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Standard Terms of Engagement – Kannangara Thomson

  1. Services

The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our engagement letter.

  1. Financial 
    1. Fees
  1. The fees which we will charge or the way they will be arrived at, are set out in our engagement letter.  Our fees are charged in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Rule of Professional Conduct of the New Zealand Law Society. In fixing our fees we consider the following factors:
  • the time spent
  • the skill and knowledge and responsibility required
  • the value of property involved
  • the complexity, novelty, importance, and urgency of the matter
  • the reasonable costs of running a practice
  • the result
  1. If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our services. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly basis. We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope and if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.
  2. Where our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, the hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our professional staff. Time spent is recorded in 6-minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of 6 minutes.
  1. Disbursements and Expenses

In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make to third parties on your behalf. These will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred.  We may require an advance payment for the disbursements and expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

  1. GST (if any)

Is payable by you on our fees and charges.

  1. Invoices

We may, depending on the circumstances, send interim invoices to you, usually monthly and on completion of the matter, or termination of our engagement.  We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.

  1. Payment

Invoices are payable on receipt of our invoice unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. We may require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 30 days overdue. Interest will be calculated at the rate of 15% per annum applying at the date payment became due (minimum charge of $5.00 per invoice per month). When interest has been charged, it is our policy to apply any subsequent payment to interest charged first before allocating the payment to invoices or other balances. If we are required to take recovery action against you, all collection costs will be payable by you. This may include administration charges and collection costs charged by our debt collection agency. We accept payments by direct credit, EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard and cash. Please note that a 3% surcharge applies to payments by Visa or MasterCard.


  1. Security

We may ask you to pre-pay an amount to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise us:

  1. To debt against amounts pre-paid by you; and/or
  2. To deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses, or disbursements for which we are provided an invoice.
  1. Third Parties

Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

  1. Companies, Trusts, Joint Clients, and other non-personal Entities
    1. If we receive instructions from you in your capacity as a director or shareholder of a limited liability company or as a settlor or trustee of a trust or estate (or any other non-personal entity) then such instructions are accepted on the basis that you are at all times personally responsible as principal debtor for payment of our fees, disbursements and any other costs payable and you personally indemnify us for the payment of our fees, disbursements and any other costs rendered to these entities.
    2. In cases where instructions are received from more than one client jointly, such clients will be jointly and severally liable for payment of our fees, disbursements, and any other costs.  In such cases unless otherwise agreed in writing, we may, but are not required to, accept and act on instructions from any one person from such a joint client.
  2. Confidentiality
    1. We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:
  1. To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
  2. To the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
  1. Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within our Firm who are providing legal services to you.
  2. We will of course, not disclose to your confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.
    1. Termination
      1. You may terminate our retainer at any time.
      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
      3. If our retainer is terminated, you must pay all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.
  • Retention of files and documents
  • You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents we hold in safe custody for you) 7 years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
  • We may charge a fee (advised by our engagement letter) for storage of your file, or alternatively you may choose to uplift your file upon completion of the matter.
  • If uplifted, you will be responsible for the storage of the file and its contents in accordance with legislative requirements.  We may charge a fee for the retrieval of files and documents from storage.
  • Conflicts of Interest
      1. We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises, we will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
  • Client Checks
      1. We are required to comply with all laws binding on us including the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT), the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (US) (FATCA) and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standards (CRS). 
      2. We will perform client due diligence and account monitoring keep records, and reporting and report any unusual or suspicious transactions where required by AML/CFT, FATCA, legal obligations. 
      3. For the purposes of AML/CFT, we are required to obtain and verify certain information from you. This may include people associated with you (such as employees, directors and shareholders, trustees, and beneficiaries). If we are unable to obtain the required information from you, it is likely we will not be able to act for you.
      4. We also have ongoing client due diligence obligations. To meet these obligations, we may need to request further information from you in the future. If we are not able to obtain the required information, it is likely we will not be able to take further instructions from you.
  • Duty of Care
      1. Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person who may rely on our advice. We must expressly agree to this.
  • Trust Account
    1. We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of invoices).  Where monies are held in our trust account and invested on deposit for you, we will charge an administration fee of 7.5% of the gross interest derived.
    2. To enable us to place funds on investment (on call) for you, we are required to collect the prescribed identity and financial account information of the account holder (or controlling person) for disclosure via the bank to the local revenue authority (IRD) to satisfy our compliance obligation in relation to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance act (US) (FATCA) and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standards (CRS).