Terms of Engagement

STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT & CLIENT CARE AND SERVICE INFORMATION

The standard terms of engagement 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.         Services

1.1.     The services that we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.

2.         Client Care and Service

2.1.     We are committed to doing our best to ensure that your legal needs are met.  We will:

  • Act competently, in a timely way, 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 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.

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 to the justice system. If you have any questions please contact us or the Law Society on 0800 261 801.

3.         Professional Fees

3.1.     Where we have not been able to provide you with an estimate our fees will be calculated on factors set out in 3.2 and 3.3 below.

3.2.     Our fees will be charged on a basis that is fair and reasonable having regard to the circumstances of the matter and the nature of our work for you. Factors that may be taken into account in setting our fee include time and resources involved; the urgency with which the matter is required to be completed; the skills, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the services properly; the degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the services, including the value of any property involved; the complexity of the matter and difficulty or novelty of the questions involved; and other factors as set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act Rules 2008.

3.3.     The time spent by us on your behalf for which you may be charged may include:

  • Personal and telephone attendances on you.
  • Correspondence with you.
  • Considering the law and facts of your matter.
  • Reading and considering incoming letters and documents.
  • Preparing papers.
  • Correspondence with solicitors and third parties.
  • Attendances on your behalf.
  • Time spent on travelling.

4.         Accounts

4.1.     Interim fees will usually be rendered on a monthly basis while work is in progress, with a final account sent to you on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement. In some instances we may just invoice you at the completion of the matter. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense. 

4.2.     Accounts are payable on receipt, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. 

4.3.     You authorise us to deduct our fee, expenses or disbursements from any funds held in our trust account on your behalf where we have provided an invoice.

4.4.     If any account is not paid within 30 days, interest will be charged on the outstanding balance at the rate of 5% above our firm’s main trading bank’s base rate as at the close of business on the date payment became due.  You will be responsible for any reasonable debt collection costs that we incur in recovering the outstanding amount due to us.

4.5.     If your account is outstanding no further work will be undertaken until payment is made.

4.6.     Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and office expenses, and although our accounts may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

5.         Settlement Money

5.1.     For property and financing transactions where payment of money is due by you, we require cleared funds to be deposited with us no later than the morning of the settlement.

6.         Trust Account

6.1.     We maintain a trust account for all funds that we receive from clients (except money 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 that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.  Interest and commission is calculated quarterly and/or on the closing of the account.

7.         Communications

7.1.     If you have a preferred method of our firm communication with you, please let us know.

7.2.     We do not accept any liability for loss arising from non-receipt of any communication, including computer email communications.

8.         Information

8.1.     In providing our services we will be relying upon information and instructions provided by you without independent verification.  It is vital that you make us aware of anything that may affect our services.  We will also be relying upon the accurateness and completeness of all information that is available from public sources and  information that may be furnished to us on your behalf or at your request by third parties.

9.         Privacy of Information

9.1.     Information concerning you will be used by us to provide legal services, to obtain credit or other references, to undertake credit management and to inform you of issues and developments that may be of interest to you.  You authorise us to obtain from any person, or release to any person, any information necessary for those purposes and you authorise any person to release information to us that we require for those purposes.

9.2.     Subject to the above we will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential and will not disclose any information we hold on your behalf or about you unless we are required to do so by law or when requested by you or with your consent.

9.3.     Information concerning you will be held at our office.  Under the Privacy Act 1993 you have the right of access to, and correction of, your personal information held by us.

9.4.     The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 requires us to collect from you and retain information required to verify your identity.

10.      Termination

10.1.  You may terminate our services upon giving us reasonable written notice to that effect.

10.2.  We may terminate our services if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a timely matter, your failure to pay our fee on an agreed basis, or your adopting against our advice a course of action which we believe is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with our fundamental obligations as lawyers.  If we terminate our services we will give you reasonable notice so that you can arrange alternative representation and we shall give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer.

10.3.  If our services are terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.

11.      Retention of Files and Documents

11.1.  At the end of your matter we will keep your file (in hard copy or electronic format) for the period outlined below, and thereafter we will destroy it.

  • Files involving LINZ registration – 10 years
  • Files involving trust account transactions (other than fee invoicing) – 6 years
  • All other files – 3 years

11.2.  You are welcome to uplift your file provided that all fees and costs have been paid.  Please give us reasonable notice before collecting your file should you wish to do so.


12.      Conflicts of Interest

12.1.  We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest.  If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

13.       Duty of Care

13.1.  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.

14.      Professional Indemnity Insurance

14.1.  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 standards upon request.

15.      The Lawyers Fidelity Fund

15.1.  The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purpose of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. 

15.2.  The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000. 

15.3.  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.

15.4.  This is only a short summary of the major provisions in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 relating to the Fund.  If you would like further information please ask.

16.      Complaints

16.1.  We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.

16.2.  If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work.

16.3.  If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to any one, or all, of the firm’s partners or the practice manager.

  • by letter  (PO Box 347, Gisborne)
  • by telephone  (06 869 0900)
  • by email

Partners:                    

Ross Revington                    ross.r@wwclaw.co.nz

Adam Simperingham          adam.s@wwclaw.co.nz

Jeff Allen                                jeff.a@wwclaw.co.nz

Practice Manager:      

Michelle England                  michelle.e@wwclaw.co.nz

16.4.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society.  They may be contacted in writing as follows:

New Zealand Law Society

P O Box 5041

Lambton Quay

WELLINGTON 6145

17.      Limitations on extent of our Obligations or Liability

17.1.  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.

18.      General

18.1.  These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

18.2.  We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.

18.3.  Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law.