TLA is committed to providing the best possible service to its clients. To ensure this, a smooth interaction and collaboration between lawyer and client is very important. After all, a lawyer’s services are tailor-made, based on concrete facts.
Article 1. General Information
Transport en Logistiek Advocaten BV (hereinafter referred to as “TLA”) is a company under Belgian law that has taken the legal form of a private limited company, for the purpose of practising the profession of lawyer.
TLA is registered with the Crossroad Bank for Enterprises (CBE) under the number 500.577.408.
Frederik Vanden Bogaerde (as permanent representative for Logilex BV, CBE 0837.515.915), Mathias Dendievel (as permanent representative of Ius-D BV, CBE 0700.652.675) and Vincent Van der Mast (as permanent representative for Advocaat Van der Mast Vincent BV, CBE 0700.652.576) practice the profession of lawyer as manager of the aforementioned company.
Frederik Vanden Bogaerde, Ius-D BV and Advocaat Van der Mast Vincent BV are the partners of the aforementioned company, an association in the sense of the regulations of the Order of Flemish Bars of 8 November 2006 concerning partnerships between lawyers and concerning one-man companies of attorneys at law.
The other lawyers working at TLA practise the profession of lawyer as independent service providers of TLA.
Article 2. Applicability
These general terms and conditions apply to all services provided by the lawyers working for TLA to its clients. The contractual relationship exists between the client and TLA, even if the client has contact with only one or several lawyers working for TLA.
These general terms and conditions also apply to all partners and employees, as well as to all respective legal successors under general title.
In case of contradiction, these general terms and conditions will prevail over any other general terms and conditions of the client, unless otherwise agreed in writing by one of TLA’s managers. Agreements that would deviate from one or more stipulations of these general terms and conditions will only replace the stipulation(s) from which they deviate. The remaining terms and conditions continue to apply in full.
Article 3. Agreement
Lawyers working for TLA perform their services in name and on behalf of TLA, unless they have explicitly indicated for a particular case that they handle it in their own name.
TLA is the client’s sole contracting party for each service provided by TLA’s partners, associates, interns and appointees. However, when a lawyer affiliated with TLA handles a case in their own name, only the lawyer in question is the client’s contracting party.
The agreement between TLA and the client comes to effect when TLA begins its activities.
Article 4. Subject of the services
The services provided by TLA may include, but are not limited to, advice, assistance in mediation, assistance in negotiations, assistance with procedures, assistance with expert examinations, acting as a representative. The parties shall agree on the precise scope of TLA’s services at the commencement of the services and, if necessary, adapt and/or expand them as necessary.
TLA’s commitments are not performance based commitments but best efforts commitments. TLA pledges to deliver within a reasonable period of time. Under no circumstances shall TLA be liable for late performance due to faults of the client, third parties or force majeure.
Article 5. Internal distribution of work
Unless the client explicitly objects, TLA is free to divide cases or certain aspects of them internally among its associate lawyers. This internal distribution will be done as much as possible according to the lawyers’ preferred subjects and/or the client’s wishes. When necessary, work will be carried out as a team. The dominus litis always retains supervision of the case.
Article 6. Information
duration, if necessary at TLA’s request, with all information required to enable TLA to perform its services in the best possible manner. TLA is not liable for damages that would result from incorrect or incomplete information by the client.
If the client, after being requested to do so by TLA, fails to provide the requested information or complete certain formalities within the set period, TLA reserves the right to suspend its services and invoice the services already provided.
TLA will inform the client about the execution of its assignment and about the development of the file.
Conducting legal proceedings entails certain costs, such as, in addition to your own lawyer’s fees, court costs. In principle (in civil cases) the losing party must bear the court costs. These costs usually include the costs of the citation and an indemnity for the procedural costs, i.e. a fixed contribution for the lawyer costs of the successful party. The amount of this procedural indemnity is determined according to certain rules and (periodically indexed) scales of fees. For other proceedings – criminal proceedings, administrative proceedings… – specific rules apply, which may or may not be similar.
