Terms of Engagement
In order to properly advise you as your professional advisors and ensure the best outcome for you we need you to provide us with all information which you have in your possession about any matter which we may be acting for you. All information shall be held in confidence and we will not disclose to any other person except to the extent desirable to carry out your instructions or required by law. You authorise us to without further reference to you to destroy all files 7 years after our engagement in that matter is completed.
We will regularly liaise with you regarding the progress of all matters on which we are acting for you and any changes to any estimate of fees given to you. We will deal with all matters within timeframes which we give to you. There will be cases however where we may be unable to meet timeframes where we are relying upon third parties to deal with certain matters ie. financial institutions or government organisations.
Ownership of Property/Copyright
All files, documents and other written memoranda prepared by us on your behalf are the property of Ruby Law. This excludes documents or contracts which you have paid us to prepare for you. Out duty of care is to you and not any other person. Before any other person may rely upon our advice we must expressly agree to this.
Where possible we will provide you with an estimate of fees for a particular matter. In some cases we can provide you with a firm quote. In some matters, particularly litigation it is difficult to determine the amount of work and therefore the likely cost. In such case we will invoice you on a regular basis in order that you can monitor the costs being incurred. If we are unable to provide you with a fixed quote, or a realistic estimate, then we will charge you at an hourly rate. Where fees are calculated at an hourly rate, the rate is set out in our engagement letter. Time spent is recorded in six minute units and rounded up to the next unit of six minutes.
In all cases our fees are plus GST and expenses which we incur on your behalf. Such expenses include file opening fees, tolls and faxes, photocopying and government charges i.e. registration and photocopying costs. In some cases we may charge a margin on expenses to cover our administration costs. We maintain a trust account for client funds, if these are significant we will normally lodge then on interest bearing deposit in which case we will charge an administration fee of 10% of the interest derived.
Payment of Fees and Expenses
Unless we otherwise agree in writing, invoices are payable 14 days from the date of the invoice. It is necessary for us to charge interest on all unpaid accounts which are more than 7 days overdue at the rate of 2.5% per month. We may ask you to pre-pay amount to secure payment or for expenses and disbursements we will incur on your behalf. You authorise us to debit against amounts pre-paid and to deduct any funds held on your behalf in our trust account.
Termination of Services
You may terminate our retainer at any time. We may terminate our retainer in circumstances set out in the New Zealand Law Society's Rules for Conduct and Client Care which are available on the Society's website. We reserve the right to cease work on all matters if our costs are not being met, and to retain all documents and deeds held by us on your behalf until such time as payment is made. If it is necessary for us to bring legal proceedings to recover costs, then we will pass all costs of taking such action onto you, this includes all court fees and our time for bringing the claim. If we are acting for you in any litigation and it becomes necessary for us to withdraw as your solicitor, either as a result of your specific request or as a result of non payment of our fees, then you will meet all costs of us withdrawing, including court filing fees, and our time for making any necessary application.
These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement whether or not we sent out another copy of them to you. We are entitled to change these terms from time to time, in which case we will notify you.
For the New Zealand Law Society Rules for Client Care for Lawyers please Click here