The legal services I perform are subject to my Terms of Engagement. Those terms are set out on this page, together with Client Care Information that all lawyers must provide to their clients.

Terms and Client Care

1.  General

1.1.  These terms apply to all legal services performed by me, Martin Dillon. They should be read together with letters of engagement I send to you in respect of your specific instructions.

1.2.  These terms also incorporate client care information that New Zealand lawyers must provide to their clients.

1.3.  I may change these terms from time to time, and if I do then I will send the amended terms to you.

1.4.  My relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have exclusive jurisdiction.

2.  Services

2.1.  The services I am to perform for you are as set out in my letter of engagement and any further instructions I accept from you.

2.2.  I may involve other professionals to help me carry out your instructions from time to time.

3.  Communications

3.1.  You must advise me of your email address, postal address and telephone number. You must also advise me if any of your contact details change.

3.2.  I will report to you from time to time on the progress of any engagement. I will inform you of any consequential and unexpected delays, significant changes, or complications in the services to be performed. You may request a progress report at any time.

3.3.  I may communicate with you by email or other electronic means. You acknowledge that you cannot expect an immediate response to any kind of written correspondence, including email. You must contact me by telephone in order to raise any matter that you would like treated with urgency or priority.

4.  Costs

4.1.  Legal aid:  Please refer to clause 5 below if you have been granted legal aid.

4.2.  Fees:  My letter of engagement sets out how I will charge my fees.

a.  If the engagement letter specifies a fixed fee, I will charge this for the agreed scope of the services I am to provide. Work that falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis.  I will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for me to provide services outside of the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely further costs.

b.  Where my fees are calculated on an hourly basis, please have regard to my hourly rate as set out in my engagement letter.

4.3.  Disbursements and expenses:  I may incur disbursements and expenses payable to third parties on your behalf. These could be costs such as court filing fees, travel and courier charges.  You authorise me to incur disbursements and make payments to third parties that are reasonably necessary to carry out your instructions.  These will be passed on to you and recorded as “disbursements” in my invoice. Disbursements are additional to my fees for my professional services.

4.4.  GST:  My services will usually attract Goods and Services Tax (GST). If that is the case then GST is payable by you on my fees and charges.

4.5.  Invoices:  I will send interim invoices to you, usually monthly, as well as a final invoice upon completion of the services or termination of my engagement.  I may send invoices more frequently when I incur significant expenses or undertake a significant amount of work over a short period of time.

4.6.  Payment:  Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date they are issued unless alternative arrangements are made with me.  If your account with me is overdue then I may:

a.  require interest to be paid on any amount that is more than 14 days overdue, calculated at the rate of five percent per year for the period that the invoice is outstanding; and/or

b.  stop work on any matter you have instructed me on; and/or

c.  recover from you any reasonable costs I incur in attempting to recover outstanding amounts from you.

4.7.  Fees and disbursements in advance:  I may ask you to deposit funds into a solicitor’s trust account before I act or continue to act for you. Such funds are for my fees and expenses, but any amount required in advance is not to be regarded as an estimate or quote unless I specifically say so in writing. You authorise the solicitors holding the funds to pay them to me when I issue an invoice for work I have done for you.

4.8.  Estimates:  I will provide you with an estimate of my fees if you request one. An estimate is not a quote.  Any significant assumptions included in the estimate will be stated, and you must tell me if those assumptions are wrong or change.  I will inform you if I am likely to exceed the estimate by any substantial amount.  Unless specified, an estimate excludes GST, disbursements and expenses.

4.9.  Third Parties:  Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for my fees and expenses, and although my invoices may be directed to a third party, you are responsible for paying me if the third party does not pay me.

5.  Legal Aid

5.1.  Legal aid is governed by the Legal Services Act 2011 and associated regulations. It is administered by the Ministry of Justice. Rates of remuneration are prescribed by the Ministry of Justice and form the basis of my charges for legal aid work.

5.2.  If I am engaged subject to the legal aid regime then I will submit my invoices 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. You should be aware that legal aid is not always free and in some cases must be repaid. You should read letters about legal aid carefully and keep them for later reference.

5.3.  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 situation.

6.  Confidentiality and Personal Information

6.1.  Confidentiality:  I will hold in confidence all information concerning you and your affairs that I acquire during the course of acting for you.  I will not disclose such information to any other person except:

a.  to the extent necessary or desirable to enable me to carry out your instructions; and/or

b.  as expressly or impliedly agreed by you; and/or

c.  as necessary to protect my interests in respect of any complaint or dispute; and/or

d.  to the extent required or permitted by law.

6.2.  Personal information and privacy:  I will collect and hold personal information about you. I will use that information to carry out your instructions and to contact you about things that may be of interest to you. Provision of personal information is voluntary, but if you do not provide full information then it may affect my ability to act for you.

6.3.  Subject to clause 6.1, you authorise me to disclose such personal information as is reasonably necessary to carry out your instructions.

6.4.  I may disclose your name and address for credit management or collection purposes if it is reasonable to do so.

6.5.  The information I collect and hold about you will be kept at my offices and/or at secure file storage sites (including electronic file storage sites) elsewhere. If you are an individual you have the right to access and correct this information. Please contact me if you require access.

6.6.  Verification of identity:  I will collect and retain information required to verify your identity. I may ask you to show me documents verifying your identity for that reason. Such documents could be a passport or driver’s licence and a letter to your address. I may retain copies of these documents.  I may perform such other verification checks as to your identity as I consider to be required by law.

6.7.  Source of funds:  I may require such verification of the source of any funds associated with any transaction connected with my services as I consider to be required by law.

