Hereafter the general terms and conditions of Ockier Advocaten (Ockier Lawyers). These term and conditions are applicable to any services rendered by Ockier Advocaten.
1. Law firm
1.1. Ockier Advocaten is a civil company in the form of a private limited liability company with registered office at 8500 Kortrijk, Benelux Park 3, and is registered in Kortrijk at the Central Database for Enterprises under number 0452.031.480.
Ludo OCKIER is a lawyer by profession and functions as manager of the aforementioned company.
1.2. All the lawyers at Ockier Advocaten are lawyers in Belgium and are members of the Bar Association of the Bar of Kortrijk, as well as of the Flemish Bar Council. The Bar Association of the Bar of Kortrijk has its secretariat at the Burg. Nolfstraat 10a in 8500 Kortrijk.
1.3. All lawyers associated with Ockier Advocaten are bound by the ethical rules and codes of conduct specific to the legal profession.
1.4. All lawyers associated with Ockier Advocaten are each insured against their professional liability amounting to at least € 1.250.000.00 per claim. By mere request, the client can obtain a copy of the signed professional liability insurance. The professional liability insurers of Ockier Advocaten are Ethias, HDI Gerling Verzekeringen NV and AIG Europe, the broker is MARSH NV, Vorstlaan 2, 1170 BRUSSELS.
1.5. Neither Ockier Advocaten nor its lawyers maintain multidisciplinary activities and partnerships that are directly related to their service.
1.6. The lawyers associated with Ockier Advocaten are subject to the extrajudicial dispute settlement provided for in the Rules of Procedure of the Bar of Kortrijk of 28/05/2008.
These general terms and conditions are applicable to all services rendered by the lawyers working for Ockier Advocaten with regards to its clients. The contractual relationship exists between the client and Ockier Advocaten, even if the client only has a contact with one or more particular lawyers at Ockier Advocaten.
These general terms and conditions take precedence over any other terms and conditions of the client, unless otherwise agreed upon in writing by the manager of Ockier Advocaten.
Each time when the client appeals to Ockier Advocaten for rendered services, the client is deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions.
3. Execution of commission
3.1. The lawyers associated with Ockier Advocaten provide their services in the name and on behalf of Ockier Advocaten, unless they have explicitly indicated that they will deal with a particular case independently.
Ockier Advocaten is the only contracting party of the client for each service performed by its lawyers-partners, lawyer assistants, lawyers-trainees and appointees, except when the lawyer handles a case independently.
3.2. The agreement between Ockier Advocaten and the client is established at the time Ockier Advocaten commences with its service.
3.3. Unless the client explicitly objects, Ockier Advocaten will be at liberty to share their cases, or certain aspects thereof, internally among its employees-lawyers. This internal distribution will occur according to the preferred areas of practice of the lawyers and/or the wishes of the client as much as possible. Where necessary, working together in a team will occur. The dominus litis will always retain oversight of the case.
4. Mutual information obligation
Ockier Advocaten will inform the client regarding the execution of the commission and the course of treatment of the case.
The client will undertake to supply Ockier Advocaten with all relevant and necessary data and information, substantiated with documents if need be, even without being asked, throughout the duration of the commission. The client will be responsible for the correctness, completeness and reliability of the data, information and documents provided to Ockier Advocaten by, or on behalf of, him. The client will also inform Ockier Advocaten spontaneously and immediately of eventual new facts or circumstances of any kind whatsoever that could be useful to the execution of the commission.
5. Appealing to third parties
If, in the execution of the service, it is essential that an appeal must be made to a judicial officer or a translator, the client will leave the selection thereof to Ockier Advocaten without prior approval of the client. The same applies to the execution of simple tasks (filing of a procedural document, appearing at a (preliminary) hearing ...) by a local lawyer.
If, in the execution of the service, it is essential that an appeal must be made to other third parties, such as foreign lawyers, notaries, accountants, auditors or experts, they will be chosen in consultation with the client.
Notwithstanding the eventual required consultation, Ockier Advocaten, in the execution of its commission appointed as authorised representative of the client, will always be mandated to provide aforesaid service providers with commissions in the name of and for the account of the client, in which case the invoice of the service provider, to which an appeal is made in the client’s name, will be issued and this invoice must be paid directly by the client to the service provider in question.
6. Honorary fees and expenses
6.1. At the start of dealing with the client’s case, arrangements will be made regarding the honorary fees and expenses of Ockier Advocaten.
6.2. Ockier Advocaten can request one or more advance payments (commission note) before the commencement of the commission and during the processing of the case. An advance is a flat-rate amount that the client pays prior to the detailed honorary fee- and expense statement. This provision could relate to services already rendered or to expenses advanced, or it could be an advance to services still to be rendered or expenses that are still to be incurred, or a combination of both.
Specification of the work performed and the expenses will be sent to the client at a first request.
6.3. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the work executed will be charged based on a flat-rate amount determined by Ockier Advocaten, whereby, in addition to the nature, the complexity, the input and the urgency of the matter, the time that is spent on a particular case will primarily be taken into account and the hourly rate of the lawyers who rendered the services in question.
The basic hourly rates that are used by Ockier Advocaten are as follows:
Ludo Ockier: 150,00 EUR Excl. VAT;
Lawyer Assistant: 110,00 EUR to 150,00 EUR Excl. VAT;
Lawyer trainee: 110,00 EUR Excl. VAT;
6.4. Without prejudice to the charging of honorary fees, the administrative and office expenses, including expenses for the opening of the file or share files, typing costs, print and copy costs, postage, telephone costs, travel expenses, parking fees, ... are charged under administration costs.