Article 7. Enlisting third parties
If the execution of the service requires the use of a bailiff or a translator, the client leaves it to TLA to choose who to enlist. The same applies to the performance of simple tasks (deposing a procedural document, appearing at a (preliminary) hearing, …) by a local lawyer.
If it is necessary for the performance of the services to make use of other third parties, such as foreign lawyers, notaries, accountant, auditors or experts, the clients leaves it up to TLA to choose which one to use. TLA takes due care in selecting such third parties. TLA can not be held liable for any acts or omissions of those third parties. TLA is authorised by the client to accept any limitations of liability of third parties on behalf of the client.
Article 8. Remuneration
§1. TLA will periodically (in principle as work in a case progresses) charge its activities, administration costs and advanced costs to the client by means of provisional fee notes and a statement of fees and expenses. The amount due from the fee statement is broken down into the following items:
- administrative expenses;
- legal expenses and;
A specification of the work performed and the costs shall be sent at the first request of the client.
§2. Unless otherwise agreed, work carried out under the heading of fees shall be charged on the basis of an hourly rate.
The basic hourly rates used by TLA are as follows:
- Senior Partner: 200,00 EUR excl. VAT;
- Partner: 150,00 EUR excl VAT;
- Associate: 125,00 EUR excl VAT;
- Junior-associate: 100,00 excl VAT.
TLA determines the hourly rate in function of the nature of the case, the stakes involved, the degree of difficulty of the case, the experience of the lawyer in the legal matter concerned and the urgency of the assignment. The hourly rates are indexed annually and can also be adjusted at any time, on an individual basis per lawyer. The client can always request all updated hourly rates from TLA.
In the event that the case is settled with a favourable result, TLA is entitled to charge a success fee. This success fee can, at TLA’s discretion and subject to specific agreements in this regard, consist of:
- multiplying the fees charged or to be charged for work done by a coefficient (which is a minimum of 1,1 and a maximum of 2); or
- charging as additional fee a percentage (that – unless otherwise agreed – amounts to a maximum of 20%) of the recovered or saved amounts or of the stakes of the case; or
- the additional charging of an amount that corresponds to the damage clause and/or the procedural indemnity awarded.
Without prejudice to the charging of fees, the administration and office costs are charged under the item administration costs.
These costs are charged as follows (excluding VAT):
- Opening of file 30.00 EUR
- Forfait copy and administration 30,00 EUR
- Forfait archiving 30,00 EUR
- Exchange of letter 12.00 EUR
- Circular exchange of letters EUR 6.00
- Supplement Registered mail EUR 8,00
- Legal documents and opinions/page 15,00 EUR
- Time off work EUR 75,00
- Travel expenses/km EUR 0,60
In addition, external costs are always charged at cost price (parking costs, train and plane ticket, hotel costs, translation costs, etc.).
TLA and the client can mutually agree – for example for debt collection cases, undisputed cases and simpler cases – other formulas for the calculation of the fees and administration costs. Such formulas can include:
- the charging of a fixed amount per case or per instance;
- the charging of interest, damages and/or procedural indemnity per case (regardless of whether these amounts can actually be recovered by the client).
The costs which TLA has advanced to third parties, such as registries, mortgage offices, registration offices, diplomatic offices, official or unofficial databases, bailiffs, notaries, translators, accountants, auditors, experts and (domestic and foreign) bodies, will be charged separately under the heading of costs on the basis of the costs actually incurred (+ VAT if applicable).
§3. TLA reserves the right to ask the client a provision before starting and in the course of its activities, by means of a provisional invoice and reserves the right to only to start or continue its activities or to advance costs after payment thereof. A statement of expenses and fees in these terms and conditions shall also be understood to be a provisional invoice.
A provision is a lump sum paid by the client to TLA prior to an interim statement or final statement. This provision may relate to services already rendered or costs already advanced, or may be an advance payment on services still to be rendered or costs still to be incurred, or a combination of the two. In the interim or final statement, the provision shall be deducted from the total amount.
§4. The entry of a statement of fees and expenses in TLA’s accounts shall constitute evidence of its dispatch and receipt by the recipient.
§5. If the client does not agree with a statement of fees and expenses, he must protest in writing, giving reasons, within fourteen days of the date of the statement on penalty of loss of rights.
