1. These general terms are in force for all law assignments that are undertaken or otherwise carried out by any of the firm’s lawyers or employees in connection with the assignment.
2. These general terms are referred to in the Letter of confirmation that is delivered to the client when the assignment is initiated, and shall be considered to be agreed upon by the client unless notice is given to the responsible attorney within a reasonable period of time that the terms are not acceptable.
3. Unless otherwise agreed upon, these terms shall be in force for any further assignments from the same client.
4. The goal and responsibility of this law firm is to promote the client’s interests in the best possible fashion, within the framework of this Agreement, the Law, the Regulations for Advocates, the Attorney’s Code of Conduct, the internal casework routines of this law firm, as well as other relevant regulations.
5. All lawyers and associate lawyers attached to the firm are certified to practice or authorized to conduct legal affairs in Norway by the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice. Each and every attorney and assistant attorney is a member of the Norwegian Bar Association, and is consequently subject to the Norwegian Bar Association’s special resolutions and agreements concerning obligatory continued education and processing of disciplinary actions.
2. INITIATION AND COMPLETION OF ASSIGNMENT
1. The description of the assignment is given in the Letter of confirmation, and may be supplemented by agreements made either orally or in written correspondence.
2. Each and every assignment shall be linked to a responsible attorney in the law firm, who will be able to provide assistance using other employees in the firm to complete the assignment.
3. As a main rule, with regards to the Money Laundering Act, there shall be a background check of the client, including verification of the client’s identity. The client is obliged to assist in this process. Please note that upon suspicion of the existence of transactions that are connected with the proceeds of criminal acts, etc., the law firm is obliged to report the matter to The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim), without informing the client or any third party about the matter.
4. Before an assignment can be initiated, there shall be an evaluation as to whether or not there is any conflict of interest or other conditions that might indicate that the law firm cannot or should not take on the assignment. The client is obliged to assist in the process. A similar evaluation shall be made in the event that a new Party enters the case. If it is in the best interest of the client and if there are no contradictions, the assignment can be initiated before the evaluation has been completed. In such a case, the law firm can decline the case at a later point in time if there are grounds for such an action.
5. In order for the law firm to promote the interests of the client in the best possible fashion, it is necessary for the client to provide the firm 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.
6. All communication to and from the opposite party shall be cleared and directed through the law firm. The law firm and the client shall keep each other oriented about communication that has taken place with the parties involved.
7. The firm reserves the right to terminate the assignment within reasonable notice if the invoiced amount has not been paid within 4 weeks after the due date. The firm has the right to keep all papers as long as the invoiced amount has been paid in full.
3. CALCULATION OF FEES AND INVOICING
1. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the basis for invoicing for the assignment shall be the time spent on effective, professional work on the assignment. In the final determination of the fee, we will carry out an overall assessment, where we take into account the nature and complexity of the work, the outcome of the case, the values to which the assignment applies, and how effectively the assignment has been performed in view of the lawyer’s experience background and specialist expertise. Indicative hourly rate for both private and business clients (including all job categories in our firm: paralaws, associate lawyers, managing lawyers and partners) in the interval NOK 1,800 to 4200 excluding VAT (25 %). We regulate our general hourly rates as of 1 January each each year, however, the hourly rate for individual rate for individual employees may be adjusted during the year.
2. Hourly rates include all ordinary office services and general secretarial assistance. Extraordinary office assistance may be required to be covered in addition to the fee, for example extensive copying of documents. Secretarial work and para law work of an independent nature can be invoiced separately. The same applies to work performed by students.
3. Any expenses will be added. For travel and subsistence costs, reimbursement of the actual costs will be demanded or at the state's rates.
4. The minimum unit of time is 0.25 hour (15 minutes). Telephone conversations and such, which do not consist of very short messages, are calculated as a minimum of 0.25 hour.
