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Terms of Engagement

Thank you for choosing us to provide your legal services.  These terms and any other terms in our letter of engagement apply to all work we do for you.

We can change these terms by writing to you with the changes.  The changes will then apply to the work we do after that time.

  1. Our Services to You
    We will supply our services to you in a professional manner. We will give you more details about those services in a letter of engagement.
  2. Fees
    1. Unless we agree otherwise (such as by agreeing in writing to charge you a fixed fee for doing an agreed scope of work), we will charge you a reasonable fee for the work we do for you.
    2. When setting this fee we will take into account:
      1. our charge out rates for the people doing your work; and
      2. other factors such as the complexity, urgency, value and importance of our work
    3.   You can see more details of those factors in Rule 9 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 (“Client Care Rules”)
  3. Fees, Disbursements and Office Expenses
    1. We may incur disbursements or engage external consultants or advisers where this is reasonably required for us to carry out our work for you.  The cost of these will be shown as disbursements in our invoices.
    2. As well as disbursements, we may charge you an additional fee of 4% (plus GST) of the amount of our fees in our invoices.  This is to cover expenses not included in our other fees or disbursements; for example photocopying, printing, postage and phone charges.
  4. Payment
    1. We may send you interim invoices.
    2. Our services usually attract Goods and Services Tax (GST).  If this is the case, you must pay us GST on the amount of our invoices.
    3. We may ask you to pre-pay an amount or give us security to cover the amount of our invoices.
    4. If you are a company (or other entity) we may ask for a personal guarantee to cover the amount of our invoices.
    5. Our invoices are payable within 10 days of their date (unless we agree in writing otherwise).
    6. Where we hold funds for you in our trust account (such as where we have sold property for you or you have pre-paid amounts to us), you authorise us to deduct the amount of our invoices from those funds.
    7. If there are two or more of you then each of you is jointly and severally liable to us for the amount of our invoices.
  5. Unpaid Invoices

    1. If you do not pay our invoices on time we may:

      5.1.1     stop work on any matters we are doing for you;

      5.1.2     require you to pay us interest at 10% per annum (calculated daily) on the overdue amount from the time payment was due until you pay it (plus any interest and collection costs we are entitled to); and

      5.1.3     require you to pay us any costs we incur (calculated on a solicitor/client basis) in seeking to recover payment from you.  This includes our own fees and any collection agency fees.

  6. Confidentiality

    1. We will hold all confidential information we have about you on a confidential basis.  We will not disclose it to any other person except:

      6.1.1     to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to do your work; or

      6.1.2     to the extent required by law or by the Client Care Rules.

    2. Subject to our obligations under Anti-Money Laundering legislation (or any other laws), you may ask us to give you a copy of the information we have about you and you may correct it.

  7. Collecting Information
    We may collect, retain, use and disclose information about you for the purpose of doing your work. This may include information for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (US) (or similar law) compliance, IRD compliance, financial institutions and for us to comply with Anti-Money Laundering legislation.

  8. Ending the Agreement

    1. You may end our agreement to do your work (“our retainer”) at any time.

    2. We may end our retainer:

                8.2.1     if we identify we have a conflict of interest;

                8.2.2     if you do not pay our invoices on time; or

                8.2.3     in any other circumstances set out in the Client Care Rules.

    3.  If our retainer ends you must pay us all fees, disbursements, office expenses and other money payable to us up to the end date.

  9. Holding Files and Documents

    1. You authorise us to hold copies of your documents and records after our retainer ends.

    2. We may destroy all hard copy and electronic files and documents for any matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) seven years after our work for you on a matter ends.

    3.  We may destroy the hard copies earlier if we have converted them to an electronic format.

  10. Conflicts of Interest
    We have procedures to identify and deal with conflicts of interest.If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you, and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Client Care Rules.

  11. 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 in writing.

  12. Trust Account

    1. We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except money received for payment of our invoices). 

    2. If we put your funds on interest bearing deposit we will charge you an administration fee of 7.5% of the interest earned for you.

    3. We will give you a full statement of account for any payments made or received.

  13. Exclusions and Limitations

    1. Our services do not include tax, investment, financial, or any other areas of advice that we tell you are excluded.

    2. To the extent permitted by law, our total liability to you (and if there are two or more of you, then all of you) in relation to any matter (or series of related matters) on which you engage us is limited to:

                13.2.1     the amount paid out under our professional indemnity insurance policy for our liability to you; or

                13.2.2     where no amount is paid out under that policy, an amount equal to five times our paid fees in the previous twelve months (excluding disbursements and GST) in respect of the matter (or the series of related matters).

    3. This limitation applies to liability of any kind, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), equity or otherwise.

  14. General

    1. We keep copyright in our work. When you pay our invoices you will have a non-exclusive licence to use our work for the purposes for which we supplied it to you. That licence is personal to you and is not transferable to anyone else (unless we agree otherwise in writing).

    2.  Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law, and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction in respect of it.

    3.  A reference to “us” in these terms includes all successor partners (or any successor company) of Saunders Robinson Brown.