Principal Aspects of Brookfields' Client Service

1 Introduction

1.1 As a valued client of our firm it is important that you are aware of the principal aspects of Brookfields' client service and our general terms of business. These terms apply to all legal services rendered by us unless we have an alternative arrangement with you in writing.

1.2 If you have any questions concerning these terms, please contact the partner responsible for your file(s).

2 The Basis On Which Fees Will Be Charged

2.1 We calculate our fees so as to give a fair and reasonable return for the services we provide, having regard to your interests and ours. In determining a fair and reasonable fee, the following factors are relevant:

  • The time and labour expended, based on hourly rates of the personnel involved.
  • The time and labour expended
  • The skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the services properly
  • The importance of the matter to you and the results achieved
  • The urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed
  • The degree of risk, including the 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 acceptance of your instructions will preclude us from acting for other clients
  • Whether the fee is fixed or conditional
  • Any quote or estimate we may give
  • Any fee agreement or special arrangement we may have with you
  • The reasonable costs of running our practice
  • The fee customarily charged in the market for similar legal services.

2.2 If we give you a fee estimate:

  • It is an estimate only and we will review it if necessary. The final fee may be more or less than the estimate (although we endeavour to make our estimates as accurate as possible, based on the information available to us at the time)
  • Fee estimates do not include office charges, disbursements or GST unless specifically stated.

2.3 If we reach a fixed fee agreement with you, we will charge the fixed fee for providing the services covered by that agreement. If you request additional work not covered by the fixed fee agreement, you will be charged additional fees.

2.4 In addition to our fees, you can expect to be charged for:

  • Office charges: Photocopying, binding, printing, toll calls, faxes, government registry searches and other expenses incurred on your behalf
  • Disbursements: Any payments which we may have to make to third parties on your behalf, including filing fees and instructing agents and other professionals. We will endeavour to discuss these with you beforehand and may require an advance payment from you
  • GST: New Zealand Goods and Services Tax will be added to the above except where an appropriate exemption applies

2.5 If, with your agreement, we instruct a third party to render services for you (for example an accountant, valuer or specialist barrister) we may require you to deposit funds to our Trust Account which we will hold for payment of the third party's fee.

3 Time For Payment of our accounts

3.1 Our accounts are payable by the 20th day of the month following the date of the invoice, unless alternative arrangements have been agreed with you. If you pay by cheque, your payment is received when the cheque has cleared.

4 Deduction From Funds In Trust

4.1 Where we hold funds on your behalf in our Trust Account other than for a specific purpose, we may deduct our fees and other charges from those funds. By instructing us, you authorise us to do this. If we do this, we will inform you in writing.

5 Our Professional Indemnity Arrangements

5.1 Brookfields holds professional indemnity insurance which exceeds the minimum standards from time to time specified by the Law Society.

6 Coverage Provided By Lawyers' Fidelity Fund

6.1 The Law Society is required to establish and maintain a fidelity fund to provide for compensation, in whole or part, for persons who suffer pecuniary loss arising from theft of any money or valuable property entrusted to a lawyer in the course of provision of legal services or as solicitor-trustee. Compensation is limited to $100,000 per claimant.

6.2 Except in certain circumstances, the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund does not cover loss of money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client. So, if you instruct us to invest money on your behalf, that money is not covered by the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund.

7 Complaints

7.1 We maintain a procedure for handling client complaints. Our aim is to ensure any complaints are dealt with promptly and fairly. If you have a complaint regarding any aspect of our service we ask that you raise this initially with the partner responsible for your file(s). Or, if you consider that this is not appropriate, you may contact a member of our Board on phone 09 379 9350 or by letter addressed to: The Chairman Brookfields Board, Brookfields, P O Box 240, Auckland 1140.

7.2 The New Zealand Law Society also offers a service for the resolution of complaints. You can contact the New Zealand Law Society on 0800 261 801 or www.lawsociety.org.nz.

8 Tax Advice

8.1 Unless you instruct us specifically to do so, Brookfields will not provide you with tax advice. In a commercial context it is in your interest to obtain tax advice and we recommend that you do so.

8.2 If you do obtain tax advice, and give us a copy of that advice, we will follow it when we do your work. Otherwise, the work we do might not take into account the tax issues relevant to you.