Terms of Engagement and Information for Clients in respect to ACC reviews
You have requested our services in respect to your ACC application for review. In accepting these terms of engagement you agree to the following terms and conditions and client care information.
We advise that we are obligated to:
o act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made:
o protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties:
o discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved:
o provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided:
o charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed:
o give you clear information and advice:
o protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality:
o treat you fairly, respectfully, and without discrimination:
o keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed:
o let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
The obligations owed to clients are described in the Rules of conduct and client care for lawyers (the rules).
Those obligations are however subject to other overriding duties, including 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.
Who is responsible for your work?
Garry Wakefield or Matthew Shepherd will have overall responsibility for the work on this matter
Feel free to contact us during usual working hours. We welcome contact from you but note that you may not be able to immediately contact a particular staff member as they are often involved in Court matters and numerous other attendances. If your matter is particularly urgent please advise us by email, or fax of the details of your request, together with your preferred contact details and we will get back to you as soon as we are able to.
Professional Fees in respect to ACC Review Applications
Our fees are set having regard to a range of factors applied by the New Zealand Law Society and include time, urgency, expertise, importance, the complexity of the matter and results achieved. Recorded time is used as an aid and base for calculating fees: total fees charged for any particular transaction may be more or less than the total time recorded applying the factors set out above.
Our firms schedule of hourly rates is based on years of experience, specialisation, and level of professional attainment. This is currently set at $250.00 per hour plus GST.
Payments for expert opinions
We may recommend that you obtain a medical opinion in relation to your injury. You will be solely responsible for meeting the costs of obtaining that opinion and you will need to pay the costs in advance. We will let you know what these costs will be as your file progresses. You may get some or all of this cost back from ACC if you are successful in your claim.
Our accounts are due for payment 14 days after the date of the account unless prior arrangements are made with us in writing. We may issue interim accounts while work is in progress.
You authorise us to deduct our fees, expenses and disbursements from any funds held in our trust account on your behalf where we have provided an invoice.
If any account is not paid within 30 days, interest may be charged on the outstanding balance at the rate of 12% per annum (calculated on a daily basis) from the date upon which payment was due, and you will be responsible for any reasonable debt collection costs that we incur in recovering outstanding amounts due to us.
Disbursements include expenses such as file opening fee, toll calls, faxes, photocopying, searches, registration fees, courier charges and agency fees. Disbursements may be included with our accounts or may be billed separately. We may obtain from you funds in advance for significant disbursements.
Files and Documents
You agree to pay our costs of retrieving a file or documents if at any time you wish to access them.
Privacy and confidentiality
We will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential. We will not share any information we hold about you, unless:
o you agree, or instruct us to:
o we are required to do so by law:
o we need to so we can carry out your work.
We may communicate with you by electronic means. You authorise us to use any email address that you give us to communicate with you about the work we do for you.
Electronic communications can be subject to interference or interception or contain viruses or other defects. We do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any damage or lass caused in connection with the corruption of an electronic communication.
Lawyers Fidelity Fund and Professional Indemnity Insurance
The Lawyers Fidelity Fund provides a limited form of cover for protection against theft by lawyers up to specified maximums in certain circumstances excluding investment monies. We do not deal with investment monies. We do not hold professional indemnity insurance.
Limitations on extent of our obligations or liability
Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability in respect of any particular file will be the subject of a separate agreement.
We will respond to any complaint promptly and fairly. If you have a compliant about our services please tell Garry directly. Alternatively, if you do not want to take your complaint to Garry, please contact Fiona Wakefield, solicitor by email at email@example.com If you cannot resolve your complaint to your satisfaction you may contact the Law Society complaints service. Please phone 0800 261 801 if you need to make contact with this service.
Ending this engagement
This engagement will end once we have completed the services instructed by you in respect to the ACC Review.
You may end our engagement earlier by giving us reasonable notice. You will remain responsible to meet the fees that have been incurred on this file. Before you take your records you will need to pay our fees for the work we have done for you.
It is important that we can rely on each other to meet our responsibilities to each other. We may stop working for you and end this engagement on reasonable notice if:
o you do not provide instructions promptly, for example, if you are not available to give us instructions to conduct any review or other hearing on your behalf
o you are unable to, or do not pay our fees as agreed
o you act against our advice, or in a way that we believe is unwise or inconsistent with our obligations as solicitors.
o We consider that it is inappropriate to continue your instructions.
You will remain liable to pay us for work we have completed to date in the engagement is terminated for any reason.