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Standard Terms of Engagement

General – These Standard Terms of Engagement (Terms) apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

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

Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.

Services – The services we are to provide for you (the Services) are outlined in our letter of engagement along with any further instructions that you provide to us in writing (or that we record in writing).

Communications – We will obtain from you contact details, including email address, postal address and telephone numbers. We may provide documents and other communications to you by email (or other electronic means). You will advise us if any of your contact details change.

Fees – The basis upon which we will charge our fees is set out in our engagement letter.

If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of the 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 of the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.

Disbursements and Expenses – In providing the Services we may incur disbursements and

payments to third parties on your behalf.  You authorise us to incur these disbursements (which may include such items such as search fees, registration fees and travel and courier charges) which are reasonably necessary to provide the Services.  You also authorise us to make payments to third parties on your behalf which are reasonably required to undertake the Services (which may include items such as experts’ costs or counsel’s fees).  These will be included in our invoice to you, shown as “disbursements” when the expenses are incurred (or in advance when we know we will be incurring them on your behalf). 

Office Service Charge Fee (Administrative expenses)- In addition to disbursements, we may charge a fee of $75 or as the charges maybe, to cover out of pocket costs which are not included in our fee and which are not recorded as disbursements. These include items such as photocopying and printing, postage and phone calls.

GST–  Our services will usually attract Goods and Services Tax (GST). If this is the case, GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.

Invoices- We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly, and on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement.  We may send you invoices more frequently when we incur a significant expense or undertake a significant amount of work over a shorter period of time.

Payment – Invoices are payable within 7 days of the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. 

You authorise us to deduct our fees and other expenses from funds held in our trust account on your behalf on provision of an invoice to you, unless those funds are held for a particular purpose.

If you have difficulty in paying any of our accounts, please contact us promptly so that we may discuss payment arrangements.

If your account is overdue we may:

  • require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 14 days overdue, calculated at the rate of 5 % above the overdraft rate that our firm’s main trading bank charges us for the period that the invoice is outstanding;
  • stop work on any matters in respect of which we are providing services to you;
  • require an additional payment of fees in advance or other security before recommencing work;
  • recover from you in full any costs we incur (including on a conveyancing practitioner/solicitor/client basis) in seeking to recover the amounts from you, including our own fees and the fees of any collection agency.
  • Payment may be made by electronic transfers.

Fees and disbursements in advance – We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses.  We may do this, on reasonable notice, at any time.

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 remain responsible for payment to us in accordance with these Terms if the third party fails to pay us.

Trust Accounting – We operate a trust account. All money received from you or on your behalf will be held to your credit in our trust account.

Payments out of the trust account will be made either to you or to others with your authority. Written authorisation from you (and if we are acting for more than one of you, from all of you) will be required when payment is to be made to a third party. Before making a payment to another account we may require verification of the account details by provision of (for example) a copy of a deposit slip, cheque or bank statement showing the account number, a signed authority from you including the bank account details, or a signed letter from the relevant financial institution providing bank account details.

A full record of our trust account is kept at all times. A statement of trust account transactions detailing funds received and payments made on your behalf will be provided to you periodically and at any time upon your request.

Unless it is not reasonable or practicable to do so, when we hold significant funds for you for more than a short period of time we will place them on call deposit with a bank registered under section 69 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989, subject to your having completed to the bank’s satisfaction any request for information relating to the deposit or certification required by the bank. Interest earned from call deposits, less withholding tax and an interest administration fee payable to us of 2% of the interest, will be credited to you. 

Confidentiality and Personal Information – 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) As expressly or impliedly agreed by you; or

c) As necessary to protect our interests in respect of any complaint or dispute; or

d) To the extent required or permitted by law.

Verification of identity – The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 requires us to collect from you and to retain information required to verify your identity. We may therefore ask you to show us documents verifying your identity (such as a passport or driver’s licence). We may retain copies of these documents.  We may perform such other customer verification checks as to your identity and checks as to the source of any funds associated with any transaction to which the Services relate as we consider to be required by law.

