STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
These Standard Terms of Engagement (“Terms”) apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.
The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.
The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our engagement letter. The differences in the hourly rates for our professional staff reflect their experience and specialisation. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes. Hourly rates may be adjusted from time to time.
In providing services we may incur disbursements which require payments to be made on your behalf to a third party. In some circumstances we may require an advance payment of the disbursements which we will be incurring on your behalf.
An office service fee may be charged in addition to disbursements to recover administration costs relating to these. We may also recover office administration costs in the form of a file fee or for specific costs ie. photocopying, communication costs etc.
GST (if any):
Is payable by you on our fees and charges.
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 when we incur a significant expense.
Other than transactional matters in which the fees and expenses are payable on the Settlement Date, our invoices are payable within 14 days following the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made between us. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 12 % per annum on the basis of monthly rests. We reserve the right to add debt collection costs to any unpaid fees.
Under these terms of engagement you authorise and direct us to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account, any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice to you or to your related trust/s or business entity.
We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security or a guarantor to secure payment of our fees and expenses for you or your related trust/s or business entity. You authorise and direct 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, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
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.
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. 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.
For Residential Land Withholding Tax requirements we are dependent on the information both vendors and purchasers supply us to determine if there is any liability to calculate and pay this tax on your behalf. We accept no liability for the accuracy of any information reasonably supplied to us and in accepting these terms of trade you indemnify us for any costs, expenses, damages, penalties, or losses we suffer or incur as a result of any inaccuracy or inadequacy in the information you supply to us.
We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs acquired during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:
- to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
- to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers; or
- to a debt collection agency for the recovery of unpaid fees.
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 of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
Retention of files and documents:
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 hard copy files and documents to an electronic format.
Conflicts of Interest:
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.
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.
We maintain 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 for a reasonable period of time, then subject to compliance with the FATCA rules below, we will lodge those funds on interest-bearing deposit with a bank.
If we hold credit funds of $20 or less, it can become uneconomic for us to return such funds. Unless we hear from you to the contrary, by your acceptance of these terms of engagement, you authorise us to pay these funds to a designated holding account. Annually these accumulated funds will be paid to a charity. BCH Law will not benefit from this.
While we use standard virus checking software, we accept no responsibility for viruses or anything similar in any emails or any attachments, which come from our firm. We also do not accept any responsibility for any changes to, or interception or, any email or any attachment after if leaves our information system.
Under an Inter-Government Agreement between New Zealand and the United States we are required to comply with the USA Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”). FATCA requires us to collect information from our clients who we hold funds on behalf of in our BNZ Client Fund Service (“CFS”). We are required to pass that information to our bank to enable them to meet its reporting obligations. By these terms of engagement you authorise this firm to comply with FATCA and pass that information on as required, unless it comes with an exemption such as money held in escrow, money held for an estate, money held for a charitable trust or as otherwise defined in the Act.
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (“AML/CFT”) (“The Act”):
From 1 July 2018 all new and existing clients are required to identify themselves by providing us with Proof of Identity and Proof of Address. To adhere to the rules of “The Act” we may also require additional information. If this is the case we will let you know what additional information is required and the reason for it.
These Terms apply to any current engagement and also 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.
V13 December 2022