General terms of assignment

A. INTRODUCTION

  1. These general terms are in force for all legal assignments that are undertaken or  otherwise carried out by any of the firm’s attorneys 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 legal 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 legal firm, as well as other relevant regulations.
  5. All attorneys and assistant attorneys 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.

B. 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 legal 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 legal firm is obliged to report the matter to 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 legal 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 legal firm can decline the case at a later point in time if there are grounds for such an action
  5. In order for the legal 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 legal firm. The legal firm and the client shall keep each other oriented about communication that has taken place with the Parties involved.

C. 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. Our hourly rates are specified in the Letter of confirmation. The standard hourly rates (for all job categories; partners, senior associate lawyers, associate lawyers) are currently NOK 1.800-4.200. VAT (25%) and other expenses are additional. The standard hourly rates are being adjusted annualy (1 January). However, the standard hourly rate for certain individual employees can be adjusted during the course of the year.
  2. 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.
  3. In addition, after the hourly fee is set, discretion may be exercised in consideration of the nature and complexity of the work, the outcome of the case, as well as how effective the assignment has been done, taking into consideration the background, experience and any special competence of the attorney. There shall be a reasonable correlation between the hourly fee and the work done by the attorney and the other employees of the firm.
  4. The client is responsible for 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.
  5. 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 legal firm.
  6. Legal limitations to the client’s right to demand compensation from the opposite Party for legal costs shall not limit the legal 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. Together with the invoice, there shall be a specified overview showing work completed, expenditures, etc.
  8. All costs and expenditures advanced by the legal firm shall be billed together with the attorney fees. VAT may be added to invoices of any further expenditures.
  9. Any delay in payment shall result in the addition of default interest, in accordance with the Act Regarding Interest on Overdue Payments, etc. (Lov om renter ved forsinket betaling m.m.).

D. 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 NOK 246,000 (single), NOK 369,000 (married, reg. partner, etc.) and NOK 100,000 (net capital), respectively. In some instances, the CountyGovernor can make an exception to these limitations. Further information about free legal aid can be obtained from the CountyGovernor 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 legal 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 legal firm and the amount covered by the insurance company.

E. THE RESPONSIBLITIES OF THE LEGAL FIRM

  1. The legal 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 legal firm’s surety bond agent is AIG Europe Limited, Post Box 1588 Vika, 0118 Oslo, org. no. 998 754 194.
  2. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the assignment does not cover legal counselling in connection with cases that deal with legal matters concerning taxes, rates and dues.
  3. The legal firm shall not be held liable for indirect losses, including loss of profits.
  4. The legal firm shall not be held liable for faults committed by councillors that the client has been referred to by the firm, or for the work of sub-contractors who have been entrusted by the legal firm to complete parts of the assignment after agreement with the client.
  5. The legal 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 legal firm’s evaluation of the case.
  6. The legal 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 (legal firm) per bank. A special agreement is required before the legal firm will put effort to increase the degree of guarantee coverage for a client’s funds.

F. HANDLING OF INFORMATION

  1. The attorneys in the legal 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).
  2. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the attorneys of the legal 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. To the degree that it is necessary for the completion of the assignment, the client agrees that personal information given on a voluntary basis, including sensitive personal information, shall be handled by the legal firm in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Personopplysningsloven). 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 legal 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.
  4. 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. If the client sends unsecured electronic information to the legal firm, this will be taken into consideration in determining the need for confidentiality.
  5. Upon completion of the assignment, any original documents concerning the case will be returned to the client or maculated if so agreed upon. The legal firm shall be responsible for archiving certain documents and information upon the conclusion of the assignment. The legal firm may keep copies of other case documents after the completion of the assignment, within the framework set up by law. The client may pay to have copies made.

G. CONFLICT RESOLUTION

  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 legal 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 (Disiplinærnmenden). For more information, contact the Secretary of the Norwegian Bar Association.
  3. Conflicts in conjunction with the assignment agreement shall be decided according to Norwegian law, and shall only be brought before a Norwegian Court of Law.

H. 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. 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.

Oslo, January, 2018