The Firm’s fees are charged in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the New Zealand Law Society. In fixing the fee the Firm is entitled to take account of matters such as:.
- The time and labour expended
- The skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the services properly
- The importance of the matter to the client and the results achieved
- The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by the client
- The degree of risk assumed by the lawyer in undertaking the services, including the amount or value of any property involved
- The complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved
- The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer
- The possibility that the acceptance of the particular retainer will preclude engagement of the lawyer by other clients
- Whether the fee is fixed or conditional (whether in litigation or otherwise)
- Any quote or estimate of fees given by the lawyer
- Any fee agreement (including a conditional fee agreement) entered into between the lawyer and client
- The reasonable costs of running a practice
- The fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services
The Firm will act in the Client’s best interests to carry out the Client’s instructions.
The Firm will take reasonable steps to keep the Client informed of the steps taken to carry out the Client’s instructions.
By instructing the Firm the Client accepts liability to pay the account that the Firm will render for work done together with all disbursements incurred in respect of such instructions.
Estimate of fees
Where possible the Firm will give the Client an estimate of legal costs. This estimate will be the Firm’s “best guess” as to what the fee is likely to be. If however the work does not proceed as the Firm had expected due to unexpected complications, or if the work proves more complicated than originally anticipated, the Firm will charge for all additional work done.
If it appears that the estimate will be exceeded the Firm will advise the Client of the reasons and obtain further instructions from the Client.
When will the Client be billed?
Generally property and similar transactional matters will be final billed at the time of settlement or on completion on the work. However, it is the Firm’s policy to bill regularly during the transaction to ensure that work is paid for as various steps are completed and the Client is kept informed of the ongoing costs incurred.
For other matters the Firm will bill the Client on a monthly basis.
What about cash payments the Client has to make?
Payments may have to be made to other people for work to be done, for example filing fees, search fees, agency fees and similar payments (called disbursements). It is the Firm’s policy to require the Client to make an immediate payment on commencement to cover the estimated disbursements. The amount of those disbursements will be shown in the initial Letter of Instruction.
If the Firm instructs any other person (including Counsel or another practitioner) the Firm reserves the right to require payment of that person’s estimated costs into the Firm’s trust
account beforehand. By instructing that person the Firm undertakes an obligation to pay that person’s costs and accordingly requires to be protected for these. The Firm may require the Client to enter a payment arrangement directly with that person.
When does the Client have to pay?
Payment of the Firm’s accounts are due 14 days following the date of the invoice. Interest at 18% per annum, calculated monthly, will be charged on all overdue accounts. All costs incurred in the recovery of any overdue account are payable by the client.
It is the Firm’s policy to deduct the account from any money the Firm may be holding for that Client (for example from the sale of the Client’s house) unless alternative arrangements are made in advance.
What if the Client can’t pay on time?
If the Client anticipates difficulty in the payment of any account the Client must contact the Firm immediately on receipt of the account and discuss arrangements for payment. Interest is payable on any overdue account as set out above.
Contact Mark Copeland Lawyers today on 07 345 9050 or email us to help you with your legal needs.