1. CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP
1.1 These terms and conditions of assignment (“General Terms and Conditions of Assignment” will apply to all services rendered by Advokatfirmaet Føyen AS (“Føyen”, “we” or “us”).
1.2 We normally issue a Confirmation of Assignment for each individual assignment. The General Terms and Conditions of Assignment and the Confirmation of Assignment collectively constitute the agreed conditions for the performance of our assignments. In the event of a discrepancy between the General Terms and Conditions of Assignment and the Confirmation of Assignment, the Confirmation of Assignment shall prevail.
1.3 Our services will be performed by Føyen as a firm, and not by any other legal person or any individual partner or employee of Føyen. The client’s contract will be with Føyen exclusively. This shall apply even if the client has requested that the work be performed by one specific person.
1.4 The legal person or the person referred to as “the client” in our Confirmation of Assignment will be our client in every practical and legal sense of the term. Unless otherwise agreed, we may receive instructions from any person whom we reasonably assume is authorised by the client to give us instructions. We are only liable to the client and no one else is entitled to rely on our legal advice.
1.5 Føyen will be pleased to accept other assignments from the client in the future. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the General Terms and Conditions of Assignment will, along with our current hourly rates at any given time, also apply to such legal advice.
2.1 We will perform our services according to the rules applicable to us, including the Code of Conduct for Lawyers, and other rules of law in force.
2.2 Føyen will perform the services which form a natural part of the assignment which we have undertaken. The nature or extent of the services that need to be performed may change as the case develops. If the changes become significant, we will take this up with the client in order to reach an agreement as to any necessary changes in the nature/extent of the services and the Confirmation of Assignment.
2.3 Føyen will designate one partner in charge of the case or lawyer in the firm who will be responsible for the individual assignment. In some cases we will designate another lawyer as responsible for a specific part of an assignment. In addition, there may be other lawyers or other employees who will be working on the case to the extent we consider this expedient. The lawyer in charge will ensure that the assignment is performed in the best manner possible for the client, which includes an assessment of whether it would be more practical for parts of the assignment to be performed by another lawyer in charge, senior associate/associate, trainee or secretary.
2.4 Føyen’s legal advice is given on the basis of the circumstances of the individual case, the information available to us and the instructions we receive from you. Consequently, our advice cannot be relied on in other cases or be used for other purposes.
2.5 Føyen’s work often depends on our client (or our client’s other advisors or employees
etc.) providing information promptly. To avoid unnecessary work and in order to provide the best possible assistance, we rely on all information provided by our client being complete and correct, unless the client informs us to the contrary.
2.6 Føyen‘s aim is to respond to the client’s enquiries promptly while at the same time providing high-quality legal advice. We will at all times do our utmost to comply with the deadlines we have agreed on.
2.7 Some cases may require legal advisory service regarding the rules of law of other countries. We are only qualified to assist in issues relating to Norwegian law and will have no liability for advice on foreign law. It is the client’s own responsibility to retain advisors on foreign law. Føyen has extensive contact with international firms and will be able to assist in contacting such firms. However, any such involvement will be made on behalf of the client. Our client will be consulted before we obtain advice from our business partners, unless we have reasonable grounds to believe that our client expects Føyen to take the necessary steps to obtain such advice without first contacting the client.
2.8 Unless otherwise agreed in writing, our assistance only comprises legal advisory service and we do not have any responsibility for legal advisory service or documentation obtained from others. Our assistance does not include related issues under tax law, unless this is specified in the Confirmation of Assignment.
3.1 The point of departure for our invoicing is the time spent on dealing with the client’s case,professionally and efficiently. Unless otherwise agreed, Føyen will normally invoice the client on the basis of our current hourly rates, which are set out in the Confirmation of Assignment and posted on our website. We reserve the right to adjust our hourly rates. Hourly rates for individual employees may be adjusted in the course of the year in connection with a change in position category.
3.2 Shortest hourly entity is 0.25 hour or 15 minutes. For telephone conversations that do not consist of brief messages we charge for not less than 15 minutes (0.25 hour).
3.3 When determining the final fee, we will on a discretionary basis assess the invoice amount, which is based on the billing hours, in relation to other aspects of the case in question. The following factors may have a bearing on our assessment:
- whether the case has required special legal expertise
- whether it has been particularly complicated in terms of the legal issues that have been considered,
- whether the client has requested assistance at unsociable hours or with especially short time-limits,
- liability involved in the work performed (especially in connection with warranties, legal opinions etc.)
