GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES
BY SLAVEN SCEPANOVIC LAW OFFICE
Slaven Šćepanović Law Office provides professional legal and consulting services as well as assistance to its clients to achieve their business goals, in accordance with the Law on Advocacy of Montenegro, without giving any guarantees and assurances as to the outcome of judicial and other proceedings that are subject to the provision of legal and consulting services.
Meaning of Terms:
- SŠLO – Slaven Šćepanovic Law Office, Trg sunca br.2, zgrada “Montenegro Express” 2.sprat/10, 85310 Budva, Montenegro;
- Contract – Legal services agreement, concluded in writing;
- Client – Every natural or legal person to which the Slaven Šćepanovic Law Office provides legal services;
- Associate – Person employed in the Slaven Šćepanovic Law Office;
- Lawyer – Person employed as a lawyer in the Slaven Šćepanovic Law Office;
- Legal fee – The tariffs on fees and reimbursement of expenses for work of lawyers published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro and Official Gazette of Montenegro, which is applicable in Montenegro at the time of providing the legal services;
1 Guidelines (instructions)
Engagement of the SŠLO implies the authority that the SŠLO may undertake all legal actions that might be necessary in order to protect the client’s interest in connection with a specific subject or project (unless the client issues different instructions which must be in written or electronic form). The scope of work for each job engaging the SŠLO will be defined in an Agreement and later can be defined in more detail in written communication, in accordance with the Agreement.
In the event that the client does not submit a signed copy of the Agreement to the SŠLO, it shall be deemed that the client has accepted these General Terms and Conditions if in meantime the client sends instructions in writing or in the electronic form for work on the particular subject.
- Legal Fees
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, legal fees of the SŠLO shall be determined in one of the following ways:
According to the hourly rate
- Legal fees according to the hourly rate are based on the amount of time spent working on the client’s case, multiplied by number of hours of persons involved in the work time spent on the client’s case includes meetings with the client and the time spent traveling, reviewing of documents, preparation and work on the documents, written communications regarding the case, making telephone calls, etc.
- Hourly rates are calculated in euros, unless otherwise agreed. The amount of the hourly rate is to be specified in the Agreement.
- If the client’s instructions require overtime of the SŠLO (in cases when working at night and on weekends is not conditioned by the objective circumstances) the SŠLO reserves the right to increase the height of the hourly rate by 100%.
- The SŠLO is obliged to inform the client at least once a month about the amount of hours spent working on the client’s case. If work on the case has been pending longer period, the SŠLO will issue invoices on a monthly basis. If the SŠLO for any reason ceases to represent the client, an invoice will be issued to the client for all work performed up to the date of termination of legal representation.
According to the legal fees as determined by the Lawyers’ Tariff
The amount of fee for a lawyer of the SŠLO is to be determined by the Lawyers’ Tariff for Montenegro, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro and Official Gazette of Montenegro, which is applicable at the time of submission of an invoice to the client.
- The SŠLO can arrange with the client in writing an award for work on a particular subject in the proportion (percentage) with success in the proceedings i.e. with success in the legal actions that the SŠLO undertakes for the client.
- Details of the fixed fee are to be settled out in an Agreement concluded between the SŠLO and the client in writing.
Lump sum rate
- In the case of continuous legal aid, counseling services, and representation of clients, the SŠLO and the client may agree in the Agreement on the amount of lump sum rate, which the client will pay on a monthly basis on the basis of the submitted invoice. The scope of work to be performed by the SŠLO in accordance with lump sum fee will be defined in the Agreement.
- In the event that the contract between the SŠLO and the client includes the lump sum rate, and the matter has not been completed, i.e. the SŠLO ceases to represent the client in that particular matter/project, the SŠLO will, unless otherwise agreed, charge the work done (which can be estimated on the basis of the recorded hours of work or proportionally) and any expenses that the SŠLO have had on behalf of the client to the date of completion of work.
