Working for you
How we will charge
We charge on a range of factors adopted by the New Zealand Law Society. The time incurred is charged at $460 plus GST per hour for a lawyer, $320 plus GST per hour for a legal executive and $120 plus GST per hour for a law clerk. Please note that time spent on your matter is only one factor and our fee will also take into account:
- Complexity of the expertise required;
- Urgency, risk and responsibility;
- Importance of the matter to you, value of the assets involved and results achieved;
- Market rates and reasonable costs of running a practice.
We will usually try and estimate for you, in advance, the likely cost of your job. However, because legal services are subject to significant variables (e.g. timely and expedient cooperation of third parties, ability to resolve outstanding issues with or without additional attendances and time) and our estimates are based on our professional judgment of similar, trouble-free transactions, any estimate will be a guide only and not a fixed quote.
We will try to advise you if it appears we will exceed our estimated fee, although sometimes additional work or unforeseen complications arise suddenly, or at the end of a job, which means that this is not always possible.
All fees estimated are plus GST, expenses and disbursements. Disbursements include costs we may have to incur on your behalf in carrying out your instructions. Some services charged to you may be contracted out by us to other service providers (such as valuation reports, title searches, verification of identity etc.). Search and registration services for LINZ and other government agencies are provided by Codymo Agencies Limited, a company in which we have an interest. This company will charge for agency services as well as any direct costs it incurs.
Ongoing work is usually invoiced monthly or quarterly. Transactional work will usually be invoiced upon completion. You will be provided with a trust account statement if we have handled any funds on your behalf.
Payment of our invoices
Our invoices are payable by bank transfer into Cockcroft d’Young Moorhouse Trust Account, ASB, Devonport, account number 12 3109 0077400 02, quoting your name and the matter number in the reference. We no longer accept cheques or cash. We may deduct any fee, expense or disbursement, for which we have provided you with an invoice, from any funds held in our trust account on your behalf except where we receive the funds from you for a special purpose (other than as security for our fees) and they remain in our trust account for that special purpose.
Unless otherwise agreed, our invoices are payable upon receipt. Monthly statements will be sent for any overdue invoices. We sometimes offer instalment payments of our invoices – please ask us about details.
Delay or difficulty in paying our invoice
If you are unable to pay our invoice on time or you have any questions about an invoice, you must raise this within seven days from the date the invoice is received with the person responsible for your work, or our accountant.
Interest on money we hold in trust for you
If we hold funds on your behalf, we will deposit them into our trust account. No receipt will be issued unless you request one. Where you have complied with applicable banking requirements (FATCA, CRS and AEOI) and where we determine that it is reasonable and practicable, we will place those funds on interest bearing deposit. In all other cases, funds will not earn interest.
The deposit interest rate will be that offered by our bank (ASB Bank), less the bank’s commission and our commission (being 5% on the gross interest earned). We will also charge a one-off administration fee of $180 plus GST to open an IBD account on your behalf.
Withholding tax will be deducted on interest earned. If we do not have your IRD number, withholding tax will be deducted at the default rate, which may be higher than your actual tax rate.
Conflicts of interest
From time to time a conflict of interest may arise. If this occurs we will contact you to discuss and suggest what to do next.
Limitation of liability, duty of care and director personally responsible for fees when acting for a company
We collect identifying information about you and your matter in person, via email, our website, over telephone, from social media, internet and other public sources. Other information may be collected where we obtain your consent. We use your information to verify your identity, deliver and provide our services to you, market our services to you, collect money that is owed to us, authorise and process transactions, communicate with you, and meet our obligations under New Zealand law or as authorised by you.
We may disclose your information where it is necessary for debt collection, or where we are required to report or provide disclosure to a government agency or court to meet our obligations under New Zealand law.
Verifying your identity, financial information etc.
Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 as well as FATCA and CRS rules and the procedures for electronic registration of land transactions, we are legally required to obtain and independently verify various personal and tax information about you, and others related to the transaction and your matter. Our practices are regularly audited. Similarly, if your transaction is deemed suspicious or meets certain thresholds, we will file reports to the relevant authorities. That information may be disclosed to the revenue authorities of other jurisdictions with which you are connected. Please do not be offended if we ask for verification of your identity, your banking details, source of your wealth or funds, your family circumstances, or similar. If the information requested is not provided, or considered by us to be potentially inaccurate, misleading, or in contravention of any law, we may terminate or refuse to enter into an engagement.
Retention of Files and Documents
You authorise us (without reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for any matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) seven years after our engagement on that matter ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format. The papers or documentation produced by us in the course of acting on your instructions are the property of this firm and can be withheld pending payment in full of any outstanding fees.
If you have any concerns or complaints that you prefer not to raise with the person responsible for your work, please contact our Practice Manager, Karyn Preston-Thomas (email@example.com or ph. 09 445 3058). You can also contact the New Zealand Law Society Lawyers’ Complaints Service, phone 0800 261 801.
Professional indemnity insurance
We hold Professional Indemnity Insurance cover that meets or exceeds the minimum standards required by the New Zealand Law Society.
Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund
New Zealand 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 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.
Client care and service
When providing services to you, we will:
- 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 how 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.
If you have any questions about our obligations to you, please contact us or visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or telephone 0800 261 801.