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Client Information

Anti-Money Laundering

Keeping NZ safe from money launderers

From 1 July 2018 all law firms will need to comply with the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML for short).

By law we must meet strict requirements, including asking you for additional information.

New Zealand is currently regarded as one of the safest and least corrupt countries in the world.  The AML legislation reflects our country’s commitment to maintaining this position.

Law firms now must take steps to assess the risk faced from the actions of money launderers, from people who finance terrorism, and any suspicious activity carried out by those dealing with law firms.

This will also help other countries transact with NZ firms confidently, knowing that money sent into or out of NZ is not tainted by the proceeds of crime.  Banks have been complying with the AML legislation since 2013; now it’s the lawyers turn.

It’s important to understand the reason for the legislation and why you will be asked for this additional information.

We must verify your identify

From 1 July onwards, we must verify the identity of all of our clients to help ensure all transactions are legitimate.  This is called “customer due diligence”.

We need to verify your full name, date of birth, and address, so we will ask you for documents such as your passport or driver’s licence or birth certificate.  Documents that show your address (such as a current bank statement or rates demand) will also be required.

There may be situations where we must ask you for more details about the nature and purpose of the work you are asking us to do. As well, we may have to ask for more information confirming the source of your funds for a transaction.

New and existing clients

The law applies to everyone and we need to ask for this information even if you have been a client of ours for a long time.  Once we have this information from you we may need to update it from time to time as your circumstances, and the work you ask us to do for you, change.

Before we start working on a particular matter for you we’ll let you know what information we need.

Once these new requirements have been in place for some time they will become familiar and there should be very little inconvenience to you or to us.

 

If you would like to understand more about AML, our Partner, Phil Hyde is happy to help.   Contact Phil on 07 834 6153 or  phil.hyde@nwm.co.nz


General information

What’s the difference between a lawyer and solicitor?

There is no difference.  Solicitor is simply an older expression for a person who performs legal services.  Lawyer is commonly used today as a more general term for a person with legal qualifications.

What is a legal executive?

In this office we have both lawyers and legal executives (sometimes known as para-legals).  Like lawyers, legal executives are trained to carry out specific areas of legal work.  Although they do not hold an LLB qualification, experienced legal executives are skilled in one or more aspects of law, and usually hold the NZ Law Society’s Legal Executive Certificate.  They attend to a wide range of legal work, and may specialise in one or more of residential and/or commercial conveyancing, estate administration, and litigation.

What do I need to do before my appointment?

If you are a new client before your first appointment you need to read, complete and sign the registration form.  You can bring it in with you on the day of your appointment.  Please also make sure that you bring with you any information and documentation that you have about your legal matters.

Where do I park for appointments?

We have client parking beside the Norris Ward McKinnon House building.  The entry to this is through the white barrier arm on London Street.  Simply press the entry buzzer and our receptionist will let you in.

What happens in the initial appointment?

Your first appointment gives your legal professional the chance to meet you in person, to talk though and understand the details of your legal need, and discuss the best way to get the outcome you are hoping for.  They will also discuss the likely timeframe and give an indication of the costs involved.  When you first arrive, please check in at reception with your completed and signed registration form.

Fees

The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our letter of engagement.  Timing of payment of fees is set out in our Terms and Conditions document.

Persons Responsible For Your Work

The names and positions of the legal professionals who will have responsibility for the services we provide to you from time to time are set out in our letter of engagement.

Client Care and Service

Our firm is committed to serving you professionally and ethically.  We will:

  • Act competently, in a timely way and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made;
  • Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties;
  • Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved;
  • Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided;
  • Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed;
  • Give you clear information and advice;
  • Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality;
  • Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination;
  • Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed;
  • Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.

 

The obligations that we owe to you as a client are described in the Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care Rules as prescribed in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006.  Those obligations are subject to overriding duties that we owe, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceed the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society.

Lawyers Fidelity Fund

The fund exists to provide compensation if you suffer a monetary loss in certain circumstances.  These circumstances are the theft by a lawyer of money or other valuable property entrusted to that lawyer while they are providing legal services to you or while they are acting as a trustee.  The maximum amount payable from the fund by way of compensation is limited to $100,000.00 per individual claimant.  Except in certain circumstances, the fund does not cover you for any loss relating to money that you instruct us to invest on your behalf.

Complaints

We have a procedure for handling any complaints made by you that is designed to ensure that any complaint is dealt with properly and fairly.  If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the Team Leader or as appropriate Team Partner who has overall responsibility for your work.  If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to our Practice Manager.

Our Practice Manager may be contacted as follows:

By letter, Private Bag 3098, Waikato Mail Centre, Hamilton 3240
By email to lawyers@nwm.co.nz
By telephoning on 07 834 6000

If you are not satisfied with our treatment of your complaint you have the right to take the matter up with the New Zealand Law Society which also runs a complaint services. You can contact the New Zealand Law Society on 0800 261 801.

For more information, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-community