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FREE LEGAL HELP

Information for Clients

  1. Our Service
    1. YouthLaw is a community law centre operating under the Legal Services Act 2011. We provide a free legal service to children and young people aged under 25 years.
    2. As a community law centre, we are required to provide a service in respect of unmet legal need. Therefore, if you can afford to pay for a private lawyer, or are eligible for legal aid or representation from a Court-appointed lawyer, we will have to refer you to those services if you require ongoing legal assistance.
    3. The Standard Terms (“Terms”) outlined in this document apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except:
      1. To the extent that we otherwise agree in writing; and
      2. Subject to our Code of Ethics (which is available to view at http://youthlaw.co.nz/free-legal-help/code-of-ethics/)
  2. Duty of Care
    1. Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to this.
  3. Client Care and Service
    1. The NZLS client care and service information is set out below.
      Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:

      • 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
      • 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 lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.
      • If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801
  4. Persons Responsible for Work
    1. Please see the “About Us/ Staff” section of the YouthLaw website for an overview of current legal staff and experience.  One of the lawyers listed will be appointed to provide you with legal services.
  5. Fees
    1. We do not charge for our service.  However, we accept koha (donations) for work we have done. While this is not compulsory, we do appreciate the gesture as we are a non-profit organisation with limited resources.  Some work may require payment for fees or expenses such as filing fees in Courts or Tribunals for example.  We are not responsible for any such additional costs or any costs that may be awarded against you
  6. Trust Account
    1. We do not operate a Trust Account.  Any monies that you receive or are liable to pay are solely your responsibility and must be paid directly to or from you.
  7. Confidentiality
    1. We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you.  We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:
      1. To the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions
      2. To the extent required by law or by the NZLS Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers
      3. To ensure the safety and protection of our staff and volunteers.
    2. Confidential information concerning you will be made available only to those at YouthLaw who are providing legal services for you.
    3. We will not disclose to you any confidential information we have regarding any other client.
  8. Conflicts of Interest
    1. We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the NZLS Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.
  9. Complaints
    1. We maintain a procedure for handling complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.  If you have a complaint about our service you may refer your complaint to the General Manager.  He or she may be contacted as follows:
    2. 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 the Chairperson of YouthLaw’s Board.
    3. The NZLS also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service.  To do so you should contact the NZLS. 0800 261 801 or PO Box 5041, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145.
  10. Professional Indemnity Insurance
    1. We hold professional indemnity (liability) insurance which meets the standards set by the NZLS and you can request a copy of this information.
  11. Lawyers Fidelity Fund
    1. The NZLS maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund to an individual claimant is $100,000.  Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006, the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
  12. Retention of files and documents
    1.  You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter 7 years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.
  13. Termination
    1. You may terminate our services to you at any time.
    2. We may terminate our services to you in any of the circumstances set out in the NZLS Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Please note that this includes circumstances where you fail to provide us with instructions in a sufficiently timely way [Rule 4.2.1(d)].
  14. General
    1.  These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.
    2. We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended terms.
    3. Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law and New Zealand courts have non-exclusive jurisdiction.

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