providing the services covered by that agreement. If you request additional work not covered by the fixed fee agreement, you will be charged additional fees and disbursements.
3.2 The hourly rates currently charged by us are as follows:
- Phil Sheat $350.00
- Legal Executive $150.00
These rates may change from time to time, and do not include GST. We also charge for disbursements (court fees, registration fees, courier charges and travel expenses) incurred on your behalf. These will be itemised separately, and we will notify you if any fees or disbursements need to be paid for in advance.
3.3 How you can assist: To enable us to manage your matter efficiently and cost effectively, it would assist if you provide us with:
- Your instructions in writing - email, letter, or fax;
- Your expectations and your desired outcome;
- All information, documents and correspondence relevant to the matter that you hold;
- Any time constraints that you may have for completion of the matter;
- An outline of anything that you do not understand and would like me to clarify.
- The name(s) of anyone else who has authority to give instructions on your behalf;
While we will always work to the best of our ability and with the information provided to us, there can be no guarantees regarding outcomes. Discussions on likely outcomes are based on our experience and professional judgment.
3.4 Disbursements and expenses: In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties (for instance an accountant or barrister) on your behalf. These will be included and itemised on your invoice. In some circumstances we may also charge an agency fee on these in my invoice to you.We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf. An office expense fee of 2% of the legal fee charged (subject to a minimum of $20.00) may also be included in an account to cover photocopying, phone calls, fax, postage and other incidental office expenses.
3.5 GST (if any): GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.
3.6 Payment: In most cases involving ongoing work we will issue interim accounts, usually monthly, with a final invoice on completion. On transaction work, including conveyancing, our fee will be payable immediately upon completion. Invoices are payable within 7 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made withus. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 5% p.a. above our current overdraft bank rate. All costs in relation to the collection of overdue accounts are also payable by you should that prove necessary.
3.7 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 term account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
3.8 Excluded Services: We do not provide advice on the quality of the investment in a conveyancing matter, and we do not provide any advice on taxation and accounting matters, because these are not areas in which we claim to have expertise. You should obtain taxation and accounting advice on all your transactions without the requirement for us to recommend you to do so.
4.1 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.
4.2 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.
5. Correspondence, Documents, Electronic Communications and Copyright
5.1 Documents, the contents of correspondence and emails (and attachments) sent by us will usually contain copyright material of Akarana Legal Ltd or third parties. You may only reproduce or distribute these materials if you are expressly authorised by us to do so.
5.2 Our emails are not encrypted and therefore may be open to access by unauthorised third parties. If this is of concern to you, please do not email particularly sensitive material to us and instruct us to avoid the use of emails for communications with you.
5.3 We do not represent or warrant that files attached to our emails are free from computer viruses or other defects. Any attached files are provided and may only be used, on the basis that the user assumes all responsibility for any loss or damage resulting directly or indirectly from such use. Our liability is limited in any such event to either the re-supply of the attached files or the cost of having the attached files re-supplied.
5.4 By forwarding any emails (and attachments) to us, you agree that we may copy, distribute or disclose such emails (and attachments) to other third parties for the purpose of providing our services to you. For example, we may forward your emails (and attachments) to my agents, consultants or barristers who are assisting us in providing services to you.
6.1 We may terminate the engagement at any time by written notice to you, in any of the circumstances set out in the New Zealand Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
6.2 If you wish to terminate our services or significantly modify your instructions, please advise us in writing as soon as possible. Until we receive this written notification we may continue with our original instructions and you may incur further costs as we do so. Where you give us any instruction which we rely on (for example, by giving an undertaking to a third party) you may not revoke that instruction.
6.3 Regardless of who terminates our engagement you will be liable to pay our fees and the disbursements we incur (even if not paid by us prior to the termination date), up to and including the termination date. In some circumstances we may be required to incur additional time or expense following the completion or termination of a matter. We will charge for this in the normal way.
6.4 We have no continuing obligation to provide you with the additional advice following completion of a matter.
6.5 We may retain copies of any documents and information on my files following completion of a matter and/or termination of our engagement.
7. Retention of files and documents: Files will be held for a minimum of 10 years after our engagement ends. You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) at the expiry of that period
8. Conflicts of Interest: 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
9. Duty of Care: 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.
10. Trust Account: We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients. If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank. In that case We will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.
11. Insurance: We hold professional indemnity insurance which exceeds the minimum level prescribed by the New Zealand Law Society. The New Zealand Law Society Lawyers' Fidelity Fundprovides a limited form of cover up to specified maximums in certain circumstances, generally excluding investment monies.
12.1 If you have any concerns or complaints , please contact us personally. We are committed to resolving any issues promptly and fairly.
12.2 You can also contact the New Zealand Law Society's Lawyers' Complaints Service, at 26 Waring Taylor Street, PO Box 5041, Wellington 6145, Tel 04 472 7837 or 0800 261 801, Fax 04 473 7909 or www.lawsociety.co.nz
13. General: These terms and conditions apply to any current and to any future instruction. If you require a hard copy of them, please ask us and wewill send one to you. If there is a substantial change to them, we will send you an amended copy. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law.