We are required to let you know our standard business terms and your rights and obligations under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW).
The principal lawyers working on your matter will be nominated by us. From time to time depending on circumstances other lawyers, paralegals and assistants may also work on your matter.
Until its conclusion we will regularly report on the status of your matter.
Acceptance of Offer
The Costs Disclosure and Costs Agreement comprises the covering letter and these business terms and can be accepted by (a) signing and returning a copy of this document to us or: (b) continuing to instruct us after the date of the covering letter.
If you have any comments or concerns about our advice or any issue which may arise in relation to your matter including our service charges or otherwise, please contact anyone of our directors to discuss those issues.
Written communication including our accounts will generally be delivered by way of email, No hard copies will be sent to you unless requested by you.
We will not use fax transmissions. Our telephone communications will be via mobile/cell phones hosted by service providers in the market place but we can use Skype, Viber and other methods that may from time to time come onto the market providing easy, inexpensive and efficient communication between us.
Technology & Cloud Storage
To facilitate the carrying out of our tasks we use software including cloud technology. This and other software is used for the creation of documents, recording transactions, accounting systems and communication methods. It maybe that such systems are not as secure as conventional hard copy production or storage using earlier technologies. There is a risk that information relating to your matter(s) may be copied, recorded, read or interfered with by third parties while in transit or hosted on remote sites. In engaging us to act for you, you release us from any claim you may have whether at law or in equity, in contact and or in tort as a result of any unauthorised copying, recording, reading or interference with any information relevant to your matter(s).
We are not permitted to use or disclose any information about you other than for the purposes for which the information to us was disclosed without your consent, unless otherwise required or authorised by law.
We are required to collect the full name and address of our clients by Rule 93 of the Uniform General Rules. Accurate name and address information must also be collected in order to comply with the trust account record keeping.
If you do not provide us with the full name and address information required by law we cannot act for you. If you do not provide us with the other personal information that we request our advice may be wrong for you or misleading.
The applicable laws of New South Wales governing legal costs in relation to your assignment will apply. However, if the services which we provide are provided wholly or primarily in another Territory or State or if your matter relates substantially to issues relevant to another Territory or State, we reserve the right to nominate another State’s laws as being applicable to the issue of costs. You also have the right to require that the law of another Territory or State should apply to a particular matter.
Invoices bills and limitation
You are entitled to and we will (using electronic means) provide you with a “written” account in proper form for the services which we provide. We will invoice the matter(s) regularly, though generally on a monthly basis but this may change from time to time depending on the nature of the matter(s) we are handling for you.
We will render the account in the form of a tax invoice which is payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice. We are entitled to take action to recover any costs which remain unpaid more than 30 days after a tax invoice which complies with the Uniform Law has been given to you. Interest at the maximum rate prescribed in Rule 75 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 (“Uniform General Rules”) (being the Cash Rate Target set by the Reserve Bank of Australia plus 2%) will be charged on any amounts unpaid after the expiry of 30 days after a tax invoice is given to you. Our tax invoices will specify the interest rate to be charged.
There may be separate arrangements which we come to in relation to the rendering of accounts and the payment of those accounts and the terms of those of the arrangements will generally be articulated in a another document which will supplement and amend these
We will accept retainers on terms which we can negotiate between us. These arrangements will also be supplementary to and an amendment to these Business Terms.
Should we have money in our trust account on account of costs and disbursements then invoices rendered (“accounts”) will be paid from those monies and this document provides the authority to us to transfer monies from that trust account, in and for the payment of our accounts in accordance with Rule 42 of the Uniform General Rules.
The liability of this firm is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Legal practitioners employed by Hard Slog Pty Ltd trading as StevensVuaran Lawyers are members of the scheme. In any event any claims against this legal practice either in contract or negligence are to be limited to 4 times the gross amount of costs we render in the relevant matter less any disbursements.
Right to Receive Progress Reports
You have a right to request a written report on progress on your matter and a “written report concerning legal costs incurred in any matter we are handling for you. This report will be sent to you by email.
Records and Documents
We will not generally keep original documents. On the completion of an assignment for you, we will deliver to you the principal original documents entered into or produced for you by us and/or received from third parties and entered into by you. We will keep an electronic copy of your file for a period of 7 years from the date of our final tax invoice.
It is your right to:
(a) negotiate a costs agreement with us;
(b) negotiate the method of billing (e.g. task based or time based);
(c) request and receive an itemised bill within 30 days after a lump sum bill or partially itemised bill is payable;
(d) seek the assistance of the designated local regulatory authority (the NSW Commissioner) in the event of a dispute about legal costs;
(e) be notified as soon as is reasonably practicable of any substantial change to any matter affecting costs;
(f) accept or reject any offer we make for an interstate costs law to apply to your matter; and
(g) notify us that you require an interstate costs law to apply to your matter.
Nothing in these terms affects your rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
Your Rights in relation to a Dispute concerning Costs
If you have a dispute in relation to any aspect of our legal costs, at the first instance we encourage you to discuss your concerns with us. You may apply to the Manager, Costs Assessment located at the Supreme Court of NSW for an assessment of our costs. This application must be made within 12 months after the bill was provided or request for payment made or after the costs were paid. You may apply to the Costs Assessor to set aside some or all of these terms on the grounds they are not fair or reasonable and you may refer a dispute about a tax invoice to the President of the Law Society or the Legal Services Commissioner for mediation if the amount in dispute is less than $10,000.
Termination by Us
We may cease to act for you or cease to perform further work while any of our tax invoices remain unpaid, or if a request to pay an amount in respect of disbursements or future costs is not honored, or if you fail to provide us with clear or timely instructions to enable us to advance your matter(s) or you refuse to accept our advice, or if you indicate to us or we form the view that you have lost confidence in us, or if there are any ethical grounds which we consider require us to cease acting for you (for example, a conflict of interest) or if in our sole discretion we consider it is no longer appropriate to act for you. We will give you reasonable written notice of termination of our services. You will be required to pay our costs incurred up to the date of termination.
Termination by You
You may terminate our services by written notice at any time. However, if you do so you will be required to pay our costs incurred up to the date of termination (including if the matter is litigious, any cancellation fees or other fees such as hearing allocation fees for which we remain responsible).
Without affecting any lien to which we are otherwise entitled at law over funds, papers and other property of yours: (a) we shall be entitled to retain by way of lien any funds, property or papers of yours, which are from time to time in our possession or control, until all costs, disbursements, interest and other moneys due to the firm have been paid; and (b) our lien will continue notwithstanding that we cease to act for you.