Terms of Engagement
We prefer to give our clients a fixed fee cost. When this is not possible, we will provide a cost estimate instead.
You will receive a cost agreement from us, which will detail exactly what is covered in our fixed fee amount or the estimate.
For an initial consultation, we will charge $350 + gst
If we have not fixed our fees or negotiated an hourly rate, our default hourly rates are as follows:
Director $400/hour + gst
Lawyer $350/hour + gst
Law Clerk $175/hour + gst
Administrative staff $150/hour + gst
How we calculate fees
The firm’s fees are determined by applying these hourly rates to the units of time recorded by each staff member on your matter. Time is recorded in 6 minute units. For example, the time charged for a phone call of up to 6 minutes will be 6 minutes and the time charged for an attendance between 6 and 12 minutes will be 12 minutes.
We confirm that we will not be calculating legal costs in accordance with an applicable scale of costs and this may result in a higher charge than if scale costs were used. Another law practice may calculate legal costs in accordance with scale costs.
In the course of your matter it may be necessary to incur disbursements, which are fees, expenses and charges such as court filing fees, bank charges, courier fees, barrister’s fees, title searching and property enquiries, agency fees for law stationers, and process serving. These are payable as and when they fall due for payment.
We will not incur any substantial expense without first obtaining your permission.
(a) Each month we will render interim accounts and ask that you pay them promptly.
(b) Our accounts will include a brief narration of work undertaken on your behalf. Should you require a detailed explanation of our account you should contact us further.
(c) If these payment arrangements do not work for you then please discuss an alternative with us.
Should we hold money in our trust account on account of fees and disbursements you authorise us to draw on that money to pay any amount due to us in accordance with the provisions of the Act and regulations relating to the withdrawal of trust money for legal costs and/or disbursements.
Your right to a bill of costs
(a) The Legal Practitioners Act 1981 provides that a legal practitioner cannot take action for recovery of legal costs until 30 days after a bill of costs has been given to the person charged with their payment.
(b) At the expiry of 30 days after a bill of costs is given to you, interest, at the rate specified in the act may be charged on any amounts unpaid.
Your right to fair and reasonable costs
The Act gives you the right to have the costs charged by us assessed for their fairness and reasonableness by an assessor appointed by the Supreme Court. That right is not available to you in certain circumstances where there is a costs agreement that complies with the Act, unless a costs assessor decides that the agreement we have with you is unjust.
In order to avoid further increasing our fees, and penalising those clients who pay promptly, we have adopted the practice of charging interest on all amounts outstanding for more than 30 days. This will be calculated on any balance outstanding 30 days from an account being rendered, on a monthly basis, at the rate being 2% above the benchmark cash rate fixed by the Reserve Bank.
Termination of this agreement
(a) We will not continue to do the work if you fail to pay our bills, if you fail to provide us with adequate instructions, or if you indicate to us that we have lost your confidence.
(b) We will give you at least 14 days’ notice of our intention to terminate our agreement, and of the grounds on which the notice is based. You will be required to pay our charges for work done, and for expenses incurred, up to the date of termination. You may terminate this agreement in writing at any time. If you do so you will pay our charges and expenses incurred up to the time of termination.
(a). We communicate electronically with clients and other parties using electronic mail, both direct and via the Internet, and using computer disks. We also retain our files electronically and do not routinely retain hard-copy files. You acknowledge and agree as follows:
(i) There are some delivery risks in using electronic mail and you accept the risk of interception of the email by third parties or of non-receipt or delayed receipt of the message; and
(ii) Computer viruses and similar damaging items can be transmitted through emails and by introducing computer disks into your system. We use virus-scanning software to reduce these risks and ask that you do the same. However, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of introducing viruses.
(b). You release us from all claims, losses, expenses and liabilities caused by any of the risks referred to above and arising directly or indirectly out of that communication or the files being maintained electronically.