Olislaegers & De Creus is a civil limited liability company established as a Belgian CVBA, registered in Brussels in the Crossroads Bank for Undertakings and with the Belgian VAT administration under the number BE0878.383.795 (herein: “Olislaegers & De Creus”).
1. For each assignment entrusted to and accepted by Olislaegers & De Creus, a letter of engagement will be sent to the client confirming the identity of the client and the charging rates. All engagements will be governed by these general terms of engagement, with the exclusion of any general or specific purchase terms of the client or third party payor (e.g. shared services center, insurer).
2. We are undertaking each engagement by establishing an attorney-client relationship with the legal entities so identified in our client engagement letter and neither with any other corporate entity (such as parent companies or subsidiaries), nor client of an instructing law firm in case such law firm is instructing us. We will apply the ethics rules relating to conflicts of interest only with respect to our client so identified in our engagement letter.
For certain matters, in particular corporate and property matters, mandatory European Union and Belgian law for the prevention of money laundering requires law firms to not only identify their clients but also the natural persons who are the ultimate shareholders or beneficiaries of the client. In order to comply with this mandatory legislation, you accept to provide us with any and all information which we are legally required asking our clients.
3. Our services are always deemed to be performed in the registered offices of our firm, where our invoices are payable.
4. Our fees are based on the time spent on the matter by the concerned person. In this respect, we apply hourly rates that reflect the seniority and experience of the involved lawyers and staff, as well as the urgency and complexity of the matter. Our hourly rates are reviewed annually and may be revised, typically as from 1 January, based on that review. If rates are adjusted, the new rates will be reflected in the first invoice following the date of the change. The applicable charging rates are set out in our engagement letter and invoices concerning the assignment.
5. Out-of-pocket expenses (such as costs of translation, costs of a notary public or court bailiff, travel expenses, court fees, express courier deliveries, etc…) are charged separately at cost price to our firm.
6. Legal services by Belgian lawyers are subject to VAT. Belgian VAT will be added to our fees whenever required by Belgian VAT regulations.
As required by VAT regulations, our invoices mention the total time spent per applicable hourly rate. Services provided to legal entities are deemed to be provided for and in the interests of the professional purposes of that legal entity. The client must inform us if that is not so.
7. A breakdown of time spent and detailed description of the work carried out will be provided with our invoice. Those details are subject to legal privilege and professional secrecy and in principle made available to our client, or his insurance company, only.
8. Our fees are invoiced in euro and on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, depending on the amount due and status of the matter at the end of such period.
9. Invoices are payable in euro by wire transfer, within 21 days of issuance, to our bank account mentioned in the original fee note and net of bank charges. No protest with respect to a fee note will be accepted upon expiry of that period.
10. Amounts that remain unpaid as of maturity date will automatically and without notice generate a penalty interest set in accordance with Clause 5 of the Belgian Act of 2 August 2002 regarding the prevention of late payment in commercial transactions, as well as a lump sum indemnity (as provided for in that Act) of 10% of the amount that remained unpaid. We also reserve the right to stop providing services to a client or in a specific matter whenever an invoice addressed to that client or concerning that matter remains unpaid after its due date.
11. All our documents and communications in client matters are subject to legal privilege and professional secrecy imposed by Belgian and European mandatory law, as well as to confidentiality as regulated by the Brussels Bar Rules. We shall at all times respect client confidentiality and the confidentiality of any information or materials provided to us, subject only to restrictions which may be imposed by law or by professional ethics. We cannot be held liable should, despite all reasonable precautionary measures adopted by our IT services provider, third parties become aware of confidential information or materials in connection with you or your file.
12. Our liability and that of our partners, associates and staff is limited to the insurance cover provided by the generally applicable professional liability insurance organized by the Flemish Bar Association (‘Vlaamse Orde van Advocaten’) and applicable to each member of the Dutch language section of the Brussels Bar Association (‘NOAB’). In the event where a liability should arise which is not covered by our professional liability insurance, then that liability shall be limited to the higher of the following two amounts: (i) half of the total amount of legal fees paid by the client (or group of jointly instructing clients) to our firm over the calendar year concerned in the matter concerned; or (ii) € 25,000 per client (or group of jointly instructing clients) for all of the combined claims by that client or group of clients.
13. When we complete a particular matter or sub-matter, we will keep the essential records relating to our work for you for five years following the date of the last correspondence in that matter or sub-matter.
14. The relationship between the client, a third party payor and our firm is exclusively governed by Belgian law and the courts of Brussels have exclusive jurisdiction for any and all disputes that would arise in the context of the services provided, including the recovery of outstanding invoices. Litigation will be in the Dutch language only. We do neither accept the applicability of foreign law, nor the jurisdiction of foreign courts.