TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
This letter contains client care and service information in accordance with the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008.
1. SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED
A detailed description of the services you require me to provide to you is inserted here.
2. I WILL
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.
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.
3. INSTRUCTING SOLICITOR
As I am a Barrister, it is a legal requirement that I am formally retained to work on your behalf by an Instructing Solicitor. If you do not have an Instructing Solicitor, I can assist with arranging one for you.
My Instructing Solicitor may write to you to confirm the instruction and advise the terms of their involvement.
On occasions work on this matter may, if necessary, be undertaken, at my direction, by the Instructing Solicitor. This work may include title searching, property transactions, drafting documentation for trusts, preparing a new Will and Enduring Powers of Attorney.
You will be billed separately by my Instructing Solicitor for this work. There will be no duplication of costs.
4. FEES AND OTHER CHARGES
I will consider your case and discuss my hourly rate/flat fee for the work you wish to instruct me to carry out. You will be provided with written confirmation of the hourly rate/flat fee agreed to. I no longer conduct Legal Aid Work and so do not provide services, as a registered Legal Aid service provider, to the Ministry of Justice.
Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes. Your invoice may include charges for out of pocket expenses that have been incurred by me, on your behalf. These expenses are charged on to you at actual cost. For example, these expenses could include charges for serving documents, court filing fees, fees for on line reports.
5. CALCULATION OF FEES
My fee will be based on the time spent by me on your behalf and the criteria laid down by the New Zealand Law Society. The time spent by me on your behalf for which you will be charged will include:
Communications with you and with lawyers acting for the other party/parties i.e. meetings, correspondence, communications by telephone, fax and email
Analysing the law and facts of your case
Reading and considering documents and information related to your case
Necessary correspondence with third parties
Preparation of Court documents
Court appearances and preparation in advance
Instructing process servers and experts
Time spent travelling
6. FEES PAID IN ADVANCE
I do not require that you pay fees in advance to be held by my Instructing Solicitor at this time but reserve the right to request that fees or disbursements be paid in advance in the future if necessary.
My Instructing Solicitor may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in their trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which I have provided an invoice.
I will generally send an interim invoice following completion of the first steps taken on your instruction. I will then render interim invoices every month or more frequently e.g. if a significant amount of work has been completed part way through a month or if you have asked that I issue an invoice once time spent has reached a particular value. There will usually be a final invoice issued on completion of your matter.
Invoices are payable immediately upon being rendered. Invoices can be paid either by direct credit to the bank account number appearing on your invoice, by credit card via my website www.karenmonet.co.nz or by eftpos or credit card if we meet at my office.
8. QUERIES AND LATE PAYMENT
Any queries should be raised at the earliest possible time. If an invoice is not paid promptly:
Further work may be suspended and custody of the papers of filed in your matter may be retained until all accounts are paid in full; and
Interest may be charged at the commercial overdraft interest rate charged by the ASB Bank on any amount outstanding 7 days after the date of the account.
9. PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WORK
I am the person who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services I provide f or you as set out above at Paragraph 1.
Unless otherwise agreed with you, I will communicate with you and others at times by electronic means. I do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage of loss caused in connection with the corruption of an electronic communication, including non-receipt of any communication, including computer email communications. If you have a preferred method of communication, please advise me.
11. INFORMATION I NEED & YOUR PRIVACY
Over the course of your involvement with me I may collect and hold personal information about you. Failure to provide me with information may preclude me from providing services to you.
Information concerning you will be used by me to provide legal services and to inform you of issues and developments that may be of interest to you. By instructing me in your matter you authorise me to obtain from any person or release to any person any information necessary for that purpose and you authorise any person to release information to me that I require for those purposes.
12. DUTIES OWED
My duties are owed to you and my Instructing Solicitor. Unless otherwise agreed in writing or required by law, those duties will not extend to others, including for examples, associated parties such as shareholders or related companies, directors or employees, or parents or other family members. If any other parties wish to retain me, they should do so by separate agreement.
I regard client confidentiality as of paramount importance. I do not disclose any confidential information obtained as a result of acting for a client unless required or authorised by that client, or by law or the Law Society’s Rules.
14. RETENTION OF CLIENT’S FILES & DOCUMENTS
You authorise me to destroy all files for this matter 7 years after the engagement ends, or earlier if I have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
You may terminate my brief at any time. If my brief is terminated, you will be required to pay my charges for work carried out and for expenses incurred, up to the date of termination.
I may cease to act for you if there is good cause such as:-
Your instructions require me to breach any professional obligation;your inability or failure to pay me fee on the agreed basis, or in the absence of an agreed basis, a reasonable fee at the appropriate time;
You mislead or deceive me in a material respect;
You fail to provide me with instructions in a sufficiently timely way;
Except in litigation matters, the adoption by you against my advice of a course of action that I believe is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with my fundamental obligations;
I perceive that I have lost your confidence;
Termination is otherwise required for lawful reasons;
A conflict of interest comes to my notice;
Ethically, I do not consider that I can continue acting.
I will give you reasonable notice of the termination of my instructions and I will give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer. If I cease to act for you, you will be required to pay my charges for work carried out and for expenses incurred, up to the date of termination.
I 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 my services or charges, I am happy to meet with you to discuss the nature of your complaint so we can attempt to resolve it together.
If you do not wish to refer your complaint to me, or you are not satisfied with my response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to my Instructing Solicitor.
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.
17. LAWYER’S FIDELITY FUND
The Law Society maintains the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund for the purpose of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. As a barrister, I do not operate a trust account or otherwise hold client funds or property. The Fidelity Fund is, therefore, not applicable to me.
18. PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE
I hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society. I will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.
These terms I have with you are:
Governed by New Zealand law; and
Subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts; and
Binding on you and your executors, administrators and successors; and
You may not assign or transfer and rights or obligations under these terms or any agreement I have with you.
20. ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TERMS
By instructing me to provide legal services, you are deemed to have accepted my Terms of Engagement.