Terms of Engagement
INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
Set out below is the information for clients of P H Mitchell Barristers and Solicitors Limited (we, us) as required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (Law Society)
1. Fees: The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our letter of engagement.
2. Complaints: If you have a complaint about our services or charges, please contact us to discuss this.
The Law Society operates the Lawyers Complaints Service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so, phone 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Service Office, which can provide information and advice about making a complaint.
3. 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 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.
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 visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.
4. 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.
STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
These Standard Terms of Engagement (Terms) apply in respect of all work carried out by P H Mitchell Barristers and Solicitors Limited (us, we) for you, except to the extent otherwise agreed in writing.
1.1 The services we will provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
a. The fees we will charge are as per the engagement letter.
b. If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis and in accordance with clause 9.1 (Reasonable Fee Factors) as per the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act Rules 2008. We will advise you as soon as practicable if it becomes necessary to provide services outside the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.
c. Where fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rate will be as per the engagement letter. Time sheets will be kept and time recorded as work progresses on your file.
2.2. Disbursements and expenses: In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf. These 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: Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
2.4. Invoices: we will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice if 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 15% pa.
2.6. 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; or
b. To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
3.2. 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 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 up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.
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 have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
6. Professional indemnity insurance
6.1. 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.
7. Conflicts of Interest
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 Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
8. Duty of Care
8.1. Our duty of care is to you (if an individual) and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to this.
9. Trust Account
9.1. We do not operate a trust account.
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 am 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.