Terms of Engagement

1. Terms of Engagement

These Terms of Engagement (Terms) apply in respect of all work carried out for you.  If you do not wish to engage under these Terms you will immediately notify Royds Legal in writing.

2. Services

2.1 The legal services which we are to provide for you are based on your instructions as understood by Royds Legal. If we appear to have misunderstood your instructions you should contact us immediately.

2.2 In relation to any investment, property or business transaction we do not provide any advice in relation to the quality of the investment, the property or business.  We shall have no liability in relation to any liability arising in relation to the quality of the investment, the property or business.  Royds Legal’s role and the ambit of our legal services is to complete the transaction on your behalf.

2.3 You are responsible for providing full, complete and honest instructions, information and facts to us. Royds Legal reserves the right to cease to act where you cannot or will not provide instructions required or where there is not full, complete and honest disclosure of all relevant information and facts. You will provide us, as soon as possible, with all documents and information that are necessary for us to be able to perform the legal services.

3. Financial

3.1 Fees

(a) Royds Legal charges for legal services based on time spent on an hourly rate basis.

(b) Royds Legal’s hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter.  Time spent is recorded in six minute units with time rounded up to the next unit of six minutes.

(c) To ensure that you obtain the best possible value from our fees, factors are also considered such as:

(i) the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved; and

(ii) the importance and complexity of the matter; and

(iii) the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is handed.

3.2 Disbursements and Expenses

Disbursements are costs incurred on your behalf as a result of completing legal services.  Royds Legal may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

File & Office Charge: In addition to disbursements, we charge a fee of $60.00 (or more for larger files) to cover costs which are not included in our fee and which are not recorded as disbursements.  These include the physical file, photocopying, printing, file storage and postage.

3.3 GST

GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.

3.4 Invoices

We may send interim invoices to you, invoice you on completion of the matter, or at termination of our engagement.

3.5 Payment

Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice.  Interest is payable on any amount which is more than 14 days overdue.  Interest on overdue payments will be calculated at the rate of 15% per annum.

You will be liable for all legal and debt collection costs that we incur on a solicitor/client basis, in enforcing, or attempting to enforce our rights under these Terms.

3.6 Security

We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:

(a) to debit our fees and disbursements against amounts pre-paid by you; and

(b) 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.

3.7 Third Parties

If you have an arrangement to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and even though our invoices may be directed to a third party, you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

3.8 Settlement Monies

For property and financing transactions where payment of monies is due by you, we require cleared funds for the full amount to be deposited with us no later than 10.00am on the morning of settlement.

4. Confidentiality

4.1 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) to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

4.2 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.

5. Termination

5.1 You may terminate our engagement at any time.

5.2 Royds Legal may terminate our engagement in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society's Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers

5.3 Royds Legal may terminate our engagement if we are unable to obtain full instructions from you.

5.4 If our engagement is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.

6. Retention of Files and Documents

6.1 You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) six years after the matter is complete, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

6.2 We will charge a fee for recovery of a file or recovery of documents from a closed file that you or your agent requires.

7. Conflicts of Interest

7.1 Royds Legal 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.

8. Communications

8.1 Royds Legal does not accept any liability for loss arising from non-receipt of any communication, including computer email communications.

9. Trust Account

9.1 Royds Legal maintains a trust account for all funds which 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, if we expect to generate more than $500.00 net interest.  In that case we will charge an administration fee based on the higher of time spent of 10% of the gross interest earned.

10. General

10.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

10.2 Royds Legal is entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.

10.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law.  The New Zealand Courts have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any dispute.

Information For Clients

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. Fees

The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our letter of engagement.  When payment of fees is to be made is set out in our Terms of Engagement.

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.

2. Professional Indemnity Insurance

We hold professional indemnity insurance cover for a total sum of $5 million.

3. Lawyers Fidelity Fund

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.

4. Complaints

Royds Legal 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 Chris Royds, Royds Legal Limited.

Chris can be contacted as follows:

  • by letter – Chris Royds, Royds Legal Limited, PO Box 1449, Nelson 7040; or
  • by email at chris@royds.co.nz.

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 the Law Society, PO Box 240, Nelson, phone (03) 545 2613.  You can also visit https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/complaining-about-a-lawyer/ for further information.

5. Persons Responsible for the Work

The names and status of the person or persons who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are set out in our letter of engagement.

6. Client Care and Service

The Law Society client care and service information is set out below.

Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.

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 to the justice system.

If you have any questions, please visit www.lawyers.org.nz.

7. Limitations on Extent of Our Obligations or Liability:

Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in our letter of engagement.

Building Quality Partnerships

Contact the team at Royds Legal to find out more about our Property Development Legal Services.