The terms below have the following meaning in these general terms and conditions:
1. Alt Advocaten: a cost-sharing partnership whose members are E. Arslan, Ms E.C. Kaptein, B.D. Lit and Ms M. Terpstra, each of whom works for his or her own account and risk.
2. Attorney: the attorney (advocaat) who enters into the engagement agreement as referred to below.
3. Client: the commissioner of the legal services to be performed.
4. Agreement: engagement agreement.
5. Toevoeging: legal aid (rechtsbijstand) funded by the Dutch Legal Aid Board (Raad van Rechtsbijstand).
6. All engagements are entered into exclusively with the attorney, as contractor. Neither Alt Advocaten nor any of the attorneys in the cost-sharing partnership are bound by the agreement.
7. No engagement is entered into until confirmed to the client in writing by the attorney.
8. The operation of Sections 6:6(2), 7:404 and 7:407(2) of the Dutch Civil Code is expressly excluded. This also applies if the client expressly or tacitly enters into the engagement with a view to it being performed by a specific person.
9. These general terms and conditions also apply to supplementary and follow-up engagements. In that case, it will be presumed that the client is familiar with these general terms and conditions of Alt Advocaten.
10. These general terms and conditions apply not only with respect to the attorney but also to his or her substitute and all persons involved with an engagement and/or who has any responsibility related to it, including current or former employees of the firm and/or the attorney, including their heirs.
11. The client is liable to pay a fee to the attorney for the performance of the engagement. The attorney will agree the fee at the commencement of the engagement. The attorney may agree a basic hourly rate or a fixed fee for performing the entire engagement with the client. If a basic hourly rate is billed to the client, the fee will be calculated on the time worked, with a minimum of six minutes being applied per item of work. In addition, the attorney may bill the client for other costs such as charges/disbursements, court fees, bailiffs’ fees, translation fees and travelling expenses.
12. The attorney may ask the client for an advance on the fee. The advance will be deducted from the amount due in the final fee note.
13. The attorney will confirm the fee arrangements to the client in writing. The basic hourly fee may be indexed annually. The client will be notified of this in writing.
Legal aid funding
14. At the commencement of the engagement, the attorney will assess with the client if the client is eligible for legal aid funded by the government. If the client is eligible, the attorney will apply for legal aid funding, also known as a toevoeging, from the Legal Aid Board.
15. If the Legal Aid Board grants the client a toevoeging, the attorney will charge the client the personal contribution set by the Legal Aid Board and the client will not owe the attorney a fee. In addition to the personal contribution, the attorney may charge the client for court fees, translation fees and other expenses not reimbursed by the Legal Aid Board or others.
16. The attorney will at the conclusion of the work apply for reimbursement from the Legal Aid Board. The Legal Aid Board will use the financial result of the case to assess whether the client is in a position to pay the legal costs. Depending on the result, the Legal Aid Board may withdraw the toevoeging retroactively. If the toevoeging is definitively withdrawn, the client will be billed retroactively for the fee and any other costs, in accordance with articles 11 and 13.
17. Even if the client is eligible, the attorney may decide in consultation with the client not to apply for a toevoeging for the client and to perform the engagement on the basis of an hourly rate or fixed fee. The attorney will always confirm this to the client in writing.
18. The attorney’s fee notes must be paid within 14 days of the billing date.
19. In the event of late payment, the client is in default by operation of law and liable to pay statutory interest pursuant to Section 6:119 of the Dutch Civil Code. The attorney is entitled to charge statutory interest to the client.
20. If the client is in default, the attorney is entitled to suspend the work until all outstanding fee notes have been paid.
21. If the attorney is forced to institute collection measures against a client in default, the costs associated with the collection, with a minimum of 15% of the outstanding balance will be borne by the client.
22. Stichting Beheer Derdengelden Alt Advocaten is registered under number 34210003 in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.
23. Monies held by the attorney on behalf of the client will be placed on the bank account of Stichting Beheer Derdengelden Alt Advocaten, registered in Amsterdam.
24. No interest or other compensation will be paid to the client on clients’ monies held to offset the administrative and management expenses for clients’ monies and the client account made available for this.
25. Alt Advocaten has taken out professional liability insurance that meets the requirements of the Dutch Bar Association (Orde van Advocaten) for each of the attorneys.
26. The attorney’s liability is limited to the amount that can be claimed under the attorney’s professional liability insurance plus the policy excess as stated in the terms of the attorney’s professional liability insurance policy.
27. If and to the extent that no payment is made under the professional liability insurance for any reason, the attorney’s liability shall be limited to the fee charged with a maximum of €50,000.
28. Any claim against the attorney lapses after the passage of one year from the date on which the person to whom the claim relates was or could reasonably be deemed to have been aware of the facts on which the claim is based.
29. The attorney is entitled in certain circumstances to have engagements granted to him or her performed under his or her responsibility by a third party, such as a financial adviser, accountant, bailiff, courier etc. The attorney’s liability for any failure by that third party is excluded.
- The attorney will exercise due care when engaging a third party. The attorney will not, however, be liable for any failure by that third party. The client indemnifies the attorney against all claims by third parties that are related in any way to or which arise from the work performed for the client.
Information provided by the client
31. The client will provide the attorney with all the information and documents required for the performance of the engagement in good time and in the form and manner required.
32. If the client does not provide the necessary information in good time and in the form and manner required, all damage arising from the resultant delay, such as additional fees, will be for the client’s account and risk.
33. The client guarantees the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided to the attorney.
34. After concluding the engagement, the attorney will, at the client’s request, return the information provided by the client. The client agrees that the attorney may keep photocopies of the returned documents in his or her file.
35. After conclusion, the attorney will retain the file for five years.
36. At the end of that retention period, the attorney may destroy the file without notifying the client.
37. Alt Advocaten has its own complaints procedure. A complaint must first be submitted in writing to the attorney concerned.
- Alt Advocaten is a member of the Complaints and Disputes Settlement Scheme for the Legal Profession (Klachten- en Geschillenregeling Advocatuur). This means that complaints about its service or fee level may be submitted to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur).
39. Complaints may also be submitted to the Dean of the Bar in the Amsterdam district (Deken van het arrondissement Amsterdam).
40. The laws of the Netherlands govern the legal relationship between the client and the attorney.
41. The court of Amsterdam has exclusive jurisdiction over any disputes that arise from the agreement between the client and the attorney.