Terms and Conditions / Cost Agreement

 (“the Agreement”)

 

The Agreement constitutes an offer to the Client to enter into the Agreement with the Law Practice, for the Law Practice to act for the Client in relation to the services defined herein.

The Client may accept this offer by approving the online quotation issued to them, or by the Client’s conduct by continuing to give instructions to the Law Practice.

B E T W E E N:

Gregson & Associates

Gregson Empire Pty Ltd (ACN  623075318) as trustee for

Gregson Family Discretionary Trust (ABN 37986332445)

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

Moana Chambers

Level 2, 618 Hay Street

Perth WA 6000                                                                       (“the Law Practice”)

-and-

The Client: The person named in the quotation.                       (“the client”)

1.         THE SUBJECT MATTER AND SCOPE

1.1       This agreement sets out the terms and conditions upon which the Client retains the Law Practice to act for the client in relation to the matters outlined in the quotation (“the subject matter”). The law practice is only contracted to provide legal services as set out in the quotation. Should additional work beyond the initial scope be requested by the client then and additional fixed fee quotation will be sent for that work.

2.         PROFESSIONAL COSTS AND DISBURSEMENTS

The Client agrees that the Law Practice has explained to the Client:

2.1       The costs the Client is to pay the Law Practice for work undertaken in relation to the subject matter will be charged as a fixed fee namely, at the amount set out in the quotation. The Fixed Fee includes office disbursements but excludes the Goods and Services Tax (“GST”).

2.2       From time to time, the Legal Costs Committee constituted under the Legal Profession Act 2008 (WA), makes legal costs determinations regulating the costs that may be charged by law practices.  A legal costs determination is applicable to the subject matter (“the Costs Scale”).  It is possible that the fixed fee, and the hourly rates that make up the fixed fee, will exceed the costs provided for in the Costs Scale.

2.3       A copy of the applicable costs scale is attached to the quotation.

3.         GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

3.1       The Client agrees to pay the GST at the rate set by the Australian Federal Government (as amended           from time to time) where applicable.

3.2       The GST rate is currently 10%.

4.         ACCOUNT

4.1       The Client has a right to receive an account from the Law Practice.

4.2       The Law Practice will render an account comprising the Fixed Fee (“the Account”), upon completion of each phase or item in the quotation. The Client agrees to pay the Account within 14 days of the date of the Account, subject to the Client’s right to dispute costs as outlined below.

4.3       The Account is a final account for the services referred to in the Account.

4.4       The Account will be rendered in a lump sum form unless the client requests an itemised bill.

4.5       Any itemised bill rendered to the client will not show the firms usual hourly rate, but rather will show a time figure only. It is irrevocably accepted by the client that should the matter proceed to taxation of costs or a dispute over costs that the reasonableness of the fixed fee shall be referable to the scale of fees set out in the applicable costs determination.

5.         DISBURSEMENTS

5.1       The Law Practice will charge for third party disbursements, which may include, land titles office registration and search costs, death/birth/marriage certificate application costs, bank title-production costs, stamp duty, ASIC searches, court filing fees and the like, those costs are in addition to the fixed fee and will be passed on to the client.

6.         TRAVEL COSTS

6.1       The Client agrees to pay the Law Practice’s reasonable travel expenses, to be agreed in advance with the Client, if it becomes necessary to travel intrastate, interstate or overseas.

7.         COUNSEL FEES

7.1       The Law Practice will obtain the approval of the Client to brief Counsel to provide written advice, draw documents and appear for the Client.

7.2       The Client authorises the Law Practice to negotiate the fees payable to the Counsel to be appointed on the Client’s behalf, and the Law Practice will obtain the Client’s approval before finalising any such arrangements.

8.         EXPERT COSTS

8.1       The Law Practice will obtain the approval of the Client to instruct and engage experts necessary for the investigation, preparation and presentation of the Client’s case.

