TERMS AND CONDITIONS

This document sets out how Stork Legal Pty Ltd trading as Perth Property Lawyers (“we”“our”“us”) deals with instructions, and the terms of engagement that apply if we accept instructions.

YOUR INSTRUCTIONS

If you instruct us to act on a matter, we will:

(a) check to see if any conflict prevents us from acting;
(b) confirm whether we accept your instructions; and
(c) if we accept your instructions, confirm the fixed fee that we will charge to act on the matter.

Unless otherwise agreed (and subject to the below) we will act on the basis of the terms and conditions set out in this document.

This document will constitute a costs agreement between us and you for the purposes of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (WA) (“Uniform Law”).

Acceptance of the terms and conditions set out in this document may be confirmed by any conduct evidencing acceptance. For example, acceptance may be confirmed (without limitation) by the continued issuing of instructions to act on the matter.

We may at any time require you (or our actual client for the matter) to enter into a written costs agreement for the matter. 

If our fixed fee for the matter is or exceeds $3,000 (exclusive of GST and disbursements), we will give you (or our actual client for the matter) disclosure in accordance with our obligations under sections 174 to 177 of the Uniform Law.

If you instruct us on behalf of any other person, then we will act on the understanding that you have that person’s authority to do so. We may ask for evidence of that authority before we accept instructions.

We reserve the right to reject instructions for any reason, including where we determine that:

(a) a conflict prevents us from acting;
(b) we consider that your instructions are incomplete; or
(c) the requested work falls outside the scope of our fixed fee services.

FIXED FEES

Most of our fixed fee services, and the fixed fees that we charge for those services, are listed on our website. However, we may offer a fixed fee for other services (including work that would normally fall outside the scope of our fixed fee services) on a case-by-case basis.

Disbursements (at cost) and GST are payable on top of our fixed fees. Typical disbursements include:

(a) ASIC register search fees;
(b) Landgate register search fees;
(c) Personal Property Securities Register (“PPSR”) search fees;
(d) registered post charges; and
(d) courier charges.

Unless otherwise agreed between us and you, we will not incur any substantial disbursements on your behalf, including PPSR and Landgate registration fees. We will normally require you to provide us with funds to meet those fees before we attend to registration.

If you instruct us to prepare a document:

(a) that document will be prepared based on one of our standard precedents; and
(b) our fixed fee will be payable in full, even if for some reason the document ceases to be required or is not ultimately executed by one or more parties.

TURNAROUND GUARANTEE

We guarantee to turn around your instructions within two business days after we confirm acceptance of those instructions (“Turnaround Guarantee”).

Our Turnaround Guarantee means that we must execute your instructions before midnight on the second business day (in Western Australia) after the date on which we accept instructions.

If we fail to meet our Turnaround Guarantee we will, upon request, reduce our fixed fee by 50%. You must ask for this reduction within one month after we accept your instructions: otherwise, our full fixed fee applies.

Because of the time-sensitive nature of our Turnaround Guarantee, we may reject instructions to act for you on a matter if you cannot provide us with an appropriate means of communication, such as email. In addition, we will not accept requests for fixed fee reductions where we are unable to satisfy the Turnaround Guarantee due to communication issues that are not our fault (for example, where your email address bounces).

Our Turnaround Guarantee does not apply to:

(a) any work that is not on our list of fixed fees; or
(b) lease document negotiations, or any other work where completion depends on a third party.

PAYMENT TERMS

Unless otherwise agreed between us and you, we will issue and address all of our invoices to our actual client for the matter.

The client’s liability to pay us is not affected by any right that the client may have to recover costs from another party under any agreement or understanding.

We usually issue our invoice upon substantial completion of an instruction. However, we reserve the right to issue an invoice at any time. Our invoices are payable within 14 days, unless otherwise agreed.

We may charge you interest on the amount of any rendered accounts that remain unpaid for longer than 30 days.

The rate of interest payable is equal to the Cash Rate Target specified by the Reserve Bank of Australia (as at the date the account was rendered) increased by 2 percentage points.

