Terms of Service
These Terms and Conditions of Business (“Terms”) apply in respect of all work carried out by LAWBAR for you, except to the extent that LAWBAR otherwise agrees with you in writing.
1.1 The services which we are to provide for you are those that you select and pay for at the time of opening your file.
The fees we set out are estimated based on our experience. We believe that in most instances our experience is accurate, however, in the instance that your transaction becomes outside of the normal, and other than if we give you a fixed fee, fees charged will be calculated on an hourly rate in accordance with these terms of engagement. Work which falls outside the scope of the fixed fee will also be charged on a time and attendance basis. We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the standard agreed scope and, give you an amended fixed fee amount of the further costs.
Hourly rates of staff members depends on their skill and experience level. Hourly rates range from $220.00 plus GST to $350.00 plus GST. The difference in those rates reflect the experience and the specialisation of our professional staff. Hourly rates are reviewed periodically and may change during this engagement. We always strive to ensure that our resources are allocated correctly so that you receive the most competitive fee in the market place. Our Terms of Engagement also provide that in calculating a fee we may take into account other factors in additional to the hourly rate.
The time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes. In addition we will take into account:
(i) The importance of the matter and the results achieved;
(ii) The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limits which are imposed.
We may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account, any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
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. Agency Services are provided by an entity associated with LAWBAR.
2.3 GST (if any)
Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
We may send interim invoices to you if it is appropriate to do so. We will send you an invoice on completion of the matter or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
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%. In the event of default, the client is responsible for all collection agency fees, commissions costs, disbursements; and all legal costs on a solicitor/own client basis.
We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:
(a) To debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
(b) To deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account;
(c) Any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
2.7 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 the law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
(c) Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services to you.
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:
(a) The lawyer terminates the retainer for good cause and after giving reasonable notice to the client specifying the grounds for termination.
(b) Good cause includes –
(i) Instructions that require the lawyer to breach any professional obligations:
(ii) The inability or failure of the client to pay a fee on the agreed basis or, in the absence of an agreed basis, a reasonable fee at the appropriate time;
(iii) The client misleading or deceiving the lawyer in a material respect;
(iv) The client failing to provide instructions to the lawyer in a clear and sufficiently timely way;
(vi) Except in litigation matters, the adoption by the client against the advice of the lawyer of a course of action that the lawyer believes is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with the lawyer’s fundamental obligations.
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.
4.4 All fees paid in advance are held in Trust until work is completed. If you elect to terminate our retainer prior to the completion of your transaction we will invoice you for work completed up until the time of termination and refund the balance to your nominated bank account.
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 that 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.
5.2 If our retainer is terminated we may retain copies of documents or records where we deliver the documents and records to you.
6 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
6.1 We will comply with the NZLS Rules in respect of Conflict of Interests.
6.2 If a conflict of interest arises we will immediately advise you and discuss how to proceed.
6.3 If you believe a conflict of interest has arisen or may arise please inform us immediately.
7 DUTY OF CARE
7.1 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.
7.2 Our advice is limited to, and governed by New Zealand law.
7.3 We are not responsible for advising you on taxation unless you specifically request us to do so.
8 TRUST ACCOUNT
8.1 LAWBAR maintains a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies 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 you an administration fee of 5% of the interest earned.
9.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
9.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.
9.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand Courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
9.4 By providing your contact details and email address to LAWBAR you consent to receiving email newsletters, updates and information via email from LAWBAR from time to time.
10 CLIENT INFORMATION
Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society ("Law Society").
10.1 Professional Indemnity Insurance
LAWBAR holds professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with the minimum standards upon request or these can be found on the Law Society's website.
10.2 Lawyers Fidelity Fund
The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers and 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.
LAWBAR maintains a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.
If you have a complaint about the services being provided to you by LAWBAR you may refer to your complaint to the manager. The manager can be contacted on LAWBAR, PO Box 1330, Pukekohe 2340 or email [email protected] or you can phone on 0800 LAWBAR (0800 529227). The Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complain to that service. To do so you should contact the Law Society, P O box 4031, Lambton Quay, Wellington, 6145 or telephone 0800 261 801.
10.4 Client care and Services
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 its completed;
Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
The obligations lawyers owe to client are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligation are subject to other overriding duties including duties to the Courts and to the Justice System.
If you have any questions please visit www.lawyers.org.nz or telephone 0800 261 801.
10.5 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 will be set out in a separate email to you or within the LAWBAR work space.