8.2       The Client authorises the Law Practice to negotiate the fees payable to the experts to be engaged on the Client’s behalf, and the Law Practice will obtain the Client’s approval before finalising any such arrangements.

9.         ANOTHER LAW PRACTICE

9.1       The Law Practice will obtain the approval of the Client to instruct another law practice on behalf of the Client.  For example, the Law Practice may need to instruct another law firm on behalf of the Client.

9.2       The Law Practice will obtain the Client’s approval before finalising any such arrangements.

10.       GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

10.1    The Client agrees to pay the GST where applicable.

10.2    The GST rate is currently 10%. Should the GST rate change at any time, the Law Practice may then adjust the GST rate to take into-account the variation in the rate.

11.       ACCOUNTS

11.1    The Client has a right to receive an account from the Law Practice.

11.2    The Law Practice will render accounts either on the completion of the subject matter, or in the case of litigated matters, at the conclusion of each phase in the proceedings. The Client agrees to pay such accounts within 14 days of the date of the account, subject to the Client’s right to dispute costs as outlined below.

11.3    Each account is a final account for the services referred to in that account.

11.4    An account will be rendered in a lump sum form unless the client specifically requests an itemised account.

11.5    In the event that either the law practice or the client terminates their instructions part-way through a fixed fee component/phase of work the client will be billed on an hourly basis at the scale hourly rate set out in the applicable cost determination (as amended from time to time) and not for the full amount of the fixed fee.

12.       INTEREST

12.1    The Law Practice may charge the Client interest on the amount of any rendered accounts, including the Account, that remain unpaid for longer than 30 days after the Law Practice has given the account to the Client.

12.2    The rate of interest payable is 6% per annum.

13.       MONEY IN TRUST

13.1    The Law Practice may request that the Client pay money into the Law Practice’s trust account to meet the Law Practice’s anticipated professional costs, disbursements and/or expenses.

13.2    The Client authorises the Law Practice to withdraw funds, held from time to time in the trust account, for expenses reasonably incurred by the Law Practice in the conduct of the matter costs that may be due and payable by the Client to the Law Practice and any other expenses for which the Client is responsible or authorised the Law Practice to pay.

13.3   Notwithstanding the time limit set out in regulation 65 of the Legal Profession Regulations 2009 (WA) and subject always to the client’s rights to a taxation of costs under the Legal Profession Act 2008 (WA) the client irrevocably authorises the law practice to pay any account it issues from the client’s trust monies immediately following the law practice issuing an account to the client.

14.       DOCUMENTs RETENTION

14.1    The Law Practice will retain electronic images or electronic copies of client documents for no more than 7 years.

14.2   Subject to clause 20 of this agreement, an electronic copy of the client file must be provided by the law practice within a reasonable time of the client’s written request to do so.

The Client irrevocably authorises the Law Practice to destroy all hardcopy documents on the completion of the subject matter unless the client has provided written notice not to do so before the conclusion of the matter.

15.    LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR SAFE CUSTODY

15.1    The client acknowledges and understands that in the use of the law practices safe custody services that:

15.1.1       They have obtained at least one copy of their original safe custody documents and will retain a certified copy in a safe place.

15.1.2       The law practice bears no responsibility for, or liability for consequences of, any loss or damage to my original will that occurs in the course of my original will being transmitted to the law practice by the client in the post.

15.1.3       By accepting my documents for storage, the law practice does not check or express any opinion as to the wording, operation or validity (except where the document was prepared by our office).

15.1.4       It is the client’s responsibility to keep their documents and the contact details provided to the law practice up to date if their circumstances change.

15.1.5       If the law practice is named as executor of a client’s last Will and Testament it has the right (subject to any requirement under law) to renounce.

15.1.6       Whilst the law practice will endeavour to take reasonable steps in each case, in the event that the law practice is notified of the client’s death, or other circumstance (as the case may be), the client releases the law practice from liability for loss by any person arising from its failure to notify, in a timely way or at all, the person(s), or the appropriate person(s), appointed to act under my will (as the case requires) of such circumstances.

