We are pleased to assist you. These terms and conditions of business together with our engagement letter or the covering email to which this is attached (as applicable) constitutes the basis upon which we agree to provide you with professional legal services (Client Service Agreement). Please read this document carefully. The engagement letter or the covering email (as applicable) prevails to extent of any inconsistency with these terms and conditions.
“CR Law” or “We” means the law partnership trading as CR Law and as Cooper Rapley and includes partners, employed lawyers and staff.
1. Our letter of engagement or the covering email to which these terms of business are attached (as applicable), sets out the scope of our representation and identifies you as our sole client. We do not represent any other persons or entities, including your parent, subsidiaries and affiliates, unless named in the engagement letter. Our advice and work is provided solely for your benefit and relates only to the matters set out in the engagement letter.
2. The Client Service Agreement describes the basis on which you engage us either on your own behalf or on behalf of any companies, organisations or entities that you control.
3. If we are acting for more than one person or entity on your matters, you agree that we can accept instructions from any of you, unless agreed otherwise.
4. We may terminate the Client Service Agreement where, in our opinion, there is or may be a conflict of interest between any of you, or if we would otherwise be obliged to act in a manner contrary to the interests of one of you.
5. By entering into the Client Service Agreement, you each agree to immediately notify us if there is any dispute or a conflict of interest which arises between you while we act for you.
6. Your liability to us under our Client Service Agreement is joint and several. You may request us to apportion any invoice between you, but this will not affect your joint and several liability to us.
7. We do not act for, nor are we liable to, any beneficiaries of any trust.
8. By instructing us, you confirm that you have full power and authority to enter into the Client Service Agreement and to instruct us in your matters on an ongoing basis from the date you instruct us, until the file is closed.
9. CR Law’s first duty is to uphold the rule of law. Our lawyers owe overriding duties to New Zealand Courts.
10. CR Law promises you 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;
• discuss with you your objectives and how they can 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;
• 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; and
• let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
11. CR Law is not qualified to give you investment advice. You should get that advice from a qualified financial advisor. Whether or not a transaction meets your financial objectives or not is a matter for you to decide and CR Law does not offer advice on the financial wisdom of a transaction or whether it meets your financial objectives. Unless tax advice is expressly offered any tax implications of any transaction must be determined by you in consultation with your accountant.
12. CR Law has procedures in place to identify and respond to 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 Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
13. CR Law holds professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Conveyancers Registration and Practice) Regulations 2008.
14. CR Law maintains a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.
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 the Practice Manager. The Practice Manager may be contacted as follows by:
• email at email@example.com;
• telephoning at (06) 353 5210.
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:
Telephone: 0800 261 801
15. CR Law will charge fair and reasonable fee calculated based on a range of factors approved by the New Zealand Law Society. These factors are, the:
• time and labour expended;
• skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required;
• importance of the matter and the result achieved;
• complexity or novelty of the questions involved;
• experience, reputation and ability of the lawyer requested by the client;
• reasonable costs of running a practice; and
• fee customarily charged in the locality for a similar level of service.
All these factors will be considered in setting a fair and reasonable fee for our legal services. In relation to the first factor, time will be recorded on a time expended basis. You are entitled to request an estimate of our fees and charge out rates. We charge an office administration fee of 5% of fees to cover office expenses.
16. In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf. Examples are Court filing fees, Landonline charges, registration charges or accommodation and travel expenses. These will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred. You authorise us to incur these disbursements without seeking your prior approval. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.
17. Other than transactional matters where the fees and expenses are payable on settlement date, our accounts are payable within 14 days following the date of the invoice. We may require an advance payment of our anticipated fees, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. For longer term matters, interim invoices will be rendered every three months. Interest may be charged on any amount which is more than 1 month overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 15% per annum calculated daily. If any account is not paid on time we may decide not to carry out further work or incur further disbursements.
If we hold your money in our trust account and we have rendered an invoice to you, you irrevocably direct that we may deduct our fees and disbursements from the money held in our trust account.
Acceptable methods of payment are:
• Direct Credit (this is the preferred method of payment);
• Cash/Eftpos payments; and
• Credit cards (Master Card or Visa only are accepted).
18. If you are in default of payment and recovery action is commenced, you will be required to pay all costs and expenses if recovery action is necessary to recover from you, any overdue amount. GST is payable by you on our fees and charges including late payment interest.
