1.1. Our personnel
1.1.1. Extensive assignments will often be evaluated and conducted by several persons as we always aim at allocating the optimal team for each individual assignment. The team members are assigned based on the extent and complexity of the assignment, the requirements for expert knowledge as well as the urgency of the assignment. For each assignment, we appoint a responsible member of our team with whom the Client can communicate during the entire course of the assignment. The person primarily responsible for the provision of our services to you has discretion to deploy those of our lawyers, consultants, paralegals or other staff that he considers necessary or desirable to ensure appropriate provision of our services.
1.2. Engaging third parties
1.2.1. There may be circumstances where it is appropriate for us to engage other legal or related professionals on your behalf, for example, patent attorneys, trade mark agents or foreign lawyers outside of our company. While we will exercise reasonable care in the choice, appointment and, where appropriate, supervision of third parties, we are not in any other way responsible for the work they undertake. You will be responsible for their fees and expenses on our instructions and we are entitled to recover from you the cost of expenses incurred by us on your behalf. We can request payment from you before settling the invoices from third parties.
2.1. Professional fees
2.1.1. Unless otherwise agreed, our fees are based principally on the time spent. In most cases, we will apply a general hourly fee for the scope of work regardless of the level of seniority. Our fees may also reflect the complexity, difficulty, value, urgency or importance of the matter and documentation involved, as well as the skill involved.
2.1.2. Our rates are listed in our schedule of fees and are reviewed annually, with effect from the first working day of each year. We inform our Clients about any new rates applicable to the matter, should it be the case.
2.1.3. All fees and expenses are exclusive of VAT, which will be charged where appropriate. If our services are outside the scope of the VAT regulations, we do not charge VAT.
2.1.4. Upon the Client’s request and within the possible extent, we submit in writing an estimate of our fee, which is based on our knowledge of the matter at the given time and which, consequently, is not a binding estimate. Together with the fee estimate, we can provide information on how the fee is calculated, the expected total fee and an estimate of any expected disbursements.
2.1.5. In case the total fee is expected to exceed the estimated fee communicated to the Client, we will inform the Client as soon as possible of that situation.
2.1.6. We maintain electronic time records on all Client matters and can at any time provide details of fees and expenses incurred to date, upon request.
2.2. Expenses and disbursements
2.2.1. In addition to our professional fees, the Client will reimburse us for any expense paid or incurred by us on his behalf.
2.2.2. The reimbursements mentioned above may include fees to other counsels, foreign lawyers or other professionals, notaries, court fees, patent and intellectual property office fees or other official fees, enforcement fees, translation fees, courier fees, travel expenses, photocopying and non-legal work undertaken or outsourced by us.
2.2.3. We may add disbursements for some cases entailing transfers of sums or translation costs or contacting postal services on an urgency basis.
2.3. Money on account and advance of fees
2.3.1. Clients may be asked for a payment on account before the work is begun, subjected to various expenses, such as court fees, charges or any other expense. This amount is not equivalent to an estimate of our fees. We may also ask for an advance payment while deducing our fees.
2.3.2. When funds paid on account have been exhausted, we may require payment of additional funds on account. We reserve the right to suspend our work if such funds are not provided as requested.
2.3.3. As part of the Client’s credit control procedures, we may agree credit limits with the Client in certain matters. If the credit limit is exceeded, we may decline to proceed with our work. However, the full amount of work done to that date will be charged.
2.4.1. Any obligation undertaken by us, in respect of the return of the funds advanced by the Client, will be satisfied by our return to the Client or to a third party, on the Client’s request, of such amount.
2.4.2. Additionally, we will not be responsible for any failure or delay in effecting any payments, if this results from:
a) the failure or malfunction of a payment system in any country; or
b) the imposition of any form of exchange controls or similar regulations in any country; or
c) any other matter or occurrence beyond our control which renders it unlawful or impracticable for the necessary Client money transfer to be made. In such an event, and subject to the matters noted above, we will instruct our bank to make the required payment available as soon as it becomes reasonably practicable to do so.
3.1. Payment terms
3.1.1. We invoice on a weekly or monthly basis. Any variations to this practice will be specified beforehand.
3.1.2. We reserve our right to terminate our work and / or cooperation if any interim invoice is not paid by the due date indicated thereon.
3.1.3. In case otherwise agreed with us, the payment terms are 30 days. In the event of non-payment within 30 days after the date indicated on the invoice, we reserve the right to charge interest on the outstanding amount of the invoice, to the maximum extent permitted by the law in force.
3.1.4. In case our services are provided by us together with one or more of our professional partners, we may issue a consolidated invoice, on which the fees are shown separately, or provide separate invoices from our professional partners.
3.2. Third party liability
3.2.1. Even if someone else has agreed to pay, or is responsible for paying, all or part of the Client’s legal costs, we are entitled to address the invoice directly to the Client and the Client will nevertheless remain liable for any such fees, costs and expenses.
4.1. There may be circumstances where it is appropriate for us to cooperate on specific cases with other professional partners. Before taking any further step in a case, we ask our professional partners to only send us a brief report with their estimate of costs before going ahead in the file.
4.2. We agree to pay the bills they provide us with on condition that they correspond exactly to the quotation previously accepted by us. It means that no extra fees not stated in their quote(s) (such as miscellaneous expenses, banking charges, VAT which is not due according to the law in force in their country) will not be accepted by us.