6.5. The costs that Ockier Advocaten has advanced to a third party, such as the clerk of the court, mortgage firms, registration offices, third party lawyers, bailiffs, notaries, translators, accountants, auditors and experts are charged separately under expenses, based on the actual expenses incurred (plus VAT, if applicable).
6.6. The client must pay the advances and/or statement of the honorary fees and expenses within 30 days of the receipt of the request to payment.
Ockier Advocaten can, if this is necessary for a proper service, determine a motivated shorter payment period.
6.7. If the client does not agree to a provision and/or statement of honorary fees and expenses, he/she must object with motivation and in writing within fourteen days of the date of the provision/statement, under the penalty of loss of rights by law.
6.8. If a statement of honorary fees and expenses is not paid by the due date of the statement, Ockier Advocaten has, without having to notify the client prior by registered letter, (b) the right to charge interest on arrears at an interest rate of 10%, calculated from the date of the statement until the date of full payment, as well as (b) the right to charge a fixed compensation of 10% of the amount paid late, without prejudice to its right to the legal expenses (including the applicable legal procedure fees), should a judicial recovery be instituted.
In this case, Ockier Advocaten also has the right to either suspend the execution of its work in all the cases with regards to the client in question until such time that all statements are fully paid, or to end the overall cooperation with the client with immediate effect.
Ockier Advocaten will not be liable for damage resulting from the suspension of its work or the termination of its agreement with the client.
6.9. If Ockier Advocaten represents the interests of several clients in a case, these clients are jointly and severally liable for payment of the advances and statements of honorary fees and expenses related to this case (if applicable, plus the appurtenances specified in 6.8 and all collection costs), and this regardless to which client Ockier Advocaten has drawn up its advances and statements of honorary fees and expenses.
7. Third party funds
7.1. Ockier Advocaten will transfer all amounts that it receives destined for the client to the client within the shortest possible time.
7.2. Ockier Advocaten may retain a certain sum of the amount destined for the client in order to cover amounts due by the client to Ockier Advocaten. Ockier Advocaten will duly inform the client thereof.
7.3. Ockier Advocaten will transfer all amounts received from the client destined for third parties to these third parties within the shortest possible time.
8.1. Ockier Advocaten provides a best endeavours obligation, which it will execute to the best of its ability. Ockier Advocaten cannot guarantee a specific result in this regard.
8.2. All Ockier Advocaten’s lawyers are insured against professional liability via the Bar Association of the Bar of Kortrijk. Ockier Advocaten has taken out additional professional liability insurance with Ethias, HDI Gerling Verzekeringen NV and AIG Europe, via the mediation of the broker MARSH NV, Vorstlaan 2, 1170 BRUSSELS.
All lawyers associated with Ockier Advocaten are each insured for their professional liability, amounting to at least € 1.250.000,00 per claim.
8.3. If the professional liability insurer does not cover the damage, without Ockier Advocaten or its lawyers or appointees being in default, the liability of Ockier Advocaten, its lawyers and appointees, both contractual and non-contractual, will be limited in the principal amount, costs and interest to the amount that has been charged in the case where liability is retained, excl. VAT, and, in the absence of such a case, to a maximum of € 7.500 per damage claim.
8.3. Ockier Advocaten and its lawyers cannot be held responsible under any circumstances whatsoever for any indirect, consequential, loss of use or profits suffered by the client or by third parties.
8.4. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, Ockier Advocaten and its lawyers will not be liable for eventual shortcomings of third parties that are engaged in the execution of their services if commission was granted them on behalf of and for the account of the client. In such case, Ockier Advocaten can therefore not be held jointly and severally liable to pay any compensation to the client with regards to such a third party.
9. Intellectual property rights
The client is not allowed to copy, disclose publicly or use Ockier Advocaten’s recommendations, notes, contracts, procedural documents, documents and all other intellectual activities in any way whatsoever by itself or through third parties without the prior written consent of Ockier Advocaten, other than in the context of the commission allocated to Ockier Advocaten.
10. Termination of the commission
10.1. If the file is closed, the client will be informed by Ockier Advocaten in writing. After closing the file, the file is archived and kept for five years from the date of the letter by which the agreement has been terminated. The file will be destroyed after five years.
10.2. Both the client and Ockier Advocaten have the right to terminate the agreement in writing at any time with immediate effect and without justification.
In this case, the client will be obliged to fulfil all work activities and expenses up to the date of termination of the agreement. Ockier Advocaten will draw up a final statement of honorary fees and expenses and deliver it to the client.
To the extent that it is lawfully and deontologically allowed, Ockier Advocaten can appeal to its right of retention before transferring its file to the client.
10.3 Ockier Advocaten will not be liable for damages that may arise from the termination of its agreement with the client.
11. Amendments and nullity
11.1. Ockier Advocaten reserves the right to amend these general terms and conditions at any time.
11.2. If one or more provisions of these general terms and conditions would be invalid or void, it will not affect the validity and enforceability of the other provisions of these general terms and conditions. If necessary, the invalid provision will be replaced by a provision that approximates the intent of the invalid provision by mutual agreement between Ockier Advocaten and the client.
12. Applicable law and competent court
12.1. All agreements between Ockier Advocaten and the client are exclusively governed by Belgian law.
12.2. The parties will preferably settle their disputes amicably.
12.3. An extrajudicial dispute resolution exists via the Bar Association of the Bar of Kortrijk with regards to disputes concerning honorary fees. The Chairman of the Bar of Kortrijk will be the competent entity when it concerns disciplinary matters.
12.4. The courts of the judicial district of Kortrijk will be exclusively competent to hear any dispute between Ockier Advocaten and the client.