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 engagement letter or in the correspondence between us (“Engagement correspondence”).
1.2 We do not provide any financial and or investment advice. This includes any advice on value or quality of any proposed or actual investment and financial transaction in any form or type undertaken by you. We strongly advise you to seek the advice of an investment or financial adviser if you require such advice. We assume no responsibility and disclaim all liability for any opinion or comment we may express, if any, on your proposed or actual investment or transaction.
2.1 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.
2.2 By engaging us you accept liability to pay the invoices we will render for services provided.
3.1 Fees: We will render a fee that is fair and reasonable for the services provided having regard to your interest and ours and having regard to the factors set out in any Rules and Code governing the services of lawyers in New Zealand.
Our fees are normally based on a range of factors recommended by the New Zealand Law Society including time, expertise, importance, urgency, value of the transaction and results achieved. Unless agree otherwise, our fee will be charged on an hourly rate basis plus disbursements and retrievals but will take into account the factors outlined above when rendering our invoices. Our current hourly rates are $330 to $380 for Principal and senior solicitors and $100 to $190 for junior solicitor, legal assistant or law clerk. Our hourly rate for Principal to act on conveyancing, trust and estate matters is $330 per hour, for commercial leases and commercial financing matters is $350.00 per hour and for corporate matters is $380 per hour. All rates are given on GST exclusive basis.
3.2 Disbursements and expenses: In providing services we may incur disbursements or other expenses and have to make payments to third parties (including counsel or specialists) on your behalf. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf. The advance payment will be applied to any disbursement or expenses when it is incurred by us.
3.3 Retrievals: In providing our services we will in addition to disbursements incur internal office or administration fees, charges or expenses, and these fees will be charged as retrievals or bureau charges in our invoice.
3.4 GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
3.5 Invoices: We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly or such intervals at our discretion, and on completion of the matter or termination of our engagement.
3.6 Payment: Invoices are payable within 7 days of the issue of the invoice unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We will require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 7 days overdue. Interest will be calculated and payable at the rate of 15% per annum or such rate as set out on your invoice/s from the date payment became due until payment is received.
3.7 Funds held by us: For our fees, expenses or disbursements, we may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us on account or to provide security to us and you authorise us to transfer to other files and utilise surplus funds held to your credit for any completed matter to meet fees and disbursements incurred for ongoing work that we are undertaking for you. You further authorise us:
a. to deduct against amounts pre-paid by you for any disbursements; we will provide a statement of account for such deduction; or
b. to deduct against amounts paid or pre-paid by you and 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.
c. to realise and apply any security provided against any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
3.8 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.
3.9 Credit information: By engaging our services you authorise Christi Law the right to make credit enquiries from any appropriate information provider and provide any credit information to any information provider in the event our invoices were not paid.
3.10 Extension of time for payment of invoices: If you anticipate delay in the payment of any invoice you must contact us immediately on receipt of the invoice and discuss with us arrangements for payment. Unless an arrangement for payment is agreed in writing by us the provisions of clause 3.6 will apply.
3.11 Joint and/or associated client: If you are noted as a joint and/or an associated client in our Engagement correspondence or documents then you shall be deemed principal debtor and together with the client shall be liable, jointly and severally, for the full payment of our fees and charges rendered to the client. At our option we may require you to enter into an agreement for this arrangement.
4.1 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; or
b. to the extent required by law or by rules or code governing lawyers in New Zealand.
4.2 Subject to clause 3.9, confidential information concerning you will be available only to those within our firm.
4.3 We will not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
5.1 You may terminate our services at any time.
5.2 We reserve the right to cease to act where you cannot or will not provide instructions or refuses or fail to take our advice or refuses or fail to pay our invoices when due.
5.3 We may terminate our services in any of the circumstances set out in any rules or code governing lawyers in New Zealand.
5.4 If our retainer is terminated, you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.
5.5 If our fees due and expenses or charges incurred up to the date of termination is not paid by you then we have the right to retain original documents and correspondence on your file until such time as all outstanding fees and expenses or charges have been paid.
6.1 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 have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
6.2 We reserve the right to charge any retrieval fees incurred by us when recalling the file from archives.
7.1 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 rules or code governing lawyers in New Zealand.
8.1 We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices).
8.2 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%, or such rate as fixed from time to time, of the interest derived. Withholding tax will be deducted from any interest earned at the rate governed by Inland Revenue.
8.3 You authorise us to deduct against funds held in our trust account on your behalf for any fees, expenses and disbursements including counsel fee incurred on your instruction or as a result of your instruction upon the provision of an invoice and/or statement of account for such deduction.
8.4 We reserve the right to charge additional fee if work is required in addition to the general administration works required for the maintaining the funds in our trust account.
9.1 We must comply with our obligations under all laws binding on us, including:
a. anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism laws; and
b. laws relating to tax reporting and withholdings.
9.2 In order to do so, we are required to conduct customer due diligence on you, persons acting on your behalf, and other relevant persons such as your beneficial owners or persons who have effective control of you and (in the case of a trust) the beneficiaries of the trust. The due diligence include undertaking politically exposed person (PEP) checks. We may not be able to act or continue acting for you, or to complete trust account transactions for you, until this is completed.
9.3 We may be required to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf, and other relevant persons as described above to government agencies. We are not permitted to tell you or such persons if we do provide such information. We may also be required to provide such information to banks with which we place your funds through our trust account, and information provided to banks may be in turn be passed on by them to tax and other regulatory authorities in New Zealand and offshore.
9.4 So that we may better manage our reporting obligations to regulatory authorities we will only pay to you all sale proceeds or other monies held in our trust account by paying the monies into your bank account in New Zealand or other bank account in New Zealand nominated by you.
10.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
10.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.
10.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
10.4 We may enter into additional terms and conditions with you. In which case the additional terms and conditions shall will set out in additional Schedule/s annexed or to be annexed to the Terms.