General Terms and Conditions Everest Advocaten G & B

1. General note

These General Terms and Conditions apply to services rendered by and/or for lawyers of cvba EVEREST ADVOCATEN G&B (company registration number 0843.239.014 and VAT number BE 0843.239.014). More information can be found on www.everest-law.be.

2. Lawyer’s fees and expenses

Lawyer’s fees:

Unless explicitly agreed upon otherwise and subject to the right to make adjustments in the course of the handling of the case file, our services are usually but not exclusively invoiced according to standard hourly rates (cf. assignment document). However, a final invoice based on the acquired result is also possible. Once per calendar year, the indicated basic hourly rate can be adjusted without therefore requiring the client’s prior consent.

Advance payments:

Prior to the start of the assignment and during the handling of the case, the lawyer may demand one or more advance payments from the client. An advance payment is the lump sum paid by a client to his/her/its lawyer prior to the issuance of a detailed statement of costs and fees.  In the final statement of costs and fees, advance payments are deducted from the total amount to be paid.

Non-payment by client:

All our invoices are payable in cash. For lack of payment of the invoice, post-maturity interests at the rate of 10% per year will be due without prior formal notice being required. In such event, a compensation for damage amounting to 10% of the outstanding amount will be due as well. The lawyer reserves the right – subject to a fair notice period – to terminate or suspend the rendering of services upon the non-payment of requested advances or statements of costs and fees for a period of 30 days or more or on account of another serious reason.

Administrative costs:

The lawyer charges a flat-rate fee of 15% of the lawyer’s fees for his or her ordinary general administrative costs.

Expenses / Costs:

Incurred expenses (such as fees of experts and foreign lawyers, travel and catering expenses, costs for courier and special shipping services, costs for research work, for binding documents, video conference installations, etc.) are mentioned separately and invoiced at cost.

Indexation:

The lawyer reserves the right to annually adjust the lawyer’s fees and fee scales to the index figure.

VAT:

All our invoices are subject to 21% VAT.

3. Trust accounts

Amounts of money held or received by the lawyer on behalf of the client are booked on a special bank account held by the lawyer according to the bar regulations, i.e. the so-called trust account. The client gives the lawyer permission to withhold lawyer’s fees and expenses due (cf. above) from amounts received on behalf of the client.

4. Liability Limitation of liability:

The contractual or extra-contractual liability of our lawyers and of the CVBA itself for loss, damage, costs or expenses arisen in connection with the rendering of services will, except in case of fraud, always be limited to the amount of coverage awarded by the third-party liability insurer (NV ALMIN EUROPE) of the lawyer in question. This coverage is limited to the sum of € 1,250,000 unless the lawyer handling the case file would be insured for a higher amount.      

No liability for any failure to act from the part of the client:

The lawyer cannot be held liable for any loss, damage, costs or expenses that would arise in any way whatsoever from (fraudulent) acts or any failure to act, omissions, incorrect or incomplete statements or illegitimate acts from the part of the client, its directors, employees, intermediaries or subcontractors. The lawyer reserves the right to recover all resulting damage, if any, from the client.

No liability for any failure to act from the part of third parties:

The lawyer cannot be held liable for acts or any failure to act that took place prior to the commencement of the rendering of services. Even when the lawyer has given advice on the basis of information or advice that was passed on to him/her by foreign or other lawyers or consultants consulted by the client without having obtained corresponding instructions from the client, each and any liability of the lawyer for any loss, damage, costs or expenses directly or indirectly resulting from an act or failure to act from the part of such third party (parties) will be excluded.

Use of documentation:

The lawyer does not accept any liability for damage resulting from the use of documents in any form other than the form supplied by the lawyer or in other situations than those for which these documents were drawn up.

Force majeure:

The lawyer does not accept any liability for any delay in or the non-fulfilment of his/her obligations when this delay or non-fulfilment results from circumstances that in all reason are beyond the lawyer’s control.

5. Documentation Destruction of documentation

The case file kept at the office (except for documents that the Client asked us to return) is kept for a period of five years only, starting from the date on which the final statement of fees and costs has been sent to the client.  It is the client’s responsibility to ask in a timely manner for the return of his case file or of certain documents from it if such need would exist.

6. Anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing

If the lawyer assists the client in the preparation or execution of transactions related to the purchasing or sale of immovable property or companies, the management of his/her/its capital, securities or other assets, the opening or management of bank, savings or securities accounts, the organisation of a contribution needed for the incorporation, running or management of companies, trusts, fiduciaries or similar legal structures or if he/she acts on behalf of his/her client in financial transactions or transactions in immovable property, he/she is compelled to strictly adhere to the legislation and bar regulations in connection with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. According to the prevailing rules, lawyers are above all bound by an identification and alertness obligation vis-à-vis their client. This procedure requires the cooperation of the client and compels clients operating under the form of a company according to article 8§3 of the Act of 11 January 1993 to inform their lawyer about the final beneficiary behind this company or succession of companies and to inform him/her as well whenever this situation changes.  If – within 2 weeks after having been asked to do so – the client refuses to provide the information that the lawyer is bound to retrieve, the lawyer in question will, according to article 2.10 of the Flemish Bar Regulations of 21 December 2011, be entitled to terminate his/her representation.  The anti-money laundering legislation also compels lawyers under certain conditions to report potential money laundering and terrorist financing transactions in which the client would be involved to the President of his/her bar. 

7.  Applicable law and competent court

The parties agree that solely Belgian law applies to these General Terms and Conditions and to every agreement to which these refer and to the assignment in general. The courts of Gent will have exclusive jurisdiction for all disputes regarding the interpretation or execution of these General Terms and Conditions or the agreement to which these refer. Furthermore, the parties explicitly and conventionally agree that no court other than the one indicated in the previous paragraph is competent to judge on the matter mentioned in the previous paragraph.