Retainer

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT

 

 

1.         Retainer Joint and Several

 

These Terms and Conditions are the basis upon which we provide general legal services to you. Where a covering retainer letter is issued and there is an inconsistency between the provisions of the covering retainer letter and these terms and conditions the provisions of the covering letter to the extent of any inconsistency will prevail.

Where you and others are instructing us (such that we have multiple clients), each person is jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the costs, fees and disbursements rendered from time to time.

Where the client is a corporation, we are to act for the Company under the instructions of the directors jointly or severally.

In consideration of our acting upon the instructions of the directors you agree and hereby guarantee and indemnify Etienne Lawyers for the due and punctual payment of all costs, fees and disbursements.

 

Top of Page

 

2.         Management and Supervision of Work

A lawyer or law clerk is allocated the responsibility of managing each new file and will be your prime contact.  He or she will do most of the work on your file but may be assisted by others where their special skills or experience is needed.  This is often the case given the increasing complexity in the legal environment.  Occasionally it becomes necessary to change the contact person for your file and if that happens we will let you know who the new contact person is.  Every file also has a Partner nominated to oversee the work done (called the Supervising Partner).

 

Top of Page

 

3.         Billing Arrangements

3.1 In general, we will send you an interim account detailing the work done and the time spent on the work as well as any disbursements incurred at the end of each month while the work is in progress and a final bill on completion of the matter. 
3.2 Sometimes we may find it necessary to ask you to pay us, in advance, an amount to enable payment of our professional and other charges or significant disbursements.  In that case, we will have your authority to drawn on that money for those charges and disbursements.  Our bills contain simply explanations of the progress of the work which we have found most of our clients prefer.  We can, however,  produce more detailed bills if required. 
3.3 All bills are payable within fourteen (14) days of the account being rendered to you, unless other arrangements are made in writing.  If bills are not paid within the time, then we reserve the right to: – 

  • charge interest; and 
  • cease acting on that file and any other current file that we hold for you, or for any related client (this includes companies which are related to or controlled by you).
3.4 You are principally liable for our bills even though someone else may have agreed to pay the bill or to reimburse you for the bill.

Top of Page

4.         Work Charged on a Time Basis

4.1 Work which is not the subject of a specific quotation will be charged on the basis of the time we spend attending to it. Each file has an opening fee (presently $40.00. 
4.2 Our Hourly rates vary with the experience and specialist skills of our staff and are currently: 

Position Hourly charge out Rate (inclusive of GST)
Principal $550.00
Consultant $550.00
Senior Solicitor $440.00
Junior Solicitor $242.00
Paralegal $165.00
4.3 Parts of an hour are charged proportionately, based on six minute units (minimum of 12 minutes charged for all activities). All attendances (including telephone attendances) are recorded. Time will be recorded for all activities by all personnel taking part in the operation of the file including incoming and outgoing phone calls, incoming and outgoing letters an documents, research, travelling and all other attendances. Our fees include secretarial services, local phone calls, email transmissions and incidental photocopying. 
4.4 The hourly rate specified above are changed on 1 July each year and therefore any matter which spans more than one financial year is likely to reflect a change in the hourly rate charge from 1 July onwards. We reserve the right to alter or change our hourly rates from time to time. 
4.5 You may minimise your legal fees by avoiding unnecessary telephone calls and attendances and, when requested, providing accurate information promptly. 

Top of Page

5.         Service Charges

5.1 We will also charge you for photocopying, outgoing facsimiles, long distance phone charges, file opening fee and law stationer’s fee at our standard rates. These rates are currently: 

Photocopying (per page) $0.66
Facsimile reception or transmission (per page) Domestic $1.10
Interstate $3.30
International $6.60
Law Stationer’s Fees (per attendance) $48.40
Phone calls STD (varies dependant on location) no more than $0.55 per minute
ISD (varies dependant on location) no more than $3.30 per minute
Mobile $0.79 per minute
Couriers cost + 20% handling fee
Postage cost + 20% handling fee
File opening fee (administration charge) $44.00
5.2 If it is necessary to recover files from outside storage, those costs are payable by you. 

Top of Page

 

6.         Disbursements

We will either charge you, or pass onto you for payment, all other out-of-pocket expenses which we need to incur and which have not already been detailed. This could include such things as State and Federal duty, Government Fees, agent’s fees, barrister’s fees, courier and filing fees, postage and other delivery charges, searches, taxis and stamp duty where relevant.

 

Top of Page

 

7.         Urgent Work

If we are required to undertake urgent work (by giving it priority over work which is already being undertaken) we are entitle to charge an additional rate for urgency, depending upon the bype of work and the degree of urgency.

 

Top of Page

 

8.         Amended Accounts

We reserve the right to issue you with an amended account at any time prior to the account being paid.

 

Top of Page

 

9.         Email Transmissions

Since email is a legal method of simple and effective communication we will send most communications to you via email. If you do not require communication by email please advise us and inform us of the method of communication you wish us to use.

 

Top of Page

 

10.       Assessment of Accounts

The Act give you the right to have the charges in an account assessed by an assessor appointed by the Supreme Court, unless those charges are pursuant to a retainer or costs agreement in accordance with the Act. Under Fivision 6 of the Act, you have a right to have our costs reviewed, in whole or in part, even if they are wholly or partly paid.