YOUR RIGHTS IN RELATION TO COSTS

You have a right to:

(a) Take independent legal advice in relation to this Costs Agreement.
(b) Negotiate the terms of the Costs Agreement with us.
(c) Negotiate the method of billing (i.e. whether it be according to hourly rates, or on a fixed fee basis).
(d) Receive an account in either lump sum or itemised form. If the account is received in lump sum form or only partially itemised, you have the right to request an itemised bill within 30 days after a lump sum account is payable.
(e) Seek the assistance of the designated local regulatory authority (the WA Legal Services and Complaints Committee) in the event of a dispute about legal costs. If the complaint relates to costs it must made within 60 days after the costs become payable or 30 days after an itemised bill is provided.
(f) Apply to a costs assessor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia for the assessment of the whole or any part of an invoice for legal costs that you have received (even if that bill has been wholly or partly paid).  Your application for the assessment must be made within 12 months after the bill was rendered to you.
(g) Be notified of any significant change to any matter affecting legal costs as soon as is practicable after we become aware of that significant change.
(h) Request and be provided with a written report of the progress of the Engagement (for which we may charge) or a written report of the legal costs incurred by you to date or to the date of the last account (for which we will not charge). 

Nothing in these terms and conditions affects your rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

ABOUT OUR DOCUMENTS

The types of documents that we prepare are listed on our website. These are all “standard” documents that are designed to cover a broad range of scenarios.

We maintain a suite of precedents for our standard documents. Any document that we prepare for you will be based on one of those precedents.

We update our precedents on a regular basis to reflect changes in the law and best practice. This means that if you instruct us to prepare a document, it may or may not have a different appearance or content to documents we have previously prepared for you.

You acknowledge:

(a) our copyright in all documents we prepare for you; and
(b) that any document we prepare must not be reproduced, adapted or communicated, except as permitted under applicable copyright law, without our prior written consent, subject to your right to use those documents for the purposes for which they are provided.

SPECIFIC EXCLUSIONS

Unless we accept instructions from you to the contrary, the scope of our engagement excludes the following.

ALL DOCUMENTS AND SERVICES:

(a) Advising on tax matters.
(b) Advising on the solvency of any party.
(c) Advising on laws that do not apply to Western Australia.

ALL DOCUMENT PREPARATION:

(d) Making major changes to our precedent document.
(e) Providing any substantial advice.
(f) Acting in any negotiations.
(g) Seeking the consent or approval of any third party.
(h) Ensuring proper document execution.
(i) Advising on the powers of any trustee.

LEASE DOCUMENT PREPARATION:

(j) Registering the document at Landgate.
(k) Advising on security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (“PPSA”).
(l) Registering any PPSA security interests.
(m) Preparing or serving a disclosure under section 68 of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA).
(n) Preparing or serving a disclosure statement under section 6 of the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 (WA) (“Retail Shops Act”).
(o) Advising on disclosure requirements under the Retail Shops Act.
(p) Advising or acting on any application under the Retail Shops Act.

SECURITY DOCUMENT PREPARATION:

(q) For any document other than a caveat, registering that document at Landgate or on the PPSR.

ALL ENFORCEMENT SERVICES:

(r) Acting in ongoing correspondence with any party.
(s) Acting in any court or tribunal proceedings.

TERMINATION

You may terminate our engagement at any time, by providing notice to us in writing.

We may give you written notice of our intention to cease acting for you if:

(a) you have not performed any of the obligations required under these terms and conditions;
(b) you have not provided or misrepresented any material facts;
(c) you have not given adequate instructions within a reasonable time of being requested to do so;
(d) in our reasonable opinion it appears that mutual confidence and trust no longer exists between us;
(e) to continue to represent you may place us in breach of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2015 or ethics governing legal practice in Western Australia; or
(f) for any other reason permitted by law.

You acknowledge that our fixed fee will become due and payable immediately upon termination of our engagement.

GENERAL

If you provide us with a fax number or email address, you agree to us communicating with you via that number or address.

You warrant that you will provide us with complete, accurate and timely instructions and acknowledge that a failure to do so may result in a loss being caused to you or us or another party.  You agree to be responsible for any such loss, directly or by indemnifying us.

We are not responsible for checking the accuracy or completeness of any instructions or information that you provide to us or for any error or omission that we make in the performance of our services or for any claim, demand, action, proceeding, judgment, order, assessment, penalty, interest, costs or expenses suffered or incurred by you (or by any other person) resulting from the instructions or information that you provided to us being inaccurate or incomplete.

The law of Western Australia will apply to these terms and conditions.

You acknowledge that you have read and understood this document, and you agree to be bound by it.

This document applies from 1 July 2022.

The current version of this document is available at www.perthpropertylawyers.com.au.