General terms and conditions

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Legal information

The provisions of the General Terms and Conditions apply to each service which LEGAL OFFICE BV – Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten provides to its clients.

LEGAL OFFICE BV (Private limited liability company under Belgian law) has its registered office in 2600 Antwerp-Berchem, Potvlietlaan 4.

T +32 3 448 49 92
F +32 3 448 49 95

I www.legaloffice.be
E info@legaloffice.be for all administrative matters relating to your case/file
E boekhouding@legaloffice.be for all accountancy matters

Our (branch) office is located in 1030 Brussels, 80 Bd A. Reyerslaan.

LEGAL OFFICE B.V. is registered in the L.P.R. (Legal Persons Register) of Antwerp (Antwerpen) under C.B.E. (Crossroads Bank for Enterprises) No. 0526.822.539 and VAT No. BE 0526.822.539.

LEGAL OFFICE is the trading name of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is an association of Belgian lawyers.

Unless indicated otherwise, all our lawyers are registered at the Antwerp (Antwerpen) Bar.

The lawyers employed at Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten perform their services on behalf of and for the account of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is the sole contract party of the client for any service performed by its senior partners, Lawyer Of Counsel, partners, senior associates, associates, third year lawyers, second year lawyers and first year lawyers.

Application of the general terms and conditions

The General Terms and Conditions are applicable to each service which Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten provides to the client, and, therefore, form the whole contractual context of the relationship between Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten and the client. 

These General Terms and Conditions, as a framework agreement, are applicable not only to the initial assignment given by the client to Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten, but to all subsequent assignments, except where different written agreements are made for a specific assignment. 

Arrangements which deviate from one or more clauses of these General Terms and Conditions shall only replace the clause or clauses from which they deviate. The other clauses shall remain applicable in full. 

These General Terms and Conditions apply to the exclusion of any General Terms and Conditions of the client (where this is a legal person). 

Services 

The services of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten may relate, amongst others, to the provision of advice, meetings, negotiations, representation in court, assistance with legal proceedings, acting as agent, etc. The parties shall specify the precise subject of the services of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten at the start of the activities, and, if necessary, the subject of the services may be adapted or extended during performance. Adaptation or extension of the services may occur informally, and shall be apparent from, amongst others, the placing of orders, the acceptance of work, or the payment of invoices.

The service of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten also relates to mediation, reconciliation and other forms of amicable settlements, which can lead to a time- and cost-effective outcome in any dispute. The client acknowledges being informed about these possibilities.

The client accepts that Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten has the right to call upon third parties (other lawyers, judicial officers, translators, notaries, experts, accountants etc.) for the performance of its activities on behalf of and for the account of the client. The client shall allow Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten to choose these third parties. However, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall only call upon other third parties with the explicit consent of the client. 

All advice provided by Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten, is exclusively for the use of the client, and is only provided in the context of the case/matter for which it is given. The advice of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten may not be used by third parties. Nor may third parties invoke it. The client agrees that he shall not divulge the advice of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten to third parties without advance written consent (except, if necessary, to other professional advisors of the client, in respect of which Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall have no obligation or liability). The contractual obligations of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten only apply in respect of the client, and do not extend to third parties, unless Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten explicitly accepts this responsibility in writing.

The client shall indemnify Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten and the persons linked to it against all claims of third parties in any way linked to or arising from the client’s assignment and/or the work performed for the client. Compensation shall include defence costs.

It is forbidden for the client to record discussions with the lawyer, irrespective of the medium used. Each breach of this shall give Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten the right to lodge a complaint with the competent court.

Payment 

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten applies complete transparency regarding fees and costs. The fee covers the work of the lawyer such as the provision of advice, meetings, correspondence, negotiations, telephone discussions, research, preparation of documents, representation in court, time spent travelling, etc. If specific knowledge of the firm, or models or strategies developed by the firm are used, a charge will be applied for this under fees.

Unless agreed otherwise in writing, for our work we charge a specific hourly rate that is determined according to the experience and knowledge of our lawyers.

The value of a file/case is determined according to the normal claim of the client, and the normal counter claim of the opposing party(ies).