All estimates or quotations given by SŠLO and all fees and expenses charged by SŠLO are exclusive of VAT (at the rate applicable from time to time) which will be charged where VAT is applicable to the fees and on any expenses that are subject to VAT.
3 In-House translation services
Depending on the capabilities and capacity, the SŠLO can assist in providing the services of internal translation from English or to English. In case of necessity to perform a translation by certified court interpreters, the SŠLO can assist clients in the organization and engagement of the same, although SŠLO shall not be held responsible for the quality of such translations.
Authorizing the SŠLO to act on behalf of the client and to protect its interests, the client also authorizes the SŠLO to bear the expenses that are considered necessary in order to perform the work on the case, the client is required to reimburse the same to the SŠLO along with the payment of lawyers’ services, even though in certain situations the SŠLO may require the client to pay expenses in advance.
Expenses include, among other things, court fees, administrative fees, payment of courier service, costs for experts whom the SŠLO has to engage with the approval of the client, fees for registration, etc. This list of expenses is not the final. Expenses are to be charged in accordance with the Lawyers’ Tariff.
Invoices are issued to clients on monthly or other intervals, as agreed in the Agreement.
Invoices include a specification and description of work performed. The amount of the invoice is expressed in euros.
Depending on the signed Agreement, along with the invoice should be submitted a detailed schedule of spent work hours, including a specific date, a description of the actions, the names of the persons who were engaged.
Invoices become due for payment within 15 days from the date of invoice, unless otherwise stipulated in the Agreement.
If the payment per issued invoice is not made within 15 days of issuance of invoice, the SŠLO reserves the right to calculation of the default interest from the date of maturity to payment.
Client will have 15 calendar days from the (pro-forma) invoice issuing date to inform SŠLO in writing of the comments or objections to the invoice received. After the expiration of 15 days following the submission of the invoice or pro-forma invoice, it shall be considered that a client have accepted to pay the full amount (in case of a pro-forma invoice, after the expiration of 15 days SŠLO may decide to issue an invoice replacing the pro-forma invoice, and such an invoice will be deemed to have been accepted for payment by a client, in the full amount at the moment of its issuance).
If the client is late in paying obligations on the basis of issued invoices, the SŠLO reserves the right to suspend or terminate its work, to keep all documents belonging to the client including all delivered to the SŠLO by the client in order to execute the instructions of the same. The SŠLO has the right to terminate or suspend the work on any case, if it refers to the client who is late with the payment obligations on the basis of invoices issued, regardless to the nature of the case, and it might continue until the moment of settling all debts to the SŠLO by the client.
When invoicing the SŠLO will calculate the VAT for all services at the rate established by the Law on Value Added Tax, if applicable.
If, after the issuance of the invoice, the client requests the issuance of the invoice to another person, the SŠLO may refuse such request if it would cause difficulties for the SŠLO in the terms of accounting.
6 Court and other similar Disputes
Regardless of the outcome of any litigation the client will always be responsible for paying SŠLO invoices, which may include the costs of assessment of the court. Where a case has been concluded, the court assesses payment of the successful party’s costs of the proceedings in such a way that generally results in the unsuccessful party having to pay either all or a portion of these costs. If the other party is benefiting from legal aid, client may not recover any of the client’s charges and expenses, even if the client wins the case. Even if the client is not reimbursed the full amount of the costs of the litigation, or any of the costs of the litigation from the unsuccessful party, or if, for whatever reason, that party does not comply with an order to reimburse the client, the client will nevertheless have to pay the full amount of our charges and expenses. If the client is unsuccessful, the court may order the client to pay the successful party’s legal charges and expenses. These costs would be payable in addition to SŠLO legal fees and expenses.
7 Termination of services
In case of a justified reason, the SŠLO has the right to terminate the provision of services, with a notice sent to the client 30 days in advance. SŠLO may refuse or terminate the provision of legal services and cancel representation in the events envisaged by laws, the Statute of the Bar Association of Montenegro and the Code of Professional Ethics.
