GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
These general terms and conditions («terms and conditions») apply to all services offered and performed by law firm Hansson AS («Hansson», «we» or «us»).
II ESTABLISHMENT, PERFORMANCE AND TERMINATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT
The assignment is signed by Advokatfirmaet Hansson AS and the Client.
All our services are performed by Hansson as a firm, and not by any other legal entity or any individual partner or employee of Hansson. The client contract will only be signed by Hansson. This applies even if the client has requested a specific attorney to perform the services.
The legal entity or the person names as «client» in our letter of engagement or any other agreement or contract («the client» or «you») will be our client in all legal and practical aspects of the term. Unless otherwise agreed, we may only receive instructions from any person we with reason can assume is entitled by the client to provide us with instructions. We are only responsible toward the client, and no other entity or individual has the right to base themselves upon our counseling.
Client managing attorney and case managing attorney
Each client and each new case is assigned a responsible attorney. Normally this is the same attorney, but it may happen that a client has a need for a different form of assistance than the client managing attorney and that reasons of efficiency dictate that one case shall be assigned a different attorney than the client managing attorney.
Assignment of client managing attorney and case managing attorney does not shift the law firm Hansson’s position as the counterparty of the client in regards to the assignment.
Conflicts of interest
Before undertaking an assignment, we always check if there is a potential conflict of interest in relations to our other clients, past or active.
In addition there may arise situations that prevent us from undertaking the assignment or act on your behalf in an ongoing or future matter. It is therefore of vital importance that we are provided with any relevant information in regards to uncovering or identifying the presence of a potential conflict of interest. Our conflict check only applies to work that falls within the agreed frames of the assignment. If we are asked to assist in other matters, we may have to run a new conflict check.
Client control (money laundering and identification control)
As attorneys, we are subject to certain laws and regulations seeking to prevent money laundering. We will therefor ask you for specific information to be used in our mandatory client control. This applies both to the first establishment of the client and at each assignment we accept. If we should not receive the necessary information from you, we may be prevented from accepting the assignment altogether.
Letter of engagement
We always provide clients with a letter of engagement for each assignment. This also applies to clients with multiple assignments.
The letter of engagement describes the scope of the assignment and the financial frame, and together with these terms and conditions it constitutes the contractual framework for the assignment. The assignment cannot be viewed as undertaken unless we have confirmed this through such a letter of engagement.
In the event of a conflict between the terms and conditions and the letter of engagement, latter shall prevail.
The extent of the assignment may however be altered, expanded or reduced due to instructions we received from you, the natural development of the case, other external circumstances etc.
In order to provide the best possible assistance, it’s of vital importance that we are given all necessary and pertinent information. We assume that all information provided by you is correct and complete. Should you become aware of any information being incorrect or incomplete, you are obliged to notify us immediately.
Our counseling is case-specific in the way that it is given and based upon the circumstances of the case, the information made available to us and instructions we receive form you as your client. Case-specific advice is therefore not transferrable to other cases or other purposes.
Unless otherwise agreed, our services only consists of legal advice and counselling and not advice on technical, financial, accounting, commercial, environmental or other non-legal matters. We have no responsibility or liability for advice or counselling related to such questions
Unless otherwise expressly agreed, our assistance in a specific case does not entail or provide council or advice relating to tax matter or potential tax consequences.
Unless otherwise agreed, our services are only provided for Norwegian legal matters. The client has a responsibility to consult and hire advisors about foreign law. We shall have no liability for advice on foreign law or foreign legal matters.
Use of client account
Funds transferred into our client accounts are handled in accordance with current Norwegian law and legislation. We shall have no liability for loss or damage following insolvency or bankruptcy with financial institutions where client funds are deposited. Prior to each transaction out of any client account we must get a written instruction from the proprietor of the funds (normally our client).
Assignments are normally terminated when the purpose of our assignment is fulfilled. At such termination, we will issue a final invoice alongside a letter describing the assignment and the achieved result, as well as questions regarding transmission of case documents to you.
The client can terminate the assignment anytime.
We can only terminate the assignment in the event of a reasonable ground, i.e. unpaid invoice, insolvency with the client, the discovery of a conflict of interest or that continued service may expose us or our reputation in a harmful manner or expose us to legal liability or as provided by the ethical Rules of Conduct for lawyer’s set by the Norwegian Bar Association. The client will regardless be required to pay our fee and expenses up until the closing of the assignment.
III FEE/ COMMISSION, EXPENSES AND INVOICING
Legal assignments are normally billed by the hour, and at the current hourly rate. The rate is determined by a number of factors, such as the type, size, complexity and time pressure of the assignment, the need for expert knowledge, the individual attorney’s level of experience and expertise, the values and risk factors related to the assignment, the expected length of the assignments and achieved results.