Specific case/file costs such as those for court registries, mortgage registry offices, registration offices, enterprise agencies, work performed by third parties, court costs, judicial officers, experts, translators, parking costs, additional premiums for a professional liability insurance policy when the client’s interests require additional cover, are separately invoiced to the client at cost price.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Lawyers rents a Cloud based virtual dataroom software to share documents in a safe and secure way. For the use of this dataroom in one or more of your files, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven charges a price of 750 euros excluding VAT for files in grade 2 or grade 3. For files of grade 1 a fee of 250 euro excluding VAT is charged. For an efficient management of some of your files, the lawyers will recommend the use of this software and the cost price will be charged to the client.

The office expenses will be charged without prejudice at the rates mentioned below:

  • Opening of file (digital start-up of file + administration cost) at 100€ per file
  • Copy costs (Black/white at 0,20€ and colour at 0,80€ per page)
  • Kilometre fee at 0,60€ per kilometre
  • Shipping costs at actual cost (registered mail, stamps,...)
  • Secretarial costs (drafting of correspondence, conclusions, contracts, notes, petition, writ of summons, etc.) at 13€ per page
  • Flat fee for sending an e-mail at 5 euro per e-mail

All sums are excluding VAT and any tax, supplement or similar increase which the client, payer or Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is obliged to pay or which Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is obliged to charge based on applicable regulations.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten will keep a timesheet and record all accountable time units. A time unit is 5 minutes, with each commenced time unit being charged as a full time unit. These time units are then multiplied by the applicable hourly rate, in order to get a correct rate.

Before starting work, and during its work, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall request an advance, by means of an invoice for advance or provision. An advance or provision is a fixed sum that the client must pay to Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten prior to an interim invoice or final invoice. Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall deduct all advances paid from the final invoice.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall adapt the aforesaid fee to the Consumer Price Index. The initial index shall be the index figure of the month preceding that in which the Authority to Act is signed, and the new index shall be that of the month preceding the anniversary of the agreement coming into force.

Before commencement of the file/case, the client must provide Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten details of the legal assistance insurance company with which he works. If the client’s legal assistance insurance company intervenes, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall seek payment of any fees and costs not covered by the legal assistance insurance company from the client.

Where Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten acts on behalf of several persons or legal persons linked to each other, these persons or legal persons shall be jointly and indivisibly obliged to pay everything which they or one of them owe(s) to Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten. This respective person or legal person shall only cease to be bound in respect of work performed for the other persons or legal persons from termination of the cooperation with one of the persons or legal persons. The respective person or legal person shall remain jointly bound for all work performed up to the time of termination of the cooperation.

The client must pay invoices within 8 calendar days of the date of the payment request. if the client does not agree with the invoice he must protest it in writing within 8 calendar days of receipt. A detail of the work performed is available directly on request.

If the client fails to pay the invoice (invoice of advance, interim invoice or final invoice) on time, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten may lawfully, from the due date, claim a fixed sum of compensation amounting to 10.00% of the outstanding balance to be uplifted by interest corresponding to the legal interest rate plus 8.00%, without being obliged to notify the client of the default in advance.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten has the right, without being obliged to notify the client of the default in advance, either to suspend all further work on the file/case until all outstanding sums have been paid in full, or to terminate the agreement with the client with immediate effect, unless this occurs untimely due to the interests of the client, or for the protection and promotion of the interests of the client. 

The client acknowledges having been informed of the Belgian Act of 21 April 2007 concerning the recoverability of fees and costs linked to the assistance of a lawyer (see list of costs of proceedings). The lawyer may use the procedural cost indemnity to settle his fees and costs.


Third-party monies

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten pays all sums which it receives for the client as quickly as possible to the client. From the sums which it receives for the client, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten may deduct sums to cover provisions, costs or fees, even if these are not yet due. Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall notify the client of this in writing. This provision does not affect the right of the client to dispute invoices for fees and to claim payment of these deducted sums.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten pays all sums which it receives from the client for third parties immediately to these third parties.

