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.
1.1 The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our letter of engagement.
(a) The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our letter of engagement and will be in accordance with the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
(b) If the letter of engagement specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our services. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis. 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 costs.
(c) Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, these rates are available on request. Differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. Hourly rates are regularly reviewed and may be amended from time to time without reference to you. Time spent is recorded in 6 minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
2.2 Disbursements and expenses:
(a) Payments may have to be made to other people for work to be done, for example, filing fees, search fees, agency fees, service fees and similar payments (called disbursements). We cannot pay these amounts on your behalf unless we first receive payment from you. We reserve the right to ask you either for the specific amount or for an approximate amount to cover these expenses. If you pay this amount into our trust account, you authorise us to make payment on your behalf to cover these disbursements. This will ensure that we are not out of pocket.
(b) If we instruct any other person (including counsel or another practitioner), we reserve the right to require payment of that person’s estimated fees into our trust account beforehand and you authorise us to make payment to that person from the money paid into our trust account. By instructing that person, we are obligated to pay that person’s fees and accordingly we require protection for payment. We may require you to enter into a payment arrangement directly with that person.
(e) We use third party providers to help complete our customer due diligence (see 5 below). The costs of these services will be charged to you.
2.3 GST (if any):
GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.
We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on the completion of the matter or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
Invoices are payable within 7 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 12% p.a. All costs in relation to the collection of overdue accounts will be added to your account.
2.6 Payment by Credit Card:
We accept payment by VISA and Mastercard. Credit card payments will incur a surcharge which, at the date of our engagement, is 1.85%. This rate is subject to change and we will notify you of any changes.
We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:
(a) to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and
(b) 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.
2.8 Third parties:
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, you will nonetheless remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.
3.1 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:
(a) To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
(b) To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
3.2 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.
4.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time
4.2 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.
4.3 If our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of the termination and all expenses incurred up to that date together with fees incurred resulting from the termination.
- Anti-Money Laundering Requirements
5.1 We are required to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act). We will perform customer due diligence and account monitoring, keep records and report any unusual or suspicious transactions where required by the AML/CFT Act or any other law. We will periodically advise you what information and documents are required for these purposes, which may include information about you and others (e.g. beneficial owners), information relating to the source of funds/wealth, the transaction, ownership structure and any other relevant matter.
5.2 Please promptly provide the information and documents requested. We may have to refuse to act or cease acting if we cannot meet our AML/CFT Act obligations. We may retain the information and documents or provide them to a bank or other entity (where applicable) to deal with in accordance with their terms, and disclose them to any law enforcement, regulatory agency or court as required by law or to fulfil our obligations under the AML/CFT Act (e.g. to an auditor).
5.3 You accept we may use an agent to verify your identity and conduct other due diligence required to meet our obligations, and you authorise us to exchange personal information about you and your affairs with the agent for that purpose. You agree to pay the agent’s cost of completing due diligence (which we will invoice to you as a disbursement) whether or not the matter proceeds. The agent may host your personal information for us for storage purposes and to meet our AML/CFT obligations only.
- Retention of Files, Documents, Records and Information
6.1 We will keep a record of all important documents which we receive or create on your behalf on the following basis:
(a) We may keep a record electronically and destroy originals (except for Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney where the existence of an original is legally important). Wherever possible we will return the originals of all other documents to you.
(c) We are not obliged to retain documents or copies where you have requested that we provide them to you, or to another person, and we have done so. However, we are entitled to retain copies for our own records if we wish to do so.
6.2 We will provide to you on request copies or originals (at our option) of all documents to which you are entitled under the Privacy Act 2020 or any other law. We may charge you our reasonable costs for doing this.
6.3 Where we hold documents that belong to a third party, you will need to provide us with that party’s written authority to uplift to obtain a copy of that document.
6.4 Unless you instruct us in writing otherwise, you authorise and consent to us (without further reference to you) destroying (or deleting in the case of electronic records) all documents held by us seven (7) years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those documents to an electronic format (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you or are otherwise obliged by law to retain for longer). We may retain documents for longer at our option.
6.5 We own copyright in all documents or work we create in the course of performing the services, but grant you a non-exclusive licence to use and copy the documents as you see fit for your own personal or commercial use. However, you may not permit any third party to copy, adapt or use the documents without our written permission.
- Conflicts of Interests
7.1 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
8.1 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.
- The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT)
9.1 AML/CFT requires that we meet certain customer due diligence requirements. We will request provision of certain information in order for us to comply with these requirements, such as:
- Proof of identification
- Proof of address; and
- Sources of funds or wealth
We reserve the right to terminate your retainer and take no further steps if you fail to provide this information to us in a timely fashion.
12.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
12.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you another amended Terms.
12.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law.
- Use of Leishman Legal’s Name and Advice
13.1 Leishman Legal’s name (either directly or by inference) must not be used by you without prior written consent of our principal, Vanessa Leishman.
13.2 The advice provided by Leishman Legal is provided solely for your benefit and use by you in connection with the matter we were engaged to provide advice on. It should not be used or relied upon by you for any other purpose, nor may it be disclosed by you to any other third party without prior written consent of Vanessa Leishman.
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 (“Law Society”). References to “We” and “Us” refer to Leishman Legal.
The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our Terms of Engagement. These are
available on our website under www.leishmanlegal.com or from us upon request. 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 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 purpose 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 $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers and 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 should first 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 Vanessa Leishman. The New Zealand 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.
- 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 shall be advised to you when we are engaged by you to perform services.
- 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
- 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 or call 0800 261 801.
- Limitations on extent of our Obligations or Liability:
Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability, are set out in our Terms of Engagement.