1. These general terms and conditions shall apply to all services of Spong advocaten B.V. (hereafter: Spong advocaten). In the event of any differences between the English text and the Dutch text of these general terms and conditions, the Dutch text shall prevail. The Dutch text (“Algemene voorwaarden”) is available on the office website.
2. Setting aside articles 7:404, 7:409 and 7:422, first paragraph, under b, of the Civil Code, all assignments shall only be accepted and carried out by Spong advocaten.
3. Spong advocaten is a company fulfilling the requirements set thereto by the Netherlands Bar.
4. These general terms and conditions shall also serve for the benefit of the directors, as well as for the persons who work for the company.
5. Any liability of Spong advocaten shall be limited to the amount that by reason of its liability insurance would be paid out in the matter in question, increased by the amount of a possible deductible that is not borne by the insurer according to the policy conditions. If and insofar, for whatever reasons, payment does not take place by reason of the liability insurance, liability shall be limited to the maximum of the amount of the invoice(s) in the case concerned.
Calling in third parties
6. Upon calling in third parties Spong advocaten shall, if this is reasonably possible, consult beforehand with its principal, and at any rate exercise due care in selecting third parties. Spong advocaten shall not be liable for shortcomings of these third parties. The principal agrees to Spong advocaten accepting stipulations limiting the liability of third parties on behalf of the principal.
7. In cases accepted without a legal aid certificate, Spong advocaten shall only commence or continue its activities for principal after principal shall have paid an advance or, where appropriate, shall have furnished security. The level thereof shall in reasonableness be determined by Spong advocaten.
8. In accordance with the Regulation on administration and financial integrity of the Netherlands Bar, Spong advocaten consults with the Dean of the Netherlands Bar if cash payments of EUR 5.000 or more are accepted or made. Monies on deposit shall preferably be refunded to principal by giro. In case of cash refunds, principal will be charged for external courier services.
9. Unless otherwise agreed on in writing, the fee that principal is to pay to Spong advocaten shall be calculated on the basis of the number of hours worked multiplied by the hourly rates to be determined annually by Spong advocaten and increased by V.A.T. Costs that Spong advocaten pays to third parties on behalf of principal shall be charged separately. A 7% percentage of the fee shall be charged by way of reimbursement of all general office costs. General office costs do not only include costs such as paper, postage, telephone, fax, copying and e-mail costs, but also all other costs related to the provision of service in a case, as well as all costs arising from the Bookkeeping Regulation of the Netherlands Bar.
10. Unless otherwise immediately agreed on, Spong advocaten shall send an invoice for its activities once every month. Invoices are to be paid within fourteen days after date of invoice, in the absence of which the activities may be suspended and legal interest may be charged. Collection charges shall be borne by principal.
Recording telephone conversations on data carrier
11. For efficiency reasons, Spong advocaten may record the contents of a telephone conversation conducted by a lawyer on a sound carrier.
Access to the office
12. Where appropriate Spong advocaten will only grant principal access to the office after identification with valid proof of identity.
Legal assistance in collaboration, mutual replacement
13. Where appropriate Spong advocaten will provide legal assistance in collaboration with one or more office colleagues. If necessary, Spong advocaten shall be free to mutually arrange replacement options for participation in legal proceedings.
Providing defence briefs prior to court sessions
14. In principle, Spong advocaten does not provide principal with draft defence briefs prior to a court session, unless principal has specifically requested this in writing, timely provision is practically feasible and Spong advocaten deems it useful for adequate legal assistance in principal’s case.
Publicity about a case
15. Within the context of advocating principal’s interests and with due regard to the Regulation on publicity of the Netherlands Bar, Spong advocaten shall be free, without further consultation but with due observance of principal’s privacy, to contribute to publicity about a case. Spong advocaten shall also have this freedom after a case has been terminated, provided that this takes place in consultation with principal as much as possible. Spong advocaten may furthermore contribute to publicity about a case outside the context of advocating principal’s interests, provided that this does not harm these interests.
Returning, archiving and destroying documents after termination of activities
16. On termination of its activities for principal, Spong advocaten shall return documents received from principal and any legal documents by regular mail and archive the case file. It reserves the right to destroy archived files 5 years after archiving with due observance of the applicable regulations. After the termination of a case, court documents received from a judicial authority in criminal proceedings shall, without delay, either be returned to that authority or be destroyed.
Office complaints procedure, complaint form, client satisfaction survey form
17. Spong advocaten has an office complaints procedure (“kantoorklachtenregeling”). The regulation for this procedure is available on the office website. The first paragraph of article 5 of that regulation contains a weblink to a complaint form which may be used to lodge a complaint. Article 9 of that regulation stipulates where the complaint may be submitted if it has not been dealt with to the complainant’s satisfaction. Spong advocaten shall provide a client satisfaction survey form upon request.
Applicability Dutch law, dispute resolution by competent court in Amsterdam
18. The legal relationship between Spong advocaten and its principals shall be governed exclusively by Dutch law. All disputes arising from that legal relationship shall only be settled by the competent court in Amsterdam. The compaints and disputes regulation for the legal profession (“Klachten- en Geschillenregeling Advocatuur”) does not apply to these disputes. Spong advocaten may however decide, in a so-called “akte van compromis”, to agree with a principal in a specific case to lay a dispute before the complaints board for the legal profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur).