Standard Terms of Engagement
These Terms of Engagement (“terms”) will apply to all services that Clark Boyce (“we”, “our” or “us”) provides to clients unless otherwise agreed in writing.
Our client will be the party or parties identified in the letter or email accompanying these terms and will be the only party or parties to whom services will be provided.
2. Services and role
These services will be as agreed between us from time to time. Our duties are owed only to our client(s) and any advice given is for the benefit of that or those client(s) alone. All services provided will be carried out in accordance with applicable laws and the rules of professional conduct of the New Zealand Law Society.
We do not hold ourselves out to be expert in all fields of law, and subject to first obtaining your instructions we will if necessary or desirable to do so secure advice on particular aspects of the matter on which you have instructed us from other professionals or experts.
Our services will not include providing you with investment, financial or tax advice but we will, if you so request, assist you in obtaining such advice. We are only qualified to advise on New Zealand law. If we do assist you on matters governed by foreign law, we do so on the basis we are not responsible in relation to your position under that law whether or not we have obtained foreign law advice on your behalf.
When we have fulfilled your instructions our retainer with you will end.
We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of our acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except as:
(a) Authorised by you; or
(b) To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
(c) To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s rules.
4. Basis of charges
We will charge a fee which is reasonable for the services provided to you. The hourly rate of the people working on your file may be taken into account. Further factors which we may take into account are set out in our Client Service Commitment which can be viewed on our website here.
If requested to do so we will give an estimate of the likely fees. It is not always possible to accurately determine the amount of fees and expenses for any particular instruction. For that reason any estimate provided will be a guide only and not a fixed quotation unless specifically agreed otherwise. Where the estimate is likely to be materially exceeded, we will endeavour to advise you and provide you with an updated estimate.
We will also invoice you for a standard service charge to cover general office expenses provided by us (for example photocopying, faxes, telecom, bank charges, deliveries and postage).
5. Other charges
It is likely we will incur disbursements and other expenses on your behalf, and which are properly required to undertake our services to you. We may ask you to pay us in advance an amount on account of our professional and other charges or disbursements.
6. Billing and accounts
We may render interim invoices to you from time to time (often on a monthly basis) and will send you a final invoice on completion of your instructions or termination of our engagement.
You authorise us to deduct any outstanding fees and disbursements from funds held on your behalf whether from amounts prepaid or received by us on your account. Further, you acknowledge any such deduction is to be treated in all respects as if you had remitted such payment to us without reservation.
Our accounts are payable in full within 14 days after the invoice date. If payment is not made on time, then without prejudice to our rights, we may charge interest on the amount outstanding at 15% pa and/or charge you collection costs on a solicitor/own client basis, and/or stop our work for you immediately.
7. Liability for payment
Each client engaged by us will be jointly and severally liable for payment of our fees and disbursements.
If instructions are received from you in your capacity as director or shareholder of a limited liability company or as a settlor or trustee of a trust or estate, then such instructions are accepted on the basis that you are at all times personally responsible as principal debtor for payment of our fees and disbursements and you personally indemnify us for the payment of our fees rendered to any such entities.
When acting for a joint client or more than one client(s) in a particular matter you acknowledge we may, but are not required to, accept or act on instructions from any one person.
8. Third parties
Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices at your request or with your approval may be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment if the third party fails to pay us.
9. Electronic communications
Unless otherwise instructed by you, we may communicate with you and others by electronic means. Such communications are not secure and may be subject to unauthorised interception, interference, error or virus. While we take all reasonable steps to protect our communications from such issues, we do not accept any responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or loss if they occur.
10. Files and documents
We will retain files we establish on a matter and any other documents you leave with us for at least seven (7) years after the end of our retainer. You authorise us without further reference to you to destroy all files and documents for the matter (other than any documents that we hold in our safe custody for you) seven (7) years after our engagement ends or earlier if we have converted and stored those files and documents to an electronic format. We may store those files and documents at premises outside our offices operated by independent service contractors. If you uplift your files or documents, we may make copies of them before giving them to you.
11. 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 Rules.
12. Duty of care
Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person. We must expressly agree before any other person may rely on our advice. If a third party does rely on our advice without our prior written consent, we shall not be liable for any loss, cost or expense to you or the third party as a result of that.
13. Trust account
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 we would normally lodge these funds on interest bearing deposit with a New Zealand registered bank either on call or for a fixed term. We are not responsible for obtaining the best interest rate available at the time your funds are placed on interest bearing deposit or for any loss of interest that you may suffer as a result of any delay in placing your funds on interest bearing deposit. Our trust account is not audited.
You may terminate our retainer at any time. We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society Rules. If our retainer is terminated, you must pay us all fees and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.
15. Changes to these terms
We may amend/revoke/replace these terms at any time. If we do so, we will provide notice of such on our website, and the amended terms will take effect immediately.
16. Law and jurisdiction
These terms are governed by New Zealand law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of New Zealand.