§6. Unless otherwise agreed, all fee statements are payable in cash at the registered office of TLA, without discount.
If a statement of fees and expenses is not paid by the due date of the statement, TLA is entitled, without having to give prior notice to the client by registered letter, (a) to charge interest on late payments at the rate of 10% from the date of the statement until the date of full payment, and (b) to charge liquidated damages at the rate of 10% of the amount paid late, without prejudice to its right to claim legal costs (including the applicable legal costs), should legal proceedings ensue.
TLA also has the right, in this case, either to suspend the execution of its activities in all cases with the customer concerned until all states have been paid in full, or to terminate its overall cooperation with the customer with immediate effect.
TLA shall not be liable for any damage resulting from the suspension of its activities or the termination of its agreement with the client.
§7. If TLA represents the interests of several clients in a case, all these clients are jointly and severally liable to pay the statements of fees and expenses relating to this case (if necessary, increased by the appurtenances mentioned in § 5 and all collection costs), regardless of to which client TLA has made its statements of fees and expenses.
Article 9. Third party account
§1. TLA shall make every effort to promptly transfer to the client all sums it receives on behalf of the client. If TLA is unable to transfer a sum immediately, it will notify the client they received the sum and the reason why the money cannot be transferred.
§2. TLA has the right to deduct money from the sums it receives on behalf of the client to cover the amounts owed by the client. TLA shall inform the client accordingly.
§3. TLA shall make every effort to promptly transfer all sums it receives from the client on behalf of third parties to those third parties.
Article 10. Complaints
Should you have a complaint about our firm or if you are dissatisfied with the handling of your case, it is preferable to first discuss this with the lawyer handling your case. If this discussion does not lead to a satisfactory solution for the client, he can contact Frederik Vanden Bogaerde (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vincent Van der Mast (email@example.com), or Mathias Dendievel (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will investigate the complaint and, if possible, mediate in order to reach a solution.
Article 11. Liability
§1. All lawyers working for TLA and TLA itself are insured in professional liability with Amlin Insurance SE through the Flemish Bar Association. The professional liability of the lawyers working for TLA as independent employees is limited to the insured amount of € 2.500.000,00 per claim (first-priority cover).
Frederik Vanden Bogaerde, Mathias Dendievel and Vincent Van der Mast are insured additionally with AG Insurance NV in professional liability for an additional indemnity of up to 5.000.000,00 EUR per claim per insurance year as a second-priority cover, which is supplementary to and used only after the first-priority insurance has been exhausted.
Frederik Vanden Bogaerde is additionally insured with HDI Global SE in professional liability for an additional indemnity of up to 20.000.000,00 EUR per claim per insurance year (third rank) above the indemnity of 5.000.000,00 EUR per claim in first and second priority.
§2. The client considers the aforementioned insurance of TLA and its lawyers to be sufficient and accepts that the compensation for damages suffered by him as a result of a (even serious) professional error on the part of TLA and/or its lawyers and/or appointees is limited to the amount for which TLA and its lawyers are insured.
§3. If the professional liability insurer does not cover the damages, the total liability of TLA, its lawyers and agents, whether contractual or non-contractual, even in case of gross misconduct, shall be limited in principal, costs and interest to the amount excluding VAT charged in the file in which the liability is retained and, in the absence of such file, to a maximum of € 2.500 per claim.
§4. Under no circumstances shall TLA and its lawyers be liable for any indirect damages, consequential damages, loss of use damages or loss of profit suffered by the client or any third party.
§5. Without prejudice to the above, TLA and its lawyers shall not be liable for any failures of third parties engaged in the performance of their services if they were instructed on behalf of and for the account of the client. Therefore, in such case, TLA cannot be held jointly and severally liable with such third party for any such compensation to the client.
§6. Notwithstanding TLA making reasonable efforts to protect its emails and attachments from viruses or other defects that may affect computers or an IT system, it remains the client’s responsibility to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect the client’s computers and IT system from such viruses or defects. TLA assumes no liability for any loss or damages resulting from receiving or using electronic communications from TLA.
