CONFIRMATION OF ASSIGNMENT – GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS – 12/2015
1. The Assignment
These general terms and conditions apply to all assignments between the Law firm Rasmussen & Broch ANS (hereinafter called the Law firm) and you as client (hereinafter called the Client).
If the Client, after reading through these terms and conditions, should wish to withdraw the assignment, including if the Client does not agree with the specified terms in whole or in part, the Client must send us immediate notification of this in writing. As a main rule the assignment will then be cancelled. In such case a fee will be charged for the hours spent up until the cancellation was received.
If, at a later date, it is agreed to extend or change the assignment, the extended assignment will be carried out without further confirmation.
The Law firm will endeavour to look after the Client’s best interest. Assignments will be carried out in accordance with the Norwegian Advocates Regulation and the Norwegian Bar Association’s fee recommendations.
2. Establishing the assignment
Before an assignment is established, it must be ascertained that there is no conflict of interest or other circumstances to indicate that the company cannot or should not take on the assignment. The same applies to an established assignment if a new opponent is introduced into the case.
If so indicated out of consideration for the Client, and if there are no indications to the contrary, the assignment can be started before the above has been fully ascertained. Reservations will then be made vis-à-vis the Client to the effect that the non-existence of any conflict of interest has not yet been fully ascertained and that the Law firm may decline to take on the assignment if such conflict of interest is found to exist.
In connection with the establishment of the assignment, identity verification will also be carried out pursuant to the Norwegian Money Laundering Act .
The Law firm makes aware of that if we suspect that transactions are connected to profit/dividend from a criminal act and so on, we are obliged to inform National authority for investigation and prosecution of economic and environmental crime (Økokrim), however, without informing the client or third party.
3. Performance of the assignment
A lawyer in charge will be appointed for each and every assignment. This lawyer will be responsible for all work carried out under that assignment. The lawyer in charge will ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the assignment and, in that connection, consider whether a senior associate, associate, assistant/paralegal or secretary should carry out the assignment or parts of this.
If the Client has special wishes as to which lawyer should perform the assignment, this will normally be taken into account.
For work performed by newly employed associates, where such work is also part of their training, it will be considered how much of the work is of direct value to the Client, who will then be charged accordingly.
The Law firm reserves the right to use unsecured e-mail (unencrypted e-mail, faax a.s.o.) as a form of communication in its performance of the assignment, also for information covered by professional secrecy. If the Client objects to this, the Law firm must be specifically informed in each case.
For assignments invoiced according to accrued time, the following rates shall apply, at present:
Associate: NOK 1.300 – 1.800 + VAT
Senior associate: NOK 1.500 – 2.200 + VAT
Partner: NOK 2.500 – 4.000 + VAT
For private clients the rates inclusive of 25% VAT are:
Associate: NOK 1.625 – 2.250
Senior associate NOK 1.875 – 2.750
Partner: NOK 2.500 – 4.000
These rates may be changed with one month’s notice. The updated rates can be obtained by enquiry to the Law firm.
The Law firm will determine its fees in accordance with the policy of the Norwegian Bar Association.
In addition to the accrued fees, the Client will cover all handling costs of the Law firm, including, but not limited to, court fees and other public charges, the costs of obtaining documentation, transport costs and per diem expenses. The Law firm will document such costs at the Client’s request.
The Law firm will normally invoice secretarial work directly related to the assignment. The present rate for such work is NOK 650 + VAT.
Regarding transport, the lawyer can choose the type of transport considered most expedient.
Minimum hourly rate invoiced is 0,25 hour (15 min.).
Please note that re-invoicing of costs normally means that VAT is added.
5. Invoicing and payment
Unless otherwise agreed, the assignment will be invoiced by the hour, including hours spent on preparation and completion of the assignment, and travel where applicable.
The Law firm is entitled to invoice the accrued fees, with the addition of any direct expenses, once a month. Fees for less than one hour’s work will normally be incorporated in a summary invoice on a quarterly or half-yearly basis. Expenses may also be re-invoiced as they are incurred.
The Law firm reserves the right to invoice on account, or demand payment in advance or cash settlement.
All invoices are net per 10 days. Interest will be charged on overdue payments pursuant to the provisions of the Norwegian Overdue Payments Act.
6. Free legal aid and legal expenses insurance
Pursuant to the Norwegian Legal Aid Act, the right to have legal aid covered by the State may be granted in certain cases. This is conditional on the person’s income and wealth being within the limits provided for by the Legal Aid Act. The County Governor can in certain cases make exceptions from these limits. Further information on free legal aid can be obtained from the County Governor or from our office.
Certain cases may be covered by legal expenses insurance,
to be covered by the Client as stipulated in the Client’s insurance policies. The Client must check whether this is applicable and, if so, the insurance company must be notified as soon as possible. Unless otherwise agreed, the Client must send such notification himself.
