GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR ADVOKATFIRMAET NORMANN & BJØRNSEN AS
Applicable from 1 January 2021
These general terms and conditions of engagement apply—in addition to the terms and conditions stated in the engagement letter for each individual engagement—to all services rendered by Advokatfirmaet Normann & Bjørnsen AS (“N&B”).
- Confidentiality and GDPR
The ordinary rules regarding the duty of confidentiality for attorneys apply to all engagements N&B undertakes.
Unless anything else is agreed, confidential information may be divulged to employees of the firm other than the client´s contact person, when deemed appropriate for the effective handling of the engagement.
N&B will process personal information in accordance with the relevant legislation. Other parties, such as counterparts, courts and public offices will only get access to personal information when deemed necessary for the engagement. The client has the right to access the processed information, and eventually claim changes. The responsible person in N&B is the CEO, and any questions may be directed to the CEO or the lawyer in charge for the engagement.
Due to legally mandated money laundering procedures (the Norwegian Money Laundering Act) and conflict of interest checks, cf. “Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Bar Association” § 3.2 concerning conflicts of interest, client information will also be used in internal controls. The client is obliged to provide the necessary information. If N&B suspects that transactions have relations to criminal offences, N&B has an obligation to notify ØKOKRIM without notifying the client or third parties.
N&B´s methods for calculating attorney’s fees are tailored to comply with the “Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Bar Association”.
N&B’s fees are based primarily on the resources that are employed in the assignment, adjusted for the complexity of the case, results achieved and the interests attended to during the engagement. Our fees are normally calculated based on the hours the individual advisor has spent on the engagement and on the advisor’s current hourly rate. N&B records on an on-going basis all time spent on an assignment, but only the effective time employed will be invoiced to the client. The recording of hours begins at the onset of the assignment.
The engagement letter sets out the prices agreed on for an engagement. The hourly rates are subject to annual revision. Revisions that are in line with general developments for general costs will not be communicated to the client.
Value added tax (VAT) and any other government taxes will be added in accordance with the rules in effect at any given time.
N&B’s fees shall be paid regardless of the outcome of the matter.
Any estimate provided for the total fee of the entire engagement is intended as a budgetary guideline only, and must not be perceived as a fixed price unless otherwise agreed in writing.
In cases for private consumers the fee per hour will normally be NOK 2 000 + vat NOK 500, but the character of the case, the complexity etc may influence on the price.
- Costs and expenses
In addition to our fees, clients will be required to pay for any expenses N&B incurs in connection with the engagement, such as travel expenses, court fees, etc. If the engagement requires extraordinary use of personnel, supplies or aids, such as copying, office supplies, use of databases, etc., the client will be charged for these costs in their entirety. N&B will consult with the client before any substantial costs or expenses are incurred.
N&B will not charge a mark-up on the invoicing of costs or expenses, with the exception of VAT or other government taxes where required.
If N&B hires consultants, experts, foreign lawyers or other third parties on behalf of clients, we do so in our capacity as the client’s representative, and the client will be responsible for the third party’s fees as well as any related costs or duties.
- Costs associated with litigation
The client is responsible for payment of the full amount of N&B’s invoices, regardless of whether a claim for reimbursement of costs is filed against the opposing party;
If the case is lost, it is likely that the client will be ordered to pay the opposing party’s costs, in addition to the client’s own costs.
If the outcome of the case is successful, the opposing party may not be ordered to pay the costs or may be incapable of doing so, and in either case the client will remain responsible for the payment of N&B’s invoices in full.
- Advance payment and Client accounts
N&B has the right to request advance payment for fees, costs and VAT. A request for advance payment must not be construed as an estimate or ceiling for N&B’s fees, costs or VAT. Advance payments must be deposited in N&B’s interest-bearing client account.
Pursuant to the Norwegian law of Tax-administration (“Skatteforvaltningsloven”), N&B is obligated to provide information to the tax authorities regarding a client’s money transfers, deposits and debt, including the identity of the parties to the transaction relating to the client account.
- Insurance/Legal Aid
N&B requests that the client discloses any legal protection insurance the client holds, or if the client wishes to request an inquiry regarding the applicability of an insurance policy to the engagement. N&B will assist in matters regarding the client´s insurance/free legal advice-opportunities.