- result achieved
3.4 Each invoice will be accompanied by a specification of the work setting out the work carried out during the relevant period of time, the names of the lawyers who have worked on the case, fee accrued, hourly rate and the total number of billing hours comprised by the invoice.
3.5 We point out that Føyen’s hourly rates and calculation of fee do not apply to assistance from foreign law firms and our business partners.
3.6 If we give an estimate of Føyen’s fee, this is merely a rough calculation and does not entail an upper limit to our fee – or a fixed-price agreement. If we see that the estimate will be significantly exceeded, we will seek to inform the client as soon as possible, but the client is liable for the payment of our full fee even if the estimate is exceeded.
3.7 Føyen’s stated hourly rates/fees do not include costs and expenses. Examples of costs and expenses are travel expenses, other communication, charges and administration fees, miscellaneous office expenses (search costs, copying, telephone, postage and shipping), as well as the use of external services (see items 2.7 and 2.8). If the expenses are disproportionally high, we will, if the situation allows, consult the client before such expenses are incurred.
3.8 Legal services are subject to VAT. This means that VAT will be added to our fees and expenses to the extent this follows from current legislation. If VAT has not been added to our invoices and the tax authorities later claim us for VAT on the invoiced amounts, we can charge the client for the VAT amount we are required to pay. In the event of assignments for consumers we will also quote hourly rates inclusive of VAT.
3.9 Føyen normally invoices once a month.
3.10 Invoiced amounts fall due 14 days after date of invoice. Føyen will charge ordinary default interest on amounts that have not been paid at maturity. Føyen reserves the right to terminate our work for the client after having sent reasonable notice if the invoiced amount, including interest, has not been paid within four weeks from maturity. In addition, Føyen will have the right to exercise right of retention in received case documents, files etc., to cease further work on the case and to relinquish the assignment.
3.11 Any objection to an invoiced amount must be lodged as soon as possible and not later than two weeks from presentation of invoice. If no objection has been lodged within the said time-limit, the invoice will be regarded as accepted, paid or unpaid.
3.12 Føyen reserves the right to request advance payment or payment on account during the performance of the assignment to cover our fee, expenses and other costs. Such advance payments will be placed in our clients account and be treated as clients’ funds. Without instructions from our client these funds cannot be used for any other purposes than to pay our invoices. Our total fee may end up being higher or lower than the amount paid. In case of client’s failure to pay in advance where this is required, we reserve the right to relinquish the assignment or to terminate our work on the case.
3.13 Certain cases may be covered by legal expenses insurance. The insurance policy sets out whether the insurance comprises legal aid which may cover parts of the payment for legal assistance. It should be checked out whether this is relevant and, if so, the insurance company must be notified as soon as possible. For this purpose information about policy number and the name of the company that has the insurance is required. The client is responsible for checking whether he is entitled to insurance cover or other third-party cover in the matter (including cover of our fees and expenses), and for giving any required notices and to do whatever else may be required in order to benefit from such cover. We point out that our fee claim will not be limited to the amount which the insurance company decides that it is willing to cover. Our client will be liable for our fee claim regardless of any insurance cover. The insurance never covers the opponent’s litigation costs claim.
Before an assignment is finally accepted, we will seek to clarify whether there is any conflict of interest or any other matters which mean that our firm cannot or should not undertake the assignment. If considerations for our client so suggest and it is found unproblematic, work may start before the clarification procedure has been completed. We make the reservation that this may result in our having to relinquish the assignment. If the client is aware of such conflicts of interest, or in the event of the arising of any such conflicts, the client is required to disclose such information. We wish to point out that we may find ourselves in a situation where a conflict arises between the client’s interests and the interests of another of Føyen’s clients. If a conflict of interest should arise in connection with our work, we will contact the client.
5.1 Unless otherwise provided by mandatory rules of law, partners, board members or Føyen employees shall not have any personal liability in connection with assignments undertaken or work performed by Føyen. If such individuals are liable in damages under mandatory rules of law, items 5.2-5.8 of these General Terms and Conditions of Assignment shall apply similarly.
5.2 Even if we have stated our opinion as to the possible outcome of the case, this does not mean that we have any legal liability for this outcome being achieved.
5.3 Litigation before the courts entails a risk that in the event of a loss the court may hold you liable to pay the opponent’s costs, the costs of lay judges as well as court fees. The same applies to arbitration proceedings where you may also be held liable to pay the arbitrators’ fees and other expenses. This is the client’s own responsibility.
