Terms of Engagement
In these Terms of Engagement “us” or “we” is a reference to Form1Docs and Lynch Meyer Lawyers. The terms “you” and “your” refers to the party or parties named as our client ,or, where context requires, the person named as a contact person in any instructions submitted via this website. The term “Document” refers to any legal document or documents which you have instructed us to prepare via this website.
Before commencing work on your matter, we are required to set out in writing the general terms on which we will act for you. This is referred to as our Terms of Engagement. The purpose of these Terms of Engagement is to advise you of the basis on which we will act for you in this matter. You accept these Terms of Engagement by submitting instructions via this website. Once accepted, the Terms of Engagement form the agreement between you and us.
Commencing work on the Document you have requested is subject to us completing a conflict of interest check. If we determine that we have a conflict of interest and cannot act for you we will advise you promptly in writing. In those circumstances our engagement will be terminated.
The Work and our fixed Fee
- You agree to do business with us electronically.
- We will both sign electronically and this will include an uploaded signature. We will both be legally bound by any documents that we respectively sign electronically.
- We will give you documents electronically, as permitted by law, by sending the document to your nominated electronic address.
- You will not be given paper copies of any documents (unless you specifically request them).
- If you change your mind and no longer want to do business electronically, you must let us know in writing (in this case, we may not be able to provide you with our services as quickly).
- You must regularly check your electronic communications for documents.
- You may contact us by sending an email to email@example.com.
- If you send us an email asking us to do something, you must also include in your email your email address, full name, postal address and telephone number so that we may process your request.
You have asked us to prepare a Document. The specific Document you have requested we prepare is detailed in the instructions you submit. We will charge you a fixed fee for the preparation of a Document. Our fixed fee is inclusive of GST. The fixed fee for a Document is confirmed when you submit instructions. The price is based on one CT and further charges will apply for additional CTs. The Document we prepare will be general in nature. We do not warrant the suitability or appropriateness of the Document for your specific needs and circumstances. If you would like us to consider or provide advice on the suitability or appropriateness of the Document for your specific needs and circumstances please below about additional advice at hourly rates.
Our fixed fee to prepare a Document includes:
- reviewing your instructions;
- preparing and providing a draft Document in accordance with your instructions;
- up to two rounds of minor amendments (i.e. people’s names, dates etc); and
- providing you with an electronic version of the final Document.
Our fixed fee does not include disbursements associated with the preparation of a Document. Disbursements are dealt with below.
Our fixed fee for a document may be different from the fee that would be arrived at by applying the rates set out in the Scales of Fees published by the Supreme Court. Although fixed fee charging is not uncommon for these types of services, there may be other legal practitioners who would be prepared to act for you and charge according to the scale. You are entitled to seek independent legal advice regarding this or any other term of the Terms of Engagement.
The fixed fee may result in a higher or lower charge than if the Court Scale of Fees were used.
We are committed to finalising your document within two business days of receipt of searches.
Additional advice at hourly rates
We can assist you with a range of legal services related to preparing the Document. Our fixed fee to prepare a Document does not include:
- considering or providing advice on the suitability or appropriateness of the Document for your specific needs and circumstances;
- drafting customised clauses to the Document;
- significant redrafting of the Document following a change to your instructions;
- more than two rounds of minor amendments; or
- providing any other advice on your specific circumstance or any other matter.
If you instruct us to complete work outside of the scope of the fixed fee for the Document, these Terms of Engagement will continue to apply to the work however we will charge for our services based on hourly rates.
Each of our lawyers and support staff (including paralegals) has an hourly charge rate set according to their seniority, experience, skill and qualifications, and having regard to the nature of the work to be undertaken. Paralegals do not have any formal legal qualifications or training and the legal work performed by them is done under the supervision of a legal practitioner.
We charge in units of 6 minutes (or part of 6 minutes). The time we charge includes time spent on your matter and includes interviews, preparing or reading documents or correspondence, telephone calls, attending at meetings, undertaking research and travelling in the course of undertaking work for you and on your matter. The use of minimum units means that even if a particular task takes only say two minutes, it will be recorded and charged as a full six minute time unit.
Our rates of charge for time spent are different from the rates set out in the Scales of Fees published by the Supreme Court. Although time charging is common there may be other legal practitioners who would be prepared to act for you and charge according to the scale. You are entitled to seek independent legal advice regarding this or any other term of the Terms of Engagement.
Our rates are likely to result in a higher charge than if the Court Scale of Fees were used and other lawyers might be prepared to do the work for a lesser fee.
You are also liable for disbursements (that is – out of pocket expenses) and administrative service fees as described below.
