Terms of engagement

Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (“Law Society”).


1. Services

i) The services and the basis on which fees will be charged including the names and status of the person who will assist you with your matter are set out in our Welcome Pack.
ii) Our services are limited to legal services only. Should you require accounting, or other professional advice, this should be arranged with the relevant professional, we do not accept responsibility for actions taken where professional advice is not sought.

2. Common reporting standards and anti-money laundering obligation

i) We are under a duty to invest client funds when they are held for a period of time, and we have received your consent Period of time is defined as a period of 2 months or when instructed by the client directly. The cost to put money on interest bearing deposit will be determined by Absolut Legal at the time but will be no less than $150 + GST.
ii) As part of this duty we may gather information relating to you or the person the money is held on behalf so that we can place these funds on Interest Bearing Deposit and you authorise us to do so by signing the appropriate Foreign Tax Residency form.
iii) Any information provided to Absolut Legal Limited may be provided to our financial institution (ASB Bank) or disclosed to the IRD or other international tax entities as we may be required from time to time.
iv) Your confidentiality is of the upmost importance to us, if you have concerns about your information being disclosed to third parties our Nicole Burrows-Healy will be more than happy to discuss your options with you relating to disclosure of information (please contact her at nhealy@absolutlegal.co.nz)
v) In the event that you do not consent to this disclosure, we will be unable to place your funds onInterest Bearing-Deposit account and will assume that you instruct us to hold your funds in a non-interest-bearing account.vi) We are also required to be bound by all laws including (but not limited to:

i) We are under a duty to invest client funds when they are held for a period of time.
ii) As part of this duty we may gather information relating to you or the person the money is held onbehalf so that we can place these funds on Interest Bearing Deposit and you authorise us to do so by signing the appropriate Foreign Tax Residency form.
iii) Any information provided to Absolut Legal Limited may be provided to our financial institution (ASB Bank) or disclosed to the IRD or other international tax entities as we may be required from time to time.

vii) To meet these requirements, we may be required to conduct customer due diligence on you, persons acting on your behalf, and other relevant persons such as your beneficial owners or persons who have effective control of you as a client. We may not be able to act or continue acting for you until this is completed to the required standard.
viii) We will advise you what information and documents are required for these purposes. This information could include formal identification, address confirmation, source of funds, transaction details, ownership structures, tax identification details, and any other information considered relevant. Please ensure the information and documents requested are provided promptly to avoid any delays in us acting for you.
ix) We will retain the information and documents and may be required to disclose them to government agencies as required by law. We may not be permitted to advise you of the instances when we are required to disclose this information. We may also be required to provide this information to banks with which we place your funds through our trust account.

3. Client care and service

i) The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for  Lawyers. They include the following: 

i. To act competently in a timely way and in accordance with instructions received and  arrangements made. 
ii. To protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or  loyalties. 
iii. To discuss with you your objectives and how they can best be achieved. 
iv. To provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way in  which the services will be provided. 
v. To charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and to let you know how and when you will be invoiced. 
vi. To give you clear information and advice.
vii. To protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality. 
viii. To treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination. 
ix. To keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
x. To let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
1. If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801 or email complaints@lawsociety.org.nz 

4. Fees

i) Our fees are charged in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the New Zealand Law Society.
ii) Fixed Fees

i. Absolut Legal limited works on a fixed fee basis unless we advise otherwise.  
ii. The fixed fees advertised are valid as at January 2022 and are subject to change without notice. Prices are valid for one mortgage and one transfer. For anything over and above this, additional fees may apply. 
iii. If the Welcome Pack specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our 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 the agreed scope and if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount  of the further costs. iv. As a guideline our hourly charge out rate is $250 plus GST.

iii) Disbursements and Expenses

i. Absolut Legal Limited does not charge disbursements like other firms unless this is set out in  our Welcome Pack. All our fees are inclusive of any disbursements you would have otherwise have incurred.  
ii. If instructed, Absolut Legal will purchase a LIM for you and you will receive a separate bill for this cost. This is in addition to our normal quoted fee.
iii. If further disbursements are required for Auction Reviews, we will advise and you will be  required to purchase these. 

iv) GST  

i. Unless otherwise specified in our Welcome Pack our fixed fee is inclusive of GST. 

v) Invoices

i. We may, depending on the circumstances, send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and  on completion of the matter or termination of our engagement. We may also send you an  invoice when we incur a significant expense. 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. Invoices are payable on receipt of our invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. If we are required to take recovery action against you all collection costs will be payable by you on a solicitor client basis

vi) Our Bank Account Details

i. ASB Bank - Account No. 12 3191 0057491 02

vii) Security

i. We may ask you to pre-pay an amount to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us: 
1. to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and 
2. to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees,  expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.

viii) Third Parties

i. If you expect to be reimbursed or payment of our fee to be made by a third party you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

5. Confidentiality

i) We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire while acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:

i. to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or 
ii. to the extent required by law or by the Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

ii) Confidential information concerning you will, as far as practicable, be made available only to those  within our Firm who are providing legal services for you. 
iii) We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any  other client.

6. Termination

i) You may terminate our retainer at any time. 
ii) We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society's Rules of  Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. 
iii) If our retainer is terminated you must pay all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.

7. Retention of files and documents

i) 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) 7 years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

8. Conflicts of interest

i) We have 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.

9. Duty of care

i) Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person who may rely on our advice.

10. Trust account

i) We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf for more than a couple of weeks, we will, if requested, lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank in which case we will charge an administration fee of 7% of the interest derived. Please note that we can only put funds on deposit if you have completed a foreign tax residency form and where appropriate supplied your TIN (Tax Information Number) for every foreign country in which you are a tax resident.

11. General

i) These terms will apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them. 
ii) We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you  amended Terms. 
iii) Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand Law and New Zealand courts have non exclusive jurisdiction.

12. Professional indemnity insurance

i) We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars upon request.

13. Lawyers fidelity fund

i) 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 client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.

14. Complaints

i) We maintain 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 Nicole Burrows-Healy as  follows:

i. by email to nhealy@absolutlegal.co.nz 
ii. by telephoning 0273554797

ii) If your complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily The New Zealand Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so please visit lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801 or email complaints@lawsociety.org.nz.

15. Email

i) We may communicate with (and take instructions from) you and others via email for the transmission of all correspondence, documents and advices where appropriate unless we are specifically requested by you not to do so. Because email is not secure and may be read, copied, interfered with or impaired in transit, you agree to assume the risks associated with such transmission and to release us from any claim you may have arising from transmission defects. Transmission defects include the non-receipt by you of any email communication. When you correspond with us by email then your email to us is deemed to be received only once receipt is personally acknowledged by us to you and not by any automated reply you may receive.

16. Third Party Reports

i) The advice provided by Absolut Legal in respect to third party reports is limited to the information supplied in the report. Absolut Legal will not be liable for any information that may be missing and cannot provide comment on the accuracy of the information. Absolut Legal do not provide advice on any specialist reports including but not limited to Geotech reports, soil reports or building reports. We recommend that you speak to a suitably qualified specialist in respect to these report and advise us if you require anything disclosed in these reports remedied. Absolut Legal will not comment on the commercial viability of any report or contract that you may enter into. Absolut Legal limits its liability in respect to any build contract to the terms of the contract of which we have provided advice on, Absolut Legal will not be liable for any increase in cost associated with the contract being signed without recommended amendments nor any misinformation supplied by a building company that you have relied upon.

17. Privacy

i) Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.

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