Gregory Simon (GS) is a barrister and solicitor of the New Zealand High Court.
These terms of engagement (Terms) are the standard terms on which GS will provide to you advice and assistance in respect of your particular property (commercial and general) or other legal matter.
GS’ client on any particular matter will be the party identified in any initial engagement letter he provides to you if it is appropriate.
Subject to any different or additional terms agreed in writing these Terms will apply whenever you appoint GS to act for you. You do not need to sign any formal documentation to indicate your acceptance. It will be assumed you have read and understood these Terms.
Scope of GS’ Role
GS will represent and advise you on all legal matters that properly fall within the scope of your instructions. GS will normally set out his understanding of those instructions in initial correspondence. If you have any comments on what GS says in the that correspondence please let GS know as soon as you can. You may limit or expand the scope of your instructions at any time.
GS will act in accordance with your instructions and in terms of any applicable or professional or legal obligations. He (and his staff) will use all due care and skill in doing so.
GS does not give investment advice and will not give his opinion on the quality of the investment a client is making.
GS’ duties are owed to you. Unless otherwise agreed in writing or required by law those duties will not extend to others (including for example associated parties such as shareholders or related companies, directors or employees, or parents or other family members). If any other parties wish to retain GS they should do so by separate agreement.
Advice is given for your benefit and in your interests. If any other parties wish to rely on the advice GS gives you they can only do so if both you and he agree in writing, Similarly, GS’ name and opinions may not be used in connection with any prospectus, financial statement or other document , public or otherwise, without his written consent.
When your instructions on a matter are completed GS’ representation will end. He will only advise you further on issues arising from the matter (e.g. implementation and other date or changes in relevant law or regulation) if you specifically engage him to do so.
Who will work with you?
GS will be the person responsible for any work done on your behalf and, even where assisted by GS’ staff, GS will have a significant input and oversight of your particular matter.
GS regards client confidentiality as of paramount importance. He will not disclose any confidential information obtained as a result of acting for you unless required or authorised by you or law or as required by the New Zealand Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
Fees and other charges
Generally GS’ fees reflect the time he spends on a particular matter, charged at his then current hourly rates and adjusted where appropriate to reflect other factors. Those factors may include things like GS’ specialist knowledge, the skills or responsibility required for the job, the amounts involved, the importance and complexity of the matter, urgency and the results achieved.
GS’ hourly rate (and the hourly rate for any of his staff) will be outlined on request.
GS will on request give an estimate of the likely fees for your job based on his experience with similar matters. Estimates are given as a guide only and not as a fixed quotation. He can also inform you periodically of the level of fees incurred or inform you when fees reach a specified level.
GS also charges for general office services and for disbursements incurred on your behalf. These things cover:
• General office services include photocopying, facsimiles, telephone communications, deliveries, routine on-line searches, High Court research costs and inquiries and similar things..
• Disbursements include out-of-pocket expenses such as registration and filing costs, court charges, fees of agents, experts and other professionals and similar things. These are charged to you at the amount charged to us.
Goods and services tax will also be charged to you as and when required by law.
For a variety of reasons your instructions may not be completed. If this occurs, GS will charge you for the work undertaken and costs incurred up to the time of termination of GS’ engagement.
In some circumstances, GS may be required to incur additional time or expense following the completion or termination of your matter. GS will charge you for this time/expense in the normal way.
GS is happy to discuss any aspect of his fees and charges with you at any time. Where you engage GS in conveyancing matters you accept that he may deduct his fees from any proceeds of yours that is held in his trust account.
Payment of Fees
GS’ general practice is to issue an account on completion of each matter. Interim accounts on a monthly basis may also be issued where the matter is an ongoing one.
GS may ask you to pay fees in advance but in those instances your payment will be held in a solicitor’s trust account and only paid to GS by deduction when the work has been undertaken and an account has been forwarded to you.
Out-of-pocket expenses are to be paid by you immediately upon GS’ request but substantial out-of-pocket expenses may be asked for in advance.
Accounts are to be paid within 14 days of being sent to you.
If an account is not promptly paid GS may elect:
• not to do any further work, and to retain custody of your papers or files, until all accounts are paid in full;
• to charge interest at up to 10% p.a. on any amount outstanding one month after the date of the account;
• to take other action to recover unpaid fees, in which case the cost of such recovery may be added to the account due by you.
Client Care and Service Information
GS when providing his legal services to you will:
• Act competently, in a timely way and in accordance with any 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 be best achieved.
• Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and they way the services will be provided.
• Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know 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 above obligations that 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 lawsociety.org.nz.
Given the size of the New Zealand market GS sometimes may not be able to act for you due to a conflict of interest. If this is the case GS will advise you of that fact.
Unless otherwise agreed with you, GS will communicate with you and other at times by electronic means. These communications can be subject to interference or interception or contain viruses or other defects (“corruption”). GS does not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or loss caused in connection with the corruption of an electronic communication.
If you have any doubts about the authenticity of any communication or document purportedly sent by GS please contact him immediately.
External Information and Public Records
In advising you GS may rely on or provide you with information obtained from third parties (e.g. experts or witnesses or government agencies or registers). This information may not always be accurate and complete. GS does not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by errors or omissions in information obtained from third parties.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
GS holds current Professional Indemnity Insurance which exceeds the minimum standards from time to time specified by the New Zealand Law Society.
Either you or GS may terminate this engagement at any time by giving reasonable notice.
Any fees for services reasonably and properly provided to you which are then outstanding must be paid by you prior to your uplifting your documents and records and GS may retain a copy of those documents and records.
The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund (Fund)
This Fund exists to provide specified compensation for clients who suffer a pecuniary loss in certain circumstances. These circumstances are the theft by a lawyer of money or other valuable property entrusted to that lawyer while they are providing legal services to the public or while they are acting as a solicitor-trustee. The maximum amount that may be paid out of the Fund to an individual claimant by way of compensation is $100,000.
It should be noted that the Fund will not pay compensation in respect of money instructed to be invested unless they are funds invested in a bank in New Zealand, or in some private loans such as family loans. If funds that GS is holding on trust on your behalf are to be held or utilised for purposes not covered by the Fund, GS will advise you of that fact in advance of those funds being so utilised.
This is only a short summary of the major provisions in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 relating to the Fidelity Fund. If you would like further information please ask GS.
Funds held on interest bearing deposit
GS may hold funds on trust for you on interest bearing deposit (IBD) until GS receives instructions from you as to payment of those funds. In circumstances where your funds are held on IBD, GS is entitled to charge an administration fee for maintaining those within the IBD account. The fee currently chargeable is 5% of the account balance but is subject to change. If you require any further information as to the administration fee payable for funds held in trust on IBD, please ask GS.
If you have a complaint
GS will provide you with a competent and timely service following your instructions. However, if you have any complaint at all about any aspect of GS’ (or his staff’s) service please raise it with him directly.
If it cannot be resolved immediately to your satisfaction GS will appoint another independent solicitor or mutually agreed third party who has not been involved in your matter to deal with it promptly and fairly.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society which runs a Complaints Service which can be accessed through lawsociety.org.nz.
Files and Documents
GS will retain the files he established for you on a matter, and any documents you leave with him, for at least 7 years after the completion of termination of the matter (unless those materials are returned to you). In the interests of storage space and costs GS may then destroy those files and documents (except files/documents which GS has agreed to keep in long-term safe custody for you). Other arrangements can be made if you prefer.
If you uplift your files or other documents at any time GS may make copies of them before they are uplifted.
Law and Jurisdiction
These Terms and any other agreement GS has with you are governed by New Zealand law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts.