1.1. These Terms of Business apply to each contract for professional legal services with the firm of Cornelissen Advocaten ("the firm") in respect of which the firm has indicated that these Terms apply and unless provided otherwise, expressly and in writing, by the firm and its contractual partner ("the client").
1.2. These General Terms of Business also apply to any additional instructions and follow-up instructions conferred by the client.
1.3. The present Terms of Business also apply to all instructions conferred upon the firm for the fulfilment of which third parties have to be called upon.
Article 2 Contract for professional services
2.1. All instructions are deemed to have been exclusively conferred upon and accepted by the firm.
2.2. In addition to the customary tasks fulfilled by the firm, for specific instructions the firm may call upon other lawyers in order to carry out the instructions.
2.3. If it is necessary to call upon a bailiff or a translator in order to carry out the instructions, the client leaves the choice of judicial officer or translator to the firm's discretion.
2.4. The firm will only call upon other third parties, such as notaries, experts or accountants chosen in consultation with the client, with the client's consent.
Article 3 Information
3.1. The firm will inform the client promptly regarding the fulfilment of the client's instructions and the progress of the handling of the matter.
3.2. The client will provide the firm promptly with all useful information for the entire duration of the firm's appointment, at the firm's request or otherwise.
Article 4 Billing and payment
4.1. The client owes the firm a fee and a payment to cover the firm's expenses for the fulfilment of instructions.
4.2. The firm's expenses are the expenses that the firm has incurred on the client's behalf with regard to instructions conferred upon it by the client.
4.3. The expenses comprise, firstly, the fixed, general expenses for the firm's work and, secondly, the specific expenses attributable to a particular file for the provision of the services requested by the client.
4.4. The expenses may be estimated as a fixed charge or as a specific sum for each page of typed text or a specific percentage of the fee. Certain specific expenses may be charged at cost, such as transport expenses. A combination of a fixed charge and specific reimbursements is possible.
4.5. The court expenses and disbursements to third parties are the expenses that the firm has been required to advance to third parties, such as the bailiff, the court registry, translators and public bodies. These expenses are itemised and specified in the statement of fees and expenses.
4.6. The fee is itemised on the basis of the rates applied by the firm, according to the time spent and the nature of the activities undertaken and, if the fulfilment of the instructions extends over a period longer than one month, the fee may be billed on an interim basis.
4.7. The amount of the rates applied by the firm on the basis of which the expenses and the fee are determined is subject to review by the firm. From the date on which new rates apply, the new rate will also be billed for ongoing instructions as of that date. The firm will give the client adequate notice of the revised rates.
4.8. Both before the commencement of our appointment and while the matter is being handled, the firm may request one or more advance payments. An advance payment is the fixed sum that the client pays to the firm prior to a detailed statement of fees and expenses. The advance payments will be deducted from the total amount in the final statement of fees and expenses.
4.9. The client must settle the firm's advances, interim statements and final statement of fees and expenses within fourteen days of receipt of a request for payment, unless otherwise agreed in writing. If necessary in order for it to provide a good service, the firm may stipulate a short payment period, provided it gives reasons.
4.10. If the client does not agree with the requested advance or the final statement, he must object in writing, within fourteen days of receipt.
4.11. Following a written reminder to settle the outstanding statement of fees and expenses, and if no justified objection has been received, the client will owe interest on the outstanding amount in an amount equivalent to the applicable statutory (commercial) rate of interest, from the date of the payment reminder until the date on which full payment is made. Fixed compensation of 10% of the outstanding amounts will also be payable, subject to a minimum of EUR 125.00 and a maximum of EUR 2,500.00.
Article 5 Third-party monies
5.1. The firm forwards all amounts which it receives for the client as soon as possible. If the firm is unable to forward an amount immediately, it will notify the client of the receipt of the amount and inform the client of the reasons why the amount is not being forwarded.
5.2. The firm may deduct sums from the amounts it receives for the client's account in order to cover outstanding advances or statements of fees and expenses.
5.3. The firm immediately forwards to the third parties concerned all amounts it receives from the client for the account of third parties.
Article 6 Liability
6.1. The firm holds professional liability insurance. Insurance for a higher sum may be arranged for the specific handling of the client's file, subject to payment of an additional premium.
6.2 The client considers the firm's standard insurance to be satisfactory and accepts that compensation for damage suffered by the client as a consequence of a professional error by the firm will be limited to the amount for which the firm is insured. This limitation does not apply in the event of wilful intent or serious misconduct by the firm.
Article 7 Termination of the contract
7.1. The client may terminate the contract at any time by notifying the firm, in writing. The firm will present its final statement of fees and expenses to the client, having due regard for the services rendered up to the time of termination of the contract.
7.2. The firm may terminate the contract at any time by informing the client, in writing. When determining the time at which the firm ceases to provide its services, the firm will take account of the client's prospects of obtaining the timely and necessary assistance of another lawyer.
Article 8 Applicable law and disputes
8.1. The legal relationship between the firm and the client is governed by the laws of Belgium.
8.2. The courts of the jurisdiction in which the firm has its head office have sole competence to take cognisance of any disputes.