Providing legal services to the Nelson province and beyond

Established in 1950, Fletcher Vautier Moore is a progressive 7-Partner practice with a wider team of 40+ people.

As one of the largest law firms in the upper South Island, our footprint extends throughout New Zealand. Our commercial clients include multinationals and listed companies, large corporations, and regional businesses.

To support our ever-expanding local client base, the firm operates three permanently-staffed offices in Nelson, Richmond and Motueka (and in Takaka by appointment).

Technology allows us to seamlessly serve our clients throughout New Zealand, and we travel as-required. We’re fortunate to live and work in the stunning Te Tau Ihu region; enjoying the best of both worlds.

1. Terms of Engagement

These Terms of Engagement (Terms) apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing.  You agree that if you do not wish to engage us under these Terms you will immediately notify us in writing of that.

2. Services

The legal services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our letter of engagement and pursuant to instructions provided by you. We will carry out the work upon your instructions as understood by us.  You should immediately contact us if we appear to have misunderstood your instructions.  In the event you require other specialist advice, for example, accounting, taxation, financial or business advice, we can arrange a suitable referral to an appropriately qualified specialist advisor.

In relation to any investment, property or business transaction we do not provide any advice in relation to the quality of the investment, the property or business that you are purchasing. Further, we shall have no liability in relation to any liability arising in relation to the quality of the investment, the property or business.  Our role and the ambit of our service is to complete the transaction on your behalf.

You are responsible for providing full, complete and honest instructions, information and the facts to us. We reserve the right to cease to act where you cannot or will not provide instructions required or where there is not full, complete and honest disclosure of all relevant information and facts.  You will provide us, as soon as possible, with all documents and information that are or come into your possession relating to the work that are necessary for us to be able to perform the work or comply with the rules relating to disclosure of documentation in connection with any proceedings in which we are acting for you.

3. Financial


If the letter of engagement specifies a fixed fee, we will charge this for the agreed scope of our services. Work which falls outside that scope will be charged on an hourly rate basis.  We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope and if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs.

Where there is no fixed fee agreed, we use time spent as a starting point when considering what fee to charge. Where hourly rates are set out in our engagement letter, these are indicative only. The differences in those rates reflect the experience and specialisation of our staff.  Other staff may also undertake work in relation to your matters as appropriate. Time spent is recorded in six-minute units, with time rounded up to the next unit of six minutes. We regularly review our hourly rates and reserve the right to change them from time to time. Please do not hesitate to contact
us at any time if you would like details of our current rates. The fees we charge are in accordance with the New Zealand Law Societys rules of conduct and client care which require that fees be fair and reasonable for the services provided. We consider the time spent but also other factors such as: the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved; and

  • the importance and complexity of the matter and the results achieved; and
  • the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is handled.

Disbursements and Expenses
In providing services we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf.  These will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred.  We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

GST is payable by you on our fees and charges.

It is the firm’s general policy to render interim bills on a monthly basis, for time spent. We may send interim invoices to you, or invoice you on completion of the matter, or on the termination of our engagement.


Invoices are payable within 14 days of the date of the invoice. We require interest to be paid on any amount which is more than 14 days overdue.  Interest will be calculated at the rate of 15% per annum.

You will be liable for all legal and debt collection costs that we incur, including solicitor/client costs, in enforcing, or attempting to enforce our rights under these Terms.

We may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses.  You authorise us:

(a)        to debit against amounts pre-paid by you; and

(b)        to deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account,                 any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided                    an invoice.

Third Parties
Although you may have an arrangement to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices may, at your request, be directed to a third party, you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

Settlement Monies
For property and financing transactions where payment of monies is due by you, we require cleared funds for the full amount to be deposited with us no later than the morning of settlement.

4. Confidentiality

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:

  • to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
  • to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services for you.

5. Termination

You may terminate our engagement at any time.

We may terminate our engagement in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers

We may terminate our engagement if we are unable to obtain full instructions from you.

If our engagement is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.

6. Retention of Files and Documents

Once your matter is completed we will close the matter in our system and store the hard copies of any Deeds or Wills relating to the matter on your behalf. In accordance with the provisions of the Electronic Transactions Act 2002, or any subsequent legislation or regulations, we will hold electronic copies of all documents, including electronic communications, relating to the matter but will not hold physical copies of any of these documents. You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents (other than any documents that we hold in safe
custody for you) seven years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

We may charge a fee for recovery of a file, that is older than three years, from our offsite storage facilities.

7. Conflicts of Interest

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 Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

8. Communication

We do not accept any liability for loss arising from non-receipt of any communication, including computer email communications.

9. Trust Account

We maintain a trust account for all funds which we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank, if we expect to generate more than $200.00 net interest.  In that case we will charge an administration fee calculated at 7.5% of the gross interest earned from the interest earned.

10. Anti-Money Laundering, Counter Financing of Terrorism and other Laws

10.1 The legal profession is now subject to the laws regarding anti-money
laundering, countering financing of terrorism, and tax reporting and withholding (especially FATCA).

10.2 We are required to comply with those laws. As a consequence, we will need to verify your identity and we may need to conduct customer due diligence on you and those acting on your behalf as well as on beneficial owners or (in the case of a trust or a company) persons who have effective control. Beneficiaries of trusts may also need to be checked. Generally, we will not be able to act or complete trust account transactions until this due diligence process has been completed.

10.3 From time to time we engage the services of third party providers, to collect information from individual clients and entities that are required for us to conduct legal services. The compliance costs associated with the collection of this information will be charged to you as a disbursement in accordance with clause 3 above.

10.4 Our legal obligations may require us to provide information about you, persons acting on your behalf and others as described in clause 10.2 to government agencies. We will not be permitted to tell you or such persons if that information is provided. We may also be required to provide that information to banks with which your funds are placed through our trust account and they may pass that information on to
government and regulatory authorities in New Zealand and overseas.

10.5 Because of the matters outlined above you need to ensure that all information provided to us is accurate. Please also ensure that all persons who may be impacted by our disclosure obligations are aware of our legal duty to disclose.

10.6 We are not responsible to you or anyone else for anything we do, or do not do, in order to comply with our legal obligations.

11. General

These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case they will be made available on our website

Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand Law and New Zealand Courts have exclusive jurisdiction.

Set out below is the information required by the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society (Law Society).

1. Fees

The basis on which fees will be charged is set out in our letter of engagement.  When payment of fees is to be made is set out in our Terms of Engagement.

We may deduct from any funds held on your behalf in our trust account any fees, expenses or disbursements for which we have provided an invoice.

2. Professional Indemnity Insurance

We hold professional indemnity insurance cover for a total sum of $7.2 million. Our liability to you, in contract, tort or otherwise, will be limited to the extent of our insurance cover.

3. Lawyers Fidelity Fund

The Law Society 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 by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. 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.

4. Complaints

We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.

If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm 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 the Managing Partner or Office Manager, Fletcher Vautier Moore.

They may be contacted as follows:

The Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so you should contact the Law Society, PO Box 240, Nelson, phone (03) 545 2613.

5. Persons Responsible for the Work

The names and status of the person or persons who will have the general carriage of or overall responsibility for the services we provide for you are set out in our letter of engagement.

6. Client Care and Service

The Law Society 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.
  • 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 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.lawyers.org.nz.

7. Limitations on Extent of Our Obligations or Liability:

Any limitations on the extent of our obligations to you or any limitation or exclusion of liability are set out in our letter of engagement.


Version Control – Last Update 27 January 2023