15.2    In very limited circumstances, a third party may request a copy or withdrawal of a Will. In those circumstances a letter of authority signed by the testator or appropriate proof of authority and reasons for the request must be provided;

15.2.1       If Letter of Authority is provided, we require the third party to provide current identification for the testator.

15.2.2       If documents are sent by mail, current photographic identification must be certified by an authorised person.

15.3    The client consents to the law practice:

15.3.1       Using the personal information, that the client provides in data matching so that their personal situation can be confirmed and, where appropriate, the executor contacted or confirmed.

15.3.2       Releasing the original documents as follows and (subject to any requirements under law) only as follows:

15.3.2.1   To the client, or to a person authorised in writing by the client to collect the document(s);

15.3.2.2   To a person or persons who provide to the law practice evidence that satisfies the law practice that they are entitled to commence to act as:

i)   Executor or co-executor; or

ii)   Applicant for a grant of ‘letters of administration with the will annexed’.

16        CLOUD STORAGE THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS AND MATTER MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

16.3    The law practice utilises ‘Actionstep,’ cloud-based matter management software (“the software provider”). Cloud based matter software means that the client’s documents and data are stored on external servers owned or under the control of the software provider. Information about Actionstep and its data security policy can be found at www.actionstep.com.

16.4    There are risks associated with the storage of digital information. Although unlikely, it is possible that documents and data may become lost, corrupted, damaged or hacked.

16.5    In respect of Items 15.1 and 15.2 the client:

16.5.2       Irrevocably authorises the law practice to provide documents and data to the software provider.

16.5.3       Indemnifies the law practice from any loss or damage as a consequence of data loss by the software provider. The client agrees that this clause may be pleaded a as bar to any claim.

15.4   The law practice utilises several third-party cloud-based software providers for the efficient management of the practice. The client acknowledges and expressly authorises the law practice in its unfettered discretion to provide such of the client’s information as the law practice considers necessary to third-party software providers.

17        CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AND SERVICE

17.3    The client universally accepts the email address and or mobile telephone number provided to them can be and will be used by the law practice as the address for service of notices, invoices, correspondence and any other information.

17.4    The client acknowledges that they will regularly and promptly attend to electronic correspondence and accept liability stemming from a failure to update the address for service of notices.

16.3   The client accepts that short message service displayed as Gregson Asc cannot receive reply messages and is unmonitored.

18        QUERYING LEGAL COSTS

18.3    The Client should not hesitate to contact the Law Practice and/or the Lawyer Responsible, at any time, if the Client has any query in relation to the Agreement and/or the Client’s legal costs.

18.4    If an account is rendered in a lump sum form, the Client may request, by notice in writing, that the Law Practice provide an itemised account of the services referred to in that account.  The Law Practice recommends that if the Client requires an itemised account, that the Client make the request within 30 days after being given an account.

18.5    The following avenues are available to the Client, in the event of a dispute in relation to the Agreement and/or the Client’s legal costs:

a.         Within 12 months after being given an account, the Client may apply to a taxing officer of the Supreme Court of Western Australia for an assessment of the whole or any part of the costs charged in that account.

b.         The Client may apply to the Supreme Court of Western Australia to have the Agreement set aside.

c.         The Client may make a complaint about a legal practitioner at the Law Practice, to the Legal Profession Complaints Committee.

19        TERMINATION – CLIENT

19.3    The Client may terminate the Agreement at any time, by providing the Law Practice notice in writing.

19.4    If the Client requests that the Law Practice cease acting for the Client, the Client acknowledges that the Law Practice’s costs will become due and payable immediately upon receipt of the Client’s written request that the Law Practice cease acting.

