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This document contains the information we are required to provide to clients under the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (“Law Society”).
The basis on which fees will be charged and payment is to be made is set out in our Terms of Engagement.
We may deduct, from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account, any fees, expenses, disbursements and other charges for which we have provided an invoice.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the minimum standardson request.
Lawyers' Fidelity Fund
The Law Society maintains the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund to provide clients with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund as compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006, the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
Person Responsible for Your Work
The names and status of the person or persons who will have overall responsibility for your work are set out in our Letter of Engagement.
We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients which is designed to ensure that any complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly. If you have a complaint about our services you may, in the first instance, refer your complaint to Lewis Bunge, director of Hopetoun Legal Limited. You may also make a complaint to the complaints service established by the Law Society. To do so, you should contact the Law Society by phoning 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Centre.
Client Care and Service
The Law Society client care and service information is set out below. Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:
- Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
- Protect and promote and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
- Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
- Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
- 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.
- Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate 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 that 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 to the justice system.
If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.
Limitations on Extent of Our Obligations or Liability
Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in our Letter of Engagement.
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These Standard Terms of Engagement ("terms") apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.
1.1 The services we are to provide for you are outlined in our letter of engagement.
(a) The fees we will charge and the manner in which fees are determined are set out in our letter of engagement.
(b) If our letter of engagement specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of services. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis.
(c) Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in our letter of engagement. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
2.2 Disbursements and expenses: In providing services we may incur disbursements or make payments to third parties on your behalf. These payments will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.
2.3 GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2.4 Invoices: We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly, on completion of the matter or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense on your behalf.
2.5 Payment: Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 7 days overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 3% above our firm's trading bank's 90-day bank bill rate as at the close of business on the date payment became due.
2.6 Security: We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:
(a) to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
(b) to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account
any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
2.7 Liable to Pay: If you are instructing us 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 you remain at all times personally liable (along with the company, trust or estate) to pay our fees and expenses.
2.8 Third Parties: Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.
3.1. 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:
(a) to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions;
(b) to the extent required by law or by the New Zealand Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
3.2. Confidential Information concerning you will, as far as practicable, be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services to you.
3.3 We will, of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
4.1. You may terminate our retainer at any time.
4.2 We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the New Zealand
Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
4.3 If our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees due and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.
5 Retention of files and documents
5.1 You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) 7 years after our engagement ends or earlier if we convert the files and documents to an electronic format.
6 Conflicts of Interest
6.1 We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of it and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the New Zealand Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
7 Duty of Care
7.1 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.
8 Trust Account
8.1 We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank, in which case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.
9.1 These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement whether or not we send you another copy of the terms.
9.2 We are entitled to change these terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended terms.
9.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and the New Zealand courts shall have non-exclusive jurisdiction.