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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
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Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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NZ Based. We are asked by referee to name the correct entity

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NZ Based. We are asked by referee to name the correct entity who was contracted to. The respondent we understood to be representing his Architectural firm responsible as he requested work to be done for his daughter. He claims we contracted to his construction company not the Architectural firm. We argue not on this occasion. He argues he requested his prior job to be named therefore it is the construction company responsible - and since he has liquidated the company. The liquidator agrees. I argued no for this secondary job all communications were with and through him as the architectural firm. This is the moot point. Help!


I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today

What do the contractual documents say? What was this a contract for? What do the emails refer to?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
We dont have a written contract. The contract was to provide timber joinery for his daughters villa.

Are you making a claim in the disputes tribunal for the cost of the timber joinery which you supplied? Who asked you to provide joinery? Should his daughter be the person liable if the house is for her?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I prefer to have a written record for the court rather than understanding in a conversation. Yes he emailed instructing to carry out the work and he would get his daughter to pay. They paid a third, my husband trusted him and he now he says we contracted to his construction company not his architect firm. The referee and liquidator says anyone can pay a bill it does not mean a contract was with the daughter. We actually never agreed to anything with the daughter as it was conducted with the father.

The starting point would be the person who asked you to do the job. If this man said he was instructing you to supply the joinery, and that he would get his daughter to pay, it may be important to look at what names are ***** ***** that email. Is it the person or is he saying in the email, that he is from the company?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
By the way he instructed an invoice be made to his daughters trust and he would get her to pay it. The referee says this is not a contract only a bill to pay.

Who did you claim against in the tribunal?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
all communications are with the architect firm with him representative of it as the director instructing. My husband had a history with him we were to employ him to build a unit on our property and his daughter had 2 trainee architects wanting to observe joinery ops which my husband agreed to. He (director architect firm) asked my husband to fix errors his company made and this was the initial interaction. He(the director) when we quoted to (the architect firm) requested the invoice be made to the construction company (which we did). The email sent to us from our point of view was for this job and we obliged him. However, the second job to remediate his daughters villa to us had no relation to the construction company. We then billed the second job to the director for his architect company. For us there was no relationship to the construction company. The referee and the liquidator advises the court is likely to rule that because we interacted through the previous invoice through the construction company. However, from our view we do not know his internal processes and never heard of the construction before.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
He maintains the email (1st job) instructing all invoices to be made to the construction company meant for the 2nd job as well. Each job is separate and wordings from different jobs cannot be applied to another. In this circumstance is he upon requesting the work to be done contracting the work to be done as he intended work to be done for his daughter.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
will you respond?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I have had no response please advise...

This certainly is a risk that the second job will be seen as being instructed by the same company as the first job. You need to emphasise the separation of the two jobs and that the second one was intended for a different corporate body, being the architecture company. The issues will be decided on who the referee believes, and so you have to concentrate on explaining what you understood as the correct contracting party in the first case and in the second

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** anything else we should know?

It will all depend on your evidence so you must be clear and consistent in what you say, as that helps the referee make their decision

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