Real estate assignments are billed either by the hour or at a fixed price. We always offer both, and leave the decision to the client. Settlement (escrow) assignments are always billed by the hour.
Our work is billed in 0,25h increments.
Any estimate on the total fee is not to be considered as any form for amount restriction or fixed price agreement. The letter of engagement given at the start of each assignment states a cost budget for the assignment. This budget is only indicative in the sense that each assignment might require more or less work than what initially can be expected. If and when it becomes clear to us that the budget will not hold, we will send the client a written request for expansion and estimate e new budget.
We normally don’t accept assignments on so-called «no cure no pay»-basis. Only as a narrow exception do we apply such terms to an assignment, in which case the particular terms for calculation of fee’s and invoicing will be directly regulated in the letter of confirmation part 1.
We do not offer services on free legal aid.
Billing, expenses and payment
We bill monthly and in arrears for work performed the previous month, and with a final invoice when the assignment is fulfilled. Upon request we will provide updates on accrued fees. Our fee is not included VAT, which will come on top of the cost of our services.
In addition to the legal fee, we will also bill for expenses we’ve had in connection with the execution of the assignment, i.e. travel expenses, registry search charges, court fees, hotel, food and beverages, copying costs, translation expenses etc. If it becomes necessary to incur larger expenses, we will consult the client before making the expense. We have no surcharges on expenses, but VAT might be added to our expense.
Payments are due within 14 days of date of issue. Late payment fees will be added to overdue payments.
Unpaid invoices might also result in termination of all services for the client as well as retention in all received case files, electronic files etc.
Insolvency, bankruptcy og debt negotiations of the client will automatically result in simultaneous maturity of all our claims, even if invoices have not been issued. Insolvency provides Hansson with the right to offset any funds deposited in any of our client accounts.
Any complaints must be sent to case managing attorney within 30 days of date of issue.
We reserve the right to ask any client for an advance payment. Such an advance will be used to pay our invoices in the case. Our total fee might be more or less than the advance.
The client is solely responsible for investigating any insurance coverage or other third party coverage relevant for the case, including the coverage of our invoices and expenses, and to give necessary notifications and to perform all actions necessary to make use of such coverage.
The better the case is clarified and prepared from you as a client, the more efficient we can work. This may affect the size of our fee.
All communications to and from the opposing side must go through us, and the client must notify us immediately of any direct communication from the opposing party, opposing party’s legal counsel or others who may have significance to the case or our assignment.
The client will be informed of important correspondence from and to us in the assignment, and receive a copy.
Information processing and confidentiality
Electronic communication (first and foremost e-mail) is preferred. However, we cannot guarantee this form of communication to be secure, virus-free or in real time. Both sides agree to use reputable tools for virus control and protection.
Hansson do not use encryption of electronic communication. Unless otherwise expressly stated in the letter of engagement part I, both parties accept the risk and agree to use electronic communication for the exchange of information.
Please note: Our spam- and virus filters may result in e-mails being rejected or considered spam. Important e-mails should always be followed up with a phone call in the absence of a timely response from us. We make sure to always have all necessary security programs updated to ensure as far as we can that all information given by us is secure, but electronic exchange of information is always insecure to some degree. We emphasize that we are free from liability if our filtering programs should prove ineffective or the client’s systems should become virus infected or in any other negative way be affected due to an e-mail from us.
Specifically regarding privacy and processing of personal data (GDPR)
As part of the performance of our services, we will process personal data. This also applies to personal data beyond each current assignment, i.e. for purposes of client follow-up. We never disclose personal data to third parties unless this is called for in the execution of the assignment. Requests of deletion or amendments of personal data in our possession can be directed to us, but we may decline such requests if deletion or amending will constitute breach of law or binding policy, or prevent or complicate our execution of the assignment.
Specific requirements pursuant to the Norwegian Money Laundering Act
As lawyers, we are subject to certain rules and regulations and imposed actions against money laundering. Before we can perform any services for you, we must ask for certain information and documentation we need to perform a mandatory client control. This applies to all clients, whether you are a private person or a professional, Norwegian or foreign. If we do not receive the necessary information and documentation from you, we will be prohibited from accepting the assignment. Please note: Under certain circumstances, we are obliged to make internal examinations of potential unlawful or criminal offenses, and ultimately have a duty to report to the authorities. Such duty to report may occur without a corresponding right to inform our client that the authorities are notified.
Duty of confidentiality
We are subject to a strict, statutory duty of confidentiality and we neither can nor will disclose documents or information that we receive from or about the client in connection with any assignment to third parties without the preceding consent of the client.
In certain instances, we may be ordered to disclose confidential information, i.e. from the courts, by the authorities in the event of a suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing etc. In the latter, we are prohibited from notifying the client of such a suspicion or of the potential or actual report to the authorities.
