What does your lawyer cost? The statement of fees and costs comprises three elements.
1| The costs of the lawyer
The costs of the lawyer are related to the fixed, general costs of office administration and the specific, case-related expenses incurred while providing the services required by the client.
The costs can be estimated as follows:
- File opening: € 60.00
- Correspondence and court documents (included-, fax, telephone, email) : € 12.00 per sheet
- Photocopies: € 0.50 per copy
- File closing: € 60.00
- Travel costs: € 0.50 per kilometre
plus VAT (21 %)
2| The court costs
The court costs are the costs that the client is required to pay to third parties, such as bailiffs, court registry, translators and other authorities. The client pays the costs directly to the third parties. Should the lawyer have paid these court costs in advance, they will be included accurately and in detail in the bill of fees and costs.
3| Lawyer’s fees
These fees are payment for the services delivered by the lawyer or his colleagues.
The way in which these fees are charged is usually discussed during the initial consultation.
An hourly fee may be agreed upon or a fixed fee for specific proceedings or part thereof. An additional fee may be agreed upon for a successful outcome.
The hourly fee is determined based on the value and complexity of the case, the experience and expertise of the lawyer, the urgency and the financial situation of the client.
The services provided are normally charged at a rate of 150 euro, plus VAT (21 %) per hour, unless otherwise agreed or stipulated. The nature of the case can determine whether a fixed amount, a percentage (e.g. in the event of debt collection) or a success fee is the most appropriate.
Further information can be found at http://www.advocaat.be/een-advocaat-raadplegen/wat-kost-een-advocaat
4| Recovery of court costs and legal fees
Since 1 January 2008, the winning party in court has the right to reclaim part or all of his legal fees and costs from the losing party (= ‘recoverability of lawyers’ fees’).
This compensation is legally fixed. The judge determines the precise amount. This amount, both the basic amount, and the minimum and maximum amounts of court costs, are stipulated in the KB of 26 October 2007. Further information: www.advocaat.be
In principle, the judge awards the basic amount. At the request of at least one of the parties, made on the basis of 4 legally stipulated grounds, the judge can decide to reduce or increase the basic amount within the minimum and maximum limits. The judge must provide justification for any decision to increase or reduce the basic amount.
5| Legal expenses insurance
You have perhaps already taken out some form of legal expenses insurance (this is often included in your car, home or family insurance policies). This insurance covers all lawyers’ fees and costs up to a specified amount. Certain court costs are also covered. You are free in your choice of lawyer.
6| General conditions
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the relationship between the client and the Advoring lawyers falls under these general conditions.
- A retainer fee is usually charged upon the opening a file. This fee is payable by the client upon receipt of invoice. The lawyer can suspend the provision of services until settlement of the invoice. The retainer fee shall be deducted from the interim or final bill of fees and costs.
- All (interim) bills of fees and costs will be accompanied by a detailed summary of the services delivered during the period in question.
- All unpaid bills of fees and costs will be increased, legally and without notice of default, by a standard interest rate of 8 % per annum, calculated as from the due date, and a fixed surcharge of 10% of the outstanding amount.
- In the event of non-payment of the bill of fees and costs, the Advoring lawyers reserve the right to suspend all action on the case, legally and without notice of default.
- The Advoring lawyers shall transfer all monies received on behalf of the client (on their trust account) to the client without delay. The Advoring lawyers reserve the right to deduct any outstanding fees or costs from the monies transferred to the client, subject to written notice.
7| Sample legal services contract – private client
A sample legal services contract is available which covers the most important commitments between lawyer and client. The use of this sample contract is optional.
8| Services provided by telephone or in writing (online)
Personal contact is advisable in most cases. However, for services provided solely by telephone or in writing (online), the same lawyer’s fees and costs shall apply as detailed above.