§7. The client shall indemnify TLA and the lawyers who are part of TLA or work on its behalf from any claim by a third party arising out of the performance of TLA’s services on the client’s behalf.
Article 12. Professional secrecy and intellectual property rights
§1. TLA’s lawyers are subject to the professional secrecy. All letters, advice, procedural documents, etc. are delivered by TLA to the client with the express reservation that the client respects their confidentiality.
When tendering for a public or private procurement of legal services, TLA may be required, subject to strict compliance with the rules of lawyer’s ethics, to disclose the names of the clients for whom it intervenes or has intervened in the matter at hand and to provide information relating to the subject matter of the procurement in the files it handles or has handles.
The information provided in this context may under no circumstances relate to the private life of the client.
§2. Legal advice, opinions, documents etc. provided by TLA are protected by intellectual property rights and may not be used or reproduced in any way without the express prior written consent of TLA.
The client is not permitted to reproduce, disclose or use in any way whatsoever the advice, notes, contracts, procedural documents and all other intellectual work made by TLA without its prior written consent, either itself or with the help of third parties, other than in the context of the assignment granted to TLA.
Any advice provided by TLA is for the sole benefit of the client and is given only in the context of the relevant case. The advice of TLA shall not be used by third parties. Nor are third parties allowed to call on it. The client accepts that it shall not disclose an advice provided by TLA to third parties without TLA’s prior written consent, except, if necessary, to other professional advisers of the client, but without any obligation or liability of TLA to them. TLA’s contractual obligations apply only to the client and do not extend to third parties, unless TLA expressly accepts this responsibility in writing.
Article 13. Termination
§1. Both the client and TLA have the right to terminate the contract at any time with immediate effect and without justification.
In this case, the client is required to pay all work and costs up to the date of termination of the agreement. TLA draws up a final invoice of fees and costs and sends it to the client. To the extent permitted by law and ethics, TLA may exercise its right of retention before transferring its file to the client.
§2. TLA is not liable for damages that would result from the termination of its contract with the client.
Article 14. Archiving
TLA archives the file at the end of each assignment and then retains it for a period of five years. Original documents can only be returned to the client at his request and, if necessary, must be archived by him. After the above-mentioned five year period, TLA has the right to destroy the file.
Article 15. Modification
TLA reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time.
Article 16. Applicable law and competent court
§1. All agreements between TLA and the client are governed solely by Belgian law.
All lawyers at TLA are subject (a) to the regulations of the Order of Flemish Bars and the not yet dissolved regulations of the former National Bar Association, which can be consulted on www.advocaat.be and (b) to the regulations of the West-Flanders Bar Association, which can be consulted on www.baliewestvlaanderen.be, and prefer to settle their disputes amicably.
§2. For lawyer’s fees disputes, an extrajudicial dispute settlement exists through the West-Flanders Bar Association: Stafhouder balie West-Vlaanderen, Gerechtsgebouw, Kazernevest 3, 8000 Brugge.
Disciplinary matters are the responsibility of the Chairman of the Bar of West-Flanders, Stafhouder balie West-Vlaanderen, Gerechtsgebouw, Kazernevest 3, 8000 Brugge.
§3. Only the courts of Kortrijk have jurisdiction to hear any dispute between TLA and the client, provided that TLA is also entitled to bring the issue before the courts of the client’s domicile or registered office.
In the event of a dispute between TLA and a client, the latter can also call upon the services of the Ombudsman Service for Consumer Disputes, Ligeca, of the Order of Flemish Bars. A complaint is submitted to this service by letter, to Mrs Isabel Goris, office of the Ombudsman for Consumer Disputes, Staatsbladsstraat 8, 1000 Brussel, by fax, to Mrs Isabel Goris, office of the Ombudsman for Consumer Disputes, 02 307 72 21 or finally, via the complaints form available on the website http://oca.ligeca.be. All information relating to the procedure of this service can be found on the aforementioned website.
TLA reserves the right to refuse invoking this form of out-of-court dispute resolution depending on the nature of the dispute.
Artikel 17. Splitsbaarheid
If one of the stipulations or part of a stipulation of these general terms and conditions should be declared null and void or inapplicable, the remaining stipulations will continue to apply.