The following terms of engagement (“Terms”) shall apply in respect of the services carried out by me, except to the extent that I otherwise agree with you in writing.
1 Services / Liability
The services that my firm is to provide for you have been outlined in writing (via email or otherwise) and / or during our initial discussions. If you are instructing me as a director or shareholder of a company or as a trustee of a trust or as an administrator of an estate, then you are also personally and severally liable (along with the company, trust or estate) to the Terms notwithstanding who or what entity is invoiced.
I advise that my charge out rate is $290.00 per hour plus GST. In the event that I consider that a specialist Barrister should be briefed (and I use various Barristers for specialist issues associated with litigation) then the costs of the Barrister are anywhere between $300.00 and $450.00 per hour plus GST. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
If I have specified an estimated fee, I will charge this for the agreed scope of my services. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged for on an hourly rate basis and I will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if this work becomes necessary.
In fixing the final fee, I am also entitled to take account of a number of factors approved by the Law Society including:
- the time spent;
- the skill, knowledge and responsibility required;
- the risk assumed in the work and the amount or value of property involved;
- the importance of the matter and the results achieved;
- the complexity, novelty, and urgency of the matter; and
- the reasonable costs of running a legal practice.
In providing services, I may incur expenses or have to make payments to third parties as an agent on your behalf. These will be included in my invoice to you when the expense is incurred. I may require an advance payment for expenses which I will be incurring on your behalf.
I will endeavour to send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on completion of the matter, or upon the termination of my engagement. Interim invoices will help you by spreading the payments over time. It will also enable you to keep track of how much your legal services are costing. I may also send you an invoice, if I incur a significant “out of pocket” expense.
Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice without set off, counterclaim or deduction. I may require interest to be paid on any amount which is overdue. Interest shall be calculated at the rate of 14% p.a. from the when the payment became due until payment in full.
I may also require you to pay all costs incurred in recovering or attempting to recover the fees and expenses owed. This includes all solicitor costs incurred and I have the discretion to undertake this recovery of costs and expenses owed on my own account and not to engage another solicitor to undertake these attendances.
2.5 Difficulty in Payment
If you anticipate difficulty in the payment of any invoice, please contact me immediately on receipt of the invoice to discuss arrangements for payment, usually by way of instalments.
2.6 Security / Authority to deduct
I may ask you to pre-pay amounts to me, or to provide security for my fees and expenses. You irrevocably authorise me to debit my fees and expenses against amounts pre-paid by you or funds which I may hold on your behalf in my trust account.
2.7 Third Parties
Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for my fees and expenses, and although my invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to me (and for any enforcement cost and interest) if that third party fails to pay me.
2.8 Instruction of a Third Party
If I instruct any other person (including a Barrister or another legal practitioner) I may require payment of that person’s estimated fees into my trust account beforehand. By instructing that person, I undertake an obligation to pay that person’s fees and accordingly need to be protected for these. I may also require you to enter a payment arrangement directly with that person.
I will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that I acquire during the course of acting for you. I will not disclose any of this information to any other person except to the extent necessary or desirable to enable me 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.
Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within my firm who are providing legal services for you. You consent to me obtaining, at my own cost, a credit report on you at any time if I consider it necessary.
4 Termination / Suspension of Services
You may terminate my retainer at any time by notifying me. I may terminate my retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. If my retainer is terminated you must pay me all fees due and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.
In the event that you do not comply with these Terms and in particular in relation to the payment of fees, I may suspend the provision of all and any services (including any litigation services) until all outstanding fees, expenses and costs have been paid in full and matters have been resolved to my reasonable satisfaction.
5 Retention of files and documents
You authorise me (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that I hold in safe custody for you) not less than 6 years after my engagement ends, or earlier if I have converted those files and documents to an electronic format. In the event that you require records to be re-supplied to you I reserve the right to charge an administration fee.
6 Conflicts of Interest
I have procedures in place to try and identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises, I 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
My duty of care is to you and not to any other person or entity. Before any other person or entity may rely on my advice, I must expressly agree to this.
8 Trust Account
I maintain a trust account for all funds which I receive from or upon behalf of my clients. If I am holding significant funds on your behalf, I will normally lodge those funds on an interest bearing deposit (on call) with my bank via my trust account pending payment to you. In that case, I will charge the normal administration fee. My trust account is periodically audited by the Law Society as part of its “Financial Assurance Scheme” and I am happy to provide you with a copy of the last report upon request.
9 Electronic Communications
Unless otherwise agreed with you, I will communicate with you and others at times by electronic means. These communications can be subject to interference or inception or contain viruses or other defects (“corruption”). I do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or loss caused in connection with the corruption of electronic communication.
I do not give general commercial, tax or business advice, only legal advice and services performed or rendered in the conduct of a lawyer. I therefore cannot give any advice about the quality of realty nor its market value. I am also not a financial adviser as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008.
The services I undertake are subject to the accuracy of information supplied by you or your agents; the accuracy of information on public registers; and any disclaimers or limitations I expressly make (whether or not in writing) or which are implied by the nature of, or commonplace for that type of work.
To the extent permitted by law, my firm’s aggregate liability to you (whether in contract, equity, tort or otherwise) arising out of your engagement of my firm on any matter is limited to the greater of the amount actually received as indemnification under any relevant insurance held by my firm (plus any excess payable in relation to the claim); and the amount of five times my applicable fee (excluding my office charges, disbursements and GST). You may not bring any action against me, regardless of form, more than three years after the cause of action has arisen. These are agreed to be reasonable restrictions on my liability to you and you acknowledge that these restrictions have been factored into my fees.
These Terms apply by agreement to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not I send you another copy of them. These terms do not need to be signed to be binding and your subsequent instructions shall constitute acceptance. I am entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case I will send you amended Terms.