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     Services

The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.

2     Taxation and Anti Money Laundering

2.1   Terminology:

a    AML: Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

b    CRS: Common Reporting Standard, considered a “global version” of FATCA to provide a global framework for the collection, reporting, and exchange of financial account     information about persons that invest outside of their jurisdiction of tax residence. This will assist in detecting and deterring offshore tax evasion.

c    FATCA: United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

d    PTR: Prescribed Transaction Report. We are required to report to the Financial Intelligence Unit if we receive a cash payment over $10,000 or if we receive or make an international wire transaction over $1,000. 

e    SAR: Suspicious Activity Report.We are required to report to the Financial Intelligence Unit if we believe a transaction is suspicious in terms of AML.

2.2   We may collect information from you and disclose that information to third parties:

a    We at our sole discretion may file SAR and PTR reports in relation to you under AML rules. We have no obligation whatsoever to disclose any such filing to you.

b    We at our sole discretion may file reports (including to banks) in relation to you under FATCA or CRS rules, we have no obligation whatsoever to disclose any such filing to you.

c    We at our sole discretion may request you to provide information to us to satisfy our compliance requirements in relation to AML, FATCA, CRS or New Zealand taxation laws or conveyancing laws such as the Land Transfer Act (1952 or 2017), and may disclose that information to third parties to satisfy our statutory obligations.

3    Financial

3.1    Fees:

a    The fees which we will charge or the manner in which they will be arrived at, are set out in our engagement letter.

b    If the engagement letter 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, the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff.

3.2    AML Office Expense Recoveries:

In order to accept your instruction we are required to complete AML customer due diligence. This will be levied depending on the nature of the transaction and circumstances.

3.3     Office Expense Recoveries: During the course of our service to you, we will incur certain expenses on your behalf, such as stationery items, postage, telephone and electronic data charges, photocopying and accounts administration etc.  As a matter of course, we levy a charge of $65.22+GST when we open a new matter to cover these costs to a basic level. A further office expense fee of 5% of the value of time recorded on your matter (to cover further telephone, fax, tolls, electronic data and printing charges) will be applied if we render subsequent invoices to you beyond our first invoice.

In addition to the above charge, if we incur expenses for photocopying, tolls and other expenses that are over and above what could be considered normal, we will recover these from you also.

3.4        Disbursements: A disbursement is a specific payment by us to a third party on your behalf.  We will recover from you disbursements that we incur in relation to your matter. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

Typical disbursements include Title Search Fees, Covenant Search Fees, PPSR Search Fees, Registration Charges, Company Incorporation Charges, Trademark Registration Fees, and Probate Application Fees.

3.5    GST (if any): Is payable by you on our fees and charges.

3.6    Invoices: 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.

3.7    Payment: Invoices are payable within fourteen (14) 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 more than 14 days overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 1.5% per month.

3.8    Debt Collection: Should payment of our invoice not be made within the specified time (fourteen (14) days unless otherwise agreed in writing), we reserve the right to refer any unpaid invoice to a debt collection agency or take any such legal action as we consider necessary. We may also submit the details and particulars of your account to a credit reporting agency, which might affect your credit rating and ability to make certain transactions with other companies.

Should such action be taken you will be liable for collection fees, late payment fees and any legal fees that are incurred as a result of non payment within the specified time.

3.9    Security: 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.

3.10    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, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

4     Confidentiality

4.1     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.

4.2     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.

4.3     We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.

5     Termination

5.1     You may terminate our retainer at any time.

5.2     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

5.3     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.

6     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 files and documents to an electronic format.

7     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.

8     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.

9     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 will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the interest derived.

10     General

10.1     These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

10.2     We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.

10.3     Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction

11    Instructions from the Director(s) of a Company

You may have asked us to carry out work on behalf of your company. We have accepted your instructions on the basis that you personally have requested this work. While we may, at your request, present our invoice for payment by the company, in the event of non-payment by the company we shall be entitled to invoice you for immediate payment of our costs and disbursements, and also any costs due in terms of Paragraphs 3.6 and 3.7 above.