Terms of
Engagement

Care and Service

We will:

  • act competently in accordance with instructions received;
  • 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;
  • provide you with 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 we 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.

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 in writing. If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this and follow the procedures set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct.

Confidentiality

For proof of identity, any of the following forms are acceptable: Drivers Licence; Passport; Photo Credit Card We 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 to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or to the extent required by law. This information will only be made available to those within our firm who are providing legal services for you, as far as this is practicable. We will not disclose to you confidential information which we have concerning any other client. We may retain copies of your documents and records should we provide you with the original of these. Generally, files will be destroyed 7 years after file closure.

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.

Fidelity Fund

The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund (“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.

Fees and Charges

Our work is often charged on a time basis, the hourly rate of the lawyer(s) involved will apply. Time is recorded in units of 6 minutes, with time rounded up to the nearest unit of 6 minutes. Estimates will be provided and reviewed upon request and will be calculated in accordance with accepted guidelines some of which are: time involved; complexity; urgency; importance of the work and the results achieved; and risk. Where the work required falls outside of the scope of any estimate, we will advise you as early as practicable that the initial estimate no longer applies. A file handling and administration fee is charged to cover ordinary expenses. Any additional charges will appear on the invoice for the period in which they are incurred. Payment in advance may be requested for disbursements.

Payment of Accounts

An account will be sent on completion of your instructions or interim accounts will be sent monthly. Outstanding accounts will incur interest at the rate of 1% per month charged at our discretion. We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise 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. You may wish to make periodic payments into our trust account on account of fees, expenses or disbursements. 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 still remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

Trust Account & Payments

We maintain a trust account into which we pay all funds which we receive from or on behalf of clients and are held on trust for you until distributed in accordance with your instructions. All payments of funds, other than to you, will only be made with your prior written authority. You may pay us by direct credit or by cheque (including bank cheque) made payable to "Grove Darlow & Partners Trust Account." There is a period time required to clear cheques and other payments. This may mean we have to wait until the funds have cleared before disbursing the funds in accordance with your instructions. We will not issue you with a receipt unless you request one. We keep records of your financial transaction through our trust account. Large amounts of money held by us for a client will normally be placed on interest bearing deposit with our bank. In that case we will charge an administration fee of up to 6% of the gross interest earned. Where interest is earned on your deposits with us we will each year send you a Resident Withholding Tax Certificate. We will supply you with a copy of your records on request unless we are prevented from doing so ethically or by law. If appropriate, a reasonable charge may be made for providing you with a copy of your records. We will not use any of your funds for our own benefit. However, we may lawfully claim a set off against, or lien over, all or part of your funds (including their proceeds) for any of your debts due to us.

Electronic Communication

Where we correspond with you using electronic communication (as defined in the Electronic Transactions Act 2002 ("the ETA"), the rules set out in the ETA will apply except that electronic communications sent to us will be deemed to be received at the time they come to our attention. Electronic communication will be used unless you advise us to the contrary.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

To the extent that we hold funds in our trust account on your behalf whether on deposit or otherwise, you authorise us to disclose any information required to be disclosed to either this firm's bank or the Inland Revenue Department pursuant to FATCA requirements. You authorise us to collect FATCA information from you in relation to such funds on an ongoing basis and whenever monies are held in our trust account and disclose such information as and when required under FATCA.

Anti-Money Laundering / Countering Financing of Terrorism Act

From 1 July 2018, lawyers are required to comply the AML/CFT Act. The purpose of this law is to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Learn more about the law and why we are required to ask for information from you »

Complaints

If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may 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 Maree Cornish - Practice Manager. Maree may be contacted by the following methods:

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 Law Society,: 26 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand PO Box 5041, Wellington 6145, New Zealand DX SP20202;Telephone: (+64) 4 472 7837;Fax: (+64) 4 473 7909; E-mail: inquiries@lawyers.org.nz

Acceptance

These terms outline the terms upon which instructions are accepted, and apply to any current engagement and any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them. Your instructions represent acceptance of these terms. We may unilaterally change these terms of engagement over time. You will be notified of any such changes. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and the New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.