Standard Terms & Conditions

Buchanan Gray's Standard Terms Of Engagement

1. When you retain Buchanan Gray to act for you as your lawyers, we will act in your best interests throughout the period of our retainer when carrying out your instructions.   

Confidentiality – We will hold in confidence all information concerning you and your affairs that we may acquire during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to anyone else except:-

  • To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions;

  • To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

Your confidential information will, as far possible, be made available only to those in our practice who are providing legal services for you and of course, we will not disclose any confidential information to you which we have obtained in relation to any of our other clients.

Client privilege - When you tell us about your problem and provide us with documents or evidence concerning your case, that information and those documents remain your property and will not be passed on by us to any third person unless:

  • You have instructed us to do so; or

  • We are required to do so by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

Conflicts of interest - We have procedures in place to identify potential conflicts of interest. If a potential or actual conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this as soon as practicable and follow the requirements and procedure set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. 

2. Except where we have agreed on a fixed fee for dealing with a particular matter, generally the legal services which we provide will be charged out at the rate of $300.00 (plus GST) per hour. In fixing the fee we are also entitled to account of matters such as:

  • Time spent
  • The skill and knowledge and responsibility required
  • The value of the property involved
  • The complexity, novelty, importance and urgency of the matter
  • The reasonable costs of running our practice
  • The result

3. We do not charge separately for postage, but we do charge a one-time filing opening fee of $30.00 (including GST) which is designed to cover all of the preliminary administration and file set up/establishment costs.

4. If we are holding money for you and we have invoiced you for work carried out then we may deduct the account from that money and where that happens, we will provide you with an up-to-date Trust Account Statement.

5. From time-to-time we may be required to incur costs or expenses (such as Court filing fees, search fees or registration fees) in order to carry out the work for which we have been retained. You may be required to pay these costs/expenses in advance, but if we have paid them for you then we will expect you to reimburse us within 7 days of being requested to do so. We will also invoice you for our services at regular intervals and these invoices will also be required to be paid within 7 days from the date you receive the invoice. Where payment has not been received within the time required and where satisfactory arrangements for payment have not been made with us, we may refuse to carry out any further work on your behalf until matters have been regularised.

6. In all cases we reserve the right to cease to act if the client cannot or will not provide appropriate instructions when requested to so do at any stage.

7. Where work has been carried out by us for which we have not been paid, then as a general rule we have the right to retain original documents and correspondence pertaining to the matter until such time as all outstanding fees, disbursements and other expenses have been paid. Further, we may charge you interest on overdue accounts at the rate of 10% per annum calculated from the date payment was due down to the date of actual payment in full.

8. Buchanan Gray does not provide investment advice or advice concerning the quality of a client’s investment(s). For this type of advice clients should seek separate advice from an investment advisor or from a trusted financial advisor.

9. We will provide you with regular updates/reports as your matter progresses. If, at any stage you would like an interim report regarding your matter please do not hesitate to ask us for one. If at any stage you wish to discuss your matter or if you have a question or even a complaint, you should not hesitate to contact either Russell Buchanan or Annette Gray to discuss matters.

10. Extent of our duty of care - Our duty of care is to our client and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to that in writing. This because our advice is tailored to our client’s particular circumstances and it would not be safe to assume that the same advice will apply to someone else even where it appears to the client that the other person’s circumstances may be the same or similar to their own.

11. If you are dissatisfied with our service and have been unable to resolve the matter with us, you may make a complaint to the Law Society’s complaint service. The Law Society’s contact details are: New Zealand Law Society, 26 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington 6011, telephone: (04) 472 7837.

12. By law we are also required to inform our clients of whether we hold professional indemnity insurance or not. Buchanan Gray holds professional indemnity insurance that meets the current standards specified by the Law Society.

13. We are also required to inform clients that the Law Society maintains a Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purpose of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. However, the Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of a client.

14. Once our retainer has come to an end and our fees have been paid, you are entitled to possession of all of the documents which we have created which belong to you. Please note that except for documents you expressly request us to hold in our deed’s system on your behalf (such as original signed documents, deeds or other important legal documents) or documents you ask us to send to you, you agree that we are authorised to destroy your file after a period of 6 years following completion of our work.

15. Rule 3.5 of the Lawyers and Conveyancing Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 require us to provide clients with a copy of the Client Care and Service Information set out in the preface to those Rules. These are set out below:

Rules of conduct and client care for lawyers - Client care and service information

Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she 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 (the rules). Those obligations are 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.

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