Liability

All lawyers employed at Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten have an individual professional liability and insolvency insurance with AMLIN EUROPE N.V. (Public Limited Liability Company under Belgian Law) via an insurance policy subscribed to by the Flemish Bar Council. The amount paid out by the insurance company, subject to specific clauses of the insurance policy subscribed to, is a maximum of 2,500,000.00€ per event of damage.

In addition, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten has taken out a supplementary, secondary, professional liability insurance policy for lawyers with the insurance company AG INSURANCE N.V. (Public Limited Liability Company under Belgian Law). The cover of this is 5,000,000.00€ per insurance year, as a supplement to and following exhaustion of the 2,500,000.00€ per event of damage of the primary insurance.

For lawyers Kristiaan Caluwaerts and Kristof Uytterhoeven, a tertiary professional liability insurance policy has been taken out with HDI GLOBAL SE. The cover of this is 10,000,000.00€ per event of damage and per year of damage, as a supplement to and following exhaustion of the underlying secondary and primary policies.

The client accepts that the compensation for damage suffered by him/her because of a professional error of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall be limited to the amount paid out by the professional liability insurance company. The client therefore accepts that the compensation for damage suffered by him as a result of a professional error of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten shall be limited to the amount for which Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is insured.

In any event, if Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is not informed of a claim, in writing, within one year of the discovery of any event or circumstance which incurs or may incur liability, the claim shall be null and void.

If the professional liability insurance company does not cover the damage, and this is not due to a fault of Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten, the compensation based on a professional error shall be limited in main sum, costs and interest to a sum amounting to the fees paid to Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten in the relevant case/file, with an overall maximum van 50,000.00€. A copy of the policy terms is available on request.

Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten are not liable for any shortcomings of third parties which are recruited during the performance of their services, regardless whether these third parties have invoiced their fees and costs to Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten or directly to the client.

Application of the money-laundering prevention act

The aim of the Belgian anti-money laundering legislation is to curb various money-laundering practices. The client accepts the application of the Belgian Anti-Money Laundering Act. This means that the lawyer has an obligation to identify his clients and to report money-laundering practices to the President of the Antwerp Bar Council, when the lawyer:

a) is to assist clients in the planning or carrying out of transactions concerning the: 
  1. buying and selling of real property or business entities;
  2. managing of client money, securities or other assets;
  3. opening or management of bank, savings or securities accounts;
  4. organisation of contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies;
  5. creation, operation or management of companies, trusts, fiduciary or similar legal structures.
b) shall act on behalf of and for the account of their client in any kind of financial or real property transactions.

The lawyer has an obligation to be vigilant and to identify the client, the agent(s) of the client, or the final beneficiaries of the client. This identification must be performed using a record, which is to be copied onto paper or onto an electronic data storage device. The following apply as records:

  • for natural persons: passport or identity card;
  • for Belgian legal persons or foreign legal persons with an establishment in Belgium: extract from the Crossroads Databank or notaries deed;
  • for foreign legal persons with no establishment in Belgium: reliable documents, data or information commonly used in international legal transactions. 
In addition, the lawyer must know the identity of clients who are not physically present or visible during a video call, and he must be able to ascertain whether the clients, agents or final beneficiaries are politically exposed persons.

This duty of vigilance and identification requires the cooperation of the client. If the client does not divulge the expected information (signed engagement letter, filled in contact details sheet and signed general terms and conditions accompanied by a copy of the front and back of their ID card) within two weeks (reserving exceptional circumstances), the lawyer cannot enter the business relationship, and if he has already performed provisional actions, he shall terminate any further intervention.

The President of the Bar Council shall pass on the information to the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit. The lawyer and the President of the Bar Council are forbidden to inform the client that information has been reported or that an enquiry is underway. 

General data protection regulation 2016/679

Your privacy is important to us! So, within Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten we handle the personal data collected from all our clients in a secure and confidential manner. These General Terms and Conditions describe which of your personal data we process, the basis on which we process it, and why we process it. 

With regard to clients and website visitors

1. Who should you contact in the event of questions / comments / complaints?

You should address any questions, comments or complaints regarding the processing of your personal data to Gert Gooris (E: g.gooris@legaloffice.be). Your e-mail will be handled quickly. 