5. The client is responsible for expenditures, any court fees, expenses due to expert witnesses and any other expenses that may result from the legal process. The client is also responsible for the opponent’s legal costs, if they are so fined. The legal costs are often, but not always, the responsibility of the losing Party. The legal fees demanded by the firm shall not be limited, in the event that the client is awarded less compensation for legal fees than the amount of legal fees owed to the law firm.
6. Legal limitations to the client’s right to demand compensation from the opposite Party for legal costs shall not limit the law firm’s demands for legal fees on the client. Such limitations shall be a matter for the Conciliation Board (forliksrådet) and the Small Claims Courts (småkravsprosess).
7. The client is responsible for investigating whether there is a right to insurance coverage or other third party coverage in the case, including coverage of our fees and expenses, and to provide necessary notices and carry out the steps that may be necessary to benefit from such coverage.
8. Invoicing normally takes place once per month and is due for payment, unless otherwise agreed, 14 days from the issue of the invoice. In the event of late payment, interest on overdue payment accrues in accordance with the provisions of the Interest on Overdue Payments Act. Overdue, unpaid invoices are routinely sent to the firm’s contract of services related to recovery of claims.
9. We reserve the right to demand payment in advance that will be used to settle our invoices in the case. The final fee can be both higher and lower than the amount paid in advance. The invoice must be accompanied by a specified overview of work performed, disbursements, etc. All costs and expenses that SBDL advances will be invoiced together with claims for fees. Re-invoicing of disbursements may result in VAT on the disbursement.
4. EXTERNAL COVERAGE OF FEES
1. According to the Law Concerning Free Legal Aid, there are some cases that have the right to the cost of legal assistance being covered by the state (free legal aid). There are some types of cases that always qualify for free legal aid, but there are other types where the client is required to have an income or capital that does not exceed those at any time applicable limits according to the Law Concerning Free Law Aid. In some instances, the County Governor can make an exception to these limitations. Further information about free legal aid can be obtained from the County Governor or from our office. The client is encouraged to bring up any questions concerning free legal aid coverage with the responsible attorney for a more concrete evaluation.
2. Any legal aid insurance, household contents insurance, travel insurance or other types of insurance held by the client can be used to cover the costs of legal assistance in certain types of cases, depending on the terms of the insurance agreement. The client has the duty of providing the law firm with the information necessary for evaluating the degree of coverage for the insurance agreement. The client is responsible for paying any deductible or difference between the fees demanded by the law firm and the amount covered by the insurance company.
1. Client funds are deposited in client accounts and disposed of in accordance with the rules in the Regulations on Attorneys. Interest accrues to the client in accordance with the Norwegian Bar Association's rules.
2. The firm’s receivables can be set off against client funds if the funds are not earmarked for specific purposes, unless otherwise agreed. Offsetting is carried out after written notice in this respect.
6. THE RESPONSIBLITIES OF THE LAW FIRM
1. The law firm is responsible according to the general rules for the professional responsibility of attorneys, and is legally bound to be covered by provision of security by surety, with no geographic limitations. The law firm’s surety bond agent is If, Post Box 240, 1326 Lysaker, org. no. 981 290 666. In addition, ordinary property damage insurance has been taken out with a limited sum insured for liability. An agreement on property damage insurance has been entered into with Gjensidige, Storgata 150, 2390 Moelv, org.nr. NO-995 568 217. The liability of the law firm, its partners and employees is limited in nature and scope to the amount that SBDL’s insurance covers at any given time.
2. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the assignment does not cover legal counselling in connection with cases that deal with legal matters concerning tax, social security, insurance, pension.
3. The law firm shall not be held liable for indirect losses, including loss of profits.
4. The law firm shall not be held liable for faults committed by counsellors that the client has been referred to by the firm, or for the work of sub-contractors who have been entrusted by the law firm to complete parts of the assignment after agreement with the client.
5. The law firm shall not be held liable for any loss that may result in the event that the actual outcome of the case is not in accordance with the outcome that was expected based on the law firm’s evaluation of the case.
