Terms & conditions ENG

Terms & Conditions

1. General
These general terms and conditions apply to services provided by and/or for lawyers working together at Bloom Law.

2. Fees and expenses
Fees and expenses: Unless otherwise agreed and subject to the right to adjust these during the handling of the case, the services are in normal circumstances usually but not exclusively charged on the basis of standard hourly rates (cf. infra). However, a final settlement is possible according to the result obtained.

Advance payments: The lawyer may request one or more advances from the client before the start of the assignment and during the handling of the case. An advance is the fixed amount that the client pays to the lawyer, prior to a detailed statement of expenses and fees. In the interim statements and/or in the final statement of fees and expenses, the advances are deducted from the total amount.

Non-payment by client: All our invoices are payable in cash. In the event of non-payment of the invoice, interest on arrears shall be due – without prior notice of default – at the rate of 10% per year. Under the same conditions, damages of 10% on the outstanding amount are due. The lawyer reserves the right to stop or suspend the performance of services with reasonable notice, for reasons of non-payment of requested advances or states of fees and expenses after a period of 30 days or more or for any other serious reason.

Administrative costs: The lawyer shall charge a flat fee of 15% on the fees for ordinary general administrative costs proper to the normal operation of the office.

Expenses/Costs: Expenses incurred in connection with the individual handling of the case (such as fees of experts and foreign lawyers, travel and catering expenses, costs of courier and special dispatch services, of research and binding of documents, video conferencing installations, etc.) are stated separately and invoiced at cost price.

Indexation: The lawyer reserves the right to index the fees and scales annually.

VAT: Our services are subject to VAT. Subject to the possible applicability of exemption or reverse charge, 21% VAT is payable on all our outgoing invoices.

3. Third Party Accounts
Funds held or received by the attorney on behalf of the client will be deposited in a special bank account maintained by the attorney in accordance with bar rules, called a third party account. The client authorizes the lawyer to deduct any outstanding fees and expenses (cf. supra) from the amounts received on behalf of the client.

4. Liability
Limitation of liability: The possible contractual or extra-contractual liability of the lawyers of the firm and of the SCRL itself for loss, damage, costs or expenses arising in connection with the performance of services will, except in the case of fraud, in any event be limited to the amount covered by the third-tier liability insurance of NV AG Insurance of the lawyer-firm concerned. This coverage is limited to the sum of 20.000.000,00 EUR.

No liability for client negligence: The lawyer will not be liable for any loss, damage, costs or expenses that would arise in any way from (fraudulent) acts or omissions, omissions, false or incomplete statements or wrongful acts on the part of the client, its directors, employees, agents or subcontractors. The lawyer reserves the right to recover any damages from the client.

No liability for omissions of third parties: The lawyer shall not be liable for acts or omissions that occurred prior to the commencement of the performance of services. Even if the lawyer has given advice based on information or advice transmitted by foreign or other lawyers or advisors on whom the lawyer has relied without the client instructing the lawyer to do so, any liability of the lawyer for loss, damage, costs or expenses directly or indirectly arising from an act or omission on the part of third party(ies) is excluded.

Use of documentation: The lawyer accepts no liability for damages resulting from the use of documents in a form other than that provided by the lawyer or in situations other than those for which the documents were prepared.

Force majeure: The lawyer accepts no liability for any delay or non-performance of his obligations when such delay or non-performance is the result of circumstances that are, within reason, beyond the lawyer’s control.

5. Documentation
Destruction of Documentation: The records on file at the firm (except for documents whose return is requested by the Client) will be retained for no more than five years after the final statement of fees and expenses is sent.

6. Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing.
When the lawyer assists the client in preparing or carrying out transactions related to the purchase or sale of real estate or businesses, the management of his money, securities or other assets, the opening or management of bank, savings or securities accounts, the organization of contributions necessary for the incorporation, operation or management of companies, the creation, operation or management of companies, trusts, fiduciaries or similar legal arrangements, or when he/she acts in the name and for the account of his/her client in any financial or real estate transaction, he/she is obliged to strictly comply with the legislation and bar regulations on money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. In accordance with the rules applicable in this area, the lawyer is primarily required to identify and remain vigilant with respect to his/her client. This procedure requires the cooperation of the client and obliges clients working under corporate form in accordance with the Anti-Money Laundering Law of September 18, 2017, to inform their lawyer who is the beneficial owner behind this company or succession of companies, as well as to inform their lawyer whenever this situation changes. If the client refuses to provide the information that the lawyer is obliged to request within 2 weeks of the request being made, the lawyer has the right, in application of article 2.10 of the Regulations of the OVB dated December 21, 2011, to terminate his intervention. In addition, the anti-money laundering legislation obliges the lawyer in certain circumstances to report possible money laundering and terrorist financing operations in which the client is allegedly involved to the President of his/her Bar Association.

7. Duty to report cross-border structures (DAC 6).
“The Client takes note that services of a cross-border nature may fall within the scope of the law of 20 December 2019 transposing Council Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in respect of notifiable “cross-border arrangements” (hereinafter DAC 6). Under DAC 6, as of July 1, 2020, any intermediary that intervenes in the advice or implementation of such qualifying “cross-border arrangements” may be required to report that arrangement.

An exception to this legal reporting obligation will however apply if the intermediary is bound by a legally protected professional secrecy (e.g. lawyers) when acting in the context of an analysis of the legal position of a taxpayer or defending or representing that taxpayer in legal proceedings including legal advice with regard to instituting or avoiding proceedings. The reporting obligation will then in fine shift to the taxpayer who must be informed by the attorney and will then have to report the qualifying “cross-border construction”. Although the reporting obligation will take effect on July 1, 2020, this obligation retroactively covers some qualifying constructions since June 25, 2018.

The Client takes note of this potential statutory reporting obligation and agrees to the application of this law in his regard. If it appears that the Firm may not make the disclosure in the context of professional secrecy, and no other intermediary makes the disclosure, the Client himself shall take the necessary steps to this end. In neither case can the firm be held liable for the fact that the report is or is not made or for the regularity of that report. Where appropriate, the Client may mandate the firm to make the report on behalf of the Client. Appropriate arrangements must be made regarding this additional performance.”

8. Applicable law and competent court
The parties agree that Belgian law shall be exclusively applicable to these General Terms and Conditions, to any agreement to which the latter may relate, and to the assignment in general. The courts of Brussels shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute concerning the interpretation or execution of these General Conditions or the agreement to which they relate. Furthermore, the parties expressly and conventionally agree that any other court than the one indicated in the previous paragraph has no jurisdiction in the matter mentioned in the previous paragraph.