Partner responsible for your matter
Simon Mortimer or Lisa Bielby will be the partner responsible for your matter and the person to contact if you wish to discuss legal costs. Other lawyers or support staff may work on your matter as appropriate.
We will charge you for any out-of-pocket expenses (we call them disbursements) that we incur in connection with your matter. Examples of out-of-pocket expenses are search fees, registration fees, agent’s fees, storage retrieval fees, special postage or courier fees, bulk photocopying costs and taxi fares. Disbursements will either be itemised on our accounts or invoiced separately. Should we see a need to incur expenses on your behalf which are unusual as to their nature or extent, we will provide you with advice and seek your specific instructions before incurring such expenses.
Disbursements are incurred by us as your agent. If a disbursement is subject to GST you will be required to pay the GST. Our price is based on one CT and further charges apply for additional CTs.
Goods and Services Tax (‘GST’ )
Except for fees quoted as inclusive of GST, in addition to the rates referred to above, you will be liable to pay an additional amount to reimburse us for the GST payable (if any) on any supply we make to you in the course of providing legal services. You will also, if requested, let us have the information we need to calculate the GST payable (if any) in respect of the supply of legal services to you.
We do not generally charge for facsimile transmissions or photocopying. However if a large volume of photocopying is required for your matter, we will charge a nominal fee for each copy. We will tell you about that charge and how much it will be before we do the copying.
Legal Costs – Your Right to Know
You have the right to:
- negotiate a costs agreement with us;
- receive a bill of costs from us;
- request an itemised bill of costs after you receive a lump sum bill from us;
- request written reports about the progress of your matter and the costs incurred in your matter;
- apply for costs to be adjudicated within 6 months if you are unhappy with our costs;
- apply for the costs agreement to be set aside;
- make a complaint to the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner (if you believe there has been overcharging);
- accept or reject any offer we make for an interstate costs law to apply to your matter;
- notify us that you require an interstate costs law to apply to your matter.
For more information about your rights, please read the fact sheet titled Legal Costs – Your Right to Know. You can ask us for a copy, or obtain it from the Law Society of South Australia (or download it from their website).
Updating of Advice
You have the right under clause 7 of Schedule 3 of the Legal Practitioners Act to be notified of any substantial change to the matters to be disclosed to you under clause 9 of Schedule 3, including any substantial change to the estimated costs of work.
Billing and Trust Money
We will send you an invoice with the final Document. Any payments made at the time of instructing us will be retained in our trust account and will be applied to our invoices (including payment of GST) when they fall due for payment, or will be used in payment of particular expenses of this firm which are incurred on your behalf. If your matter is extended, we may send interim accounts each month. Interim and final accounts must be paid within 14 days.
Interest at the Reserve Bank Cash Rate Target (as of the date the bill is issued) plus 2% will be charged on overdue accounts. Interest begins to run on our accounts once they have remained unpaid for fourteen (14) days. Also, if an account remains unpaid after that time, we may terminate our engagement.
Unless you are considered a Sophisticated Client, as defined in the , the following avenues are available to you if you are not happy with a bill from us:
- requesting an itemised bill;
- discussing your concerns with us;
- having our costs adjudicated;
- applying to set aside our cost agreement;
- making a complaint to the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner (if you believe there has been overcharging).
More information about the definition of a Sophisticated Client can be found below. For more information about your rights, please read the fact sheet titled Your Right to Challenge Legal Costs. You can ask us for a copy, or obtain it from the Law Society of South Australia (or download it from their website).
The Legal Practitioners Act 1981 defines a Sophisticated Client as a:
- law practice or a legal practitioner (excluding law practices or legal practitioners outside of Australia); or
- public company, a subsidiary of a public company, a large proprietary company, a foreign company, a subsidiary of a foreign company or a registered Australian body (each within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001of the Commonwealth); or
- financial services licensee (within the meaning of that Act); or
- liquidator, administrator or receiver (as respectively referred to in that Act); or
- partnership that carries on the business of providing professional services if the partnership consists of more than 20 members or if the partnership would be a large proprietary company (within the meaning of that Act) if it were a company; or
- proprietary company (within the meaning of that Act) formed for the purpose of carrying out a joint venture, if any shareholder of the company is a person to whom disclosure of costs is not required; or
- unincorporated group of participants in a joint venture, if any member of the group is a person to whom disclosure of costs is not required and if any other members of the group who are not such persons have indicated that they waive their right to disclosure; or
- Minister of the Crown in right of a jurisdiction or the Commonwealth acting in his or her capacity as such, or a government department or public authority of a jurisdiction or the Commonwealth.