- Invoicing and payment
N&B renders specified invoices on a monthly basis, regardless of the case is ended or not. N&B may request on-account payment.
The payment terms are 15 days from the date of invoice.
If the payment due date is not met, N&B reserves the right to
- demand late payment interest pursuant to the Act relating to interest on overdue payments etc. from the due date until payment is made, plus any collection or recovery costs
- cease any performance of engagements, both the engagement in question and other engagements, and/or
- exercise a possessory lien on the case documents, files, etc., received
- Electronic communication
N&B uses unencrypted electronic communication (e.g., e-mail, SMS) in relation to clients and opposing parties and other involved, unless the client explicitly requests that communication will not be conducted electronically, or that all electronic communication must be encrypted. N&B renounces any liability for economic damages, loss of data or similar, that arise from the use of unencrypted electronic communication, technical issues, viruses and similar. We do not assume any liability for communication transmitted in error.
- Documents and files
Files and documents associated with the client’s case will be stored electronically. N&B does not assume any responsibility for storage, and the client should retain originals or copies of all communication with N&B.
When the engagement is terminated any original document will be handed back to the client or destroyed according to agreement with client. N&B has an obligation to store certain documents also after the engagement is terminated.
Documentation received in connection with engagements will be stored for as long as N&B deems suitable, within the legal framework at any given time.
- External advisors
N&B will not engage other advisors in the matter without the client’s approval. N&B is not liable or responsible for any errors made by external advisors.
N&B’s engagement is limited to advice and assistance based on Norwegian law, unless otherwise specifically agreed. Should the need arise, N&B will assist in establishing contact with counsel abroad who can advise on foreign law. However, N&B requires that any engagement agreement is entered into directly between the client and the foreign lawyer, and that accounts are settled directly.
N&B is not liable for services or advice rendered by consultants, experts, foreign lawyers or third parties, even if they have been chosen by or instructed by us on behalf of the client.
- Termination of the engagement
The client is at any time free to terminate N&B’s engagement.
N&B is entitled to terminate its work on the matter in accordance with the provisions in Section 3.1.6 of the “Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Bar Association”. N&B shall provide reasonable notice prior to termination of the work. The client is obligated to pay N&B’s fees, costs and expenses, as well as the VAT accrued until the termination of work and any work that is necessary thereafter, regardless of who has terminated the engagement.
N&B has a possessory lien on all of the documents and any items of value N&B is in possession of pending payment of a claim.
- Liability insurance
Certain guarantees and liability insurance must be provided in connection with the practice of law to cover any liability for damages incurred in this context. N&B’s liability insurance coverage is in line with the requirements applicable to lawyers.
- Limitation of liability
N&B’s potential liability for damages, including liability for the lawyer responsible for the engagement and any other employees, is limited to the lesser of 20 times the size of the fee and NOK 5 million. N&B, the lawyer responsible for the engagement and any other employees are not, under any circumstances, liable for any form of indirect or consequential losses, including operating losses, loss of earnings, loss of goodwill, etc.
- Right of appeal
N&B’s lawyers are subject to the “Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Bar Association”. Clients may appeal to the Norwegian Bar Association’s disciplinary panels for an assessment of whether N&B’s work and fees are in accordance with the Code of Ethics. Additional information may be found at www.advokatforeningen.no under “Advokatetikk”.
- Acceptance and Amendments
The terms and conditions contained herein will be sent to the client in connection with N&B’s recording of the engagement. The terms and conditions are assumed to be accepted unless the client, within reasonable time, objects to the lawyer responsible for the engagement. N&B reserves the right to reject an assignment if such an objection is made. N&B reserves the right to amend or supplement these general terms and conditions of engagement, either on a general basis or in relation to an individual matter. The current version will be made available through the N&B’s website.
- Choice of law rules and court of venue
Any contractual relationships between N&B and its clients (and any associated entities) concerning the services rendered, and any lawsuits or claims that are related to N&B’s work, shall be regulated in full by Norwegian law.
Ringerike, Asker og Bærum District Court is the court of venue for any dispute arising from the contractual relationship between N&B and the client.