General Terms and Conditions

Cazimir makes every effort to provide an optimal service to its clients. Smooth interaction and cooperation between lawyer and client is very important, as the lawyer’s services are adapted to the needs of the client on the basis of the actual situation.

1. General information

Cazimir is a cooperative limited liability company with its registered office at 1831 Diegem, Berkenlaan 8A bus 4; it is registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE) in Brussels under number 0819.828.459. Cazimir has four business units, in Diegem (CBE 2.182.601.948), Kortrijk (CBE 2.182.602.443), Ghent (CBE 2.299.306.806) and Antwerp (CBE 2.215.915.015).

2. Applicability

These general terms and conditions apply to all services provided by the lawyers working at Cazimir to its clients. The contractual relationship exists between the client and Cazimir, even if the client only has contact with one or more specific lawyers working at Cazimir.

In the event of a conflict, these general terms and conditions will prevail over terms and conditions of the client, unless otherwise agreed in writing by one of the directors of Cazimir. Any agreement that deviates from one or more clauses of these general terms and conditions will only replace the clause or clauses from which it deviates. Other clauses shall remain fully in force and applicable.

3. Agreement

The lawyers working for Cazimir provide their services in the name and on behalf of Cazimir, unless they have explicitly indicated that they are handling a particular case on a private basis.

Cazimir is the client’s sole contractual counterparty for any services provided by its partners, lawyers, interns and appointees. However, if a lawyer attached to Cazimir handles a case on a private basis, the lawyer concerned is the client’s sole contractual counterparty.

The agreement between Cazimir and the client takes effect when Cazimir commences its services.

4. Object of service provision

The services provided by Cazimir may include legal advice, assistance with mediation, assistance with negotiations, representation in proceedings, assistance with expert investigations and acting as an agent.

The parties will clearly communicate the scope of Cazimir’s services at the commencement of activities and, if necessary, during their ongoing implementation.

The undertaking given by Cazimir is an undertaking to exercise due care, skill and diligence, not an undertaking as to the results to be achieved.

5. Internal task allocation

Unless the client expressly objects, Cazimir is at liberty to its internal allocation of cases or particular aspects thereof among its lawyers. To the maximum extent possible, this internal allocation will take place in accordance with the lawyer’s expertise, preferred working areas and/or the client’s wishes. Where necessary, work will be done on a team basis. The dominus litis will retain oversight of the case at all times.

6. Information

The client will promptly provide Cazimir, both at the start of the engagement and during its term, and where applicable at Cazimir’s request, with all information required for the optimal performance of its services. Cazimir will not be liable for any damage resulting from the provision by the client of incorrect or incomplete information.

In the event that the client, after being requested to do so by Cazimir, fails to provide information or to fulfil certain formalities within the specified time period, Cazimir reserves the right to suspend its work on the case and to invoice the client for services already provided.

Conducting legal proceedings entails certain costs, including legal costs as well as the lawyer’s fees. In principle, (in civil cases) the unsuccessful party must pay legal and other costs.

These costs usually include the summons costs and a procedural cost indemnity, i.e. a fixed contribution towards the costs and fees of the unsuccessful party’s lawyer. The amount of this procedural cost indemnity is determined according to certain rules and (periodically index-adjusted) charge scales. For other proceedings such as criminal or administrative proceedings, specific rules apply which may effect the final costs.

7. Use of third parties’ services

If the provision of the services necessitates the use of a judicial officer or a translator, the client will leave the choice thereof to Cazimir. The same applies to the performance of simple tasks by a local lawyer such as submitting a procedural document or appearing at an introductory or other hearing.

If the provision of the services necessitates the use of other third parties such as lawyers (including foreign lawyers), notaries, accountants, auditors or experts, these will be chosen in consultation with the client. Notwithstanding such consultation, Cazimir is in the performance of its assignment always mandated by the client as an agent to instruct such service providers in the name and on behalf of the client; in such circumstances the service provider’s invoice will be issued in the client’s name and must be paid by the client directly to the service provider concerned.

8. Remuneration

§1. Cazimir will periodically charge the client for its activities, administration costs and advance costs by means of a statement of fees and costs. Details of the work done and the costs will be sent to the client on request.

§2. Unless otherwise agreed, work done under the heading ‘fees’ will be charged on the basis of a fixed amount determined by Cazimir, the calculation of which will above all take account of, in addition to the nature, complexity, demands and urgency of the case, the time spent and the basic hourly rate of the lawyers who perform the work concerned.

Cazimir will likewise determine the basic hourly rate according to the nature, demands and degree of difficulty of the case, the lawyer’s experience in the relevant legal area and the urgency of the assignment.