If the case is won with costs, but the court sets the opponent’s liability for costs at an amount lower than the fee we charge in accordance with this Confirmation of Assignment, our client is, regardless, liable to us for the full amount. The same applies to small-claims proceedings where our fee claim exceeds the statutory maximum rate (20 % of the disputed amount, not more than NOK 25,000.-, excluding VAT) as regards what can be claimed from the opponent.
5.4 Føyen’s liability is limited to direct and documented financial losses. Thus, Føyen is not liable for any indirect losses or consequential loss, including operational loss, loss of profit or loss of goodwill, etc. Liability is, in all circumstances, limited to NOK 30 million. Upon request, our client may be given access to the policy to the extent this is necessary for the client in order to establish Advokatfirmaet Føyen AS’ liability.
5.5 We have no liability for advisory services, assistance and/or documentation provided or prepared by others, including experts, consultants, auditors, other lawyers (including foreign lawyers), subcontractors etc. If there is a basis for liability for more than one party, Føyen’s part of the liability shall be limited to what may reasonably be attributed to Føyen’s legal advisory service. This shall apply even if the client should prove unable to recover his claim against other liable parties as a result of limitation of liability, insolvency or other circumstances.
5.6 The law firm is not liable for loss of managed clients’ funds resulting from bankruptcy or other circumstances attributable to the bank. The law firm points out that the banks’ hedge funds do not guarantee more than NOK 2 million in deposits per depositor (law firm) per bank. Only by special agreement to that effect will the law firm take steps to increase the extent of guarantee coverage of the clients’ funds.
5.7 If the client is entitled to insurance coverage or other coverage of loss, our liability to the client will be reduced by a corresponding amount. If we are required to pay an amount of compensation to the client, the client shall assign his rights to seek coverage with an insurance company or other third party to us or our insurance company.
5.8 Føyen shall not be liable for any delay or failure in the performance of Føyen’s obligations if such delay or failure is due to force majeure or other circumstances beyond our control.
6.1 It is desirable to be able to communicate electronically. However, the electronic transmission cannot be guaranteed to be safe or free from virus or errors. Such information may be interrupted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, received too late or be incomplete or in other ways be negatively impinged on or not safe to use. Both parties agree to use recognised virus control tools.
6.2 Føyen points out that we do not use encryption in our electronic correspondence. Unless otherwise established in the Confirmation of Assignment, the parties accept the risk and approve electronic communication for the transfer of information.
6.3 Our spam and virus filters and security precautions may from time to time reject or filter out legitimate e-mails. We therefore urge our clients to follow up important e-mails by telephone if a reply has not been received within a reasonable period of time.
6.4 Subject to what is covered by item 5, neither the client nor Føyen shall have any liability for loss incurred in connection with electronic communication of information between us.
7.1 Føyen is entitled to conduct client surveys and as a part of these send enquiries to client’s employees. Results and feedback from such surveys may be published in an anonymised form,.
7.2 Føyen may on their own website and in company presentations announce that the client is a business partner. Føyen may also refer to the assignment as a general reference. Presentation form and text beyond this are subject to the client’s prior approval.
8.1 Føyen has copyright and other intellectual property rights to all documents that the client receives from us (either in hard copy or on disc or via e-mail), unless otherwise agreed in writing. Our client may copy such documents for his own internal use but does not have the right to give the document or a copy of same to others without first having obtained Føyen’s written consent.
8.2 Føyen may vis-à-vis other clients use ideas, concepts and know-how that emerge in documents prepared for our clients (in any sort or form), or which have been developed in some other way during the work on the assignment.
8.3 When Føyen issues draft documents (either in hard copy, on disc or via e-mail), these may not be used until they have been approved by us.
8.4 Føyen stores case documents in our files (with the exception of any papers which the client wants returned). Documents will normally only be stored electronically. Føyen assumes that we have the client’s permission to shred case documents 10 years after Føyen has sent the client the final invoice for the assignment. Documents which the client has deposited with Føyen for safekeeping will not be shredded. Føyen will invoice for time spent on retrieving filed papers or documents if this takes more than one hour. Føyen invoices for the time it takes us to read the documents, write letters or do any other work necessary in order to meet the client’s instructions.
All clients’ funds that are entrusted to us will be dealt with in accordance with statutory rules relating to clients’ funds as well as rules and regulations laid down by the Norwegian Bar Association. We reserve the right to set off outstanding accounts against clients’ funds if settlement of invoice has not been made at maturity. This also applies to any advance payments deposited in our clients account.
