Terms and Conditions
Article 1 – Definitions
The following definitions are used in these General Terms and Conditions:
Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers: the partnership of Mr S. Ph. Chr. Wester LLM and Mr N.C. Reehuis LLM, also referred to as “the office”, which does not constitute a cooperation agreement within the meaning of the Law Profession Regulations (Verordening op de Advocatuur).
Client: the individual who or legal entity that engages the services of the individual lawyer.
Agreement: the agreement whereby a Client gives to Mr Wester and or Mr Reehuis the assignment to perform certain legal activities and whereby this assignment is accepted.
Fee: The costs invoiced for the performance of legal activities.
Disbursements: each payment of specified costs such as court duties, travel and accommodation expenses, pricing costs, bailiff costs etc., as well as any payment of unspecified office costs, e.g. stamps, telephone, fax, copying costs etc.
Trust account: the sums the office receives for the benefit of the Client.
Stichting Beheer Derdengelden Wester Strafrechtadvocaten: the foundation under Dutch law, within the meaning of the Accounting Regulations of the Dutch Law Society (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten), which support of the office and for the management of monies received for others than the office.
Article 2 – Applicability
These General Terms and Conditions apply to each Agreement concluded by the individual lawyer and the Client, insofar as the parties do not explicitly agree otherwise in writing.
These General Terms and Conditions also apply to any additional assignments and subsequent assignments of the Clients.
These General Terms and Conditions also apply to the directors, as well as to anyone working for Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers. The professional rules and code of conduct of the Dutch Law Society form an integral part of the Agreement. The Client is aware that the lawyer must respect the code of conduct imposed by the Dutch Law Society during the performance of his duties. The Client accepts the consequences that may arise as a result.
Article 3 – Engagement letter procedure
The engagement letter for the provision of legal assistance is concluded by the individual lawyer’s acceptance of the engagement awarded by the Client.
The above is not subject to articles 7:404, 7:407 section 2, 7:409 7:422 section 1 under 2 Dutch Civil Code.
The assignment is accepted in writing by the signing of the engagement letter by the lawyer or by way of a written confirmation of the acceptance of the assignment by letter, fax or email.
Article 4 – Performance of the Agreement
The mutual obligations resulting from the Agreement take effect the moment the Client is sent the written confirmation.
The performance of the Agreement is solely done for the benefit of the Client.
During the performance of the assignment another lawyer can (also) take over part of the activities in respect of the case, should the office deem this necessary. The Client confirms that he has no objections in this respect. If Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers deem it in the interest of the proper compliance with the Agreement, the office has the right to have activities performed by third parties.
The Agreement involves a best-effort obligation and not a result-oriented obligation. The office will perform an Agreement to the best of its abilities and with the diligence that may be expected of the office.
Article 5 – Obligations Client
The Client shall ensure that all the information requested by Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers, or of which the Client reasonably should understand, that these are necessary for the execution of the Agreement, will be provided to the office in a timely fashion.
If the data referred to in the previous section and required for the performance of the Agreement have not been provided to the office in a timely fashion, then Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers has the right to suspend the performance of the Agreement and/or to invoice the Client the extra costs resulting from the delay in accordance with the customary rates.
Article 6 – Fee and expenses
The client pays a fee for the performance of the Agreement. The Fee payable by the client to Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers, is calculated by multiplying the number of spent hours with the hourly fee determined annually by Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers plus VAT. A percentage of 6% of the Fee will be invoiced to cover all general office costs. General office costs refer not only to costs such as paper, stamps, telephone, fax, copier, and email costs, but also all other costs in respect of the services rendered for a case, as well as any other costs resulting from the Accounting Regulations of the Dutch Law Society.
The activities of the lawyer will be performed on the basis of the hourly fee of the lawyer in question as agreed in advance in writing, unless otherwise has been agreed in writing. In principle, the Fee for activities performed shall, if the execution of the assignment covers more than one month, be invoiced before the assignment is completed, i.e. at the end of the month in which the activities were performed.
The lawyer is always authorised to request an advance payment from the Client. The amount of the advance payment shall jointly be determined by the lawyer in question and the Client. The height of the advance payment can be changed at a later moment should the payment behaviour of the Client give rise thereto. When services have been rendered for the value of three quarters or more of the advance payment, the lawyer has the right to invoice the Client an additional advance payment. Any advance payment received will be used to settle the final invoice of the assignment.
In addition to the Fee, the Client must also pay Disbursements in respect of the costs paid by the office pays for the benefit of the Client. These Disbursements can involve, for example, court duties, costs of witnesses and experts, bailiff costs and costs of excerpts from public registers.
Article 7 – Subsidised legal assistance
Agreements concluded on the basis of the legal system of subsidised legal assistance (legal-aid case) mean the Client does not owe the lawyer’s fee as stated in the previous paragraph. Instead, the Client must pay his personal contribution as determined by the Legal Aid Council (Raad van Rechtsbijstand).
Upon entering into the first Agreement the lawyer will determine on the basis of the financial information provided by the Client, whether he is eligible for subsidised legal assistance. The Client is responsible for the accuracy of the information provided (verbally).
The lawyer is always authorised to request the Client to pay a deposit, until such time as the Legal Aid Council awards a legal-aid case. The amount of the advance payment shall be established in consultation between the lawyer in question and the Client.
Article 8 – Payment
The invoices must be paid within fourteen (14) days of the date of invoice, unless otherwise agreed between Parties.
The amounts due must be made payable into the bank account number stated on the invoice, via the internet (iDeal), or at the office of Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers by any legal method of payment. On the Payments made no discount or set-off will take place.