The basic hourly rates will be index-adjusted annually and may also be modified at any time, on an individual basis per lawyer. The client may request the latest basic hourly rates from Cazimir at any time.

Notwithstanding the charging of fees, administration and office costs, including costs for opening a case or subsidiary file in a case, typing costs, printing and photocopying costs, postage costs, telephone costs, etc. will be charged under the heading ‘administration costs’ as a fixed 8% of the fees charged.

Cazimir and the client may agree – for instance in respect of uncontested or simpler cases – on other formulas for calculating fees and administration costs. Such formulas may include:

    • o charging a fixed sum per case or per case per instance;
    • o the charging of interest, compensation and/or the procedural cost indemnity only per case (regardless of whether these amounts can actually be recovered by the client)..

The costs that Cazimir has advanced to third parties, such as court registries, mortgage offices, registration offices, official or unofficial databases, third-party lawyers, judicial officers, notaries, translators, accountants, auditors, experts and government bodies in Belgium or abroad, will be charged separately under costs on the basis of the actual costs incurred (plus VAT if applicable).

§3. The costs that Cazimir has advanced to third parties, such as court registries, mortgage offices, registration offices, official or unofficial databases, third-party lawyers, judicial officers, notaries, translators, accountants, auditors, experts and government bodies in Belgium or abroad, will be charged separately under costs on the basis of the actual costs incurred (plus VAT if applicable).

EA provision is a fixed amount that the client pays to Cazimir prior to an interim or final statement. This provision may relate to services already delivered or costs advanced, or may be an advance on services to be delivered or costs to be incurred, or a combination of the two. In the interim or final statement, the provisions will be deducted from the total.

§4. The entry of a statement of fees and costs in Cazimir’s accounts serves as proof of sending and receipt by the addressee.

§5. If the client does not agree with a statement of fees and costs, it must state its objections in writing within fourteen (14) days after the date of the statement; should it fail to do so its objections will be inadmissible.

§6. Unless otherwise agreed, all fee statements are payable to Cazimir’s registered office, without discount, within fifteen (15) days of the invoice date.

If a statement of fees and costs is not paid by the due date indicated thereon, Cazimir has the right to charge the client, without prior notice of default, (a) late-payment interest at a rate of 10% per annum from the statement date until the date of full payment, and (b)fixed compensation of 10% of the outstanding amount, without prejudice to the right to legal costs (including the applicable procedural cost indemnity), if judicial recovery is necessary.

In these circumstances, Cazimir also has the right either to suspend the performance of its activities in all cases on which it is working for the client concerned until all outstanding invoices have been paid in full, or to terminate all work with the client with immediate effect.

Cazimir is not liable for any damage resulting from the suspension of its activities or the termination of its agreement with the client.

§7. If Cazimir represents the interests of multiple clients in a case, all these clients are jointly and severally obliged to pay the statements of fees and costs relating to the case (plus the additional items mentioned in §6 and all recovery costs, where applicable), regardless of the client in whose name Cazimir has drawn up its statements of fees and costs.

9. Third-party funds

§1. Cazimir will transfer to the client as soon as possible all amounts it receives on behalf of its client. If Cazimir is unable to transfer an amount immediately, it will notify the client that it has received the amount and state the reason why the money has not been transferred.

§2. Cazimir may withhold and/or set off any sums that the client owes to Cazimir from the amounts Cazimir received on behalf of the client. It will inform the client of this.

§3. Cazimir will immediately transfer all amounts it received from the client for third parties to these third parties.

10. Complaints

If a client has a complaint about our firm or is dissatisfied with the handling of its case, it should preferably first discuss this with the lawyer in charge of the case.

If this consultation does not lead to a satisfactory solution for the client, the client may contact Wim Vermeulen (wim.vermeulen@cazimir.be), Nathalie Labeeuw (nathalie.labeeuw@cazimir.be), Olivier De Keukelaere (olivier.dekeukelaere@cazimir.be) or Tim Melis (tim.melis@cazimir.be), who will investigate the complaint and, where possible, mediate to find a solution.

11. Aansprakelijkheid

§1. All Cazimir’s lawyers and Cazimir itself are registered with the Dutch-Language Section of the Brussels Bar, the Bar Association at the Kortrijk Bar, the Bar Association at the Ghent Bar, or the Bar Association at the Antwerp Bar, and are insured for professional liability with Amlin Europe nv. The professional liability of Cazimir and of the lawyers employed by Cazimir is limited under this policy to €1,250,000.00 per claim.

