General terms and conditions
1. Sjöcrona • van Stigt Advocaten (hereinafter: the partnership) is a partnership of private limited companies and natural persons. A list of partners and other lawyers will be sent on request and is available for inspection at both offices of the firm.
2. These General Terms and Conditions shall apply to all assignments (including supplementary and follow-up assignments) carried out by members and/or employees of the partnership, unless agreed otherwise in writing prior to the conclusion of an assignment. General Terms and Conditions of the client or client are expressly rejected.
3. Assignments are carried out exclusively for the benefit of the client. Third parties cannot derive any rights from the contents of the work carried out.
4. Our services are subject to the Complaints and Disputes Scheme for the Legal Profession with the exception of disputes concerning the collection of one or more invoices sent by the Partnership, or disputes concerning a claim for compensation for damages exceeding € 10,000 at the time of submission or not expressly limited to that amount in writing.
5. These General Terms and Conditions are also stipulated for the benefit of the partners and former partners, as well as the directors and former directors and (indirect) shareholders of the private limited companies referred to under 1 and all those who work or have worked for the partnership.
6. The Dutch text of these General Terms and Conditions shall prevail over any translation thereof.
II. Limitation of liability
7. All instructions shall be deemed to have been exclusively granted to and accepted by the Partnership, even if it is the express or implied intention that an instruction shall be carried out by a particular lawyer. The effect of article 7:404 of the Dutch Civil Code, which regulates the latter case, and the effect of article 7:407 paragraph 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, which establishes a joint and several liability for cases in which two or more persons have been given an instruction, is excluded.
8. Any liability shall be limited to the amount paid by the professional liability insurance of the partnership in the case in question, increased by the amount of the deductible applicable under the insurance, which shall be borne by the partnership according to the policy conditions. If – for whatever reason – no payment should be made under such insurance, any liability shall be limited to the amount of the fee due and paid by the client or client to the partnership in respect of the engagement concerned. This limitation of liability shall not apply insofar as damage is the result of intent or wilful recklessness of the partnership and/or its – whether or not subordinate – managers.
9. When engaging third parties not belonging to its organisation, the Partnership shall exercise due care and shall (except in case of bailiff assistance) in so far as possible consult in advance with the instructing client or client when selecting such third parties. Any liability of the partnership for shortcomings of these third parties is excluded.
III. Method of invoicing
10.1 The hourly rates shall be indexed annually (as at 1 January) in accordance with the consumer price index figure all households of the CBS of December of the previous year. Hourly rates are rounded off to whole euros. In addition to the indexation referred to above, the hourly rates of interns and employees agreed upon on intake of a case are adjusted annually in accordance with Sjöcrona – van Stigt’s applicable hourly rate scales. The hourly rate scales will be sent upon request. If the agreed rate is revised in the interim other than as a result of the above-mentioned adjustments, the client will be informed in a timely manner.
10.2 In addition to the hourly rate, 5% office expenses will be charged in connection with, inter alia, telephone, fax and postage costs. Other costs will be charged separately.
10.3 In case of work to be performed urgently or at weekends, the agreed hourly rate may be increased by 50% – 100%.
10.4 Work will only be performed on the basis of an advance payment.
10.5 Hours worked and costs incurred shall be invoiced monthly. Invoices must be paid within 14 days of the invoice date unless otherwise agreed. In case of late and/or full payment of the invoices, the client or client shall be in default by operation of law and the partnership shall charge the client or client statutory interest and extrajudicial collection costs amounting to 15% of the principal sum due, with a minimum of € 50.00 excl. VAT, unless the client or client is a natural person not acting in the exercise of a profession or business. In that case, the rates will be charged in accordance with the Extrajudicial Collection Costs Decree (Stb-2012-141).
10.6 Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the advance shall not be set off against interim invoices during the work. Settlement will be made against the balance of the final invoice after completion of the work. Any remainder of the advance shall be returned.
10.7 If interim invoices are not paid on time, the advance may be set off and the lawyer working for the client will suspend his/her activities until a new advance has been paid.
10.8 An estimate of the amount of the final invoice will be discussed with the client as soon as the lawyer has sufficient information to do so.
10.9 If outstanding invoices are not paid even after several reminders, the partnership will transfer them to a collection agency. The associated interest and costs of the collection agency shall be at the expense of the client or client.
IV. Detained principals or clients
11.1 The partnership emphatically reminds detained principals or clients of the following.
11.2 In the matter for which you are detained, you are eligible for free legal aid. However, you have chosen not to avail yourself of that opportunity, so the present financial terms and conditions apply.
11.3 Also, if you were detained in the case for which you are assisted you might qualify for free legal aid. You have, however, opted not to use that possibility so that the current financial conditions shall apply.
V. Principal i/e clients who qualify for free legal aid
12.1 When your income is below the income and property standards set by the Dutch Minister of Justice in the scope of the Legal Aid Act you could be eligible for free legal aid. When you have opted not to use that possibility the current financial conditions shall apply to you too.
12.2 When one of the lawyers working for the partnership acts for you on the basis of an assignment by the Dutch Legal Aid Board (“Raad voor Rechtsbijstand”), the partnership will charge you by way of a retainer the “own contribution” (“eigen bijdrage”) possibly to be imposed on you by the Dutch Legal Aid Board. The current financial conditions shall apply to you as far as that invoice is concerned.
The Hague/Rotterdam, September 2012