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CAC05

Costs and Cashflow

NZ $35.00
incl GST
Richard Burcher  
Richard Burcher
Kaimai Law
Katikati
 

Published: 14 November, 2005
Pages: 48

Introduction

It seems appropriate, if not necessary, to draw to the readers’ attention a couple of caveats and comments:

  1. Mindful of the price fixing and other strictures of the Commerce Act 1986, nothing in this paper, or any other aspect of the seminar, should be misconstrued as advocating price fixing or a return to the reintroduction of a scale of charges for legal services, or anything remotely akin to that.
    Since the New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) Scale of Professional Charges was abolished in the early 1980s, it would I think be fair to say that the pricing of legal services, particularly those aspects that have become relatively commoditised, such as residential conveyancing, have been largely market driven.

    The problem is that, by and large, the legal profession lacked (and still does) the training or disciplines needed to operate in a relatively open market, in order to deal with this abrupt change to the means by which fees are set.

    The sole purpose of this paper is to hopefully equip practitioners with a better understanding of pricing strategies and the tools with which to implement alternative strategies if they so choose
     
  2. My background in legal practice is some 25 years as a general practitioner in a provincial firm, primarily in property and company/commercial work. Understandably, practical costing examples upon which I can speak with some knowledge are largely confined to those areas of legal practice.

    However, those examples are only used throughout the seminar as a means of illustrating the far more important principles associated with alternative pricing strategies. Those principles are universally applicable to legal practice in New Zealand, regardless of firm size, geographical location, or practitioners’ personal areas of expertise and endeavour.
     
  3. Although there is a body of New Zealand and UK case law surrounding the costing of legal services and, in particular, the cost revision and appeal procedures, this seminar is intended to have a particularly practical bent, rather than purporting to be a learned treatise.

    Whilst the cases often make interesting and informative reading, the day-to-day hurly burly of legal practice rarely affords the time to consider these in depth. I have tried to distil and incorporate in this paper, guiding principles where the case law lays down useful guidelines. For those who are interested in further reading into this aspect of the topic, I commend the following (in no particular order):
  • Gallagher v Dobson [1993] 3 NZLR 611
  • Property & Reversionary Investment Corp v The Secretary of State for the Environment [1975] 1 WLR 1504, [1975] 2 All ER 436
  • Re Chapman Feenstra Cartwright & Gendall [1977] 2 NZLR 196
  • Rawlinson v Purnell Jenkinson & Roscoe (CA 128/97, 21 October 1997)
  • JBL Consolidated Limited (In Receivership), unreported, High Court Auckland, 1950/80, 20 August 1982
  • Maltby v D J Freeman & Co [1978] 2 All ER 913
  • Treasury Solicitors v Register & Another [1978] 2 All ER 920
  • Parsons v Young Swan Morrison McKay [1986] 2 NZLR 204







 

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