1 - INTRODUCTION
The following service conditions will apply to cases accepted by the law offices of Vogt Lawfirm S.L, its lawyers or its employees. The law offices of Vogt Lawfirm S.L undertakes to defend the interests of its clients in the best possible way.
In addition to these conditions both the regulations of the Bar Association, the code of ethics and the Lawyers’ Regulations will be applied for calculating fees.
2 - OPENING OF A CASE
Before any case is definitively accepted, an investigation will be carried out to establish whether there is any conflict of interests or any other circumstances which might make it impossible or inappropriate for the office to take on the case.
In relation to the case, identity checks will be carried out in accordance with the Directive against Money Laundering.
In the event that the case is later extended beyond what had been agreed, we will send confirmation of this unless such an extension has already been mentioned in other correspondence between the parties.
3 - THE CASE
A partner will be assigned as responsible for all case work in accordance with article 232 of the Courts Act. Additionally, other lawyers and other personnel may work on the case as appropriate. The responsible partner will ensure that the case is handled in the best manner possible on behalf of the client and decide whether certain parts of the case should be handled by the lawyer in charge, a paralegal or secretary.
Should the client have a special wish as regards which lawyers should handle the case, normally this will be taken into account.
4 - BILLING
In principle, billing will be made according to the time spent on the matter in a professional and efficient manner. Time spent will be billed for according to the following hourly rate (excluding VAT):
- Partner € 350
- Associate lawyer € 275
- Senior Paralegal € 195
- Junior Paralegal € 180
- Assistant Lawyer € 140
- Tax advice € 235
When travelling is involved, 8 hours per day will be billed for, unless the actual time spent is greater than this.
Our hourly rate includes secretarial services and normal office expenses, etc. In addition, 375 € per case will be charged for administrative costs to cover ordinary telephone and fax expenses. However, the hourly rate/administration expenses do not include photocopies, unusually high communication expenses, messenger expenses or travel expenses/meetings.
When calculating the final fees, the total billed for according to the hourly rate will be considered in relation to other aspects of the case in question. When evaluating fees the following factors will be taken into consideration:
- Whether the case has required special legal experts.
- Whether the case has been particularly complex as far as the legal questions dealt with are concerned.
- Whether the client has requested assistance at particularly unusual times and with especially short notice.
- The responsibility involved in the work carried out (particularly in relation to representation, legal opinions etc) and the results obtained.
External assistance (technical experts, appraisers, doctor’s statements etc) will be billed either directly to the client or through ourselves. In the latter case, payment must generally be made in advance. We do not make any charge whatsoever for handling external documentation as this work will be billed for as normal hours worked.
In accordance with the statutes of the Norwegian Lawyers Association [Advokatforeningen], billing will not be arranged on the basis of percentages of or shares in the result of the case. Nevertheless, you may request an estimate of the cost of the case and a maximum amount may possibly be agreed, in such a way that any further work will be halted until a further confirmation is received from you. Any such agreement must be signed separately and, in order for it to be binding, it must be included in our acceptance confirmation or in a written confirmation.
If a fixed amount for the case has been agreed, it will be billed for once the case has been concluded. Otherwise, billing will generally be done monthly. If any other billing method is required, then this must be agreed separately. In general, bills fall due on the date billed and default interest will be generated in the event of non-payment.
An itemisation of work, including what work has been done in the period and which lawyers carried it out, will be sent with each bill. If a bill includes work on various cases for the same client, the itemisation will include which part of the fees and expenses corresponds to each case. Otherwise a bill will be issued for each case registered on our system.
5 - RETAINER
We reserve the right to insist upon a retainer for our fees, extra costs and other expenses. This retainer will be transferred to our clients’ account and will be treated as the client’s funds and without client’s instructions may not be used in any other manner except to cover our bills. In the event that the payment of the retainer is not made, we reserve the right to cancel the case or to cease handling it.
6 -CLIENTS’ FUNDS
All clients’ funds handed to us will be treated in accordance with the legal regulations concerning clients’ funds and the regulations of the Norwegian Lawyers’ Association.
7 -PROFESSIONAL SECRECY
All information received from or about clients or other persons in relation to our work will be treated in a strictly confidential manner. Exceptions to professional secrecy arise for example in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. All employees of the Vogt S.L. law firm have signed a professional secrecy declaration. Information will be handled in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act.
It will be necessary to communicate some of the information provided by you to others, for example when applying for Legal Aid, for use by technical experts and any communication required for protecting your interests. We work under the assumption that we have your authoristion to reveal that information. Unless agreed or understood to the contrary, the law firm has the right to inform about a business relationship with the client in order to solve conflicts of interest or as a reference for future clients.
Please take into account that under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and other related provisions, we might be obliged to request identification and the necessary powers from the client and carry out identity checks when specific services are to be provided. Furthermore, under certain circumstances, we might be obliged to carry out more detailed internal investigations if specific crimes were to be suspected and may ultimately be obliged to inform of that fact to the Spanish tax authorities. This obligation to notify might arise without us having the right to inform the client that the prosecutor’s office is being notified.
8 - PUBLIC LIABILITY
The law firm complies with the regular provisions relating to compensation under Spanish law. Our liability is, in any case, limited to a maximum of 1,000,000 € (one million Euros) per case unless a lower limit for a specific case has been agreed upon.
9 - COPYRIGHT
The Vogt SL law firm reserves all rights to material generated or used by us. This also applies to reports, practical work and contracts etc which have been used or handed to the client. The client may only use those documents for the purpose for which they were produced or given for completion. Other than this, it is not permitted to make personal use of such documents or hand them to a third party etc, without the consent of the Vogt law firm.
10 - ARCHIVES
The client will be sent a copy of all the correspondence and documentation of the case. He should take due care of them since later copying and filing would involve expenses which would be billed to the client. We will only keep original documents (wills, mortgage bonds, bills of exchange or similar) when there is a written agreement to do so.
Unless agreed to the contrary, the documents of a case will not be kept for more than ten years. Once that time has elapsed, the documents will be destroyed in an appropriate manner.
11 - AUDIT
Our standard conditions are normally revised once a year or when the need arises to do so. Updated conditions will be available on our website www.vogtlaw.com.
12 - COMPLAINTS
If you believe that our advice and assistance does not meet your expectations, we would ask you to approach the assigned partner as soon as possible. We will study your complaint and, if necessary, take the necessary measures to correct the situation about which you have complained.
You may also send a complaint to the Bar Association. You may obtain further information on the www.jus.no website. The time limit for complaints is generally six months.
13 - END OF THE CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP
We will carry out all tasks entrusted to us until such a time that the matter may be considered closed, unless one or more of the following circumstances arises:
- Our case has been cancelled
- One or more bills for our fees and/or expenses are unpaid
- Our client is bankrupt or is considered insolvent in any other way
- It is considered that the client’s interests would be better protected by the case being cancelled.