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Terms of Engagement

These are the terms on which you engage us unless different or additional terms are agreed in writing between you and Godfreys.



Our Letter of Engagement sets out the services we are to provide.


Professional Duties

Our duties under these terms of engagement are owed solely to you. We do not accept any responsibility or liability to any third parties who may be affected by our performance of the engagement or who may rely on any advice unless we expressly agree to this in writing.

Unless Godfreys has agreed in writing, no advice or information provided to the client is to be made available, directly or indirectly to any third party, or shall be used or relied upon by any third party.

Godfreys will have no liability to any such third party.  The client indemnifies Godfreys against any third party claim arising from its release of any such advice or information.



We shall charge you a fair and reasonable fee for the work done on your behalf.

Fees are calculated in accordance with our estimated quote and/or the hourly rates we charge for the personnel working on the engagement as set out in our Letter of Engagement and taking into account Law Society approved criteria.

If our 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 rate 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.

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 six (6) minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of six (6) minutes.

Disbursements and expenses  We will also charge you for any payments we make on your behalf to third parties (disbursements).  Disbursements may include fees payable to LINZ, the Companies Office or the Ministry of Justice (court filing fees/hearing fees), LIM fees, courier fees and document service fee.  We will also charge you a separate fee (Bureau Fee) to cover other general administration expenses, including but not limited to cell phone calls, photocopying, faxes, file and storage fees incurred during the course of our engagement.  This Bureau fee will vary depending on the fee charged – for example:

Amount Fee
Invoices up to $500 $20 Bureau fee
Invoices between $500 and $1,000 $30 Bureau fee
Invoices between $1,000 and $2,000 $60 Bureau fee
Invoices over $2,000 $100 Bureau fee

Funds sufficient to meet all disbursements and expenses expected to be incurred in the course of carrying out your instructions are to be deposited with us prior to those disbursements being incurred unless some other arrangement is expressly made between you and ourselves.  We will inform you of the amounts required to meet the disbursements.

GST (if any) is payable by you on our fees and charges.

We shall charge a fee from time to time as appropriate.  Where it is anticipated that the work will be carried out over a specific and not prolonged period, (e.g. the sale or purchase of a property), our fee will normally be rendered at the conclusion of that work.  Where it is anticipated that the work will be carried out over a prolonged or unknown. period, (e.g. litigation), our fees will be rendered regularly at intervals of not less than one month.

Our invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice. Interest will be payable by you on any fees or disbursements which are not paid on or before due date.  Interest will be calculated at the rate of 18% per annum on any unpaid balance.

If you are eligible and choose to apply for legal aid, there could be a significant period between the making of that application and the decision.  If a legal aid application by you is declined, we shall charge you a fee for all work by us on your behalf including work carried out prior to the date on which the legal aid application is declined.

You authorise us to debit or deduct any fees, expenses or disbursements against any amount pre-paid by you or from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account for which we have provided an invoice.

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.


Non payment of Invoice

We reserve the right to:


Trust Account

We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices).  If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank for your credit.  In that case we will charge Commission of 5% of the interest earned.



All information concerning you or your affairs will be held in confidence and will not be disclosed by us to any other client or person except:



You may terminate our retainer at any time.

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.

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


Conflicts of Interest

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.



These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.  We are entitled to change these terms from time to time, in which case we will send you a copy of the amended Terms.

Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.


Refusing Instructions

Good cause to refuse to accept instructions includes a lack of available time, the instructions falling outside the lawyer’s normal field of practice, instructions that could require the lawyer to breach any professional obligation, and the unwillingness or inability of the prospective client to pay the normal fee of the lawyer concerned for the relevant work.


Duty to Complete Retainer

A lawyer who has been retained by a client must complete the regulated services required by the client under the retainer unless:

A lawyer:


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 purpose 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 $100,000.00.  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.


Client Care and Service

Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, they must:

The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers (“the rules”).  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 or call 0800 261 801.


Godfreys Inhouse Complaints Procedure

To deal with client complaints in a timely, appropriate and professional manner in order to satisfactorily address client concerns or complaints about an author or work produced by the firm.

These procedures will only apply if a client submits the complaint in writing, providing details of the complaint and advises Godfreys what action they require to be taken.

If the client is unsatisfied with the firms response to a complaint then the matter may be taken up directly with the New Zealand Law Society Lawyers Complaints Section who can be contacted on Ph: 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Service Office, which can provide information and advice about making a complaint.


Persons Responsible for the Work

The names and status of the person or persons who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are set out in our letter of engagement.