General terms and conditions

General terms and conditions

Definitions

The following definitions shall have the following meaning in these general terms and conditions:

  • the lawyer: Advocatenkantoor Desdalex bvba, which has its registered office at Amerikalei 122, 2000 Antwerpen, registered in the Crossroads Enterprise Databank under enterprise number 169.809, and all of its lawyer-partners, lawyer-associates and lawyer-trainees, who are all associated with the Antwerp Bar and all of whom perform their services in the name of and for the account of Advocatenkantoor Desdalex bvba.
  • the client: the natural or legal person for whom the lawyer performs instructions and provides services and with whom the lawyer has entered into a written or oral agreement.
Information

The lawyer shall inform the client punctually about the performance of the instruction and the course of the case.

The client shall provide all useful and accurate information to the lawyer for the entire duration of the instruction, on his or her own initiative or at the lawyer’s request.

Calling on third party services

Apart from the usual tasks performed by the lawyer, the client agrees that the lawyer, under the responsibility of the latter, can call on other lawyers to carry out his instructions for specific assignments.

If it is necessary for the performance of the instruction to call on the services of a bailiff or a translator, then the client shall leave the choice to the lawyer.

The lawyer shall only call on the services of other third parties, such as notaries, experts or accountants, with the client’s express approval, and these will be chosen in consultation with the client, except in an emergency. This approval can be given both orally and in writing.

Every use of third parties shall occur in the name of and for the account of the client, and this will also be notified to the third party concerned. The client shall provide an express power of attorney to that end to the lawyer.

Costs and fees

The fee is the payment for the services provided by the lawyer. Unless agreed otherwise, fees shall be calculated on the basis of the services provided on the basis of an hourly rate.

These rates vary as follows:

  • For lawyer-partners: from EUR 125.00 (excl. VAT);
  • For lawyer-associates: from EUR 100.00 (excl. VAT);
  • For lawyer-trainees: from EUR 75.00 (excl. VAT).

In special situations and having regard to the complexity and required specialisation, possible emergency and/or in the interests of the case, other arrangements can be made.

Subject to statutory or regulatory exceptions, the lawyer is obliged to charge VAT at 21% on his services.

A success fee can also be agreed in a written or oral individual agreement, with the calculation method for this to be agreed if need be.

The office costs will be charged separately, per unit or based on a lump sum, depending on the agreement that the lawyer and the client enter into, whether orally or in writing.

The court costs and advance costs, such as bailiff costs, court fees and register duties, costs of searches, translations, parking costs etc., will be set out in detail in the statement of costs and fees and passed on at the actual cost price to the client. The lawyer’s travel costs will be charged at EUR 0.80 per kilometre (excl. VAT).

The client can find information about the conditions and how to apply for (partly) free legal assistance on the website of the Flemish Bar Council (www.advocaat.be). Unless agreed otherwise in a written individual agreement, the client states that he or she does not qualify for (partly) free legal assistance or does not wish to apply for this.

Invoicing and payment

The lawyer can request one or more advance payments before the start of the instruction and during the hearing of the case. An advance payment is a lump sum that the client pays to the lawyer prior to a detailed statement of costs and fees.

The advance payments on the total amount will be deducted from the interim or final statement of costs and fees. The VAT on the advance payments will be regularised (up or down) at that time in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 93 sub 2 of the circular of 20 November 2013.

The client will pay the advance fee notes, the interim statements and the lawyer’s final account within fourteen days after the request to pay or the invoice are sent out. The lawyer can, if this is necessary for the proper provision of services, require a shorter payment period, stating reasons.

If the client does not agree with the advance fee notes, the interim statements and the final account, he or she must lodge an objection within fourteen days after receiving the registered letter.

Failing payment within the required time limit, the activities will be suspended after the client has been informed thereof in writing. The lawyer is not liable for any damage as a consequence of this suspension of services for the aforementioned reason.

Following a written reminder to pay the outstanding advance fee notes, interim statements and final account and failing an objection being upheld, the client is liable to pay interest on the outstanding balance at the statutory interest rate starting from the date of the reminder and also compensation of 10% of the outstanding balance, with a minimum of EUR 250.00 and a maximum of EUR 2,500.00.

Trust account

The lawyer will transfer all amounts that he receives for the client as soon as possible to the client. If the lawyer is unable to transfer an amount on immediately, he shall warn the client that the amount has been received and inform him or her of the reason why the amount has not been passed on. This rule does not apply to amounts received less than EUR 250.00.

The lawyer is permitted to withhold sums from amounts that received in the name and for the account of the client to cover outstanding advance fee notes, interim statements or the final account. The lawyer will inform the client thereof in writing.

The fact that the lawyer deducts the amount of the advance fee notes, the interim statements or the final account from such amounts does not affect the client’s obligation to pay the VAT due on these, via one or more separate payments to the lawyer, insofar as the money in the trust account is insufficient to pay the VAT in full.

The lawyer will immediately transfer all amounts that he receives from the client for third parties to those third parties.

Liability

The obligations that the lawyer takes on when performing his duties are obligations to make best efforts, unless the opposite is expressly agreed in the written agreement between the lawyer and the client.

The lawyer cannot under any circumstances be held liable for damage arising from inaccurate or incomplete information deriving from the client or his or her agents.

The lawyer is insured against professional liability for an amount of EUR 1,250,000.00 per claim. The policy that the Flemish Bar Council has taken out with Amlin Europe will be notified on request for examination.

It is possible to take out higher insurance at the client’s request for the specific processing of his or her case, subject to an additional premium. If no such higher insurance is taken out, the client is deemed to consider the ordinary insurance to be sufficient.

Except in the event of deliberate intent on the part of the lawyer, the lawyer’s liability shall in all instances be limited to the amount for which the lawyer is insured, notwithstanding incidental special protection to which consumers are entitled on the basis of the law or regulations.

If the professional liability insurer does not cover the damage, without the lawyer being at fault in this regard, the damages on the grounds of a professional error by the lawyer shall be limited to the principal, costs and interest up to an amount of EUR 1,500.00.

Termination of the contract

Both the client and the lawyer can terminate the contract at any time by informing the lawyer or the client thereof in writing. The lawyer will send a final statement of his costs and fees to the client, taking into account the lawyer’s work and the advance payments up until the termination of the agreement. Neither the lawyer nor the client can claim compensation simply on the basis of the termination of the agreement.

In the event that the lawyer terminates the agreement, the lawyer will take account of the client’s need to obtain assistance in good time from another lawyer.

The lawyer shall send the case documents to the client on request, with the exception of confidential documents in accordance with the lawyers’ ethical code.

Nullity, invalidity and/or unenforceability

The nullity, invalidity or unenforceability of one or more provisions in these general terms and conditions or the agreement concluded between the lawyer and the client shall not in any way affect the validity and the enforceability of the remaining provisions. Any null and void, invalid and/or unenforceable provision shall be replaced by a valid and enforceable provision which approaches the intentions of the parties as closely as possible and the spirit of these general terms and conditions or the agreement concluded between the lawyer and the client.

Applicable law and competent court

The agreement between the parties and these general terms and conditions applicable to this are exclusively subject to and must be construed and interpreted in accordance with Belgian law.

Any disputes arising out of or in relation to the agreement between the parties and these general terms and conditions that apply to it shall be exclusively heard by the courts of Antwerp (legal district of Antwerp, Antwerp Division (Justice of the Peace, Fifth Canton)).

The terms and conditions of the agreement concluded between the lawyer and the client shall prevail in case of conflict with the general terms and conditions.