Client Charter

 


 

Alan Jones Law Limited is committed to providing outstanding advice and service to our clients. We wish to work with you in such a way that our promise of quality and reasonable cost of legal services is maintained.

 

To this end we take this opportunity to set out some basic elements of this practice namely:

 

- who we are
- what you can expect when you deal with us
- ways you can help us give you the best service.

 

The terms of this Charter apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing. We also include here information that we are required to provide to you under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008.


WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US

 

We will estimate the fee for your work if you want us to

We are happy to give you an estimate of the likely costs of your work based on the information you give us about what you need. We can also estimate disbursement costs before beginning work.  We will let you know if the actual fees are likely to vary from the estimate.

How we set our fees

When setting our fees we consider the:

• fixed-fee part of the work
• time and labour involved
• skill, specialised knowledge and seniority you need
• project’s importance, complexity, risk, and results achieved
• urgency under which you need us to carry out the services
• experience, reputation and ability of the person advising you
• possibility that acting for you may prevent us acting for other clients
• estimate of fees we prepared for you, or our fee agreement
• reasonable costs of running a practice
• market fee for similar services.

We delegate work to staff at the best level to ensure you get the best value.

Prepayment or deposits

Sometimes we may ask you to pay a prepayment or deposit based on the fees and disbursements we have estimated. We may choose not to begin work until we receive your prepayment or deposit, even if filing or other deadlines are due.

Prepayments and deposits are paid into our trust account and will not be deducted until we have completed the work and invoiced you. We will deduct fees and disbursements that we have invoiced you for from the money held in our trust account.

We will bill you regularly

We will usually send you invoices monthly unless we have agreed a different arrangement.  If we are holding funds for you on trust, we will deduct from those funds any fees that we have invoiced you on any matter.

How we deal with third party costs

While providing services to you, we may have to pay third party costs like official fees, foreign agents’ charges, barristers’ fees, courier and travel costs. We call these costs “disbursements”. We charge disbursements to you. Sometimes disbursements will be the most significant portion of our invoice, depending on your project. Our invoice will show the portion that is disbursements.

On disbursements in foreign currencies, we add a 3% foreign currency fee to cover forward exchange risk and electronic bank transfer fees.

Expense Recoveries

We charge a separate bureau/office service fee to cover the minimum costs for printing, photocopying, telephone, postage, and retention of your file for NZLS compliance.

Make sure your account stays current

Please make sure your account with us stays current. Our invoices are due to be paid on the due date shown on your invoice. Please discuss any queries about an invoice with us before your payment is due.

In rare circumstances (such as if you have not paid your account), we may be forced to stop acting for you even if filing or other deadlines are due. We are entitled to keep your files or documents until you have paid the outstanding accounts.

We may charge you default interest of 2% per month calculated daily, on invoices not paid by the due date. We may also charge you collection and legal fees we incur to recover unpaid accounts.

We act for you 

We consider your particular situation and needs when we give you advice. No other person may rely on the advice we give you, unless we agree otherwise. If you instruct us, you are responsible for paying our fee.

Your information stays private

While advising you, we may collect and hold personal information about you. We will only use this information for:

• providing our services
• getting credit information or other references
• telling you about issues that may affect you.

We keep information about you. Under the Privacy Act 1993 you have the right to see the information we hold. To arrange access to this information, please speak to your contact within the firm.

We store your files for at least seven years

The subject of your file affects how long we keep your file, but we store all files for at least seven years. We destroy files at the end of their storage period. Please let us know if you would like a copy of our file retention and disposal policy.

Governing law

We do business under the laws of New Zealand. Any legal disputes will be governed by the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts.

If you have a complaint about us, we want to know

If we have failed to meet your expectations, please tell us. We take clients’ complaints seriously, and want to do what we can to right the situation. If you are unhappy, we encourage you to talk to the person you are dealing with and see whether the problem is simply miscommunication. If you are still not satisfied with the way we have responded to your complaint, you can make a formal complaint to the New Zealand Law Society ph 0800 261 801 or visit www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-community/lawyers-complaints-service).

Our professional indemnity insurance meets New Zealand Law Society standards

We hold professional indemnity insurance, which meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society. Please ask us if you would like details of the minimum standards.

The New Zealand Law Society’s Fidelity Fund

The New Zealand Law Society’ s Solicitors' Fidelity Guarantee Fund (the Fidelity Fund) provides clients of lawyers with protection against theft by a lawyer, lawyer's employee or agent. For more information about what the Fidelity Fund covers, go to www.lawsociety.org.nz

 

WAYS YOU CAN HELP US GIVE YOU THE BEST SERVICE

 

Give us all relevant information before we start work

So we can give you effective advice, please tell us all relevant information about your matter at the start of our discussions.

Instruct us well before deadlines to save money

Instructing us well before deadlines means you can avoid paying expensive urgency costs.

Your satisfaction and feedback

We wish to ensure that we meet your expectations wherever possible and we invite your feedback, whether it is good or bad.

 

 

NEW ZEALAND LAW SOCIETY’S CLIENT CARE AND SERVICE INFORMATION

 

Here is the Law Society’s client care and service information. Whatever legal services your lawyer provides, they 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 lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.