Terms and conditions
I. General details concerning the office and accessibility
1. Van Kooten Advocaten is a trade name of the public limited company Van Kooten Advocaten N.V. The company is registered in the Trade Register under number 58250360.
2. These conditions apply to all engagements that have been accepted by a lawyer employed at the public limited company Van Kooten Advocaten N.V. on behalf of this company. Deviating agreements are only valid if they have been confirmed to you in writing on behalf of Van Kooten Advocaten. All of our engagements are governed by Dutch law.
3. Our office can be reached by telephone on working days from 9 am to 5 pm.
4. If you so desire, you can hand in documents at our branch offices on working days from 9 am to 5 pm.
II. Performance of the engagement
1. Our office organisation complies with the Quality Standard of the Netherlands Bar Association.
2. Van Kooten Advocaten is free to determine which lawyer performs the engagement. The applicability of Articles 7:404 of the Dutch Civil Code and 7:407(2) of the Dutch Civil Code is excluded.
3. Our correspondence is conducted digitally. This means that you will receive correspondence, procedural documents and claims by e-mail unless agreed otherwise.
4. Important documents, such as procedural documents, are presented to you first as a draft if possible. This is not always possible in urgent situations.
5. Our firm has the right to engage third parties on your behalf within the context of your engagement (for example a bailiff).
6. You are not allowed to reproduce, disclose or exploit our advice, contracts or procedural documents without the prior, written approval of Van Kooten Advocaten.
7. No interest will be paid if funds that belong to you or that are for your benefit are deposited into the bank account of Stichting Beheer Derdengelden Van Kooten Advocaten. The cost price of payment transactions will be charged to you.
8. After the case has ended, the file will be archived for a period of seven years and only in digital form. It will be destroyed without further notice after that period. You have the option of picking up the physical file. It can also be sent to you at cost.
1. An hourly rate will be agreed for our activities. This hourly rate depends in part on the number of years’ experience of the relevant lawyer. In the case of a lawyer who works as a junior or medior at the time the engagement commences, the hourly rate will be increased in the interim, for the first time after one year, to the hourly rate that applies for a medior or senior if the acting lawyer has been classified by our firm as a medior or senior during the term of the engagement.
2. The hourly rate included in the confirmation of the engagement will be indexed annually in accordance with Legal Profession Commercial Services price index figure published by Statistics Netherlands. The activities are claimed in six-minute units. That means that at least six minutes are also claimed for short telephone calls and short letters or e-mails.
3. The agreed hourly rate is increased by 6% in unspecified disbursements and turnover tax (VAT).
4. Specified disbursements are costs that are incurred specifically for your case, such as court fees, bailiff’s costs, administrative charges and travel expenses (€0.50 per kilometre for personal transportation). These are charged on to you.
5. Invoices must be paid within 14 days after the invoice date unless the invoice states a different term. If you do not pay on time you will be in default without such requiring a further demand for payment or notice of default. You will owe statutory (commercial) interest on the outstanding amount from that date.
6. We will have the right to suspend our activities in relation to all of your cases if you are in default. In the event collection measures are necessary as well, the time spent on the collection will be charged to you at the agreed hourly rate, if necessary increased by bailiff’s costs and court fees.
7. If you disagree with an invoice you will have the right to complain in writing or by e-mail for a period of 30 days. You will be deemed to have agreed if you have not submitted a complaint during this term. You will never have the right to suspend your payment obligation.
8. Our firm uses advance invoices as a rule and these must be paid by return of post. Any total number of hours stated thereon will ultimately be set off against the number of hours actually worked on your case. The activities will not commence until you have paid the advance invoice.
9. In addition to a bank transfer, invoices can also be paid in cash or by means of a PIN transaction (only at the Utrecht office) during the business hours of our firm.
10. You are required to inform us immediately if you have taken legal expenses insurance and you are also required to report the legal problem to your insurer. If you do not do so on time, the insurer may refuse to compensate the costs that were incurred. You will always be liable and have ultimate responsibility for payment of our invoices, therefore also in the event the insurer refuses to pay all or part of these invoices.
IV. Subsidised legal assistance
1. The right to subsidised legal aid means that the government pays part of the lawyer’s fees. You usually have to pay a personal contribution. The Legal Aid Board determines the amount. You will receive a discount on the court fee and several official acts performed by a bailiff are free of charge. Court fees, administrative charges and other disbursements are charged on to you.
2. A cost order may involve thousands of euros; the amount depends in part on the size of the claims and the number of procedural acts. This does not influence the right to subsidised legal aid: if the court should issue a cost order against you will be required to pay it in full!
3. If it is likely that you qualify for subsidised legal aid our firm will arrange for an application for that purpose. This requires that you provide all information needed for this purpose when the engagement commences.
4. If the application for subsidised legal aid is rejected, for example in connection with your income and/or assets, the hourly rate included in the confirmation of the engagement will apply.
5. It may also be the case that the application is rejected because outdated data were assumed during the assessment. If your income decreased significantly during the past period for example, you will have the right to submit what is known as an Application for a change in the reference year. Our firm does not arrange this for you. You are required to submit this application within six weeks after the decision of the Legal Aid Board. You can find the relevant form at www.rvr.org.
6. If a lawyer has been assigned to you, said assignment may be withdrawn later for example in the event a considerable financial result is realised. In such cases, you will be sent an invoice after the fact on the basis of the hourly rate agreed in the confirmation of the engagement.
1. Our firm has taken out professional liability insurance. This insurance offers a maximum cover of €1,000,000 and complies with the relevant rules imposed by the Netherlands Bar Association. Our liability is limited to the amount paid out by the insurer in relevant cases. If the insurer does not make payment and it is established that our firm is nevertheless liable, liability will be limited to at most the amount that was invoiced to you within the context of that engagement.
2. We will not be liable for errors committed by third parties (for example a bailiff) that are engaged by our firm. The provisions above concerning our liability insurer will apply if it is nevertheless established that we are liable.
3. Any claim against Van Kooten Advocaten lapses after expiry of one year after the day on which the party that has the claim was aware or should have been aware within reason of the facts on which it bases its claim.
4. In addition to Van Kooten Advocaten, other parties, such as former employees of Van Kooten Advocaten and other parties who were engaged in the performance of the engagement, may also invoke these general terms and conditions.
VI. Complaints and dispute settlement scheme
1. The complaints officer within our firm is Mr T. van Kooten: you can turn to him if you have questions or complaints concerning the services provided by our firm.
2. We are affiliated with the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession. This means that disputes pursuant to our services and invoices are settled in accordance with the Legal Profession Disputes Committee Rules. These rules can be requested from the secretary of the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (telephone number 070-3105310) or you can download them from the website www.degeschillencommissie.nl or from our firm’s website.
3. These rules provide inter alia that disputes are settled by binding advice or in the cases described therein by means of arbitration.