Client Care Charter

 

We are committed to doing our best to ensure that your legal needs are met in this matter.  The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.  In accordance with those obligations, we will:

  1. Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.

  2. Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.

  3. Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.

  4. Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.

  5. Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.

  6. Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.

  7. Give you clear information and advice.

  8. Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.

  9. Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed.

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

The above 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 (07) 307 0680 or email reception@hamertons.co.nz or the Law Society on 0800 261 801 or go to www.lawsociety.org.nz.

The basis of our charges:

Legal Aid Applicants

If you have made an Application for Legal Aid, and your Application is successful you will be charged in accordance with the Ministry of Justice Legal Aid regime.  For further information on this you may visit the Ministry of Justice website at www.justice.govt.nz/services/legal-aid.

You should be aware at this time that legal aid is not always free.  You may be required to repay your legal aid grant and pay a user charge fee.

If you have to pay a user charge, this will be deducted from our first invoice to the Ministry and we will collect the money from you.  The user charge is always $50.00; this cannot be changed and you can only be exempt if you are making a specified application for legal aid.  We are not allowed to accept any other payments from you.

If your Application for Legal Aid is unsuccessful then you will be charged in accordance with the arrangements for privately retained clients as set out below.

Privately retained clients

Unless agreed otherwise our fees are based on the range of factors applied by the NZ Law Society, including time, expertise, importance, urgency, complexity and results achieved.  A schedule of the NZ Law Society’s factors is enclosed for your information.  We also charge for disbursements (court fees, searches, registrations etc) 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.

Billing arrangements

We may issue interim accounts while work is in progress.  A final bill will be issued on completion of this matter.  We may also issue a bill notwithstanding that the matter does not proceed to completion for any reason.  Current payment terms are set out on invoices from time to time, and unless otherwise stated our invoices are due for payment within 14 days.  We may deduct from funds held on your behalf any fees, disbursements or expenses for which we have provided an invoice.

Professional indemnity insurance and fidelity fund

We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds standards specified by the Law Society.  The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund also provides a limited form of cover up to specified maximums in certain circumstances, generally excluding investment monies.

Scope of our services

As lawyers, we provide legal advice and services.  We are not financial advisers or investment advisers and we do not provide financial investment advice and/or services.  Financial and/or investment advice is expressly excluded from the scope or services we provide.

Interest Bearing Deposits

Our policy regarding Interest Bearing Deposits (IBD’s) is as follows;

  • We will not invest money we are holding for you on IBD unless the sum is significant and we are likely to be holding the funds for a reasonable period of time.  We may not invest sums of less than $501.00.

  • Unless you provide us with your IRD number and appropriate taxation code/rate, all IBD’s will attract withholding tax at a rate of 33% (or such other sum as may be prescribed by the IRD from time to time).

  • We will not post withholding tax certificates to you if the withholding tax deducted by the bank is less than $10.00. (Statements will be made available upon request once they have been printed by the bank at the end of each financial year).

  • We charge a commission of 3.92% on the gross interest earned to cover the administrative charges of the IBD scheme within our office.

  • In the case of deposits held in the name of more than one person (for example the trustees of a trust or the partners of a partnership) we will report and post a withholding tax certificate to only one person on behalf of the deposit holders.

Complaints

If you have any concerns or complaints that you prefer not to raise with the name of the lawyer above with overall responsibility for this matter, please contact one of the other lawyers of Hamertons or our practice manager.  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, phone (04) 472 7837 or 0800 261 801, fax (04) 473 7909.

Completion

When this matter is completed, we will advise you accordingly and provide a brief summary of the work undertaken if we have not already done so.  Where appropriate we will also identify any necessary future action that may be required.

SCHEDULE OF FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN SETTING FEES

The factors taken into account by the New Zealand Law Society in determining the reasonableness of a fee in respect of any service provided by a lawyer to a client include the following:

  1. the time and labour expended (charge out rates range from $150.00 per hour for a Law Clerk to $350.00 per hour for Directors);

  2. the skill, specialised knowledge, and responsibility required to perform the services properly;

  3. the importance of the matter to the client and the results achieved;

  4. the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by the client;

  5. the degree of risk assumed by the lawyer in undertaking the services, including the amount or value of any property involved;

  6. the complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;

  7. the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer;

  8. the possibility that the acceptance of the particular retainer will preclude engagement of the lawyer by other clients;

  9. whether the fee is fixed or conditional (whether in litigation or otherwise);

  10. any quote or estimate of fees given by the lawyer;

  11. any fee agreement (including a conditional fee agreement) entered into between the lawyer and client;

  12. the reasonable costs of running a practice;

  13. the fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services.