Compliance – We are obliged to comply with all laws applicable to us in all jurisdictions, including (but not limited to):

We may be required to undertake customer due diligence on you, persons acting on your behalf and other relevant persons such as beneficial owners and controlling persons. We may not be able to begin acting, or to continue acting, for you until that is completed.

To ensure our compliance and yours, we may be required to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf or other relevant persons to third parties (such as government agencies). There may be circumstances where we are not able to tell you or such persons if we do provide information.

Please ensure that you and/or any of the persons described previously are aware of and consent to this. It is important to ensure that all information provided to us is accurate. If the information required 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.

Conflicts of Interest – We are obliged to protect and promote your interests to the exclusion of the interests of third parties and ourselves as set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 (Rules). This may result in a situation arising where we have a conflict of interest.

  1. We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest or potential 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 Rules. This may mean we cannot act for you further in a particular matter and we may terminate our engagement.

Duty of Care – Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person.  We owe no liability to any other person, including for example any directors, shareholders, associated companies, employees or family members unless we expressly agree in writing. We do not accept any responsibility or liability whatsoever to any third parties who may be affected by our performance of the Services or who may rely on any advice we give, except as expressly agreed by us in writing.

Our advice is not to be referred to in connection with any prospectus, financial statement, or public document without our written consent.

Our advice is opinion only, based on the facts known to us and on our professional judgement, and is subject to any changes in the law after the date on which the advice is given. We are not liable for errors in, or omissions from, any information provided by third parties.

Our advice relates only to each particular matter in respect of which you engage us. Once that matter is at an end, we will not owe you any duty or liability in respect of any related or other matters unless you specifically engage us in respect of those related or other matters.

Unless otherwise agreed, we may communicate with you and with others by electronic means. We cannot guarantee that these communications will not be lost or affected for some reason beyond our reasonable control, and we will not be liable for any damage or loss caused thereby.

Conduct and Client Care Rules – Conduct and Client Care rules are as outlined in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Conveyancing Practitioners: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008

Termination – You may terminate our retainer at any time.

We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Rules including the existence of a conflict of interest, non-payment of fees, and failure to provide instructions.

If our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees, disbursements and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.

Feedback and Complaints

Client satisfaction is one of our primary objectives and feedback from clients is helpful to us.  If you would like to comment on any aspect of the service provided by us, including how we can improve our service or any concerns or complaints about our service, please contact the principal, Gurpreet Kaur.

If you are not satisfied with the way we have dealt with your complaint the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers has a complaints service to which you may refer the issue. Matters may be directed to:

New Zealand Society of Conveyancers

https://www.nzsconveyancing.co.nz/complaints.html

Standard Conveyancing

The meaning of standard conveyancing on a purchase is as follows:

  1. Receiving the agreement.
  2. Monitoring the conditions.
  3. Taking your advice on each of the conditions.
  4. Declaring the agreement unconditional.
  5. Receiving your loan documents;
  6. Preparing Notices of sale;
  7. Attendances on you to sign the loan and the transfer documents; and
  8. Completing the settlement on the day of the settlement.

The meaning of standard conveyancing on a sale is as follows:

  1. Receiving the agreement.
  2. Monitoring the conditions.
  3. Taking your advice on each of the conditions.
  4. Liaising with the bank for a discharge of mortgage
  5. Preparing settlement statement
  6. Attendances on you to sign the transfer documents; and
  7. Completing the settlement on the day of the settlement.

The meaning of standard conveyancing on a re-financing is as follows:

  1. Receiving instructions from your bank
  2. Liaising with the bank for a discharge of mortgage
  3. Checking rates
  4. Preparing a discharge and a new mortgage
  5. Attendances on you to sign the documents; and
  6. Completing the settlement on the day of the settlement.