These Terms of Engagement are subject to any variations or alternative terms agreed with the individual barristers at Terrace Chambers.
Standard terms of engagement and client care for the barristers at Terrace Chambers
These Standard Terms of Engagement record the arrangements when you instruct a barrister at Terrace Chambers directly, without an instructing solicitor. Both barristers and solicitors are also known as lawyers, and are regulated and supervised by the New Zealand Law Society.
The terms apply in respect of all work the barrister carries out for you, except as may be otherwise agreed in writing. By instructing the barrister to act, you are agreeing to these terms.
Barristers cannot undertake certain types of legal work, including transactional matters, and cannot act as your general agent or attorney.
Unless otherwise agreed, the barrister’s fees will be based principally on the time spent on your matter, reflecting the hourly rate agreed. The charges of the individual barrister at Terrace Chambers you instruct will be separately advised to you directly by your barrister.
To ensure the barrister’s fees are fair and reasonable, the fees take into account the factors set out in the Law Society’s Conduct and Client Care Rules. These include
- the complexity of the matter
- the skill, specialised knowledge, and experience required
- the responsibility involved
- the importance of the matter to you and the results achieved
- the urgency of the matter
- the circumstances in which the barrister’s services were provided.
In providing services for you the barrister may incur disbursements and expenses or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf. These will be included in the barrister’s invoice to you when the expense is incurred. The barrister may require payment for the disbursements or expenses which the barrister will be incurring on your behalf. Any money required from you in advance for work to be carried out for you by your barrister will be held in a solicitor’s trust account.
GST is payable by you on the barrister’s fees and disbursements.
The barrister will render invoices to you, usually monthly and on completion of the matter, or on termination of the barrister’s engagement. The barrister may also render an invoice when a significant expense is incurred. The invoices may be rendered to you in electronic form, that is by email.
Invoices are payable within the time specified on the invoice. The barrister may require interest (at 1% per month compound) to be paid on an amount outstanding for more than 20 days from the date of the invoice. If you are unable to pay an account on time you should discuss the situation with the barrister.
Even though you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for the barrister’s fees and expenses, and even if the barrister’s invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, it is expected you still remain primarily responsible for payment.
The invoices are payable in New Zealand dollars, unless otherwise agreed.
If, on your instructions, the barrister agrees to send an invoice to a third party, and that third party fails to pay the invoice within the time specified in the invoice, the barrister may send you an invoice for the same amount, which you must then pay.
You are liable for all legal and debt collection expenses that may be incurred in obtaining or attempting to obtain payment of the invoices, together with interest.
You may be entitled to legal aid. You can ask your barrister about any entitlement because of your financial circumstances.
Conflicts of interest
Where the barrister acts for you, the barrister will not act for another client against your interests on the same or any closely related matter, unless you consent. Again unless you consent, your barrister will not act for another client where your barrister holds confidential information about you or your affairs acquired in the course of acting for you, and where disclosure of that information to another client is likely to adversely affect your interests.
If a conflict of interest arises, the barrister is obliged to tell you. The barrister will terminate the engagement if bound to do so by the Law Society’s Conduct and Client Care Rules, or if the barrister chooses to do so.
The barrister holds in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that the barrister acquires during the course of acting for you. The barrister will not disclose any of this information to any other person except
- to the extent necessary or desirable to enable the barrister to carry out your instructions; or
- to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
Confidential information about you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within or contracted to the barrister’s practice who are providing services for you.
You are the only person who may rely on the barrister’s advice. The barrister owes no duty or liability to any other person, including for example any associated companies, shareholders, directors, employees, or family members. The barrister’s written agreement is required if you want any other person to be able to rely on the barrister’s advice.
The barrister’s advice is opinion only, based on the facts known and on the barrister’s professional judgment. It is subject to any changes in the law after the date the advice is given. The barrister is not liable for mistakes or omissions arising from inaccurate information provided by you or third parties.
The barrister’s advice relates only to the particular matter in respect of which the barrister is engaged. Once that matter is at an end, the barrister no longer owes you any duty or has liability in respect of any related matters, unless you specifically engage the barrister in respect of those related or other matters.
Unless otherwise agreed, the barrister may communicate with you and with others by electronic means. No guarantee is given that these communications will not be lost or affected for some reason beyond the barrister’s reasonable control, and the barrister is not liable for any resulting damage or loss.
The barrister may terminate the engagement at any time if
- you misrepresent or fail to disclose to the barrister relevant facts
- you mislead or deceive the barrister in a material respect
- you adopt a course of action that the barrister believes may be inconsistent with their professional obligations
- the barrister considers that a conflict of interest has arisen
- you do not pay the barrister’s invoices by due date
- you fail to provide timely instructions.
If the barrister’s retainer is terminated you must pay the barrister for all fees and expenses incurred up to the date of termination.
Retention of your files and documents
When the barrister’s engagement ends the barrister may destroy any of your papers that are held which are not of importance or need to be retained. The barrister will return any relevant and important documents, which may include documents that taxation legislation requires be held for 7 years.
Indemnity and insurance cover
All the barristers at Terrace Chambers hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum level required by the New Zealand Law Society.
The Lawyers Fidelity Fund does not provide any cover for barristers because barristers do not hold client’s funds.
In the course of acting for you, the barrister may collect and hold personal information about you. This information may be used by the barrister to provide services to you. You authorise the barrister to obtain from any person any information necessary for that purpose. In addition, you authorise the barrister to release to any person, with your prior approval, any information necessary for the barrister to provide services to you.
Information concerning you will be held at the barrister’s office. Under the Privacy Act 1993, you have the right of access to, and correction of, your personal information held by the barrister.
If at any time you have any concern or complaint about any aspect of the barrister’s professional service, including fees charged, please advise the barrister immediately, so that the matter can be talked through to see if your concerns can be addressed. If you cannot agree to resolve your concerns, you have the right to make a complaint to the Lawyers Complaints Service. The Service can be contacted on 0800 261 801. Information about the process can be accessed on www.lawsociety.org.nz.
These Standard Terms of Engagement and the details on the associated Fees page apply to any current or future engagement between you and your barrister. They can change from time to time, and if that happens you will be advised.
The barrister’s relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
Client care and service information
The Law Society client care and service information is set out below. Whatever legal services your barrister is providing, your barrister 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 the lawyer’s duties to the Courts and to the justice system.
If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.