Terms of Engagement


  1. Client’s Instructions
    • MBC Law Limited (the Firm) will act in the Client’s best interests to carry out the Client’s instructions.
    • The Firm reserves the right to cease to act where the Client cannot or will not provide instructions, or where the Firm is of the opinion that the Client has misled or deceived the Firm in any material way.
    • The Firm will take reasonable steps to keep the Client informed of the steps taken to carry out the Client’s instructions.
    • By instructing the Firm the Client accepts liability to pay the accounts that the Firm will render for work done together with all outlays incurred in respect of the Client’s instructions.
    • The Firm does not provide advice in relation to the quality of any investment directly or indirectly associated with the scope of service in the Client’s instructions including but without limitation when the Client’s instructions are connected with conveying or transferring property of any description.
  2. What are the Firm’s Obligations to the Client?The Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society require that in all events, subject to the duties of the Firm and its members to the Courts and to the justice system, the firm and each of its lawyers must:
    • act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with any arrangements made between the Client and the Firm;
    • protect and promote the Client’s interests and act for the Client free from compromising influences or loyalties;
    • discuss the Client’s objectives and how they should best be achieved;
    • provide the Client with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way in which the Firm’s services will be provided;
    • charge the Client a fee that is fair and reasonable, and let the Client know when the Client will be billed;
    • give the Client clear information and advice;
    • protect the Client’s privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality;
    • treat the Client fairly, respectfully, and without discrimination;
    • keep the Client informed about the work being done and advise when it is completed;
    • let the Client know if the instructions are of the sort where the Client may be eligible for legal aid, and if so whether the Firm is prepared to undertake the work in the instructions if paid by legal aid.
    • let the Client know how to make a complaint, and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
  3. Limitations
    • In any situation where it is advisable or recommended that a client or an associated person (such as a guarantor) take independent legal advice The Firm will advise them to do so. If they choose not to do so then The Firm’s responsibilities are limited to an explanation of the terms of any document to be signed by them and the witnessing of their signatures to any such document. The Firm will not provide any advice to them about the advisability of entering into any such transaction or arrangement. Where a client has received external advice in respect of some aspect of a transaction, such as financial advice from a mortgage broker or a financial advisor, and The Firm is instructed to implement those arrangements, for example by preparing loan documents, then The Firm does not advise on the suitability of those arrangements. They fall outside the scope of The Firm’s retainer. The Firm’s responsibility is limited to implementing the arrangement in terms of the instruction given to The Firm.
    • The Firm’s liability in matters relating to a property transaction where you obtain a LIM report will be limited to the contents of the LIM report in respect of building consents. You must also visit the Council to check the property file and the floor plans yourself. The Firm will assist on matters that are noted in the LIM report, but The Firm will not contact the Council for further information. If there are matters in the LIM report that require further investigation, it will be your responsibility to approach the Council or other relevant bodies to satisfy yourself before you make the final decision to approve or disapprove the report.
    • The Firm’s liability in matters relating to a builder’s report will not extend to the content of the builder’s report. The Firm will not contact the builder for any further information. If there are matters in the builder’s report that require further information, it will be your responsibility to make enquiries of the builder before you make the final decision to approve or disapprove the report.
    • The Firm’s liability in matters relating to a toxicology report will not extend to the content of the toxicology report. The Firm will not contact the author of the report for any further information. If there are matters in the toxicology report that require further information, it will be your responsibility to make enquiries of the author of the report before you make the final decision to approve or disapprove the report.
    • The decision to purchase any land or land with buildings (“property”) in which The Firm is instructed to act for you is solely yours. The Firm shall not in any way be liable for any matters that are associated with either the quality of the property, the investment, or the suitability of the property for your requirements. For sake of clarity the term quality shall include a building that is leaky, or a building that is not permitted and a building that does not comply with the resource consent, or District Plan. The term property includes land with buildings or vacant land and the term quality in the context of the land shall include any impediment to the enjoyment of the land.
    • If the property that you are purchasing is a cross lease or unit title property, it is your responsibility to check the title and flats plan to ensure that the title and flats plan corresponds with the actual building on site.
  4. How does the Firm charge?The Firm’s fees are charged in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care of the New Zealand Law Society. In fixing the fee the Firm is entitled to take account of considerations such as:
    • the time and labour spent;
    • the skill, specialized knowledge and responsibility required;
    • the importance of the matter to the Client and the results achieved;
    • the urgency and circumstances in which the work is undertaken and any time limits, including time limits imposed by the Client;
    • the degree of risk assumed by the Firm in undertaking the services including the amount or value of any property
    • involved;
    • the complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
    • the experience, reputation, and ability of the personnel carrying out the work;
    • the possibility that the acceptance of the instructions will preclude employment of the Firm by other clients;
    • the reasonable costs of running a law practice.

