My standard terms of engagement are as follows. In appropriate cases I am prepared to accept negotiated variations in advance.
— I require payment of all invoices within 14 days. I will not issue statements for accounts. Please pay upon receipt of our invoices.
— I reserve the right to charge interest on overdue accounts at the greater of 15%, or the rate charged by ASB Bank for unauthorised overdrafts.
— I reserve the right to require personal guarantees for any tasks undertaken on behalf of private companies or other limited liability entities or clients with limited ability to pay legal fees.
— I reserve the right to require payment in advance, or retainers in advance. If a retainer is required I will choose either to apply that retainer to accounts as they are incurred, or to hold the retainer in trust, and require payments of accounts in cash as they are incurred.
— I reserve the right to cease work on any file for which payment is delinquent. I will not accept responsibility for any loss incurred by a client for which work has been suspended or terminated because of late payment of any account.
— My fees will be based upon various criteria, including:
• The time taken to carry out a task based upon the hourly rates incurred by firm members. As from 1 May 2022 the following standard hourly rates apply:
• Christopher Taylor: $550 per hour excluding GST
• Nicholas Taylor: $200 per hour excluding GST
• Other staff – on terms advised from time to time.
— I reserve the right to vary those hourly rates, and vary the fee charged taking account of those hourly rates, to take account of all relevant factors including:
• Any issues of urgency
• The value to the client of the transaction
• The level of risk associated with the transaction
• The complexity of the transaction
• The outcome of the transaction
• The value of assets associated with the transaction.
— I reserve the right to alter hourly rates from time to time.
— In addition to charging based on the above criteria, I reserve the right to charge for office expenses, file archiving fees, and other fees of an administrative nature.
— I will charge for all disbursements, as well as my own fees. Disbursements include out of pocket expenses, such as government agency search and filing fees (Companies Office, High Court and appeal courts, District Court, Land Information New Zealand, Personal Property Securities Registry, etc), legal agency fees, barristers’ fees, bank charges, and other professional and consultancy fees incurred by me in relation to a client’s affairs.
— If I am instructing a barrister or other expert I reserve the right to require payment of a fixed sum in advance to cover the anticipated cost of that expert. Please be aware that I am personally liable to meet the costs of barristers, specialists, and experts unless specifically negotiated otherwise. I therefore must take all reasonable steps to protect myself from exposure to pay barristers’, specialists’ and experts’ accounts.
— All of my accounts will be subject to New Zealand law regarding Goods and Services Tax (GST). In most instances this means that in addition to fees and disbursements I will charge GST, currently at the rate of 15%. In certain cases, particularly for work carried out for overseas clients in limited circumstances, my fees will be exempt from GST.
— I will not do anything on behalf of a client that I consider to be illegal, immoral, or a breach of professional ethics.
— I will not place my firm in a position in which I am potentially in a conflict of interest unless I have the informed consent of all parties, appropriate indemnities from all parties, and unless I have determined that the potential risks to me are negligible, and that my position as adviser to the parties is not prejudiced by the potential conflict.
— I reserve the right to cease acting upon a matter or for a client at any time without notice should I consider that I am in a position of conflict of interest; if an account is delinquent; or if I determine that it is not in the best interests of the client or me for me to continue to act.
— I reserve the right to:
• deduct fees and disbursements from monies held by me in trust on behalf of a client – whether those monies are held in relation to the matter in which the fees were incurred, or not;
• claim a right of set off against any monies held by me in trust whether those monies are held in relation to the matter in which the fees were incurred, or not.
— All monies held in trust by me on behalf of a client are subject to a contractual lien in relation to all fees and disbursements owed to me by that client, or by any other trust, company or trading entity with which I am/we are associated and for which we are given instructions for by that client.
— Losses arising from the losses of documents retained in my office are limited to the value of replacing the documents. I shall not be liable for any other losses including losses caused by delay, loss of profits, loss of opportunity, or consequential losses.
— I reserve the right to charge fees or commissions for the handling of client monies (all commissions and fees will be disclosed to clients).
— Following completion of client matters, your files (apart from deeds and important original documents) will be stored off site with a professional document management service. In the event of loss of documents at the storage facility, or in transit to and from it, my liability will be limited to the amount recoverable by me from the document management service, which may be limited to the physical cost of the media upon which the document is created. Storage of records may be physical or electronic.
— I reserve the right to obtain identification and information from clients and officers of corporate clients in order to comply with the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, rules relating to electronic registration of transactions, and to ensure compliance with all other legal and ethical obligations that are imposed upon Christopher Taylor Lawyers. The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 requires me to report transactions regarding cash which might be for a potentially illegal or money laundering purpose. The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 requires me to report any transaction which might possibly involve money laundering or financing of terrorism, and all transfers of funds to and from another country.
— I reserve the right to pass on that identification to any reporting entity under any of the above legislation (such as a bank) or any relevant authority (such as Land Information New Zealand).
— Christopher Taylor Lawyers holds indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society.
— If you have any complaint about the services provided by Christopher Taylor Lawyers it should be addressed in the first instance to Christopher Taylor. If a complaint is unable to be resolved to your satisfaction you are entitled to refer it to the New Zealand Law Society. The New Zealand Law Society can be contacted by phone on 0800 261 801, or through its website www.lawsociety.org.nz.
— The Law Society maintains the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund for the purpose 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. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers and 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.
— Legal attendances at Christopher Taylor Lawyers are carried out by Christopher James Taylor, a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and to time other qualified personnel and staff.
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.