GENERAL TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR ADVOKATFIRMAET SVERDRUP DA
Advokatfirmaet Sverdrup DA (“Sverdrup”, “we” or “us”) will strive to promote the interests of the client in the best possible manner. The engagement will be carried out in accordance with our quality assurance routines and otherwise in accordance with the Regulations for Advocates and the Norwegian Bar Association’s guidelines regarding fees.
2 Initiation of the engagement
Before an engagement is initiated, we will evaluate whether or not there is any conflict of interest or other conditions that indicate that we cannot or should not take on the engagement. A similar evaluation will be made in the event that a new opposing party appears in an existing engagement.
In connection with the initiation of the engagement, an identity check and verification in accordance with the Money Laundering Act will be undertaken. The client is obliged to assist in this process.
3 Resources of the firm
At present, the following categories of staff in Sverdrup render services to clients:
– Senior Associates
4 Completion of the engagement
We will appoint one responsible attorney to be in charge of each separate engagement, and under whose responsibility the engagement will be carried out. The responsible attorney will employ such personnel on the engagement as he/she considers appropriate in light of the client’s requests, the nature and scope of the engagement, time constraints and available resources.
In order for Sverdrup to promote the interests of the client in the best possible fashion, it is necessary for the client to provide us with full and prompt disclosure of information about the facts of the case and about the results that the client desires to achieve in the case.
5 Calculation of fees, invoicing and payment
Unless otherwise is agreed in the specific case, our fees are calculated based on the time spent on the engagement. The minimum unit of time is 0.25 hour (15 minutes). Time spent and expenses are invoiced normally on a monthly basis. Expenses are invoiced at cost. For expenses of a certain size, the client may be requested to make an advance payment.
Our fees are exclusive of value added tax (VAT). To the extent required by law, VAT will be charged in addition to our fees and the expenses incurred by us. If VAT has not been added to our invoices and the authorities subsequently require us to pay VAT, we are entitled to charge the client for the amount of such VAT payable by us.
Payment of invoices is due 10 days from the date of the invoice. In case of late payment, interest at the prevailing rate under the Norwegian Act relating to Interest on Overdue Payments will be charged.
6 Insurance or other third party coverage
The client is responsible for checking whether it is entitled to insurance or other third party coverage or reimbursement in relation to the engagement, including coverage of our fees and expenses, and for giving all notices and taking all actions which may be required in order to benefit from such coverage or reimbursement.
7 The client’s own circumstances
The better the clarification of the case and the better the case is prepared on the client’s side, the more effective our services will be. This will be of significance to the size of the fee.
All contact with and by the opposing party should go through us, and the client must inform us immediately in the event of direct contact from the opposing party or the opposing party’s legal representative.
The client will receive copies of all correspondence concerning the case that originates from or is sent to our office. These should be stored safely, as subsequent copying will entail costs for which the client will be invoiced.
8 Responsibility for outcome and expenses in legal proceedings etc
Even if we have stated our opinion as to what may be the outcome of an engagement involving proceedings before the courts or arbitration proceedings, this does not mean that we have any legal liability for achieving such outcome.
If a case is lost, the client may be at risk of being liable for the opposing party’s costs and the court or arbitration fees and costs. The client is solely liable for paying such amounts.
If a case is won and the other party is ordered to pay the client’s costs, the court’s or tribunal’s assessment could be lower than the fees and expenses charged by us. The client is nevertheless responsible for paying our fees and expenses in full.
9 Duty of professional secrecy/the Personal Data Act
Lawyers have a duty of confidentiality and professional secrecy concerning the information they learn in a case, with those exceptions stipulated by law (e.g. the Money Laundering Act). All staff in the firm have authorised access to such information and have signed written confidentiality agreements.
The client is entitled to an independent disciplinary committee assessment of whether an engagement has been performed in compliance with the Norwegian Code of Ethics for lawyers. The client may also lodge a complaint with respect to the fees charged. The quality of work provided is normally outside the scope of the disciplinary committee.
Complaints must normally be lodged within six months after the client became or should have become aware of the circumstances on which the complaint is based. In the first instance, the complaint will be handled by one of the seven regional disciplinary committees of the Norwegian Bar Association, with a right of appeal to the Disciplinary Council.
The Norwegian Code of Ethics for lawyers and further information about the complaint procedures can be found on the Norwegian Bar Association’s website at: www.jus.no.
11 Governing law, jurisdiction and dispute resolution
The engagement, the confirmation of the engagement and these terms of engagement shall be governed by Norwegian law.
Any dispute relating to the engagement, the confirmation of the engagement and these terms of engagement shall be governed by Norwegian law, with Oslo District Court as the exclusive legal venue.
12 Liability insurance – limitation of liability
Law firms are subject to requirements for mandatory guarantees and liability insurance in order to cover liability incurred in connection with the provision of legal services.
Our liability is limited to our liability insurance coverage at any given point of time. We shall not have any liability for any indirect or consequential loss.
13 Amendments to the terms of engagement
These Terms may be amended from time to time with one months’ prior notice for ongoing engagements.