    The Firm’s services will usually attract Goods and Services Tax (GST). If this is the case, GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.

  5. Estimate of Costs
    • Any costs estimate will be the Firm’s “best guess” as to what the fees and other costs are likely to be. If the work does not proceed as the Firm had expected due to unexpected complications, or if the work proves more complicated than originally anticipated, the Firm will charge for all additional work. If it appears that the estimate will be exceeded, the Firm will advise the Client of the reasons and obtain further instructions from the Client.
  6. Credit Policy
    • The Client may be allocated a credit limit which will be:
    • confidential between the Client and the Firm (any persons such as barristers and expert witnesses instructed by the Firm with the consent of the Client);
    • the total amount that the Firm will allow to be owed or due to it by the Client at any time;
    • able to be increased or decreased or withdrawn by the Firm at any time.
    • the Firm has the right to make reasonable and confidential credit enquiries from an appropriate information provider.
    • the Firm may stop doing work (and instruct others to stop doing work) for the Client if the Client’s credit limit is exceeded or if payment is not received by the Firm within 7 days of issue of the Firm’s invoice. The Firm will have no liability for any loss suffered by the Client when work is stopped for this reason.
  7. When will the Client be billed?
    • Generally property matters may be billed at the time of settlement or on completion of the work. The Firm may require the Client to make a payment or payments to it for the provision of legal services under this agreement prior to final billing of any matter.
    • For other matters the Firm may bill the Client on a regular basis.
  8. What about out-of pocket payments the Client has to make?
    • Payments may have to be made to other people for work to be done, for example filing fees, search fees, agency fees and similar payments (called outlays). The Firm is not required to pay these amounts for the Client unless the Firm receives payment from the Client first. The Firm has the right to ask for these specific amounts or for an approximate amount to cover these expenses to be paid in advance to ensure that the Firm is not out of pocket.
    • If the Firm instructs any other person (including Counsel or another lawyer) the Firm has the right to require payment of that person’s estimated fees into the Firm’s trust account beforehand. By instructing that person, the Firm undertakes an obligation to pay that person’s fees and accordingly requires to be protected for them. The Firm may require the Client to enter a payment arrangement directly with that person.
  9. Office Service Charge Fee (Administration Expenses):
    • In addition to disbursements, we may charge a fee of $50.00, or 5% of our invoice to cover out of pocket costs which are not included in our fee and which are not recorded as disbursements. These include items such as photocopying and printing, postage and phone calls.
  10. When does the Client have to pay?
    • The Firm’s accounts are all due within 7 days of the date of the Firm’s invoice. If the Firm is holding any money for the Client or any entity controlled by or associated with the Client, the Firm may deduct the account from that money after having provided the Client with a statement.
  11. Joint and Several Liability
    • If there is more than one person comprising the Client then each person is jointly and severally liable for payment in due time of all the Firm’s accounts and other charges such as those under clause 10.
  12. What if the Client cannot pay on time?
    • If the Client anticipates difficulty in the payment of any account, the Client must contact the Firm immediately and discuss arrangements for payment. The provisions of clause 5 may apply.
    • Interest is payable on any account not paid within 7 days of the date of the Firm’s invoice. Interest shall be calculated on a daily basis at the rate of 14% per annum from the date payment became due and shall be capitalised monthly at the discretion of the firm.
    • If the Firm has to take steps to recover any unpaid account, the costs of recovery (including debt collectors’ charges) are all payable by the Client.
  13. Lien
    • Where work has been done by the Firm but the Firm has not been paid by the Client, then the Firm has the right to retain the original documents and the correspondence on the Client’s files until such time as all outstanding fees, disbursements and other expenses have been paid. This is known as a lien. This will be particularly important in circumstances where the Client decides for whatever reason to instruct another law firm. The Client must pay all outstanding fees, disbursements and other expenses before the Firm releases the Client’s files to the Client’s new Solicitors. Alternatively that other law firm may be obliged to give an undertaking to the Firm to pay all outstanding fees and disbursements before the Client’s file is released.
  14. Limitation of Liability
    • The Firm’s liability to you in respect of any breach of contract, tort, breach of statutory duty or otherwise arising out of or in connection with the Firm’s engagement or the services the Firm provides is limited to a maximum of five times the fee charged on the matter, but under no circumstances will the amount of the liability exceed the amount available to be payable under the Professional Indemnity cover held by the Firm.
    • Where the Firm instructs a third party on your behalf the Firm is not responsible for any act or omission of the third party.
    • Where you are using the Firm’s services for business purposes you acknowledge that none of the rights or remedies under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 apply to this engagement or the services the Firm provides.
  15. Retention of Records
    • The Firm will keep a record of all important documents which the Firm receives or creates on your behalf on the following basis:
      • The Firm will keep a record electronically and destroy originals (except where the existence of an original is legally important such as in the case of wills and deeds). Unless you instruct the Firm otherwise in writing, you authorise and consent to the Firm (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents 4 weeks after the engagement ends (other than any documents that the Firm holds in safe custody for you or are otherwise obliged by law to retain for longer). The Firm may retain documents for longer at the Firm’s option.
      • At any time the Firm may dispose of documents which are duplicates, or which are trivial (such as emails which do not contain substantive information), or documents which belong to the Firm.
      • The Firm is not obliged to retain documents or copies where you have requested that the Firm provide them to you or to another person and the Firm has done so, although the Firm is entitled to retain copies for its own records if the Firm wishes to do so.
    • The Firm will provide you on request copies or originals (at our option) of all documents to which you are entitled under the Privacy Act 1993 or any other law. The Firm may charge you reasonable costs for doing this.
    • Where the Firm holds documents that belong to a third party you will need to provide the Firm with that party’s written authority to uplift or obtain a copy of that document.
    • The Firm may, at its option, return documents (either in hard or electronic form) to you rather than retain them. If the Firm chooses to do this, the Firm will do this at the Firm’s expense.
  16. Confidentiality
    • The Firm will hold all information concerning the business and affairs of the client in strict confidence, and will not divulge such information except where required or permitted to do so by law or the client expressly or impliedly authorises the Firm to make such disclosure.
  17. Verification of Identity
    • The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 requires the Firm to collect from you and to retain information required to verify your identity (such as a passport or driver’s licence). The Firm may retain copies of these documents. The Firm may perform such other client verification checks as to your identity and checks as to the source of any funds associated with any transaction to which the Services relate as the Firm considers to be required by law.
  18. Compliance
    • The Firm is obliged to comply with all laws applicable to the Firm in all jurisdictions, including (but not limited to):
      • Anti-money laundering (AML) and countering finance of terrorism (CFT) laws; and
      • Laws relating to tax and client reporting and withholdings.
    • The Firm may be required to undertake client due diligence on you, persons acting on your behalf and other relevant persons such as beneficial owners and controlling persons. The Firm may not be able to begin acting, or to continue acting, for you until that is completed.
    • To ensure the compliance of the Firm and you, the Firm may be required to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf or other relevant persons to third parties (such as government agencies). There may be circumstances where the Firm is not able to tell you or such persons if the Firm does provide information.
    • Please ensure that you and/or any of the persons described previously are aware of and consent to this. It is important to ensure that all information provided to the Firm is accurate. If the information required is not provided, or considered by the Firm to be potentially inaccurate, misleading, or in contravention of any law, the Firm may terminate or refuse to enter into an engagement.
    • The Firm may charge a fee of $45.00 to cover the cost of conducting client due diligence and risk assessment.
  19. Disclosure
    • If you are entrusting MBC Law Limited with money you are protected by the Lawyers’ Fidelity Fund. If the money or property is taken by theft by the Firm or any of its employees or agents, claims on the funds are limited to $20,000.00 for any one theft. MBC Law does not hold professional indemnity insurance.
    • In the event that you might be dissatisfied with the work undertaken then the complaints should initially be made to the person with whom you dealt. If the outcome is unsatisfactory or you do not wish to do this then a written complaint may be made to New Zealand Law Society’s Complaints Service.
MBC Law Limited
Disclosure Statement
Money handling procedure

