Terms of Use

QUESTIONS LAWSPOT DOESN'T ANSWER

LawSpot does not answer questions about conveyancing or property leasing (except residential tenancies), or questions from landlords, or from business ventures and employers. This is because LawSpot is aimed at addressing unmet legal need in the community.

LawSpot will only provide very basic information in relation to questions about wills, estates, property relationship agreements, powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney. This is because LawSpot cannot assist with reviewing or drafting any documents in these areas due to the online Q&A format.

INFORMATION YOU NEED TO READ FIRST

The Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society require that we provide you in advance with the following initial information:

Professional indemnity insurance

The answers published on LawSpot are provided by different legal organisations or individual lawyers. Organisations that provide answers on the LawSpot website may include Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley (CLWHV), partner law firms or partner lawyers with independent practicing certificates.

Each LawSpot answer indicates which organisation or individual has provided the answer. LawSpot is covered by the professional indemnity insurance held by the organisation or individual that has provided the answer. The indemnity insurance held by these organisations or individuals meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with the particulars of the minimum standards upon request.

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. As the legal services we provide are free and we do not receive or hold money or valuables on trust, the fidelity fund is not relevant to the services offered by LawSpot.

Complaints procedure

We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by users of the LawSpot website (the Website). The procedure is designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly. See below for more information about LawSpot’s Complaints Procedure.

If you have tried using LawSpot’s Complaints Procedure and it has proven unsatisfactory, you can also make a complaint to the Law Society’s Lawyers Complaints Service by phoning 0800 261 801, emailing complaints@lawsociety.org.nz, or writing to PO Box 494, Wellington 6140. More information about the Lawyers Complaints Service can be found at http://www.lawsociety.org.nz/home/for_lawyers/regulatory/complaints.

DISCLAIMER

No liability

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this website, no liability whatsoever is accepted by the authors or publishers, for loss, damage or inconvenience consequent upon any error or omission, or arising in any way from the use of this site. LawSpot endeavours to provide a service of the highest quality. However, we cannot guarantee that our service will be uninterrupted or error-free.

Not intended to be comprehensive

The Website is intended as a forum where users can post general questions about New Zealand law and have their questions answered online by qualified lawyers. It is intended for general informational purposes and as a first port of call only and is not intended to be comprehensive.

Not a substitute for face-to-face legal advice

The answers published on the Website cannot be considered a substitute for face-to-face legal advice. If you have a particularly complex or specific question, you should seek personal legal advice. You can talk to your local Community Law Centre about advice options. You should never rely on the information provided in our answers as the sole basis for taking action in relation to a legal issue. This IMPORTANT NOTICE is included as part of every answer published on the Website, as a reminder to users of the limitations of the answer.

LawSpot may refuse to answer your question

LawSpot also reserves the right to refuse to answer a question if a LawSpot administrator considers that the question:

LawSpot may modify your question

LawSpot also reserves the right to modify (through its administrators) any question that might otherwise be rejected for any of the above reasons so that it can be made available for lawyers to answer.

Time it takes to answer a question

LawSpot will endeavour to answer the user’s question as soon as possible. However, as LawSpot is in the early stages of its development, users’ questions may take several weeks or months to be answered. We would be grateful for your patience. If your question is urgent, we encourage you to contact your local Community Law Centre to find out about options for face-to-face advice.

You consent to LawSpot answering questions from the “other side”

When you submit a question on the Website, you will be asked to tick a box that asks if you agree to the Website’s Terms of Use and checks that you understand that your question and the answer will be made public (but your name won’t be). By ticking this box, you indicate that you understand that LawSpot’s lawyer volunteers may also respond to questions submitted by someone who may be the other party to your legal issue, and you consent to this. You are aware that a LawSpot lawyer may, in the course of answering the other party’s question, provide material that could have negative implications for your own legal position.

Sometimes LawSpot lawyers may already be acting for the “other side”

When you submit a question and accept these Terms of Use, you also indicate that you accept that a LawSpot lawyer volunteer, the CLWHV, or the employer firm of a LawSpot volunteer (“LawSpot and its associated entities”) may advise the other party to your legal issue. You understand that LawSpot and its associated entities may, in the course of advising another client, provide advice to that other client that could have negative implications for your own legal position, and you consent to this. Because all questions are anonymised when they are submitted on the Website, LawSpot lawyer volunteers will not know whether you are in dispute with another client of LawSpot or its associated entities.

