Terms of Engagement

Client Care Charter – our commitment to you

Sandfly Bay, Dunedin

We are committed to doing our best to ensure that your legal needs are met in this matter. We will:

The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and the justice system. If you have any questions, please contact us on 03 477 6801 or mail@ond.co.nz or the Law Society on 0800 261 801 or www.lawyers.org.nz.

The basis of our charges

Unless agreed otherwise our fees are based on the range of factors applied by the NZ Law Society, including time, expertise, importance, urgency and results achieved. Please contact us to confirm the hourly rate of the Partner/Staff member(s) working on your matter. Such rates may change from time to time. We also charge for disbursements (court fees, registrations, duties/levies etc) and travel expenses incurred on your behalf. These will be itemised separately, and we will notify you if any fees or disbursements need to be paid for in advance.

We are happy to discuss other fee arrangements that you may prefer, such as fixed fees, conditional fees and retainers. Please ask us for a fixed fee quote for conveyancing. We are confident you will be pleased with the quote.

Billing arrangements

Current payment terms are set out on invoices from time to time, and unless otherwise stated are due for payment within fourteen days of presentation of the invoice to you. You agree that we may charge interest at our overdraft rate plus 5% for invoices that are not paid by the due date. You also agree that unless we have agreed otherwise with you, we may forward invoices that remain unpaid for more than three months to our collection agency and that you will be responsible for any collection costs relating to your unpaid invoice. We may deduct from funds held on your behalf any fees, disbursements or expenses for which we have provided an invoice.

Files

You agree that the files we hold are our files and we agree that the information we hold about you is your information. We agree to hold any Deeds, Wills and other papers (“documents’) that we agree to hold on your behalf to your order, subject to any lien we may be entitled to exercise in relation to such documents. You agree that we are not required to hold the files for longer than the relevant minimum statutory retention period that applies to your file, and that unless specifically agreed with you, we may destroy your file.

Professional indemnity insurance & fidelity fund

We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds standards specified by the Law Society. The 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 $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 the Fidelity Fund does not cover a loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.

Complaints

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 Mr Paul O’Neill, our Business Partner (Mr Paul O’Neill can be contacted by letter; by e-mail at paul@ond.co.nz; or by telephoning him at 03 477 6801). If the complaint involves Mr Paul O’Neill, then you may refer your complaint to Mr Mike O’Neill (Mr Mike O’Neill can be contacted by letter; by e-mail at mike@ond.co.nz; or by telephoning him at 03 477 6801). We are committed to resolving any issues as soon as possible.

You can also contact the NZ Law Society’s Lawyers’ Complaints Service, at 26 Waring Taylor Street, PO Box 5041, Wellington 6145, Tel (04) 472 7837 or (0800) 261 801, Fax (04) 473 7909.