After expiry of the payment term of fourteen (14) days, the Client is legally in default and the Client must pay a legal (trade) interest pursuant to article 6:119(a) Dutch Civil Code, plus 1.5%, without requiring a prior notice of default.
If the Client is not able to fully pay the amount owed within the payment term stated in the first paragraph, he will make a motivated and substantiated request for a payment arrangement before the payment term expires. If the office agrees to a payment arrangement then this will always be confirmed in writing.
The Client must always comply with payment arrangements, otherwise it will be cancelled and the amount due becomes payable immediately. In case of liquidation, (imminent) bankruptcy or suspension of payment of the Client, the obligations of the Client are immediately and fully payable upon demand.
Restitution of money held in deposit or payment of money that belongs to the Client, is only made payable by bank transfer, except in the following instances. Payments in respect of professional practises can only be made or accepted in cash, if this is justified by the facts or circumstances, whereby a maximum of EUR 5,000 applies.
Article 9 – Debt collection and suspension activities in case of default
If the Client is in default in his compliance to one or more of his obligations in respect of the office, any costs reasonably incurred in order to collect the money extra judicially shall be payable by the Client. These costs will amount to at least 15% of the claim, whereby a minimum of EUR 150.00 applies.
Reasonable costs for the collection of the money extra judicially also includes the costs involved with (collection) activities executed by the office, including the sending of reminders, the demanding of payment (by phone) and any payment arrangement(s) set up. The costs incurred will be calculated on the basis of the agreed or usual hourly lawyer’s fee with whom the Agreement has been concluded.
If the Client is in default with the payment of the amount due, then the lawyer in question can invoke the debt collection measures as referred to in the previous paragraphs, and also has the right to suspend the provision of his services to the Client. The lawyer in question is only authorised to use his right of suspension, after he has notified the Client thereof in advance and has granted him a short period of time to still comply with his payment obligations. The duration of the abovementioned period will depend on the circumstances of the case. The lawyer in question accepts no liability for any damages the Client may suffer as a result of the abovementioned suspension of the services rendered.
Article 10 – Complaints
Complaints with regard to invoices must be made in writing within fourteen (14) days of the invoice, after which they will no longer be valid.
Complaints concerning the compliance to an Agreement must be made in writing within thirty (30) days after the discovery of the failure or no later than thirty (30) days after the completion of the assignment in question, after which it will no longer be valid.
Article 11 – Trust account
Money the office receives for the benefit of the Client, will be deposited into the bank account of Stichting Beheer Derdengelden Wester Strafrechtadvocaten.
Money belonging to the Client will be transferred to the Client’s designated bank account within fourteen (14) days upon receipt thereof by Stichting Beheer Derdengelden Wester Strafrechtadvocaten, whereby any sums owed by the Client to the office are settled.
The Client agrees with the settlement of any amount still due to the office as referred to in the previous paragraph. Should the Client object to this settlement, then the provisions of the previous article shall apply.
Article 12 – Liability
The individual lawyers are not liable for damage, of any nature, resulting from relying on incorrect and/or incomplete data provided by Client, unless this incorrectness or incompleteness should have been obvious to the office.
The lawyers are not liable for damage resulting from a suspension of activities in respect of the Client, if that suspension results from the failure of the Client to pay the invoices of the office in a timely fashion.
Third parties can derive no rights from the content of the executed activities. The Client safeguards each lawyer from any third parties claiming to have suffered damage as a result of or related to the activities executed by Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers for the Client.
Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers are not liable for possible shortcomings in the activities performed by third parties with regard to the Agreement. As such, any liability of the individual lawyer for damages resulting from or related to an attributable shortcoming or unlawful act, or that is based on any other legal basis, is limited to the amount paid out or to be paid out by the professional liability insurer in this respect.
Limitations of liability for the benefit of the lawyers also apply to the employees and not-subordinate representatives and assistants of the office. Any claim of the Client will no longer be valid as of twelve (12) months after the person concerned became aware of or should reasonably have become aware of the presence of this right to claim or other rights or authorities.
If, for whatever reason, the professional liability insurer does not proceed to pay, then each liability is limited to the amount paid by the Client to the individual lawyer for the services rendered in respect of which the client suffered damages, whereby a maximum applies of EUR 5,000.00.
Article 13 – Intellectual property rights
The Client is not permitted to multiply, disclose and/or to exploit advices, contracts or other products of the spirit produced by or on behalf of Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers without prior written permission thereto, whether or not with the involvement of third parties.
Article 14 – Filing
Upon termination of its activities for the Client, Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers return the documents made available by this Client and any legal documentation to the Client by normal post and archive the file. Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers retains the right to destroy archived files five years after filing in compliance with the applicable regulations. Court case documentation in respect of criminal cases received from a judicial authority will either be immediately returned to that authority or immediately destroyed.
Article 15 – Publicity
Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers complies with the Publicity Regulations of the Dutch Law Society and is at liberty to cooperate with any publicity on a case within the scope of advocacy without being subject to discussion, with due respect of the Client’s privacy. This liberty also applies after termination of the case, whereby such activities will take place in consultation with the Client to the extent possible. Insofar as cooperation is provided to publicity purposes without this relating to advocacy, Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers is at liberty to do so, provided the Client’s interests will not be harmed.
Article 16 – Identification
Wester Criminal Defense Lawyers shall only provide a Client access to the office after he has identified himself by means of a valid ID-document.
Article 17 – Applicable law and choice of court
All the agreements are exclusively governed by Dutch law. Any disputes arising from the Agreements concluded with the Client shall only be brought before the competent court in the Amsterdam district.