1.1 These general terms are in force for all legal assignments that are undertaken or otherwise carried out by any of VAARs attorneys or employees in connection with this Letter of Confirmation. In the event of conflict, the engagement letter or special term will apply. 1.2 All attorneys and assistant attorneys attached to VAAR are certified to practice or authorized to conduct legal affairs in Norway by the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice. Each and every attorney and assistant attorney is a member of the Norwegian Bar Association and is consequently subject to the Norwegian Bar Association’s special resolutions and agreements concerning obligatory continued education and processing of disciplinary actions..
2. INITIATION AND COMPLETION OF ASSIGNMENT
2.1 The description of the assignment is given in the Letter of Confirmation and may be supplemented by agreements made either orally or in written correspondence. 2.2 Each and every assignment shall be linked to a responsible attorney in VAAR, who will be able to provide assistance using other employees in the firm to complete parts of the assignment. 2.3 As a main rule, with regards to the Money Laundering Act, there shall be a background check of the client, including verification of the client’s identity. The client is obliged to assist in this process. Please note that upon suspicion of the existence of transactions that are connected with the proceeds of criminal acts, etc., VAAR is obliged to report the matter to ØKOKRIM, without informing the client or any third party about the matter. 2.4 Before an assignment can be initiated, there shall be an evaluation as to whether there is any conflict of interest or other conditions that might indicate that VAAR cannot or should not take on the assignment. The client is obliged to assist in the process. A similar evaluation shall be made in the event that a new Party enters the case. If it is in the best interest of the client and if there are no contraindications, the assignment can be initiated before the evaluation has been completed. In such a case, VAAR can decline the case at a later point in time if there are grounds for such an action. 2.5 In order for VAAR to promote the interests of the client in the best possible fashion, it is necessary for the client to provide the firm with full and prompt disclosure of information about the facts of the case and about the results that the client desires to achieve in the case. 2.6 All communication to and from the opposite Party shall be cleared and directed through VAAR. VAAR and the client shall keep each other oriented about communication that has taken place with the Parties involved.
3. CALCULATION OF FEES AND INVOICING
3.1 Unless otherwise agreed upon, the basis for invoicing for the assignment shall be the time spent on effective, professional work on the assignment. Our hourly rates are specified in appendix 1, following this Letter of Confirmation. They are also made available on upon request. 3.2 The minimum unit of time is 0.25 hour (15 minutes). Telephone conversations and such, which do not consist of very short messages, are calculated as a minimum of 0.25 hour. 3.3 In addition, after the hourly fee is set, discretion may be exercised in consideration of the nature and complexity of the work, the outcome of the case, as well as how effective the assignment has been done, taking into consideration the background, experience and any special competence of the attorney. There shall be a reasonable correlation between the hourly fee and the work done by the attorney and the other employees of the firm. 3.4 The client is responsible for any court fees, expenses due to expert witnesses and any other expenses that may result from the legal process. The client is also responsible for the opponent’s legal costs, if they are so fined. The legal costs will often, but not always, be laid on the losing Party. 3.5 The legal fees demanded by VAAR shall not be limited, in the event that the client is awarded less compensation for legal fees than the amount of legal fees owed to VAAR. 3.6 Legal limitations to the client’s right to demand compensation from the opposite Party for legal costs shall not limit VAAR’s demands for legal fees on the client. Such limitations shall be a matter for the Conciliation Board (forliksrådet) and the Small Claims Courts (småkravsprosess). (Jf. tvisteloven § 6-13 (1) bokstav d og § 10-5 (2)) 3.7 Together with the monthly invoice, there shall be a specified overview showing work completed, expenditures, etc. Any delay in payment shall result in the addition of default interest, in accordance with the Act Regarding Interest on Overdue Payments, etc. 3.8 All costs and expenditures advanced by VAAR shall be billed together with the attorney fees. VAT may be added to invoices of any further expenditures.
4. EXTERNAL COVERAGE OF SALARY COSTS
According to the Act on Free Legal Aid, certain cases may be granted the right to legal assistance covered by the public (free legal aid). Some types of cases always qualify for free legal aid, while other types of case presume that the client has no income or wealth respectively. NOK 246,000 (single), NOK 369,000 (married couple, reg. partners, etc.) and NOK 100,000 (net worth). The county governor may in certain cases make exceptions to the limits. Further information on free legal aid can be obtained from the County Governor or at our office. The client is encouraged to raise the issue of free legal aid coverage with the responsible attorney for a specific assessment.
The client’s possible legal aid insurance, home insurance, travel insurance or other insurance schemes may cover the costs of legal assistance in certain types of cases, depending on the terms of the insurance contract. The client is obliged to provide the law firm with the necessary information for an assessment of the scope of the insurance contract. The client is responsible for any deductible or intermediary between the law firm’s fee requirements and the amount covered by the insurance company.
VAAR is responsible according to the general rules for the professional responsibility of attorneys and is legally bound to be covered by provision of security by surety, with no geographic limitations. VAAR’s surety bond agent is Zurich Insurance PLC, Norway Branch.
Unless otherwise agreed upon, the assignment does not cover legal counselling in connection with cases that deal with legal matters concerning taxes, rates and dues.
VAAR shall not be held liable for indirect losses, including loss of profit or faults committed by councillors that the client has been referred to by the firm, or for the work of sub-contractors who have been entrusted by VAAR to complete parts of the assignment after agreement with the client.
VAAR shall not be held liable for any loss that may result if the actual outcome of the case is not in accordance with the outcome that was expected based on VAAR’s evaluation of the case.
6. HANDLING OF INFORMATION
7. CONFLICT RESOLUTION
In the event that the client is dissatisfied with the execution of the assignment or with the calculation of fees, the client is encouraged to immediately take up the matter with the responsible attorney or the manager. VAAR shall immediately evaluate the conditions of the complaint.
As a rule, the complaint must be registered within six (6) months after the client becomes aware, or should have become aware, about the basis for the complaint. More information to be found at: www.advokatenhjelperdeg.no
Conflicts in conjunction with the assignment agreement shall be decided according to Norwegian law and shall only be brought before a Norwegian Court of Law.
8. REVISIONS IN THE TERMS OF THE ASSIGNMENT AND PRICES
The general terms for the assignment are normally revised one time annually, or if the need arises otherwise. Changes in fees are made at the end-year without further notice and automatically in compliance with the consumer pricing index provided by Statistics Norway.