19. By entering into this Client Service Agreement, you: • consent to CR Law communicating with you or on your behalf using electronic means including the issue of this Client Service Agreement, invoices and any subsequent engagement letters; and
• release CR Law from liability for any loss you may incur if an electronic communication is intercepted, corrupted, delayed, not received, copied or viewed by someone other than the intended recipient, or if a document that we prepare on your behalf and send to you electronically is altered by you without our prior written authority.
20. If you ask CR Law to give you a copy of a document by email, on a disk or in another electronic form, then: • CR Law does not warrant that the email, disk or other form of communication will be virus or defect free;
• CR Law will not be responsible for any loss or damage sustained by the computer systems that read the email, disk or other form of communication; and
• you must take precautions to ensure that the email, disk or other form of communication does not cause any loss or damage.
21. Our dealings with your information are subject to our professional duty of confidentiality.
22. In the course of acting for you we may request personal information from you or you may provide it to us in connection with our services.
23. We will handle all personal information about you, your employees, agents, contractors or other
individuals according to the Information Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 2020.
24. You consent to us processing such personal information for the purposes of providing you with legal services, replying to your queries, verifying your identify, preparing marketing material and all other legitimate business purposes.
25. Where we process personal information in acting on any matter for you we will ensure that appropriate technical and organisational measures are taken against unlawful processing of such personal information.
26. You consent to us sharing information about you and your matters with third parties we appoint on your behalf in the course of acting for you. We will do so confidentially and in a manner that preserves your privilege and the confidentiality of that information in accordance with all applicable law.
27. From time to time we are asked for information about our experience, including our clients and the matters we handle. To the extent permitted by law, you consent to our public disclosure that you are a client of CR Law and a general description of our work for you.
28. Anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism and similar laws require us to carry out due diligence on our clients, including verifying their identity, and reviewing that due diligence on an on-going basis. These rules and laws may apply to you and any individuals who instruct us on your behalf. You acknowledge that we may not be able to represent you until we have all the information we need for these purposes.
29. If required by law, we will report to a regulatory authority our knowledge or suspicion that certain criminal offences have been committed, regardless of whether you as our client or a third party committed the offence. In these circumstances, we may not be able to discuss these reports with you because of restrictions the law imposes on us and we may have to stop acting for you. You agree that we are not responsible for any adverse consequences you may suffer as a result of our compliance with these laws.
31. CR Law’s financial liability to you arising out of the services we provide you is limited.
32. CR Law is not liable to you for any loss whatever or however it arises from investment losses.
33. CR Law is not liable to you for any claim whatever and however caused if you do not notify us of a potential claim within 12 months of you becoming aware of the circumstances giving rise to the claim. 34. CR Law is not liable for any loss, expenses, costs or damages whatever and however it arises for any act or omission in relation to any matter conducted on your behalf, or otherwise for an amount exceeding $1,000,000, or the sum specified in the scale below, whichever is the lesser:
35. All claims arising from the same act or omission must be treated as a single claim to which the limitation sum applies and must in no circumstances whatever and however exceed CR Law’s insurance cover.
36. If you make a claim in any jurisdiction that exceeds the limitation amount in this clause or outside the time limits in this clause, then you must pay CR Law’s or any present or past partner’s actual and reasonable legal costs in defending that claim whether or not the final outcome results in an award less than the limitation sum.
37. The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund administered by the New Zealand Law Society gives you some protection against theft of your money, up to NZ$100,000.00, if it is held by us, in our Trust Account or (subject to the qualification below) in an interest bearing deposit account (either on call or for a fixed term). That protection will not apply where you have instructed us to invest your money in an investment that is excluded from cover by the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund (such as the purchase of shares on a stock exchange, the deposit of funds for investment purposes or the purchase of an annuity).
(a) $300,000, if the total fee charged for the matter is equal to or less than $5,000: or
(b) $400,000, if the total fee charged for the matter is greater than $5,000, and less than or equal to $30,000.
38. CR Law may suspend (temporarily stop) work on your file if you have not:
• paid our invoices on time;
• given us information that we have asked for; and
• done something that we have asked you to do.
39. 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, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.
40. You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) seven (7) years after our engagement ends or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format. At our option instead of storing information we may return it to you.
41. These terms apply to any current service and also to any future service CR Law provides you.
42. Provision of good legal advice is based on good communication. Good communication is our joint obligation. You will: (a) clearly identify the issues, concerns and objectives you have;
(b) provide us with timely instructions;
(c) not withhold information that may affect the advice we may give;
(d) be available to respond to queries; and
(e) co-operate in any procedures required to be completed under New Zealand law.