The following statement is required by the Securities Markets Act 1988 which requires persons receiving investment money as defined in that Act to disclose their money-handling procedures. This statement was prepared as of 1 August 2008.

Procedures for dealing with investment money

Monies that you have paid or that have been paid on your behalf to MBC Law Limited that are not required to satisfy the payment of outstanding invoices, will be held on trust in the MBC Law Limited trust account. MBC Law Limited’s trust account is held at the Auckland branch of the ASB Bank under account no. 12 3109 0027649 02. Payments may be made by way of electronic transfer or telegraphic transfer. Funds will be held until an authorised person instructs MBC Law Limited to distribute or disburse the funds or until they are applied in payment of fees in accordance with Regulation 9 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Trust Account) Regulations 2008 (“Regulation 9”).

Funds in the trust account may be placed on deposit and earn interest at ASB Bank term deposit wholesale rates, which change from time to time. MBC Law Limited deducts commission at 5% of the gross interest earned.

Computerised records are kept of the amounts and dates of all deposits and withdrawals and the nett balance, and the interest earned and commission deducted. You will be entitled to a statement of that information on request.

The receipt, holding and disbursement of monies in the trust account may be audited from time to time at the request of the New Zealand Law Society by an auditor nominated by the Society and also by our own auditors.

We will not use any monies held in our trust account for our own or any other person’s purposes except upon an authorised person’s instructions or in payment of our fees upon the issue of an invoice in accordance with Regulation 9.