20        TERMINATION – LAW PRACTICE

20.3    The Law Practice may stop acting for the Client if:

a.      The Client has not performed any of the obligations required under the Agreement.

b.      The Client has not given adequate instructions within a reasonable time of being requested to do so.

c.      In the Law Practice’s reasonable opinion, it appears that mutual confidence and trust no longer exists between the Law Practice and the Client.

d.      In the Law Practice’s reasonable opinion, continuing to represent the Client may place the Law Practice in breach of the Legal Profession Conduct Rules 2010 (WA) or ethics governing legal practice in Western Australia.

20.4    If the Law Practice ceases to act for the Client in any of the above circumstances, the Law Practice will give the Client written notice to that effect.

20.5    If the Law Practice informs the Client that the Law Practice will cease acting for the Client, the Client acknowledges that the Law Practice’s costs will become due and payable immediately upon receipt of the Law Practice’s written notice that the Law Practice has ceased acting.

21        LIEN AND ADDITIONAL COSTS

21.3    The Law Practice may retain possession of any of the Client’s documents including any documents that are not related to the Subject Matter until the Client has paid all outstanding legal costs (including expenses), due by the Client to the Law Practice.

21.4    If the Law Practice is required to take any steps to recover any outstanding legal costs due to the Law Practice the Law Practice is entitled to recover those costs from the Client on an indemnity basis in accordance with the terms of the Agreement.

20.3  The Client irrevocably charges their estate or interest in any real or personal property owned by them, whether now or in the future, against any unpaid legal costs, disbursements or interest.

22        NEGOTIATION AND INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

The Client acknowledges that the Law Practice informed the Client that the Client may:

22.3    Negotiate the terms of the Agreement with the Law Practice.

22.4    Seek independent legal advice in relation to the meaning and effect of the Agreement and that it is in the Client’s interests to do so.

23        VARIATION OF THE AGREEMENT

23.3    The Law Practice will inform the Client in writing of any substantial change to anything included in the Agreement, as soon as reasonably practicable after the Law Practice becomes aware of that substantial change.

24        PRIVACY

24.3    The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) applies to the collection, use and disclosure of the Client’s personal information.

24.4    The Law Practice acknowledges the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the Client’s personal information.  The Law Practice will only collect personal information that is necessary.  The Law Practice will also take all reasonable steps to ensure that the Client’s personal information is not disclosed to, or accessed by, unauthorised persons.

24.5    The Client authorises the Law Practice to disclose any information it holds about the Client to others where it is necessary.  For example, disclosure may be compelled by law, and it will be necessary to disclose certain information about the Client to the Court and to Counsel (if Counsel is engaged).

25        COPYRIGHT

The Client acknowledges:

25.3    The Law Practice’s copyright in all documents prepared by the Law Practice for the Client.

25.4    That any document prepared by the Law Practice must not be reproduced, adapted or communicated, except as permitted under applicable copyright law, without the prior written consent of the Law Practice.  This is subject to the Client’s right to use those documents for the purposes for which they are provided.

26        SEVERABILITY

26.3    Each provision of the Agreement is separate and severable from the other provisions in the Agreement.  If any provision in its entirety, or part of a provision is found to be invalid or unenforceable, it shall be severed from the Agreement and the remainder of the Agreement will remain effective.

27        JURISDICTION

27.3    The law of Western Australia will apply to the Agreement.

27.4    The Client has the right to accept or reject any offer from the Law Practice that an interstate costs law apply to the Agreement.

27.5    The Client has the right to require that an interstate costs law apply to the Agreement.

28        HOW THIS AGREEMENT CAN BE ACCEPTED

28.3    This agreement can be accepted by clicking the “accept button” sent to you in the online quotation by email or by SMS.

28.4    This agreement can be accepted in writing.

28.5    Notwithstanding clauses 27.1 and 27.2 this agreement can be accepted by your conduct. For example, by continuing to instruct the law practice to act after having been sent a copy of these terms.

29        CONCLUSION

29.3    The Client acknowledges that the Client has read, understood and received a copy of the Agreement.

29.4    The Client agrees to be bound by all terms and conditions outlined in the Agreement.

29.5    The Client agrees that the Agreement applies from the date that the agreement is accepted.