Terms and Conditions
These general terms and conditions apply to all assignments that Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS (hereinafter “Simonsen Vogt Wiig”) or the firm’s lawyers or employees undertake or carry out.
Simonsen Vogt Wiig is registered in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises with its head office in Oslo.
Simonsen Vogt Wiig will endeavour to address the client’s interests in an optimal manner. The assignment will be performed in compliance with our quality assurance routines.
In addition to these general terms and conditions the Norwegian Bar Association’s rules on fee calculation, ethical rules and the Lawyer Regulations all apply.
All lawyers affiliated with Simonsen Vogt Wiig are members of the Norwegian Bar Association and are thus subject to the Association’s rules in addition to the laws and statutory regulations applicable to the practice of law.
2. Establishment of the assignment
Before an assignment is finally accepted, we will seek to clarify whether there exists a conflict of interest or other situation that means that our firm cannot, or ought not, undertake the assignment. Such evaluation is also made concurrently in relation to any new parties that may be involved in the case. If the interests of the client so dictate, and no reasons are known to the contrary, the work may be commenced before the clarification has been completed. A proviso is made that this may oblige us at a later date to resign the engagement.
In connection with the assignment we will perform an identity check and if necessary report pursuant to the Act pertaining to Measures against Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism etc. (the Money-Laundering Act).
If the assignment is subsequently extended in relation to what has been agreed, we will send a confirmation of this, unless the extension is apparent from other correspondence between the parties.
Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s assistance does not include related tax questions unless specified in the confirmation of the assignment.
3. Lawyer in charge
For all assignments there will be designated a lawyer in charge pursuant to Section 232 of the Courts Act. In addition, there may be other lawyers or other employees working on the case to the extent expedient. The lawyer in charge will ensure that the assignment is performed in an optimal manner for the client, including evaluating whether parts of the assignment would most expediently be performed by the assigned lawyer, case officer or secretary.
If the client has special wishes about which lawyer should perform the assignment, these will normally be accepted.
Unless otherwise agreed, invoicing will be based on a combination of time spent and the nature of the assignment. The following factors will be relevant to the stipulation of fees:
- Whether the case has demanded special legal expertise, or use of empirical material,
- Whether it has been unusually complicated with regard to the legal issues considered,
- Whether the client has demanded help at particularly onerous working times or with unusually tight deadlines,
- The liability for the work performed (particularly in connection with warranties, legal opinions and the like) and the result achieved.
In principle, an hourly rate is calculated pursuant to Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s standard rate intervals, adjusted for the above-mentioned factors. The hourly rates of the lawyers who consider the case will be stated in the Letter of Engagement that is sent when the assignment is established. Our hourly rates are adjusted on 1 January every year. In addition, all outlays in connection with the assignment will be invoiced separately, see Section 5.
In principle, invoicing is done monthly. If a different practice is desired, this must be specifically agreed. Invoices will generally be payable per 14 days. Each invoice will be accompanied by a specification of the work, showing what work was done in the period and by which lawyers. We will issue invoices for each case registered with us.
Legal services are generally subject to value-added tax (VAT). This means that VAT will be additional to our fees and our outlays in connection with our performance of the assignment.
Pursuant to the rules of the Norwegian Bar Association, no agreements will be made on calculation of fees as a percentage of the results of the case. You may, however, ask to be informed how much the case is estimated to cost, and an upper limit may be set in such a way that further work is put on hold until we have a new approval from yourself. Such an agreement must be made separately and to be binding must be included in our Letter of Engagement or in separate written confirmation.
If an invoice is not settled when due, Simonsen Vogt Wiig may:
- Demand penalty interest pursuant to the Act pertaining to Interest on Delayed Payments (see www.forsinkelsesrente.no) from the due date until payment is made, with the addition of any collection and enforcement costs, and/or
- Interrupt all further performance of the assignment for the client, in both the assignment in question and other assignments, and/or
- Invoke the right of retention of received case documents, files etc., and/or
- Set off against any amounts in the client account, when this is otherwise permitted by current regulations.
In addition to fees, costs for copying, unusually large communications expenses, overtime for legal secretaries, expenses for courier services or travel/meeting expenses will be invoiced separately.
External assistance (experts, appraisers, medical reports etc.) will be invoiced to you directly or via ourselves, unless otherwise agreed specifically. Such outlays must generally be paid in advance. We do not operate with any mark-up for administration of external assistants, as this is posted as ordinary use of time.
6. Engagement of advisers outside Simonsen Vogt Wiig
In connection with some assignments it may be necessary or advisable to engage other advisers outside Simonsen Vogt Wiig, e.g. auditing or legal assistance in other countries. Simonsen Vogt Wiig will discuss this with the client when the situation arises, including who is to be engaged. The client will himself have the status of client vis-à-vis such advisers external to Simonsen Vogt Wiig, which includes being liable for their remuneration, even if these for practical reasons address their invoices to Simonsen Vogt Wiig. Such advisers external to Simonsen Vogt Wiig shall themselves be responsible to their clients, and Simonsen Vogt Wiig thus accepts no liability for them.
7. Advance payment
We reserve the right to demand advance payment of our fees, outlays and other costs. Such advance payment will be placed in our client account, treated as client funds, and cannot – without instructions from the client – be used for anything other than coverage of our invoices. In the event of failure to make advance payment where it is required, we reserve the right to resign the engagement or stop our work on the case.