7.  Documents, Records and Information

7.1.  I will keep a record of all important documents that I receive or create on your behalf on the following basis:

a.  I may keep electronic records and destroy originals, except where the existence of an original is legally important.

b.  I may at any time dispose of duplicate or trivial documents, or documents that do not belong to me.

c.  I am not obliged to retain documents or copies that have been supplied to you or to another person at your direction. I am entitled to retain copies for my own records if I wish to do so.

7.2.  Upon your request I will provide to you all documents you are entitled to by law. I may charge you my reasonable costs for doing this.

7.3.  If you would like to obtain a document that I hold, but that belongs to a third party, then you must provide me with that party’s written authority for you to obtain that document.

7.4.  Unless you instruct me in writing otherwise, you authorise me to destroy all files and documents to do with my services seven years after my engagement ends. I may retain documents for longer at my option.

7.5.  I may choose to return documents to you rather than retain them. Such documents may be returned in hard copy or electronic form or both. If I choose to return documents to you then I will do so at my own expense.

7.6.  I own copyright in all documents or work I create in the course of acting for you, but grant you a non-exclusive licence to use and copy the documents as you see fit for your own personal or commercial use. However, you may not permit any third party to copy, adapt or use the documents without my written permission.

7.7.  I take the security of client information seriously and I recognise my professional and legal obligations to protect that information. I make frequent use of cloud-based online electronic storage both in New Zealand and overseas, which is never completely secure. If you have any issue with my use of online communication or storage, or if any information you have provided is especially sensitive or confidential, then please contact me about that.

8.  Conflicts of Interest

8.1.  I am obliged to protect and promote your interests to the exclusion of my own and the interests of third parties. This is as set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008. This may result in a situation arising where I have a conflict of interest.

8.2.  I have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest.  If a conflict of interest arises I will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Rules. This may mean that I cannot act for you further.

8.3.  You must advise me if you believe I have had anything to do with you at any time in the past, and particularly if I may have prosecuted or sued you, bankrupted you, liquidated a company of yours, caused you to be imprisoned or deported, caused your property to be searched, seized, or forfeited, or caused you to be fired from a job.

9.  Duty of Care

9.1.  My duty of care is to you and not to any other person.  I owe no liability to any other person, including for example any directors, shareholders, associated companies, employees or family members, unless I expressly agree to that in writing. I do not accept any responsibility or liability whatsoever to any third parties who may be affected by my work, or who may rely on any advice I give, except as expressly agreed by me in writing.

9.2.  My advice is not to be referred to in connection with any prospectus, financial statement, or public document without my written consent.

9.3.  My advice is opinion only, based on the facts known to me and on my professional judgement, and is subject to any changes in the law after the date on which the advice is given. I am not liable for errors in, or omissions from, any information provided by you or by third parties.

9.4.  My advice only relates to the particular matters you engage me on. Once a matter is at an end I will not owe you any duty or liability in respect of any related or other matters unless you specifically engage me in respect of those.

9.5.  Unless otherwise agreed, I may communicate with you and with others by electronic means. I cannot guarantee that these communications will not be lost or affected for some reason beyond my reasonable control, and I will not be liable for any damage or loss caused thereby.

9.6.  You acknowledge that no promises can be made about the outcome of any future litigation, and you acknowledge that court cases that seem strong can still be lost. All advice given by me about any case is subject to the acknowledgments contained in this clause.

10.  Limitation of Liability

10.1.  To the extent allowed by law my aggregate liability to you in connection with my services is limited to the amount available to be payable under the professional indemnity insurance I hold.

11.  Professional Indemnity Insurance

11.1.  I hold professional indemnity insurance which exceeds the minimum standards set by the New Zealand Law Society.

12.  Fidelity Fund

12.1.  The New Zealand Law Society maintains the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund for the purpose of providing clients of lawyers with protection against loss arising from theft by lawyers. The Fidelity Fund does not provide any cover in relation to barristers sole, such as myself, because we do not hold funds on behalf of clients.

13.  Termination

13.1.  You may terminate my retainer at any time.

13.2.  I may terminate the retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008. These include circumstances where there is a conflict of interest, non-payment of fees, and failure to provide instructions.

13.3.  If my retainer is terminated then you must pay all fees, disbursements and expenses incurred.

14.  Client Care and Service Information

14.1.  The Law Society’s client care and service information is contained in this clause 14.

14.2. Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:

a.  act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made;

b.  protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties;

c.  discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved;

d.  provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it, and the way in which the services will be provided;

e.  charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable, and let you know how and when you will be billed;

f.  give you clear information and advice;

g.  protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality;

h.  treat you fairly, respectfully, and without discrimination;

i.  keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed; and

j.  let you know how to make a complaint, and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.

14.3.  The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.

14.4.  If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.

15.  Feedback and Complaints

15.1.  Client satisfaction is important to me and feedback is helpful.  Please contact me if you would like to comment on any aspect of my service.

15.2.  If you have any concerns or complaints about my service then please raise them as soon as you can, and I will respond as soon as I can. I will consider your complaint and try to resolve the matter in a way that is fair to all concerned.

15.3.  If you do not want to contact me, or if I am unable to resolve your complaint, then I invite you to refer the matter to another barrister, Mr Truc Tran. I will be guided by any view Mr Tran forms on the matter. His contact details are:

Truc Tran, Barrister, Phone: 021 246 5979, Email: truc@tructran.co.nz

15.4.  The New Zealand Law Society has a complaints service you may use if you are not satisfied with the way I have dealt with your complaint. You can call their 0800 number for guidance, to lodge a concern or make a formal complaint. Contact details for the Law Society are:

Lawyers Complaints Service, PO Box 5041, Wellington 6140, New Zealand, Phone: 0800 261 801, Email: complaints@lawsociety.org.nz

To lodge a concern:  Concerns Form

To make a formal complaint:  How To Make A Complaint