Terms of Engagement

First Property Legal is a division of Gawith Burridge, Solicitors of Masterton

This information is required to be provided as from 1 August 2008 as per the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 and Rules of Conduct and Client Care.

    Our Service

  1. Our firm is committed to serving you professionally and ethically. We give the following undertakings to you:
    • We will hold strictly confidential all communications with you, and all information that we receive from you during the course of our dealings. We will not reveal your confidences without your agreement.
    • We will pursue your work conscientiously. In turn we will need your full and timely co-operation to help represent you.
    • We will work with you to develop an understanding of your expectations. We will work together to establish goals and deadlines that meet your needs.
    • We will communicate with you and keep you informed about the status of your work. Your telephone calls will be returned promptly. We will send to you copies of significant correspondence and other documents.


  2. Disbursements included in standard residential conveyance transactions include forms and stationery charges, toll calls, faxes, emails, one title search, one guaranteed title search, one bank cheque fee or electronic funds transfer fee, LINZ registration.
  3. Disbursements not included in a standard residential conveyance transaction include, but are not limited to: LIM fee, cost of builders report or other structural reports, valuation fees, courier fees, rates, body corporate fees.
  4. Accounts

  5. Matters will be billed at the time of settlement or on completion of the work and the fee is payable on Settlement day. If you anticipate difficulty in the payment of an account then we ask you discuss this with us immediately, upon receipt of these terms of engagement.
  6. We may be able to help you by having payments spread over the time from commencement to completion of the transaction. However, we expect that full payment of your account is to be finalised by Settlement day.
  7. By instructing First Property Legal you accept liability to pay the account that the firm will render for work done together with all disbursements incurred in respect of such instructions and you authorise us to deduct our fees, expenses and disbursements from any funds held in our trust account on your behalf where we have provided an invoice.
  8. If any account is not paid by the due date we reserve the right to charge interest on the outstanding balance at the rate of 4% above our National Bank commercial overdraft rate per annum from the date upon which payment was due and you will be responsible for any reasonable debt collection costs that we incur in recovering outstanding amounts due to us.
  9. If your account remains outstanding after 60 days, no further work will be undertaken by any lawyer in the firm until appropriate arrangements are made to bring the account back into good standing.
  10. Settlement Monies

  11. For property and financing transactions where payment of monies is due by you, we require cleared funds for the correct amount to be deposited with us no later than the morning of the settlement.
  12. Termination of Legal Services and Retention of Files

  13. At all times you have the right to terminate our services upon giving us reasonable written notice to that effect.
  14. We may terminate the retainer if there is good cause, such as you not providing us with instructions in a sufficiently timely manner or in your unwillingness, inability or failure to pay our fee on an agreed basis, or, except in litigation matters, your adopting against our advice a course of action which we believe is highly imprudent and may be inconsistent with our fundamental obligations as lawyers. If we terminate the retainer we will give you reasonable notice so that you can arrange alternative representation and we shall give you reasonable assistance to find another lawyer.
  15. 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.
  16. Privacy of Information

  17. Over the course of your involvement with us, we may collect and hold personal information concerning you. Failure to provide us with information may preclude us from providing services to you or limit the quality of the services provided.
  18. Information concerning you will be used by us to provide legal services, to obtain credit or other references, to undertake credit management and to inform you of issues and developments that may be of interest to you. You authorise us to obtain from any person, or release to any person, any information necessary for those purposes and you authorise any person to release information to us that we require for those purposes.
  19. Subject to the above we will treat all information we hold about you as private and confidential and will not disclose any information we hold on your behalf or about you unless we are required to do so by law or when requested by you or with your consent.
  20. Information concerning you will be held at our office. Under the Privacy Act 1993 you have the right of access to and correction of, your personal information held by us.
  21. The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 requires us to collect from you and retain information required to verify your identity.
  22. Communications

  23. If you have a preferred method of our firm communicating with you, please let us know.
  24. We do not accept any liability for loss arising from non-receipt of any communication, including computer email communications.
  25. Files and Documents

  26. At the end of your matter we will keep your file for at least 6 years from completion and thereafter we will destroy it. You are welcome to uplift the information on your file to which you are entitled, provided that all fees and costs have been paid. Please give us reasonable notice before collecting your file should you wish to do so.
  27. The Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund (the Fund)

  28. The Fund exists to provide compensation of up to $100,000.00 per claimant for clients who suffer a pecuniary loss in certain circumstances. These circumstances are the theft by a lawyer of money or other valuable property entrusted to that lawyer while they are providing legal services to the public or while they are acting as a solicitor-trustee.
  29. It should be noted though that the Fund will not pay compensation in respect of moneys instructed to be invested unless they are funds invested in a bank in NewZealand, or in some private loans such as family loans.
  30. This is only a short summary of the major provisions in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 relating to the Fund. If you would like further information please ask us.
  31. Professional Indemnity Insurance

  32. We hold current professional indemnity insurance which exceeds the minimum standards from time to time specified by the New Zealand Law Society. As with all insurances this cover has limitations and is subject to certain exclusions, terms and conditions.
  33. If you have a Complaint

  34. We will provide you with a competent, timely service following your instructions, but if you have any complaint at all about our service please raise it with the person responsible for your matter, or, if you prefer, any partner of Gawith Burridge.
  35. If it cannot be resolved immediately to your satisfaction we shall appoint a partner who has not been involved in your matter to deal with it promptly and fairly.
  36. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society which runs a complaints service. The New Zealand Law Society may be contacted by writing to POBox 5041, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145.

First Property Legal
Client Care and Service Information

Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she 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 properly and fairly.

The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct & 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 www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.

First Property Legal is a division of Gawith Burridge