Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (“Law Society”). References to “we” and “us” refer to Dawsons.
- Fees: The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our Terms of Engagement.
- Deduction of fees: We may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.
- Basis of charging legally aided clients: Legal aid is governed by the Legal Services Act 2011 and the associated regulations. Legal Aid is administered through the Ministry of Justice.
We will submit invoices in relation to your grant of aid to the Ministry of Justice/Legal Services Commissioner and provide you with copies. The Ministry of Justice/Legal Services Commissioner will write to you about any conditions or repayment obligations that you may have in relation to the grant of legal aid and your rights as an applicant or recipient of legal aid. You should be aware that legal aid is not always free and in some cases must be repaid. You should read these letters carefully and keep them for later reference.
You must let the Ministry of Justice/Legal Services Commissioner know if there is any change in your and/or your partner’s contact details, employment status, family circumstances or financial details.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance: We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.
- Lawyers Fidelity Fund: The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
- Complaints: We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly. If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work. The New Zealand Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a written complaint to that service. To do so you should contact:
The Lawyers Complaints Service
Phone: 0800 261 801
- Persons Responsible for the Work: The names and status of the person or persons who will have the general and/or overall responsibility for the services we provide for you shall be advised to you when we are engaged by you to perform services.
- Keeping your records: We will retain or dispose of your records in accordance with our terms of engagement. We will provide copies to you in accordance with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1993 on request. We may charge for the cost of providing records to you.
- Client Care and Service: The Law Society's client care and service information is set out below. 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. 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.
- 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 are set out in our letter of engagement.