Terms of Engagement

Our Obligations

These terms and conditions will apply to all work undertaken for you, unless another arrangement is specifically agreed. We reserve the right to alter these terms and conditions at any time, and to advise you of new terms and conditions, which will apply to new work undertaken after that date.


Our charges are based upon time expended as well as the urgency, complexity or importance of a matter, the responsibility involved and the outcome achieved. We will give you, at the earliest possible opportunity, our best estimate of final costs. It is often not possible to give more than an estimate of final costs because of a number of factors and outside agencies involved. In some circumstances, we are prepared to give you a quotation for your work, and we will keep to that quotation if we give it. But please note that it is not possible to give quotations for some kinds of work.

The expression Disbursements, when used in a fees invoice to you, means moneys paid on your behalf and charged at cost. For larger disbursements, you will be asked to fund these in advance. It may also include charges paid to service companies owned by the directors. Examples are land title searches, registration, company searches and judgments. The expression Office Expenses, when used in a fees invoice, may include internally generated charges. Examples are photocopying, telephone calls, faxes and courier fees. The Office Expense fee is up to 6% of the fee charged.

We may receive commission when we place insurance or make investments on your behalf and GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.


Before commencing work on a matter we shall be able to require an advance against fees, disbursements and other charges. This retainer will be deposited into our trust account, and it may be used to pay any invoice rendered by us or any disbursement on your behalf. We shall be entitled to ask you to make further retainer payments from time to time as the matter advances and if the earlier retainer payment has been used. Any remaining balance of the retainer will be returned to you upon the completion of our services.

We reserve the right to decline to act if there is a failure or delay in payment of any retainer requested. A non-payment of a retainer may also result in a delay in our undertaking of work or providing services for you, and it may result in our withdrawing our services and representation.

Security for Costs

We may require security for our fees, disbursements and expenses which security may take the form of a mortgage or general security agreement. We may also require another person to guarantee your payment of our fees, disbursements and expenses.

Third Parties

Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees, disbursements 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.


Our accounts are due for payment 20 days from the date of the account. However, we reserve the right to stipulate a shorter payment period. We accept payment by way of cheque, credit card or bank transfer, our bank account details are 03-0435-0768588-02. Pending payment of our account, we will not usually cease work on your file, but we reserve the right to do so, and we will tell you if we do.

If you have difficulty meeting any account please discuss this with us immediately. You may wish to make periodic payments into our trust account on account of your legal costs in advance of the completion of your job. Please advise if you wish to do this.

If your fees and expenses are to be paid by a third party, you remain responsible for payment if the third party fails to pay us. 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.

Interest and Costs on Overdue Accounts

If you fail to pay monies on the due date you shall:


Where work has been done by us and we have not been paid by you, then we have the right to retain the original documents and the correspondence on your files until such time as all outstanding fees, disbursements and expenses have been paid. This is known as a lien. This is important if circumstances arise where you decide for whatever reason to instruct another law firm.  You must pay all outstanding fees, disbursements and expenses before we release your files to your new solicitors. Alternatively that other law firm may be obliged to give an undertaking to us to pay all outstanding fees, disbursements and expenses before your file is released.


We try to schedule our work several weeks ahead so that it can be carried out efficiently and scheduled in with other work. Please try to keep appointments and meet our deadlines etc, as failure to do so may mean your work becomes urgent, requiring additional attention, possibly resulting in higher charges.

Unless we specifically agree, we do not undertake to do work by a particular date or time; but we will do our best to meet your requirements in this regard. We will endeavour to action your work promptly. But there may be times where we are delayed by other people, including other professionals, Government departments and the Courts.

Excellent service as usual.
Steve Alderson