§2. The client acknowledges and agrees that the aforementioned insurance held by Cazimir and its lawyers to be sufficient and accepts that compensation for any damage suffered as a result of a professional misconduct (including serious misconduct and gross negligence) on the part of Cazimir and/or its lawyers and/or appointee shall be limited to the amount for which Cazimir and its lawyers are covered and insured under the aforementioned policy.

§3.If the professional liability insurer does not cover the damage or loss suffered by the client, the total contractual and extra-contractual liability of Cazimir, its lawyers and appointees (principal, costs and interest) shall be limited to the amount excluding VAT that was charged in the case in which the liability claim is upheld, and in the absence of such a case to a maximum of €7,500 per claim. However, if the lack of cover is the result of an error on the part of Cazimir or its lawyers or appointees, total liability is limited to four (4) times the aforementioned amounts.

§4. Cazimir and its lawyers may not under any circumstances be held liable for indirect damage, consequential damage, loss of use or loss of profit suffered by the client or any third parties.

§5. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Cazimir and its lawyers shall not be liable for any acts or omissions of third parties involved in the performance of their services, if they were engaged in the name and on behalf of the client.

In such circumstances, Cazimir therefore may not be held jointly or severally liable with such a third party to pay any compensation to the client.

§6. Although Cazimir makes reasonable efforts to keep its emails and attachments free from viruses or other defects that can affect computers or an IT system, it remains the responsibility of the client to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect its own computers and IT system against such viruses or defects. Cazimir accepts no liability for any loss or damage resulting from the receipt or use of electronic communication originating from Cazimir.

12. Intellectual property rights

The client is not permitted to reproduce, disclose, publish or use, whether by itself or with the assistance of any third parties, the advice, memorandums, contracts, presentations or other documents or any other intellectual output produced by Cazimir in any form, without Cazimir’s prior written consent, other than in the context of the assignment for which it has instructed Cazimir.

13. Termination

§1. Both the client and Cazimir have the right to terminate the engagement at any time with immediate effect and without cause.

In the event of such termination, the client is obliged to pay all fees and costs up to the date of termination of the agreement. Cazimir will draw up a final statement of fees and costs and send it to the client.

As far as is legally and ethically permitted, Cazimir may exercise its right of retention before transferring its case file to the client.

§2. Cazimir is not liable for any damage or loss resulting from the termination of its agreement with the client.

14. Archiving

Cazimir archives the case file after the end of each assignment and keeps it for a period of five (5) years. Original documents can be returned to the client and should where applicable be archived by the client. After the aforementioned period of five years, Cazimir has the right to destroy the case file.

15. Modification

Cazimir reserves the right to modify these general terms and conditions at any time with or without notice to the client.

16. Applicable law and competent court

§1. All agreements between Cazimir and the client shall be governed by the Belgian law.

All lawyers at Cazimir are subject to (a) the regulations of the Flemish Bar Association and the (not yet repealed) regulations of the former National Bar Association, which can be consulted at www.advocaat.be and (b) the regulations of the Dutch-Language Section of the Brussels Bar, which can be consulted at www.baliebrussel.be, or the regulations of the Kortrijk Bar Association, which can be consulted at www.baliekortrijk.be, or the regulations of the Ghent Bar Association, which can be consulted at www.balie-gent.be, or the regulations of the Antwerp Bar Association, which can be consulted at www.balieantwerpen.be, depending on the bar at which the lawyer concerned is registered (supra, Article 1)

§2. The parties will preferably settle their disputes amicably.

§3. For fee disputes, depending on which Cazimir business unit is concerned (Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent or Kortrijk), an extrajudicial dispute settlement scheme exists through:

    • the Dutch-Language Section of the Brussels Bar: the website www.baliebrussel.be > what can a lawyer do for you? > what if I disagree with my lawyer?

The following bar council president is competent in disciplinary matters, depending on the bar at which the lawyer concerned is registered:

    • the Dutch-Language Section of the Brussels Bar: President of the Brussels Bar, Gerechtsgebouw, Poelaertplein, 1000 Brussels
    • the Antwerp Bar Association: President of the Antwerp Bar, Gerechtsgebouw, Bolivarplaats 20/15, 2000 Antwerp.
    • the Kortrijk Bar: President of the Kortrijk Bar, Gerechtsgebouw, Burgemeester Nolfstraat 10A, 8500 Kortrijk.
    • the Ghent Bar: President of the Ghent Bar, Gerechtsgebouw, Opgeëistenlaan 401/P - 9000 Ghent

§4. The courts of Brussels shall have exclusive jurisdiction in respect of any dispute between Cazimir and the client.

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