Ayres Legal Client Agreement
This agreement is between Ayres Legal and you, the client. The terms of this agreement will apply to all current matters and all future matters that we handle on your behalf unless or until we alter these terms and advise you of the changes.
The terms of this agreement also apply to any company of which you are a director or shareholder; any trust of which you are a trustee; and / or any partnership in which you are a partner, if the company, trust or partnership, as the case may be, has or does instruct Ayres Legal to carry out any work.
By continuing to instruct us you agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.
Any variations to this agreement will be advised to you directly or by publication on the Ayres Legal website www.ayreslegal.co.nz.
We agree to:
- 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.
- maintain confidentiality to the extent required at law or by the Law Society;
- 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;
- give you clear information and advice;
- treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination;
- keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed; and
- let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
Additional obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers, made under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system. Further information can be gained from www.lawsociety.org.nz or by calling 0800 261 801.
Persons responsible for the work:
- Warwick Ayres as principal of Ayres Legal will have the overall responsibility for the services we provide to you and is available to discuss any matter on your file. The person handling the matter will communicate with you at the beginning of each matter and our staff will assist you where required.
Fees and Disbursements:
- Fees will generally be charged on a time and attendance basis. We record the time we spend on a matter for this purpose and these time records can be provided to you if requested. You should feel free at any time to discuss a fee with us. Time is recorded in six minute units. Work carried out by Warwick Ayres is charged at $400.00 plus GST per hour. Rates may be lower where work is carried out by other staff.
- We will provide an estimate for the fees and costs expected for a matter if requested by you. Some matters will be charged on a fixed fee basis.
- In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf. These will be invoiced to you. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses that we will incur on your behalf. Search, registration and courier charges are charged by Leading Light Limited of which RS Ayres is a director and shareholder.
- We will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly. On completion of a matter, or termination of our services, we will send a final invoice. We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
- Under trust account regulations we may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice. Our practice is to discuss this with you beforehand, whenever possible.
- If your account remains unpaid without satisfactory explanation we may do any or all of the following:
- Charge interest on overdue amounts at the rate of 1.5% per month from the due date of payment,
- Start proceedings to recover the amount owed or refer the matter to a debt collection agency and you agree to meet all costs and disbursements incurred by us and/or our agents, including lawyer client costs,
- Cease to do any further work and retain documents until your account is fully paid.
Retention of files and documents:
- We are unable to retain all files indefinitely. We use electronic files and we will retain all files for 7 years after our engagement ends either physically or electronically. After the earlier of 7 years or following the conversion to electronic format, you authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for such a matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you, such as wills or deeds).
- We maintain a trust account for all funds that we receive from clients. 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 may charge a small administration fee of 5 % of the net interest received.
Disclosures and information gathering:
- We are legally required by the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 ('AML') to obtain certain information and documents from you to verify your identity and in certain circumstances the source of your funds.
- You acknowledge that we may be required by law to obtain information about you (for example, to verify your identity and/or the source of your funds) and that when information is requested from you, you will provide all such information to us without delay or hesitation.
- You acknowledge that we will have no liability to you if we cannot conduct any transaction because you have not provided us with the required information to our satisfaction.
- You acknowledge that we may be required by law to disclose information about certain transactions (for example, where disclosure is required by AML legislation or if we believe the transaction is suspicious).
- If we are required to make such a disclosure we will only do so to an appropriate person/agency and only to the extent reasonably necessary for the required purpose.
- You consent to us making, and waive whatever right that you may have to be advised that we have made, a disclosure of this nature.
- We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society.
Law Society Fidelity Fund:
- The Law Society maintains the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against financial loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited. Generally the Lawyers' 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.
- Where we instruct a barrister on your behalf you authorise us to pay the barrister's invoices from money paid to us by you or any other party for that purpose.
- For the avoidance of doubt; we do not give financial advice to clients. If we are acting as a trustee personally or through a trustee company we do not give financial advice to the trustees of that trust.
- If you have a complaint about us that complaint should be advised in the first instance to Warwick Ayres. In addition, there is a complaints service operated by the Law Society, which can be contacted at its address in the Telecom White Pages or at http://www.lawsociety.org.nz/. We are happy to talk about any matter that concerns you in relation to your file.
Issued 10 September 2018