8. Client funds
All client funds entrusted to us will be handled in compliance with statutory rules on client funds, plus regulations stipulated by the Norwegian Bar Association. The funds will be temporarily placed in a client account with Nordea Bank Norge ASA, designed in NOK, unless otherwise agreed. We accept no liability for client funds that are lost despite being handled in compliance with the applicable regulations, for example through the bank where the funds are deposited becoming insolvent, placed under administration or similar.
Client funds paid to us in Euro will be deposited in a Euro account. USD will be placed in a USD account and all other currencies will be placed in a NOK client account.
9. Non-disclosure and data protection
All information we receive from or about clients or others in connection with our work will be kept confidential. The exception from lawyer-client privilege follows inter alia from the Money Laundering Act. All partners and employees in Simonsen Vogt Wiig are subject to a duty of nondisclosure and have signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Client information and documents are stored in a joint document handling system where the access for Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS and Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Kristiansand DA, Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Trondheim AS and Simonsen Vogt Wiig Services Pte. Ltd. Singapore and their partners and employees is restricted pursuant to current legislation and justifiable cause, including administrative processing and justifiable internal exchange between lawyers and potential external advisers having been engaged, and in relation to opposite parties and public bodies to the extent required for the case.
Unless otherwise agreed or required, Simonsen Vogt Wiig is entitled to declare an existing client relationship in order to explain a conflict of interest or as a reference for potential clients.
Personal data are handled in accordance with the prevailing data protection legislation and our privacy statement available on our home page www.svw.no. Questions concerning the treatment of personal data may be addressed to the lawyer in charge.
We use electronic communication, such as e-mail, for communication with clients and third parties. There is always a certain security risk involved with using electronic communication. Normally, we do not make use of encrypted e-mails or mobile telephony. Should the assignment presume special requirements with respect to means of communication, the lawyer in charge must be notified of this prior to commencing working on the assignment.
In order to maintain information security, we engage professional suppliers of anti-virus and firewall solutions. Beyond the responsibility of the service providers, Simonsen Vogt Wiig is not liable for any loss due to errors, defects, damage, accident, virus, downtime etc. with respect to electronic communication.
11. Money-laundering measures
Please note that pursuant to the money-laundering regulations, we may be legally obliged to demand identity papers and necessary authorisations from the client in order to perform identity control when specific services are to be performed. Furthermore, we may have a duty to undertake closer investigations where there is suspicion of particular criminal acts, and in the extreme / consequence be obliged to report the matter to relevant authorities. Such a reporting duty may arise without us being entitled to inform the client of this.
12. Liability in damages and insurance/furnishing of security
Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s liability follows the ordinary compensation rules of Norwegian law. Our liability (including the personal liability of an employee, partner or the lawyer in charge) shall never exceed NOK 50,000,000 (fifty million Norwegian crowns) for each assignment, unless a different limit has been agreed in the individual assignments.
The liability in damages is in all circumstances capped at Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s third-party liability cover, which will be stated and documented in the event we invoke this limit. Simonsen Vogt Wiig has taken out insurance cover on terms drawn up by the Norwegian Bar Association.
Simonsen Vogt Wiig accepts no liability for external advisers, see also Section 6.
The limit of liability in this section (paragraph 1- 3) also applies to any claim brought by another party than the party registered as our client for the assignment.
13. Intellectual property right
Simonsen Vogt Wiig retains all rights related to material developed by us or assistants. This applies also to legal opinions, working methods, agreements and similar used by or delivered to the client. The client may make use of such documents etc. only for the purpose for which they were created. Over and above this, it is not permitted, without consent from Simonsen Vogt Wiig, to use such documents oneself or to hand them over to third parties.
14. Storage of documents
Normally, we store documents or electronic documents that we have prepared or received in relation to an assignment for a certain period. We may later destroy/delete these documents without notifying the client. Documents are normally only electronically stored. We only store original documents (wills, mortgage bonds, debt instruments etc.) when there is a separate written agreement that we do so.
Our general terms and conditions will normally be revised once a year and otherwise when need may arise. Updated conditions will be available on our home page www.svw.no.
If you consider that our advice and assistance is not in compliance with your expectations, we would ask you to raise the matter as soon as possible with the lawyer in charge or if necessary with the Managing Partner or the Chairman of the Board of directors of Simonsen Vogt Wiig. We will immediately consider your complaint and if appropriate take the steps necessary to correct the matter. Complaint may also be made to the Norwegian Bar Association. Further information is provided on the Norwegian Bar Association’s home page www.jus.no. As a rule, the deadline for complaining is six months.
17. Choice of law and legal venue
These terms and any questions regarding Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s assignment are governed by Norwegian law.
Legal venue is the venue of the division in which the lawyer in charge of the case has his or her day-to-day work, either Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger or Nord-Troms City/District Court. For cases where the lawyer in charge is working in Singapore, Oslo City Court will be the legal venue.
18. Termination of engagement
We will perform the assignments entrusted to us until the case can be regarded as concluded, unless one or more of the following occurs:
- Our assignment is revoked
- One or more invoices for our fees and/or outlays are in material default
- Our client is subject to insolvency proceedings or is otherwise deemed insolvent
- The client’s interests are considered best addressed by our termination of the case.