You consent to only certain information being disclosed to you

When you submit a question and accept these Terms of Use, you also indicate that you understand that each LawSpot lawyeris only obliged to tell you information about the relevant area of law as at the time they answer your question, and to tell you if they are aware of other questions received or answers published by LawSpot that are relevant to your question, and you consent to this. No LawSpot lawyer is obliged to tell you any new information they come across that may be relevant to your question that the lawyer has become aware of after the answer to your question has been published. This means you will not receive any new information whether held by LawSpot, the CLWHV, the LawSpot lawyer volunteers personally, or by any employer of a LawSpot lawyer volunteer.

You are aware that this means that if a LawSpot lawyer, after answering your question, becomes aware of information that could assist you in dealing with your particular legal issue, that lawyer does not have to share with you that further information, even if this non-disclosure could have negative implications for your own legal position.

Lawyers’ obligation to exercise independent judgment

None of these terms affect the obligation that applies to all lawyers, to exercise independent judgment when answering questions and to give objective advice based on the lawyer’s understanding of the law.

Alternatives are available

You are aware that there are alternatives to consenting to these terms. For example, you could seek face-to-face advice at a local Community Law Centre, or retain a lawyer to advise you.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Only LawSpot’s administrators will be able to view the personal information you provide us with when you register to ask a question on the Website. LawSpot’s administrators must treat this information as confidential and can only use it for the limited purposes set out in the Privacy Policy.

LawSpot’s administrators, volunteers and partners can view the personal information you provide. LawSpot’s administrators, volunteers and partners must treat this information as confidential and can only use it for the limited purposes set out in the Privacy Policy. LawSpot will not publish the identity of a user on the Website. Your identity is protected, and the fact that you have submitted a question is confidential as between LawSpot and you.

When you submit a question on the Website, you will be asked to tick a box that asks if you agree to the Website’s Terms of Use. By ticking this box, you understand that your question and the answer will be published on the Website for public view. Accordingly, you waive your right to claim confidentiality over the content of your question and the answer provided. No liability whatsoever is accepted by the authors or the publishers, for loss, damage or inconvenience arising in any way from your use of the Website.

PRIVACY

Please review our Privacy Policy, which forms part of these Terms of Use. By using the Website you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy, as amended from time to time.

THIRD PARTY LINKS AND REFERENCES

All links and references to websites, organisations or people not within LawSpot are provided for the user’s convenience only, and should not be taken as endorsement of those websites, or of the information contained in those websites, nor of organisations or people referred to. LawSpot has no control over the content of any such websites or the policies of any such organisation. LawSpot also does not implicitly or impliedly endorse any website or organisation which (or person who) has off-site links to this website. Further, LawSpot has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Purposes

When will this procedure be used?

This procedure should be used for every complaint made about LawSpot, its operations, its partner law firms and lawyers, the CLWHV, or any of its volunteers.

Principles

The principles of natural justice apply to this procedure. This includes the right to be treated fairly and to state your side of events. Complaints will be taken seriously and the complainants will be treated with respect and courtesy. LawSpot will seek to resolve the complaint at the earliest stage and to learn from the complaint so that, where appropriate, action can be taken to ensure the situation does not happen again.

Making a complaint

Investigating the complaint

New Zealand Law Society

If you have tried using this procedure to make a complaint against a lawyer and it has proven unsatisfactory, you can also make a complaint against a lawyer to the Law Society’s Lawyers Complaints Service by phoning 0800 261 801, emailing complaints@lawsociety.org.nz, or writing to PO Box 494, Wellington 6140. More information about the Lawyers Complaints Service can be found here.

Records

Information relating to complaints will be kept for the purposes of monitoring the quality of service being provided. Any party to the complaint has the right to access and correct their personal information, in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993.

COPYRIGHT

When you access the LawSpot website you agree that you will not:

UPDATES

From time to time, we make changes to the Website’s terms of use. We always update this statement accordingly, so we encourage you to periodically review this page for the latest information on our terms of use.

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions about these terms or any other matter, please contact us at support@lawspot.org.nz.

Last Updated: 9 September 2013.