The Client is responsible for possible deductible or difference between the Law firm’s fee and the amount covered by the insurance company.
If free legal aid or insurance coverage may apply, this should be raised with the Law firm and clarified as soon as possible.
7. The Client
A precondition for the proper performance of the assignment is that the Client provides all relevant information and documentation in connection with the assignment.
The better the clarification and preparation of the case on the part of the Client, the more effective our work. This will in turn affect the size of the fee.
All communication to and from the opponent must take place via the Law firm, and the Client must inform us immediately if he receives any direct communication from the opponent or the opponent’s lawyer. The Client will receive copies of all correspondence to and from our office, unless otherwise agreed.
The Client should save all documents received, since the costs involved in any further copying of such documents will be re-invoiced to the Client.
8. Liability for the outcome of the case – Imposed legal costs/ court fees – Relationship to awarded legal costs.
Even if the Law firm has given its opinion regarding the possible outcome of the case, this does not mean that the Law firm has any legal liability for the outcome.
If a court case is lost, the Client can, in addition to his own costs, be obliged to cover the opponent’s legal costs and to cover the court fees. The Client is liable to cover such costs.
If the Client is awarded the costs of the case by a court decision, but the amount awarded is lower than the fee accruing to the Law firm, the Client will be liable to pay the difference.
9. Professional secrecy/ the Personal Data Act
The lawyers are bound to keep all information received in the case confidential and secret, except as provided for by law (e.g. the Norwegian Money Laundering Act). All the Law firm’s members of staff have signed a professional secrecy statement.
On entering into the assignment, the Client is deemed to have accepted that the Law firm obtains such information about the Client as may be relevant to the assignment – including credit information. The Client further accepts that the Law firm processes and registers information pursuant to the Personal Data Act of 14 April 2000 to the extent necessary to carry out the assignment. The Client may request further information about this from the Law firm.
Much of the information will be of a personal nature. This will be treated in accordance with the requirements of the Personal Data Act.
10. Right to complain and complaints/claims
It is possible to have the assignment valued to see if it is in compliance with the rules of professional conduct for lawyers. It is also possible to make a complaint if the Client is unhappy with the size of the fee. As a rule, the quality of the work cannot be assessed by the disciplinary bodies.
As a main rule, the deadline for submitting complaints is six months. This runs from the time the complainant was, or should have been, aware of the circumstances on which the complaint is based. The complaint will be processed by the Norwegian Bar Association’s regional Disciplinary Council of the district of Hordaland as court of first instance. The decision of the Disciplinary Council can be appealed to the disciplinary board.
The rules of professional conduct for lawyers and further information regarding the complaints scheme can be found on the Norwegian Bar Association’s website.
11. Rights and copyright
The Law firm retains copyright to all works prepared by them in connection with the assignment, regardless of form and storage medium, unless otherwise expressly agreed.
Regardless of the Law firm’s copyright, the Client is free to use received copies of works produced as part of the assignment.
Drafts/proposals from the Law firm must not be used for purposes or in connections other than those envisaged, used to support decisions or actions, or be supplemented or otherwise modified, without the prior consent of the Law firm.
Regardless of copyright, the Law firm reserves the right to freely use any work they have produced in an anonymised form, including for internal use and for possible educational purposes.
The Law firm can keep copies of the documents after the assignment is finished within the limits following the legal framework. Copies can be handed over at a cost.
12. Third party insurance – limited liability
Please note that certain requirements are imposed on law practices relating to the furnishing of security and third-party liability insurance to cover any liability incurred while practicing law. The Law firm’s responsible lawyers have the required security and insurance.
Any liability in damages is limited upwards to five times the invoiced amount, ex. VAT, for the assignment connected to the case. The liability is nevertheless upwards limited to the upper limit for the individual lawyer’s liability insurance, currently a total of NOK 2 million per assignment per injured party, and whatever the circumstances, to a maximum of NOK 5 million per lawyer per year.
The liability of the Law firm will under no circumstances cover indirect losses.
The Law firm has agreed to limit its liability pursuant to the Courts of Law Act section 232 fifth paragraph. This means that a claim may only be addressed to the lawyer who carries out/is responsible for the assignment.
The Client will lose his right to put forward a claim against the lawyer who is carrying out/responsible for the assignment if the Client fails to notify the lawyer in writing stating the nature of the claim without unreasonable delay once he discovers or should have discovered the relevant facts.
The Law firm is not responsible for legal consultants or others the Law firm has referred and handed over parts of the assignment to according to agreement with the Client.
These terms and conditions were adopted at a meeting of the partners of the Law firm Rasmussen & Broch ANS on 22 June 2005. The terms also apply for lawyers directly affiliated with the Law firm.