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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Client Care

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1.     What will you do for me?

We will:

  • 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.
  • Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
  • Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
  • Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
  • Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
  • Give you clear information and advice.
  • Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
  • Charge you a fee that is fair and represents value to you.  We will let you know how and when you will be billed.
  • 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 would like more details please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.

2.     Who will do my work?

The names and status of the members of our office who will complete your work are set out in our client care letter.

3.     Is my information confidential?

We will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential and will not disclose any information we hold on your behalf or about you unless we are required to do so by law or where it is necessary to do so to provide our services to you or when requested by you or with your consent.  Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person.  Before any other person may rely on our advice we must expressly agree to this in writing.

4.     How much will it cost me?

We will endeavour to provide a fixed price for the work.  This will be for the whole service or just part of it.  We will scope the work as part of that price.  If the scope changes then the price may change.  We also charge for office services together with disbursements eg. court fees, registrations and travel expenses.  Office services will be a minimum of $40 plus GST.  We will notify you of any fees or disbursements that need to be paid for in advance.  If you are a company your directors and shareholders are personally liable for the payment of our fees to the same extent as the company is liable.  We reserve the right to charge you any credit card service charges incurred on any credit card payments.

5.     How will you bill me?

To help you budget we issue interim accounts, usually monthly, while work is in progress with a final bill on completion.  Current payment terms are set out on our invoices.  Unless otherwise stated payment is due on the earlier of settlement or within 7 days of the date of the invoice.  Unpaid invoices will incur recovery costs and interest at 18% pa from the date of the invoice. We may deduct from funds received or held on your behalf any fees, disbursements or expenses for which we have provided an invoice.

6.     Do you have PI insurance?

We hold professional indemnity cover that meets the minimum standards as set out by the New Zealand Law Society Rules.  We will provide you with particulars of those standards upon request.

7.     Is there a 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.  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.

8.     How do I complain?

If you have any concerns or complaints that you prefer not to raise with the person who completes your work please contact Philip Annan (philip@annanlaw.nz) or Geoffrey Annan (geoff@annanlaw.nz).  Philip and Geoffrey are both our standards officers.  Philip is the director of AnnanLaw Limited.  We are committed to resolving any issues as soon as possible.

You can also contact the New Zealand Law Society Lawyers Complaints Service at 29 Waring Taylor Street, P O Box 5041, Wellington 6145 – telephone 04 472 7837.

9.     Will my money be in a trust account?

We maintain a trust account for all funds we receive from clients [except money received for payment of our invoices].  If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with the Bank of New Zealand.  A 5% commission will be deducted from the gross interest.  An administration fee of $15 per transaction will be charged for every payment made from those funds in addition to any fee for the work involved.

10.     Do you give financial advice?

We do not give financial advice (as defined in the Financial Advisers Act 2008).  In general what this means is that we do not give advice in respect to the desirability of, or economic merits of an investment, or proposed purchase, acquisition, or venture.  We do not advise on the wisdom of any particular activity.  We cannot accept liability for any loss arising from non receipt of any communication including email communications.  We do not give tax or accounting advice.  Any work we complete in relation to your tax obligations plus any costs and penalties will be an additional cost to you.

11.     Can I end my relationship with you?

You are entitled to terminate your instructions to us upon giving us reasonable notice.  Our fees for services reasonably and properly provided to you prior to the termination of retainer must be paid by you prior to uplifting your records.  We may retain copies of your documents and records.

We may terminate or suspend the retainer if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a sufficiently timely way or in your inability or failure to pay our fee on an agreed basis, or, except in litigation matters, your adopting against our advice a course of action which we believe is imprudent.

If we terminate the retainer we will give you reasonable notice so that you can arrange alternative representation.  We will give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer.

12.     How long will you keep my file?

When your matter is completed we will let you know and provide you 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.  We will keep the file for a period of 7 years and then destroy it.  Once all fees and expenses have been paid you are welcome to uplift a copy of the file other than our notes and drafts. We own the intellectual property in any documents we create.

13.     What else?

We value your instructions and look forward to a successful completion of your matter.  We also look forward to an ongoing relationship with you.  Please retain this charter as the core basis of our relationship and our commitment to you to attend to your affairs diligently with an efficient, effective and professional service.