10.1 In connection with the assignment personal information relating to our client will be registered. To the extent that our client passes on personal information to us about others, the client is required to obtain the necessary consent from the persons concerned. We only register and use personal information to the extent necessary for carrying out the assignment and administering the client’s affairs. Personal information will only released to others if it is for these purposes. This means that for example other parties, such as opponents, courts and public agencies, will only be given access to personal information to the extent necessary for carrying out the assignment. We will do our utmost to keep the registered personal information correct and updated. If our client realizes that information which we have received from the client is incorrect or incomplete, we request to be advised. Føyen will comply with current rules and regulations relating to the processing of personal information.
10.2 The client is entitled to access to and briefing about the processed information as well as to requiring correction of inadequate information.
11.1 Lawyers are under the law subject to a duty of confidentiality. Employees and other helpers are subject to the same duty. All Føyen employees have moreover signed a written non-disclosure statement and are authorised for access to information processed in connection with Føyen’s services. To the extent this is required by the case, it may be agreed that only a select group of our lawyers will be given access to the case documents. All information that we receive from or about our clients or others in connection with our work will be treated confidentially. Exemptions from a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality are set out in the law, for example in the Money Laundering Act.
11.2 There will be a need to communicate some of the information which our client gives us to others, for example in connection with applications for legal aid, use of experts and other necessary communication in order to look after the client’s interests. In addition, in legal aid coverage we will need to send documented salary requirements with specified time list and hourly rate to the insurance company. We assume that we have the client’s permission to disclose information as mentioned. Unless otherwise agreed or assumed, Føyen has the right to disclose an existing client relationship in order to explain conflicts of interest or as a reference to potential clients.
11.3 We point out that under the Money Laundering Act with related regulations we may be required to demand identity papers and necessary powers of attorney from our client to enable us to carry out identity checks when certain specific services are to be performed. Furthermore, we may in given situations have an obligation to conduct further internal investigations in case of suspicion of certain criminal offences and, in extreme cases, have a duty to report a matter to Økokrim (the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime). Such a duty may arise without us having the right to advise our client that Økokrim will be informed.
12.1 If the client is not satisfied with the work Føyen performs, or its fees, we request that the client contacts the lawyer in charge of the case immediately. In the alternative, Føyen’s general manager may be contacted. If you are dissatisfied with our services or fees, we would like to discuss this with you as soon as possible so that we may attempt to find a solution satisfactory to both parties.
12.2 The client has the right to an assessment of whether the assignment has been carried out in accordance with the code of professional conduct for lawyers. Our client also has the right to complain if he is dissatisfied with the size of the fee. In principle, the quality of work cannot be assessed by the disciplinary bodies.
As a main rule, the time-limit for filing a complaint is six months. The time-limit starts from the time the client became, or ought to have become, aware of the circumstances on which the complaint is based.
The complaint is heard by the Bar Association’s regional Disciplinary Committee for the Oslo Circuit as a first instance. A decision from the Disciplinary Committee may be appealed against to the Disciplinary Board.
The code of professional conduct for lawyers and further information about the complaint procedure are set out on the website of the Norwegian Bar Association www.advokatforeningen.no.
13.1 The client may at any time terminate the assignment.
13.2 We may only terminate our work on the case if
- there are reasonable grounds (such as e.g. the client fails to pay an invoice or becomes insolvent, that a conflict of interest arises, that it might be detrimental to our reputation or subject us to legal liability if we continue our work on the case)
- the client’s interests are deemed best served by the case being terminated as far as we are concerned, or
- in circumstances as set out in the code of conduct for lawyers.
13.3 We will carry out the instructions we have been given until the case is deemed concluded, and the client is liable for Føyen’s fee and expenses for the work performed until the termination of the assignment.
14. CHOICE OF LAW, JURISDICTION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION
14.1 The General Terms and Conditions of Assignment, Confirmations of Assignment which the client receives from us and all questions relating to Føyen’s assignment (including any liability issues) shall be subject to Norwegian law.
14.2 All disputes arising from Føyen’s assignment are subject to Norwegian jurisdiction with Oslo District Court as exclusive venue. Nevertheless, Føyen shall in the alternative – at its own option – have the right to commence legal proceedings before the client’s ordinary court of domicile.
We have the right to make amendments to the General Terms and Conditions of Assignment. The current version of the General Terms and Conditions of Assignment is posted on our website www.foyen.no. Any amendments will take effect when the amended version has been posted.