2. Which personal data is processed? 

We collect and process various personal data of our clients. This concerns, amongst others, the following personal data:

•National Register No., address, marital status, bank account number, composition of family, date of birth, telephone number and email address;
•data provided in the context of processing your file/case and, where applicable, defence in court;
•court judgments and convictions. 

3. Why is this personal data processed, and on what legal basis? 

The above data is collected with the aim of processing your file/case and therefore on the legal grounds of the performance of an agreement. By signing the Authority to Act, you give Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten explicit consent to process your personal data. 

4. In any case, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten keeps and processes personal data for the period necessary for the purposes of the processing and for the contractual relationship between us. 

At the end of each assignment, Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten archives the file/case and then keeps the data for a period of 5 years. After the aforesaid 5-year period, the file/case is permanently removed. 

5. Rights

a) Right of Access and Right to Be Informed
You have the right to inspect your personal data and to know how we use your personal data, at any time, free of charge.

b) Right to Rectification, Erasure and Restriction 
You are free to decide whether or not to communicate your personal data to us. In addition, you have the right to request us to rectify, supplement or delete your personal data, at any time. You may likewise request us to limit processing of your personal data.

c) Right to Object
You also have the right to oppose the processing of your personal data for serious and legitimate reasons.

d) Right to Data Portability
You have the right to receive your personal data processed by us in a structured, commonly-used and machine-readable format and/or to transmit it to another controller.

e) Right to Withdraw Consent
In as much as the processing is based on your advance consent, you have the right to withdraw that consent.

f) Automatic Decisions and Profiling
The processing of your personal data does not include any profiling, and you shall not be subject to decisions based on automated processing.

g) Exercise of Your Rights
You can exercise your rights by contacting Gert Gooris (E: g.gooris@legaloffice.be)

h) Complaints
You have a right to submit complaints to the Belgian Privacy Commission located at 1000 BRUSSELS 35 Drukpersstraat, T +32 2 274 48 00, F +32 2 274 48 35, E commission@privacycommission.be.

This without prejudice to appeal in a civil court.

If you suffer damage as a result of the processing of your personal data, you can lodge a claim for compensation.

6. Transfers to third parties

Some of your personal data which is processed by Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten, is transferred to third parties (judicial officers, translators, other lawyers, notaries, experts, accountants, etc.) in the context of your file/case. 

The above third parties process personal data under contract to our organisation in order to perform a specific task. We conclude processing agreements with all the aforementioned organisations and make every effort to ensure that they provide adequate security for your personal data.

Your personal data shall not be sold, rented out, distributed or otherwise made commercially available to third parties, unless as described above or with your prior consent.

In rare cases, we can be obliged to divulge your personal data, by court order or in order to comply with other compulsory laws or regulations.

7. Security and confidentiality 

We have developed appropriate technical and organisational security measures to prevent destruction, loss, forgery, alteration, access by unauthorised persons, or accidental disclosure to third parties of the personal data collected, and any other unauthorised processing of this data.

With regard to third parties 

The law firm Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten, Potvlietlaan 4 - 2600 Berchem, ON 0526.822.539, has received your personal data as part of the legal services provided to its client. Your personal data are only processed to the extent that and for as long as it is necessary to safeguard the interests of the client. You can always contact us to exercise the following rights: a request for access or rectification of your personal data; a request for erasure of your personal data; a request for restriction of the processing of your personal data; an objection against the processing of your data; a request for transfer of your data; a complaint if you believe that we are not acting in accordance with the applicable data protection legislation. You can also file a complaint with the Belgian Data Protection Authority. You can address your requests to Gert Gooris at g.gooris@legaloffice.be. We respect all rights relating to your personal data to which you are entitled under applicable law. You can find our full privacy statement above. We have not provided you with this information before because, with respect to the client, we are bound by professional secrecy in accordance with Article 458 of the Penal Code.

Competent court

The legal relationship between the client and Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten is exclusively governed by Belgian law, with the exception of rules of Private International Law. In the event of dispute between Caluwaerts Uytterhoeven Advocaten and the client, the courts of Antwerp (ANTWERPEN), Antwerp (Antwerpen) Division, shall be competent.