Terms and Conditions

General terms and conditions for Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig

1. Introduction

These general terms and conditions apply to all assignments that Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig, consisting of Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS (BRN 898 783 812), Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Kristiansand DA (BRN 988 343 412), Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Trondheim AS (BRN 985 851 514) and Simonsen Vogt Wiig Services Pte. Ltd (UEN: 200618136G). (hereinafter “Simonsen Vogt Wiig”) or the firm’s lawyers or employees undertake or carry out.

Simonsen Vogt Wiig is registered in both the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises and the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority with its head office in Norway.

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 Norwegian 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 from the engagement.

In connection with the assignment we will perform an identity check and if necessary, report pursuant to the Norwegian 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 questions related to tax (including value added tax) unless specified in the Letter of Engagement.

3. Lawyer in charge

For all assignments there will be designated a lawyer in charge pursuant to Section 232 of the Norwegian 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.

4. Invoicing

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 expenses 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 expenses 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.

Our fee arising from work in relation to legal proceedings may be higher than what the client is awarded in legal costs. Moreover, our fee is determined in accordance with the rules above and is not limited to what may be awarded as legal costs.

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 forsinkelsesrente.no) from the due date until payment is made, with the addition of any collection and enforcement costs; and/or
  • suspend 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. in both the assignment in question and other assignments; and/or
  • set off against any amounts in the client account, when this is otherwise permitted by current regulations.

5. Expenses

In addition to fees, costs for copying, unusually large communications expenses, cost of digital services and data rooms, 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 expenses 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, expenses 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 are temporarily placed in client accounts located in Norway:

  • For Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS in Handelsbanken, branch located in Norway
  • For Simonsen Vogt Wiig Services Pte. Ltd with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, or in a client account in the name of Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS with Handelsbanken, branch located  in Norway
  • For Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Kristiansand DA in Nordea Bank, Norway ASA
  • For Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Trondheim AS in Danske Bank.

The funds are denominated 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. Legal derogations to the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality such as, inter alia, those pursuant to the Norwegian Money Laundering Act are followed. All partners and employees in Simonsen Vogt Wiig are subject to a duty of non-disclosure 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 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 website www.svw.no. Questions concerning the treatment of personal data may be addressed to the lawyer in charge.

10. Communication

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, down-time 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 under certain circumstances 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 kroner) for each assignment, unless a different limit has been agreed for an individual assignment separately.

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.

Any statement of opinion(s) expressed by Simonsen Vogt Wiig concerning the estimated outcome or outcomes of a case worked or litigated on a client’s behalf shall not amount to any liability from Simonsen Vogt Wiig regarding the efficacy of such statements or the actual outcome of the case.

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 of time. 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.

15. Revision

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 website www.svw.no.

16. Complaints

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 Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS, Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Kristiansand DA, or Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig Trondheim AS. We will immediately consider your complaint and if appropriate take the steps necessary to correct the matter.

A complaint may also be made to the Norwegian Bar Association. Further information is provided on the Norwegian Bar Association’s website www.advokatforeningen.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.

The legal venue is the city/district court of the division in which the lawyer in charge of the case has his or her day-to-day work, either Oslo, Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Trondheim or Nord-Troms and Senja. 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;
  • the client is subject to insolvency proceedings or is otherwise deemed insolvent; and/or
  • the client’s interests are considered best ad­dressed by our termination of the case.