These terms of engagement and information apply to all work undertaken by Greenwood Roche.
The document is in two parts, with the first part setting out our standard terms of engagement and the second part detailing information for clients required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers issued by the New Zealand Law Society.
Please read this information carefully and feel free to contact us with any queries.
Standard terms of engagement
The services which we are to provide for you from time to time will be outlined in a letter of engagement which we will provide to you for each new matter or which, if agreed by you, will govern each matter on which we work for you.
The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at will be set out in each new letter of engagement.
If the letter of engagement specifies a fixed fee we will charge this for the agreed scope of our services, subject to any assumptions and qualifications set out in that letter. Work which falls outside the scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis unless otherwise agreed. We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further fees, disbursements and expenses.
If the letter of engagement specifies that fees are to be calculated on an hourly basis, individual solicitors’ hourly rates will be set out in that letter. The differences in those rates for each matter reflect the experience and specialisation of our solicitors. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
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 disbursement or expense is incurred, unless otherwise agreed. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.
We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us or to provide security for our fees, disbursements and expenses. You authorise us:
to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account, any fees, disbursements or expenses for which we have provided an invoice.
Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees, disbursements and expenses and although our invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, you will still remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.
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:
Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services for you.
We will not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
You may terminate our retainer at any time.
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 or in these terms.
If our retainer is terminated (whether by you or us) you must pay us all fees due and all disbursements and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.
In the event that you ask us to deliver your files back to you or to another person, we will give you electronic access to all your documents filed under your relevant matters, and will work with you in good faith to deliver hard copies if that is practicable. You similarly undertake to provide us with future access to those materials, upon request, if we elect not to keep copies. We reserve the right to charge for any attendances and copying.
Retention of Files and Documents
You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for each matter on which we act for you (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) 10 years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
Duty of Care
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. However, this duty of care is subject to the overriding duties owed to the courts and to the justice system.
We are required to comply with all laws applicable to us in all jurisdictions, including:
We may be required to undertake customer (client) due diligence on you, persons acting on your behalf and other relevant persons such as beneficial owners and controlling persons. We may not be able to begin acting, or to continue acting, for you until that is completed.
To ensure our compliance and yours, we may be required to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf or other relevant persons to government agencies. There may be circumstances where we are not able to tell you or such persons if we do provide information.
Please ensure that you and any of the persons described above are aware of and consent to this. It is important to ensure that all information provided to us is accurate. If the information required is not provided, or considered by us to be potentially inaccurate, misleading, or in contravention of any law, we may terminate or refuse to enter into an engagement.
These terms will also apply to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
We are entitled to change these terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended terms.
Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.
Information for clients
Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society.
The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our letter of engagement. When payment of fees is to be made is set out in our standard terms of engagement.
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.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.
Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund
The New Zealand 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. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & 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.
We maintain 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 our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work.
If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to John Greenwood, consultant, or to any of our partners.
John Greenwood may be contacted by letter, email or telephone at the details listed on the Contact Us section of our website www.greenwoodroche.com
. To contact one of our partners, please call them directly on their direct dial listed on our website.
The New Zealand Law Society also operates a Lawyers Complaints Service and has powers that require it to investigate complaints about its members. You are able to make a complaint to that service by contacting the Lawyers Complaints Service on 0800 261 801.
Persons Responsible for the Work
The names and status of the person or persons who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are set out in our letter of engagement.
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; and
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 the New Zealand Law Society’s website at www.lawyers.org.nz
or call 0800 261 801.