Who May Give Us Instructions
Unless you notify us otherwise in writing:
- Where there are more than one of you, we may take instructions from any one of you.
- If you are a company, trust, society or charitable organisation, we may take instructions from any person who acts as though he/she has authority to give us instructions.
Client Care and Service
The New Zealand Law Society client care and service information is set out below. Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, they 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 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 www.lawsociety.org.nz.
Commitment to Quality
Rainey Collins is committed to delighting you by providing you with professional, comprehensive and quality legal advice. If you have any queries concerning our service, please do not hesitate to contact the solicitor handling your matter and/or our Managing Partner.
Your personal information received by us will be stored in our offices in Wellington. Older material is sometimes stored in document storage facilities off site. We will take care to protect your information from unauthorised access. We will not divulge information except in accordance with normal legal requirements and practices.
Conflicts of Interest
Before we accept work from you, we will do our best to find out if any conflict of interest exists. If we find a conflict at any time, we will immediately let you know and tell you how we plan to deal with it. This may mean that we can no longer do work for you.
Regular Reporting to You
We will keep you informed of how matters are progressing on your file. Depending on your wishes, we can report either:
- At set intervals; or
- Upon the happening of significant events.
We will discuss with you which system suits you best.
Estimates and Quotes
Estimates allow you to gauge the likely cost of legal work. Remember that they are a guide only as many factors are unknown, especially in Court matters. Only a Partner of the firm may give a quote for other than an initial consultation. In some cases we may not be able to give a quote because of the uncertainty surrounding the legal matter or dispute. Any quotes, other than for an initial consultation, given by the firm will be given in writing.
The basis on which fees will be charged is in accordance with the Rules established by the New Zealand Law Society. These are:
- The skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the work properly;
- The complexity of the work and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
- Our experience, reputation and ability;
- The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by you;
- The importance of the matter to you and the results achieved;
- The degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the work including the amount of value of any property involved;
- The fee customarily charged in the market and locally for similar legal services;
- The possibility that the acceptance of the particular retainer will preclude engagement of us by other clients;
- Our reasonable costs of running a practice;
- Our time and labour expended.
You should note that time spent on your work is only one of the factors we consider in assessing the fee for your work.
There may be occasions when it will be appropriate for us to charge for more than one solicitor who will be doing your work at the same time or consulting with each other in relation to the work.
In some cases you may be eligible to apply for legal aid. If you want to apply for legal aid, we may refer you to another firm as we do not usually carry out most types of legal aid work.
Increase in Charge-Out Rates
The time spent on your work is one factor considered in assessing the fee. From time to time, our charge-out rates may increase. If this happens whilst we are carrying out work covered by these terms and conditions, we will notify you of our increased charge-out rates.
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.
Deposits are required for most legal work conducted by us. We will let you know what that deposit is and when the deposit needs to be “topped up”.
Property or Business
Where we act for a client purchasing or selling a property or business, we will require our tax invoice, which will list our fee, GST, and disbursements, to be paid on or before the day of settlement.
Payment of Accounts
Legal work involves a significant investment. To assist you for budgeting purposes, we will keep you regularly advised of the amount invested. Funds will be required in advance. We will advise you what is required in advance and arrange a billing system to suit you. This can be either:
- At set intervals e.g. monthly; or
- At significant stages.
We will discuss your preference with you.
We understand that some clients may face problems meeting legal bills and we are happy to set up automatic payments in advance to allow you to spread the costs on a manageable basis. Bills are payable within 14 days.
We will charge you interest on unpaid accounts at the rate of 15% per annum. We may take action to recover unpaid fees and we may add the cost of that recovery to your overdue account. By instructing us you agree to pay any costs of recovery if you do not pay our accounts on time.
Payment of Our Legal Bills from Trust Money
Where we act for you and have funds in our trust account, you authorise us to pay our accounts by deduction from those funds. Where you are entitled to receive any money as a result of any work carried out on your behalf, you agree that this is to be paid into our trust account. You authorise us to direct that any such money is to be paid to our trust account.
Retention and Destruction of Documents
We are entitled to retain your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our legal fees and expenses.
You authorise us to automatically destroy your file and records after 10 years from the last substantive action on the file unless we receive a written request from you to forward them to you.
Ending Our Engagement
You may end our engagement in writing at any time. If you do so, you will pay our fees and expenses incurred up to the time of termination.
We may decide to stop working for you if:
- You do not pay our accounts on the due date;
- You do not provide us with adequate instructions within a reasonable time of us requesting them;
- Against our advice you act in a way we believe is unwise or inconsistent with our obligations as lawyers; or
- We on reasonable grounds believe that we may have a conflict of interest, or for other good cause.
We will give you at least seven (7) days’ notice of our intention to stop working for you, and of the grounds on which the notice is based. You will be required to pay our fees for work done, and for expenses incurred, up to the date notified to you.
When we prepare any document for you, you are free to use that document as you see fit, but as our licensee, unless otherwise agreed. Rainey Collins will retain ownership of copyright in the document unless otherwise agreed. If our firm’s name and/or brand appears on a document, you will have to first consult with us if you elect to amend, distribute, or publish it in any way whatsoever.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.
Lawyers Fidelity Fund
The 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.
If you have a complaint about our services or charges, please refer this to any Partner of the firm. They will organise an investigation into your complaint so that it is dealt with in a fair and prompt manner and will advise you of the outcome of the investigation.
The Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so you should contact the New Zealand Law Society, PO Box 5041, Wellington or phone (04) 472 7837.
Our aim is to delight our clients and we aim to delight you with our service. If we do not do so, please let us know as soon as possible so we can put it right.