No Apportionment of Liability
Where we act for two or more people or entities in a matter, each of you will be individually responsible for payment of our entire account whatever arrangements may be made between you. You agree that you are personally liable for our costs and disbursements even if the matter involves our acting for other persons and/or organisations. If you provide us with instructions for or on behalf of a third party or jointly with another party, you will be personally liable to pay for our services in accordance with these Terms of Engagement, irrespective of the liability of any third or other party to pay our fees.
You have the right to terminate our services at any time. Upon good cause, such as failure to comply with the terms of our agreement with you or if in our view the necessary relationship of confidence between you and us no longer exists, we have a right upon reasonable notice to terminate our engagement and cease acting for you.
All fees and disbursements incurred prior to termination by either you or us are then immediately billable to you.
If we have undertaken work for you on a fixed fee basis, then you must pay that part of our fixed fee that we reasonably estimate has been incurred in respect of the legal services provided to you up to the date of termination, plus disbursements.
Subject to any court order to the contrary or consequent agreement to the contrary, you agree that we are entitled to retain all moneys, papers and records relating to this matter until our bills are paid.
Any confidential information we obtain from you will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone unless it is done in the course of carrying out our engagement, disclosure is required by law or the information ceases to be confidential. We are not required to disclose to you or use for your benefit any confidential information we have obtained from, or on behalf of another client.
Intellectual property and Storage of Records
We retain copyright and other intellectual property ownership rights in the work that we do for you. All file notes and work papers created by us in the course of representing you remain our property. We can retain possession of your funds, property and documents until all amounts due to us have been paid.
We will store your files for seven years following completion of the matter. We do not charge for this storage, but if you require us to retrieve any of your files stored by us after completion of the matter, you agree that we can charge you a reasonable fee for the services required to retrieve those files. You authorise us to destroy any of your files retained by us after seven years following the completion of the matter.
Your Agreement to Work with Us
It is a term of this agreement that you will reply to correspondence, return phone calls, respond reasonably to requests for instructions, and pay accounts or pay money into trust when reasonably required. If you do not work with us in these ways then we may terminate this agreement.
It is a term of our engagement that, should we receive any money from you or on your behalf other than for a specified purpose, we are at liberty to apply that money in payment of our outstanding accounts if nothing has been heard from you disputing the accounts within 14 days after delivery.
Credit ratings and references to credit agencies
You authorise us to obtain your consumer credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you do not pay our accounts within our terms, you acknowledge that we may refer the fact of non-payment to a credit agency who in turn may exchange that information with other credit providers.
Apportionment of liability
If you should make any claim against us, and any loss you sustain is caused or contributed to by your breach of this agreement or negligence, then our liability for your loss will be reduced in accordance with the provisions of any applicable statute, or otherwise to such extent as is just and equitable having regard to the extent to which such loss was caused or contributed to by your breach of the Terms of Engagement or your negligence.
Limitation of liability
This paragraph sets out the limitations which apply to our liability to you should you have reason to make a claim against us. You agree that our liability for any loss or damage suffered by you arising out of the services we provide (including liability for any negligent act or omission or misrepresentation of ours), will be limited to the amount to which we are entitled to be indemnified under the following:
- The compulsory professional indemnity insurance required to be held by us under the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA) and;
- Any additional professional indemnity insurance held by us.
The term ‘liability’ includes liabilities arising in tort, contract, by virtue of any statute or otherwise.
The term ‘loss or damage’ includes loss or damage incurred directly, indirectly or consequentially but excludes any loss or damage arising from any fraudulent or unlawful conduct on our part.
You agree to release us from all claims arising in connection with the provision of services under our engagement to the extent that our liability would exceed the limit on our liability under this paragraph.
Nothing in the Terms of Engagement excludes, restricts or modifies the application of the provisions of any statute (including the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) where to do so would contravene that statute or cause any of the terms of the Terms of Engagement to be void.
The Terms of Engagement are the only communications governing our relationship. Subject to this paragraph, we will have no liability for any other statements or representations concerning our relationship with you. All representations to exercise reasonable care or render our services with due care and skill, which might otherwise be implied by statute, common law or custom, are expressly excluded. If any representations are of importance to you, you should ensure they are expressly set out in the Terms of Engagement before accepting them.
These terms are governed by South Australian law. All parties consent to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of South Australia with regard to any dispute arising under or out of them.
Your Agreement to These Terms
We welcome and value feedback from our clients. If we can do something better or if we are not performing to your satisfaction, please tell us. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything in the Terms of Engagement which you do not understand, with which you disagree or which you wish to discuss. You are also entitled to seek independent legal advice on the terms of these Terms of Engagement.
This is an offer to enter into a costs agreement. By submitting instructions to prepare a Document via this website you confirm that you accept our terms of engagement.
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