TERMS OF BUSINESS
We will charge our fee using the Rules established by the New Zealand Law Society. These are:
- the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the work properly;
- the complexity of the work and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
- our experience, reputation and ability;
- the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by you;
- the importance of the matter to you and the results achieved;
- the degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the work including the amount or value of any property involve;
- the fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services;
- the possibility that the acceptance of the particular retainer will preclude engagement of us by other clients;
- our reasonable costs of running a practice; and
- our time and labour expended.
You should note that time spent on your work is only one of the factors we consider in assessing the fee for your work.
There may be occasions when it will be appropriate for us to charge for more than one solicitor who will be doing your work at the same time or consulting with each other in relation to the work. Where we act for a client purchasing a property or business, we will require our tax invoice, which will list our fee, GST and disbursements, to be paid on or before the day of settlement.
In calculating the fee we add 5% to cover our internal expenses such as photocopying, faxes and local tolls
INCREASE IN CHARGE-OUT RATES
The time spent on your work is one factor considered in assessing the fee. From time to time, our charge-out rates may increase. If this happens whilst we are carrying out work for you, we will notify you of our increased charge-out rates.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Our fees exclude GST which will need to be added to the estimates given by us.
We will send you a bill for our fees and expenses and payments made on your behalf to third parties:
- either monthly while the work is in progress and/or
- when the work is completed
Our bills are payable by you within 10 working days of receipt of the invoice.
PAYMENT OF COSTS FROM TRUST MONEY
Where we act for you and you have funds in our trust account, you authorise us to pay our accounts by deduction from those funds. Where you are entitled to receive any money as a result of any work carried out on your behalf, you agree that this is to be paid into our trust account. You authorise us to direct that any such money is to be paid to our trust account. Any small balance up to $10.00 held to your credit, following completion of a matter, is uneconomic to deal with and you therefore authorise us, if we consider necessary, to apply such balance towards general office disbursements.
DISATISFACTION WITH OUR ACCOUNT
If you are dissatisfied with our account you should follow the complaints procedure under Information for Clients.
WHO MAY GIVE US INSTRUCTIONS
Unless you notify us otherwise in writing:
- where there are more than one of you, we may take instructions from any one of you;
- if you are a company, society or charitable organisation, we may take instructions from any person who acts as though he/she has authority to give us instructions.
RETENTION & DESTRUCTION OF DOCUMENTS
We are entitled to retain your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our fees and expenses. You agree to grant us a security interest over our file, all documents and/or chattels held on your behalf until you have paid all money owing under this agreement. You authorise us to destroy all files and documents (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) 7 years after our engagement ends or earlier, if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format. Any costs we incur in storing your files off-site and/or retrieving any files off-site and/or couriering or delivering such file(s) to you or a third party are payable by you on or before provision of such files.
You may terminate this agreement in writing at any time. If you do so, you will pay our fees and expenses incurred up to the time of termination. We may terminate our agreement if:
- you do not pay our accounts on the due date;
- you do not provide us with adequate instructions within a reasonable time of us requesting them, or
- you do not accept an offer of settlement which we think is reasonable;
- you do not accept advice we, or a barrister, give you
- we, on reasonable grounds, believe that we may have a conflict of interest; or for other good cause.
We will give you at least seven (7) days’ notice of our intention to terminate this agreement, and of the grounds on which the notice is based. You will be required to pay our fees for work done, and for expenses incurred, up to the date of termination.
INTERESTS AND COSTS
We may charge interest on overdue bills at a rate equal to current ASB Visa Card rate for overdue payments. You will also be liable for any costs and expenses incurred in recovering any overdue account from you.
COMMISSION ON INTEREST/MONEY/DEPOSIT
We will, if requested by you, or in the absence of any requests if we believe it is prudent, invest your funds in our trust account in an interest-bearing account with our Bank. We will deduct withholding tax on interest earned at the default rate unless you provide us with an IRD number for you. We will deduct commission on the gross interest earned at 5% to cover our expenses in providing this service.
We may require guarantees for our work and this is indicated in our Letter of Engagement. If you are a guarantor, you agree to be liable for our fees as a principal debtor. If an account is unpaid on the due date we may seek recovery of our fees together with interest and costs from you.
When we prepare any document for you, you are free to use that document as you see fit, but as our licensee, unless otherwise agreed. Blackwells will retain ownership of copyright in the document unless otherwise agreed. If our firm’s name and brand appears on a document, you will have to first consult with us if you elect to amend, distribute, or publish it in any way whatsoever.
If you ask us to perform legal services for another person or entity, then you, together with that person or entity, will continue to be liable for our fees until the completion of the work and payment of our fees.
WHO MAY RELY ON OUR ADVICE
Our advice may only be relied on by you as our client, and we accept no liability to any third party for advice given to you.
DURATION OF THESE TERMS
These terms may be amended by us from time to time. If we change them, we will notify you before undertaking new work.