General Business Terms

1. Method of payment

1.1 You can pay your accounts in person at our office, by cheque, cash (subject to regulatory compliance) or credit card (Visa or Mastercard). Or you can pay by mail, in which case please attach your cheque to the tear-off remittance slips provided with our invoices. You can also pay by direct credit. Our bank account details appear on the remittance slips. Please include your account number so that we can record your payment.

1.2 For non-resident clients, we request that you pay by telegraphic transfer and in New Zealand dollars only.

1.3 If you make part payment of an account we will accept it in partial settlement of the full amount payable on the account unless we agree to accept a reduced sum and confirm this to you in writing.

2. Payment by third parties

2.1 Although you may expect our fees and expenses to be paid by a third party, and although we may at your request address our invoices to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment if the third party fails to pay us.

2.2 If you obtain Legal Aid, our accounts will be paid by the Legal Services Agency. If you apply for Legal Aid but your application is declined, you will be responsible for payment of our accounts.

3. Interest on Overdue Accounts

3.1 If you do not pay any account on time we may charge interest on the overdue amount, from the date payment falls overdue until the date payment is made in full. The interest rate which will apply is 5% above our overdraft rate from time to time. This does not affect our other rights to recover payment.

4. Payment in Advance

4.1 If we request payment in advance on account of our costs the amount paid by you in advance will be held on trust until we send you an invoice. Payment will then be made by deduction from the funds held on trust. Requests for payment in advance are not quotes or estimates of costs. Where payment in advance is requested we may not carry out further work or incur further disbursements until payment is made.

5. Ongoing matters - monthly billing

5.1 For matters involving work spread over more than 4 weeks we will generally send an account to you on an interim basis every month.

6. Special Billing Arrangements

6.1 For major work or where you have special needs (such as a particular accounting format or frequency of billing) we ask that you raise these with us before we begin work for you so that we can provide you with accounts which meet your requirements.

7. Interest on Funds Held on Trust

7.1 If your funds are, with your agreement, placed by us on interest bearing deposit with our bank, the interest received belongs to you. It is calculated at our bank's floating deposit rates applying from time to time. From the interest received we deduct our commission (5% of the interest received) and interest withholding tax.

8. Interest Withholding Tax

8.1 For New Zealand residents, where an IRD number has been supplied, you may elect your withholding tax rate. If you have not supplied an IRD number, the non-declaration rate will be used.

8.2 For non residents, differing rates apply depending on tax residency and status.

8.3 We will provide an interest withholding certificate each year, covering the previous tax year to 31 March.

9. Suspension of services

9.1 If any account is not paid on time we may decide not to carry out further work or incur further disbursements until payment of all accounts is brought up to date.

9.2 You will be liable for all legal and debt collection costs that we may incur, including our costs calculated on a solicitor/client basis, in enforcing, or attempting to enforce, our rights under these terms and conditions.

9.3 Should you wish to discuss credit terms, please contact our Finance Manager.

10. Termination

10.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time.

10.2 We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society's "Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers". You can view these Rules on the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.org.nz.

10.3 If our retainer is terminated, you must pay us all fees and expenses due up to the date of termination.

11. Files and Documents

11.1 Our files remain our property at all times. Copies are available on request, subject to payment of any outstanding accounts.

11.2 Original legal documents are your property and may be uplifted by you upon payment of any outstanding accounts and upon completion of a written authority to uplift documents (which we can provide to you on request).

11.3 We provide a secure storage facility for your important documents.

12. Follow-up Procedure

12.1 We constantly endeavour to improve the quality of our legal services. It greatly assists us in doing this if we receive feedback from you. We appreciate your co-operation in:

Giving us regular feedback as services are carried out; and

Participating in occasional surveys as to the quality of our services

13. Privacy Act

13.1 If you are an individual, you have a right of access to information which we hold about you. You may request correction of that information and may require your request to be stored with that information (subject to payment of our reasonable costs of providing access to that information).

13.2 You authorise Brookfields to collect, retain and use information about you for our purposes, including to assess your credit-worthiness (for which purpose we are authorised to pass such information on to credit reference agencies). You also authorise Brookfields to provide any information we may hold about you to and for the use of any credit and/or debt collection agencies we might engage to recover any debts owed by you to Brookfields.

14. Consumer Guarantees Act

14.1 Where we are providing services to you for the purposes of a business, the Consumer Guarantees Act will not apply.

15. General Matters

15.1 Having read these terms and conditions we consider that, unless you raise any points regarding them with the partner responsible for your file(s), you have accepted them and agree that they govern our business relationship.

15.2 These terms will apply to any work we carry out for you unless you agree alternative terms with us.

15.3 These terms and any matter or disputes connected with the same are governed by New Zealand Law and will be dealt with in the New Zealand courts.