 

Top of Page

 

11.       Retention of Documents

11.1 On completion of the work, we will retain in our document safe the original documents which you request us in writing to keep. Other documents and papers will be kept by us for a period of seven years after which time they will be destroyed with our file. 
11.2 We are entitled to retain possession of papers and documents while money is owing to us for our charges and expenses. 
11.3 Your files in a particular matter will normally be destroyed seven years after completion of the matter unless you instruct us in writing to the contrary. However, important original documents will be retained in our safe custody facility, we will not charge for this service. However, documents are stored at your risk. You are strongly encouraged to make your own insurance arrangements to cover the perceived value of the relevant documents. 
11.4 Original documents such as Wills and Certificates of Title are, of course, retained without limit and without charge until they are used or become obsolete. 

Top of Page

 

12.       Goods and Services Tax

The above costing arrangements include GST.

The account provided to you will be a tax account for GST purposes and will clearly show what items have had GST added.

The amount payable for any supply made under or in accordance with this arrangement on or after 1 July 2002 shall be increased by the GST imposed or in respect of that supply, if that supply is a “taxable supply”.

If at any time we are required to pay GST in respect to any supply made by us under or in accordance with this agreement you shall in addition to other monies due and payable by you, pay to or reimburse us on demand the amount of any such GST.

If at any time we are required to pay GST in respect of any supply made by a third party (disbursements) you shall pay to that third party on demand the amount of such GST provided that we must pay to you an amount equal to the amount of any input tax credit claimable or to be claimed by us or on our behalf in respect of such supply.

You agree to do everything necessary to assist us to claim a GST input tax credit in respect of any taxable supply.

Any non payment or non reimbursement of GST by you to us or any non payment of GST by you to a third party pursuant to this agreement shall be treated as a fundamental breach of this agreement and have the same consequences under this agreement as non payment of any other monies due and owing by you.

Likewise, any non payment or non reimbursement by us pursuant to Clause 3 will have comparable consequences.

For the purposes of this agreement:-

“Act” means the Legal Profession Act.

“GST” means the goods and services tax or similar tax imposed by and defined in the GST law.

“GST Law” means A New TAx System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth) or any other Act specified in section 195-1 of that Act or any Act or Regulation pursuant to, associated with, amending or replacing the Act.

“input tax credit”, “supply”, and “taxable supply” have the same meanings as the “GST Law”.

Top of Page

 

13.       Payments

Payments to Steven Brown/Etienne Lawyers can be made:-

(a) direct to this office by cash or cheque; 
(b) by depositing into our trust account. The details of our account are as follows:- 

Name Etienne Lawyers (Trust Account)
Bank Westpac Banking Corporation
Branch Cnr Market & Clarence Sts Sydney NSW
BSB 032-016
Account Number 31-7412

When making payments direct into our account, please quote our tax invoice number and matter name (or send the remittance advice via email).

Please note that failure to do this will result in us being unaware of your deposit and may prevent us from taking action or taking other steps on your behalf.

Top of Page

 

14.       Security

We reserve the right to require, at any time, other security for payment of our bills such as personal guarantees.

 

Top of Page

 

15.       Failure to Pay Accounts of Provide Funds

For unpaid accounts, you will be liable to pay us interest at our current overdraft rate on any outstanding accounts which go past our trading terms. You authorise us to deduct and pay any accrued interest first from any funds received from you prior to paying the principal amount.

In the event that an account remains unpaid or funds that are request4ed by us are not forthcoming, Steven Brown/Etienne Lawyers may choose not to continue to act. We must adopt this practice in order to ensure prompt payment of accounts and continuity of service.

In some matters our failure to continue to act may lead to cost or other detriment being incurred by you for which you understand and agree that we cannot be held responsible.

For all matters where an account rendered to you remains outstanding for in excess of 90 days, work on the matter will automatically cease.

We reserve the right to require you to pay money into our trust account on account of future fees and costs, before we proceed with work on your file. We may also require you to pay money into trust before we brief barristers or incur other expenses on your behalf.

 

Top of Page

 

16.       Instructions

We rely on you to provide clear and detailed instructions. If we cannot obtain the instructions we need to do the work properly, then we reserve the right to cease acting.

If you suffer loss as a result of our negligence and you have contributed to that loss by your own negligence, you agree that such loss will be apportioned between us as a Court considers fair.

 

Top of Page

 

17.       Client Service

If you are dissatisfied at any time with the service provided by the firm, we encourage you to speak with the Supervising Lawyer for the file.

We strive to maintain high standards of service and take any client complaints seriously. We encourage open discussion about our performance.

 

Top of Page

 

18.       Acceptance of Terms

If you do not agree with any of these terms, you must let us know immediately. If you allow us to continue work without raising any concern with these terms of engagement, then you will be taken to have accepted these terms.

 

Top of Page

 

19.       Copyright

We retain copyright and other intellectual property ownership rights in the work that we do for you and the material we produce for you.

 

Top of Page

 

20.       Termination

Either of us may terminate the Agreement at any time, by notice in writing. In either case, you will be required to pay our professional charges for work done, and for the charges and disbursements incurred, up to the date of termination.

 

Top of Page

 

21.       Privacy

By instructing us you give us permission for us to send you information or material and to provide your name and address to related parties for them to provide you with with information and material.

 

Top of Page

 

22.       Authorisation to Transfer Money from Trust Account

You authorise us to receive money directly into our trust account any judgement or settlement money, or money received from any source in futherance of your work, and to pay ourselves our costs, disbursements and expenses upon sending you our bill of costs requesting payment.

 

Top of Page