6. The law firm shall not be held liable for any loss of the client’s managed funds as a result of bankruptcy or other conditions on the part of the bank. Please note that the banks’ security fund does not provide a guarantee for more than two million NOK in deposits per depositor (law firm) per bank. A special agreement is required before the law firm will put effort to increase the degree of guarantee coverage for a client’s funds.
7. HANDLING OF INFORMATION
1. The attorneys in the law firm are legally forbidden to divulge entrusted secrets. In addition, the attorneys have the duty of treating any other information beyond that as confidential. In certain legally specified instances, there are exceptions to the Duty of Confidentiality (taushets- og fortrolighetsplikten), for instance the Act on Money Laundering section 18.
2. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the attorneys of the law firm are permitted to share information with other employees in the firm as long as it is necessary. The other employees in the firm have the same Duty of Confidentiality as the attorneys.
3. At the end of the assignment, any original documents received from the client in connection with the case are returned to the client or shredded by further agreement.
4. The law firm is required to store certain documents and information after the end of the assignment. Such a duty of custody follows, among other things, from the Accounting Act section 13 and the Money Laundering Act section22. The law firm stores case documents electronically or as a hard copy for 10 years after the end of the assignment. After this, the case documents and personal information are deleted or shredded. The client may pay to have copies made.
5. To the degree that it is necessary for the completion of the assignment, the law firm will handle personal data, including sensitive personal information if deemed necessary, shall be handled by the law firm in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Personopplysningsloven) and other regulated. The information will only be communicated to other parties, such as the opposite party, the Court and public bodies, to the degree that is in accordance with the fulfilment of the assignment. The client has the right to disclosure of information concerning the information being handled, along with the right to demand correction of faulty information. In accordance with the Personal Data Act, the Board for the law firm is responsible for the handling of information. In the event of any questions concerning the handling of personal information, the responsible attorney can be contacted. For further information about SBDL's processing of personal data and the data subject's rights, see SBDL's privacy statement.
6. Please note that electronic data communication (e-mail, fax, etc.) generally suffer from weaknesses that, under certain circumstances, can lead to unauthorized people gaining access to the communication. To the degree that confidentiality becomes necessary, it is possible to use certain security measures (incl. encryption and censorship) to hinder unauthorized access to such communication. As part of the assessment of whether confidentiality is necessary, emphasis will be placed on the client's sending unsecured electronic information to law firm. The law firm and the client are obliged to use commercially sound routines to check the most commonly known viruses at the time before information is sent electronically.
1. In the event that the client is dissatisfied with the execution of the assignment or with the calculation of fees, the client is encouraged to immediately take up the matter with the responsible attorney or the manager. The law firm shall immediately evaluate the conditions of the complaint.
2. The Norwegian Bar Association’s Disciplinary Commission (disiplinærutvalg) handles complaints concerning attorney practice that may be in conflict with the Regulations for Advocates (Advokatforskriften) or concerning attorneys demanding exorbitant fees. As a rule, the complaint must be registered within six (6) months after the client becomes aware, or should have become aware, about the basis for the complaint. The Disciplinary Commission has jurisdiction for giving criticism, for reprimanding and warning the attorney, and for reducing the demand for fees levelled on the client. The decision of the Disciplinary Commission can be appealed to the Disciplinary Council (Disiplinærnemnden). For more information, contact the Secretary of the Norwegian Bar Association.
9. GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION
1. Conflicts in conjunction with the assignment agreement shall be decided according to Norwegian law.
2. The city court of Oslo is the exclusively agreed legal venue.
10. REVISIONS IN THE TERMS OF THE ASSIGNMENT
1. The general terms for the assignment are normally revised one time annually, or if the need arises otherwise.
2. Changes that are detrimental to the client, that are not necessary according to legal regulations, shall first become binding after one (1) month’s written notice.