Gawith Burridge Terms Of Engagement
This information is required to be provided as from 1 August 2008 as per the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 and Rules of Conduct and Client Care.
Note: before your first meeting with us, you may also wish to read about identification and address verification.
1. Our firm is committed to serving you professionally and ethically. We give the following undertakings to you:
- We will hold strictly confidential all communications with you, and all information that we receive from you during the course of our dealings. We will not reveal your confidences without your agreement.
- We will pursue your work conscientiously. In turn, we will need your full and timely co-operation to help represent you.
- We will work with you to develop an understanding of your expectations. We will work together to establish goals and deadlines that meet your needs.
- We will communicate with you and keep you informed about the status of your work. Your telephone calls will be returned promptly. We will send to you copies of significant correspondence and other documents. Where applicable, we will communicate with you by email unless you specifically ask us not to.
2. Our fees are based on the relevant factors specified by the New Zealand Law Society.
3. Our firm’s schedule of hourly rates for solicitors and other members of the professional staff are based on years of experience, specialisation and level of professional attainment. To the extent that solicitors and legal assistants are involved, their present rates will vary from $120.00 to $340.00 an hour plus GST. Hourly rates are subject to review from time to time. There are no additional charges for secretarial, word processing and similar services, but an administration fee is charged to cover offices expenses such as toll calls, faxes, photocopying, and the like, which are not covered as part of our hourly charge-out rate. We also charge an electronic transaction fee for online Land and Information New Zealand registration and searching transaction, and a commission on funds held on deposit through our trust account (5% of interest received is deducted to cover handling and administration costs).
4. The time spent by us on your behalf for which you will be charged will include:
- Personal and telephone attendances on you.
- Correspondence with you.
- Considering the law and the facts of your matter.
- Reading and considering incoming letters, papers and documents.
- Preparing papers.
- Correspondence with solicitors and third parties.
- Instructing inquiry agents and experts.
- Attendances on your behalf.
- Time spent on travelling.
5. Other factors that are taken into account in setting our fee include the urgency with which the matter is required to be completed, the time taken, the degree of specialised knowledge required, the degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the services including the value of any property involved and the complexity of the matter.
6. Our accounts are due for payment 14 days after the date of the account is sent to you unless prior arrangements are made with us in writing.
7. By instructing Gawith Burridge you accept liability to pay the account that the firm will render for work done together with all disbursements incurred in respect of such instructions and you authorise us to deduct our fees, expenses and disbursements from any funds held in our trust account on your behalf where we have provided an invoice.
8. Interim fees may be rendered monthly or at reasonable levels of recorded time and a final account forwarded promptly on completion of the instructions.
9. If any account is not paid within 30 days we reserve the right to charge interest on the outstanding balance at the rate of 4% above our ANZ commercial overdraft rate per annum from the date upon which payment was due and you will be responsible for any reasonable debt collection costs that we incur in recovering outstanding amounts due to us.
10. If your account remains outstanding after 60 days, no further work will be undertaken by any lawyer in the firm until appropriate arrangements are made to bring the account back into good standing.
11. Disbursements include expenses such as court filing fees, barrister’s fees, travel expenses, couriers, the fees of agents who serve documents and who conduct investigations, searches and registrations. You are responsible for reimbursing our firm for disbursements. Disbursements may be included with our accounts or may be billed separately. Firm policy requires us to obtain from you funds in advance for significant disbursements.
12. For property and financing transactions where payment of monies is due by you, we require cleared funds for the correct amount to be deposited with us no later than the morning of the settlement.
Termination of Legal Services and Retention of Files
13. At all times you have the right to terminate our services upon giving us reasonable written notice to that effect.
14. We may terminate the retainer if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a sufficiently timely manner or in your unwillingness, inability or failure to pay our fee on an agreed basis, or, except in litigation matters, your adopting against our advice a course of action which we believe is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with our fundamental obligations as lawyers. If we terminate the retainer we will give you reasonable notice so that you can arrange alternative representation and we shall give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer.
15. 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.
Privacy of Information
16. Over the course of your involvement with us, we may collect and hold personal information concerning you. Failure to provide us with information may preclude us from providing services to you or limit the quality of the services provided.
17. Information concerning you will be used by us to provide legal services, to obtain credit or other references, to undertake credit management and to inform you of issues and developments that may be of interest to you. You authorise us to obtain from any person, or release to any person, any information necessary for those purposes and you authorise any person to release information to us that we require for those purposes.
18. Subject to the above we will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential and will not disclose any information we hold on your behalf or about you unless we are required to do so by law or when requested by you or with your consent.
19. Information concerning you will be held at our office. Under the Privacy Act 1993 you have the right of access to, and correction of, your personal information held by us.
20. The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 requires us to collect from you and retain information required to verify your identity.
21. If you have a preferred method of our firm communicating with you, please let us know.
22. Please note that it is not possible for us to act without your instructions, and your interests may be seriously prejudiced if we are not able to contact you. There may be times when we require your urgent instructions (for example settlement day). Please ensure that there is an agreed way in which we can contact you at these times. Please note that we cannot be responsible for the consequences of us not being able to contact you.
Files and Documents
23. You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that we are required to hold in safe custody for you) six years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format. Upon closing your file you are welcome to uplift copies of the information on your file to which you are entitled. Please give us reasonable notice before collecting your file copies should you wish to do so.
The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund (the Fund)
24. The Fund exists to provide compensation of up to $100,000.00 per claimant for clients who suffer a pecuniary loss in certain circumstances. These circumstances are the theft by a lawyer of money or other valuable property entrusted to that lawyer while they are providing legal services to the public or while they are acting as a solicitor-trustee.
25. It should be noted though that the Fund will not pay compensation in respect of moneys instructed to be invested unless they are funds invested in a bank in New Zealand, or in some private loans such as family loans.
26. This is only a short summary of the major provisions in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 relating to the Fund. If you would like further information please ask us.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
27. We hold current professional indemnity insurance which exceeds the minimum standards from time to time specified by the New Zealand Law Society. As with all insurances this cover has limitations and is subject to certain exclusions, terms and conditions.
If you have a Complaint
28. We will provide you with a competent, timely service following your instructions, but if you have any complaint at all about our service please raise it with the partner responsible for your matter, or, if you prefer, any other partner in our firm.
29. If it cannot be resolved immediately to your satisfaction we shall appoint a partner who has not been involved in your matter to deal with it promptly and fairly.
30. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society which runs a complaints service. The New Zealand Law Society may be contacted by writing to PO Box 5041, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145.
31. Traditionally lawyers and clients have an absolute privilege position which means that anything told to a lawyer could not be disclosed to anybody else. However the Anti-Money Laundering rules have amended that privilege position and as such our rules of conduct have been amended to provide that lawyers:
- may not assist any person in any activity the lawyer knows to be fraudulent or criminal;
- may not knowingly assist in the concealment of fraud or crime;
- must disclose information which relates to the anticipated or proposed commission of a crime punishable by imprisonment for three years or more; and
- must disclose confidential information which relates to the anticipated commission of a crime or fraud.
32. If the above terms are not acceptable and/or the services outlined are not in accordance with your requirements, please contact us immediately. If we do not hear to the contrary within a maximum of five (5) working days from the date of this letter (time is of the essence), we will assume that you agree with all of the above terms and will proceed accordingly. Therefore, if you conclude that you do not want our firm to act on your behalf, please inform us promptly within the time specified above.
Client Care and Service Information
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 properly and fairly.
The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct & 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.
– May 2017