Don’t for a moment think that you (or your client) might be “off the hook” because an agreement or contract has not been signed.

  • A contract can exist even if it isn’t necessarily in writing
  • There may be a difficulty in enforcing terms which are referred to, but not actually provided to the client.
  • Having something in writing is clearer and contractually stronger (and a specific requirement of NZAB ethics Rule 58A)
  • Having something in writing that is signed by both parties deals with an evidential issue and so is stronger again

NZACS has had ongoing involvement in the NZIA terms of engagement as they evolve, and recommends that members use them.

If there is a difficulty in getting the client to respond, then you should set out the necessary information in writing and indicate (for example) “… confirming our conversations yesterday when you instructed that we were to – etc etc – we are now proceeding on the basis of these terms and conditions unless or until you advise otherwise …” 

If there has been some discussion about the terms and conditions (or several variations of them), make sure that it is clear which version is to apply.  You might also refer to them in your first invoice, in which case payment of that invoice may confirm acceptance.