We maintain the right to disclose our role as legal counsel for the client in cases that are publically known (also the use of the client’s logo) under the prerequisite that we never disclose information that is not publically known. We will always try to obtain preceding consent from the client before disclosing client names or assignments to third parties.
IV INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Hansson retains copyright to all material (documents, files and all other copyright protected material) that is developed by us for the client.
Information that is gathered and compiled in the course of an assignment may be used for generic data processing. Any connection or traceability to a client or assignment will be removed.
Simultaneously with the payment of our invoices, the client acquire a cost free right to use the material for the agreed or assumed use.
V RIGHT OF COMPLAINT
Should the client become dissatisfied with our performance or the calculation of our fee, we encourage the client to take this up with the client managing or the case managing attorney.
The Disciplinary Council of the Norwegian Bar Association handle complaints about attorney infringements on the ethical Rules of Conduct or claiming too high fees. As a main rule the complaint must be files within 6 months of the awareness of the conditions that the complaint is based on. The decision of the Disciplinary Council may be appealed to the Disciplinary Committee.
More information is available at a request to the Secretariat of the Norwegian Bar Association or on its website: https://www.advokatforeningen.no/
VI DISCLAIMER/ LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Responsibility for outcome
Even if we have expressed our opinion of the potential outcome of the assignment, we are in no way responsible or guarantor of that result being achieved.
Responsibility for legal fees
Court cases always entails the risk of loss and thereby the coverage of opposing side’s legal fees and expenses such as co-judges and translator etc. as well as the court fee. The same applies to arbitration, where the losing side also can be required to cover the fee of the arbitrators and other expenses.
If the case is won with legal costs, but the court set the costs lower that our fee, the client is required for the full amount as stated in the Letter of Engagement part I. The same applies in cases before Forliksrådet or in court cases with claims below NOK 125,000 where our fee will exceed the bar for maximum costs as can be claimed refunded by the opposing side.
Experience shows that court assignments entail work that is important for the client, but that may not be eligible for cost reimbursement from the opposing side. The portion that is claimed from the opposing party may be fully or partly reduced by the court.
In these instances the client is still fully required to pay us the full amount.
Unless it does not follow mandatory laws, no partner, director or employee of Hansson shall become personally liable for accepted assignments or services rendered by Hansson. Should such persons have a personal liability according to mandatory rules, the limitation of liability in this section V of our general terms and conditions shall apply accordingly.
Limitation of liability
Neither Hansson nor any single partner or employee shall under any circumstance be liable for indirect loss or consequential damages. A potential liability for Hansson will always be limited to the collective billed fee. Under no circumstance will Hansson be liable for losses larger than our maximum insurance coverage of NOK 10 million for legal aid and NOK 45 million for real estate brokerage – for each event of damage.
If the client is entitled to insurance coverage or other coverage of losses, Hansson’s liability toward the client will be reduced accordingly. Should we pay compensation to the client, the client must transfer its rights for insurance coverage or coverage by other third party to us or our insurance company.
If the client’s claim toward us is based on a claim toward the client from a third party (including public authorities) Hansson preserves the right to handle, defend and settle the claim on behalf of the client if we accept to hold the client indemnified for the claim. If the client pays, settles or acknowledges liability without our preceding written consent, Hansson is free of liability toward the client.
In connection with the assignment, it may become necessary or advisable to hire other consultants or specialists outside Hansson, i.e. accounting, valuation or law firms in other jurisdictions. The client will maintain the role as contracting party opposite such advisors, even if practical reasons dictate their invoice is directed to Hansson. Such advisors are themselves liable toward the client, and we assume no liability for external advisors.
Force majeure etc.
Hansson is not liable for delays or failure in the execution of Hansson’s obligations when such delay or impairment are due to circumstances outside our control.
VII ARCHIVES/ CASE DOCUMENTS STORAGE
As lawyers, we are subject to certain duties, requirements and regulations for storage/ retention of information and files. This applies both to documents we receive and documents we draw up in connection with any assignment. As a main rule, all case files are stored for 10 years, unless longer retention is agreed upon or consented to. The documents are stored physically and electronically. Data pertaining to client relationships are deleted after 10 years of inactivity, and all case files are deleted 10 years following closing of the case. We will not notify in advance of deletion.
We maintain the right to alter our general terms and conditions at any time. The current version is available at our website:
It is also obtainable by a written request to our office. The terms and conditions are written in Norwegian and English.
IX DISPUTE RESOLUTION, APPLICABLE LAW AND JURISDICTION
Our general terms and conditions and all matters relating to our assignments, including potential questions of liability, are regulated by Norwegian applicable law and is subject to Norwegian jurisdiction.
Oslo District Court is chosen as exclusive competent court for any potential dispute arising from the contractual relationship between Hansson and the client.