8 Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest
All information related to business operation of the client and related events will be considered confidential and as such will be kept at all times, unless the client agrees to disclosure of information, or if the SŠLO is required by law to disclose/publicize the same (for example, in cases when it comes to fraud, money laundering or other criminal offenses).
In case of conflict of interest, the SŠLO will work with the client jointly in order to decide on the further procedure. In order to protect the interests of the client, the SŠLO will, if necessary, withdraw from representation of the client in which case, with the consent of the client the SŠLO will assist the client in finding another lawyer.
By accepting the SŠLO General Terms and Conditions the client gives a consent that the SŠLO can use the client’s name and trademark for the purpose of giving information about professional reference of the SŠLO, which in any case will not involve disclosing any confidential information to third parties.
9 Archiving documents
After payment of all outstanding invoices, the SŠLO will deliver and return to the client all documents related to the case, which the client previously submitted to the SŠLO or which were obtained by the SŠLO when working on the case. Working documents of the SŠLO, all written communications between the SŠLO and the client, as well as other documents prepared by the SŠLO remain the property of the SŠLO. After the cessation of active work on the case, all documents will be archived. There is assumption that the SŠLO has the authority of the client to destroy the documentation after expiration of five years as of preparing or obtaining of such a document.
10 Issues and Complaints
If after reading these General Terms and Conditions the client has any doubts related to some issues, or if the client is not satisfied with any aspect of the services provided by the SŠLO, the client should as soon as possible address the issue to an Associate or Lawyer of the SŠLO for the purpose of interpretation and resolving the issues.
11 Copyright and other intellectual property rights
The SŠLO retains the copyrights and other rights with respect to any documents that deliver to the client. The client has a non-exclusive license to use such documents for the purpose the same was made, but not for other purposes without the prior written consent of the SŠLO.
12 Prevention of Money Laundering
Both the client and SŠLO are required to comply with any applicable legislation intended to prevent money laundering. This legislation imposes additional obligations on SŠLO which may restrict or affect SŠLO ability to act for you or to continue acting for the client if the SŠLO suspects that money laundering may have been committed or may be in the process of being committed by any party to the work. The effect of these provisions is wide and applies to the proceeds of crime, regardless of how small the monetary amounts involved are. It is SŠLO legal obligation to maintain records relating to transactions that exceed the prescribed amounts as set out under any applicable legislation, (i.e. the records of customers to which the prescribed list of indicators refer to), and to inform the relevant authorities in charge of the prevention of money laundering where SŠLO is required to do so in order to be in full compliance with our legal obligations. In order to comply with local anti-money laundering laws and regulations SŠLO may ask you to provide us with information relating to the status of you and your affiliates. Client’s delay or refusal to provide this information may cause suspension or termination of work of the SŠLO.
13 Limitation of Liability
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the SŠLO limits its civil liability towards the client in respect of any claims related to breach of the Contract on the maximum amount of coverage provided for professional liability insurance that is applicable at that time. This amount includes all possible damages, expenses and interest to be determined against the SŠLO.
Failure to use one or more of the rights contained in these General Terms and Conditions at any time or for any period under no circumstances shall be interpreted as a waiver of such rights.
15 Prohibition as to transfer of SŠLO products to third parties
The client agrees that work of the SŠLO will not be available to third parties without the prior written consent of the SŠLO. The SŠLO does not assume any liability to third parties in connection with any aspect of products of work of the SŠLO that might be available.
Potential nullity or non-enforceability of any provision of these General Terms and Conditions shall not affect the other provisions which will remain binding for the contractual parties.
17 Changes and amendments
SŠLO shall have the right to amend these General Terms and Conditions, if necessary, with a prior written notice that will be sent to the client electronically, and in any case will publish it on the SŠLO website, in order for the changes/amendments to reflect the current practice of the SŠLO as well as any changes to professional and other legal requirements that the SŠLO is obliged to fulfill.
Budva, 1st February, 2017
Slaven Šćepanović, lawyer