§ 1 Scope of application
1. Application | These General Terms and Conditions apply to all current contracts between the lawyer and the client.
2. Deviating terms and conditions | The client’s terms and conditions shall only apply if expressly agreed in writing.
3. Future cases | These General Terms and Conditions shall also apply to future contracts.
§ 2 Lawyer in charge
1. Limitation to person in charge | In principle, the engagement only applies to the lawyer stated in the contract between the lawyer and the client or in the power of attorney; only this person is obliged to deal with the case and subject to the obligations arising from § 3 et seq. hereunder.
2. Subcontracting | The lawyer is entitled to involve subcontracted lawyers in the work on the case.
§ 3 Scope and handling of the case
1. Subject matter of engagement | The subject matter of the engagement is, in particular, the activities agreed in the contract between the lawyer and the client or in the power of attorney. The achievement of a specific legal outcome is not owed. Representing the client vis-à-vis its legal expenses insurance, in particular in obtaining confirmation of cover, is subject to a separate contract of engagement.
2. Statement of facts | The lawyer is entitled to rely on the correctness of the facts as presented by the client and to represent such facts vis-à-vis the counterparty to the required extent. The lawyer is not obliged to conduct his or her own investigations concerning the circumstances.
3. Consultation with the client | When working on a case, the lawyer shall consult with the client as far as this is possible and expedient for reaching the intended outcome of the case. When preparing written statements or pleadings, the lawyer shall consider the client’s requests for changes as far as this is reasonable and required.
4. Limitation regarding the jurisdiction | The lawyer’s legal advice and representation refer exclusively to the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European and international provisions applicable in Germany. Rendering tax advice or representation in tax matters is not owed under the contract. If the case touches foreign law, the lawyer shall inform the client thereof in good time.
§ 4 Other lawyer obligations
1. Professional rules and regulations | The lawyer shall conduct all cases and engagements in accordance with the German Federal Lawyers Ordinance (BRAO), the German Regulations for Lawyers (BORA) and any other relevant statutory provisions.
2. Confidentiality | The lawyer is obliged to maintain confidentiality, and such confidentiality obligation shall survive the termination of the client/lawyer relationship. This obligation includes everything disclosed by the client and everything the lawyer became aware of in the scope of the engagement in any other way; it does not include obvious facts and facts that - based on their significance - do not need to be treated confidentially.
3. Informing third parties | If it becomes necessary in the scope of the work on the case to inform third parties, who are not bound by a confidentiality obligation due to their profession or official position, the lawyer shall strive to conclude a non-disclosure agreement with such third parties. The client hereby expressly declares its consent to such conduct. In the relations with the client’s legal expenses insurer, the lawyer is expressly released from his or her confidentiality obligation.
4. Data protection | The lawyer shall take all appropriate precautions that can be reasonably expected to protect the client’s data from loss and unauthorised third-party access.
5. Safekeeping of funds | The lawyer shall safekeep all and any funds received on behalf of the client in trust and shall, upon the client’s request, pay out such funds without undue delay as instructed by the client.
§ 5 Payment obligation
1. Retainer and due dates | The lawyer is entitled at all times to request reasonable retainers/advance payments. Unless expressly otherwise agreed, payments to the lawyer are due upon invoicing.
2. Third-party obligations to perform | The client is also obliged to pay if claims for the reimbursement of costs vis-à-vis third parties, in particular the legal expenses insurer or the counterparty, exist.
3. Assignment of claims and offsetting | The client assigns any and all claims to the reimbursement of costs that might exist vis-à-vis third parties to the lawyer, who accepts such assignment. The lawyer is entitled to offset any payments received against outstanding fee invoices, even if such claims pertain to other cases.
4. Joint and several liability | Several clients are liable vis-à-vis the lawyer as joint and several debtors.
§ 6 Other client obligations
1. Duty to provide information | The client shall inform the lawyer truthfully and in due time of all the facts surrounding the case and shall submit to the lawyer all the documents and data pertaining to the case in good order.
2. Contact data | The client shall inform the lawyer without undue delay of any changes to its contact data, in particular its address, telephone and fax number and the email address. The client shall further inform the lawyer of any prolonged absences or any other circumstances resulting in temporary unavailability.
3. Reviewing drafts | The client shall review any drafts of lawyer letters/written matter submitted to the client for approval without undue delay and shall verify whether the information regarding the facts in such letters/written matter is correct.
4. Contacting third parties | During the engagement, the client may only contact courts, authorities, the counterparty or other parties involved after prior consultation with the lawyer.
§ 7 Copyrights
The copyrights to the works prepared by the lawyer in the scope of the engagement, in particular pleadings and expert opinions, generally remain with the lawyer. The client is only permitted to use such works and to pass such works on to third parties in the specifically designated form and scope.
§ 8 Communication
1. Communication channels | The client agrees that the lawyer contacts him or her via the contact information provided pursuant to § 6.2.
2. Email | The client knows that the confidentiality of unencrypted emails can only be guaranteed to a limited extent. The client shall inform the lawyer if it is technically equipped to use electronic signature or encryption procedures and wishes to use such procedures. The client further agrees that the lawyer uses email to communicate with third parties in the scope of the engagement, including for instance the lawyers of the counterparty or authorities.
§ 9 Termination
Unless otherwise agreed, the client may terminate the engagement contract between the client and the lawyer at any time. The lawyer is also entitled to terminate the client/lawyer relationship, provided it is not terminated in an inopport une moment. This limitation shall not apply if the mutual trust has suffered permanent damage. The right to terminate for cause shall remain unaffected hereby.
§ 10 Liability
1. Limitation of liability | Client claims to compensation of a damage caused by a negligent breach of duty on the part of the lawyer are limited to EUR 1,000,000.00 pursuant to the German Federal Lawyers Ordinance (BRAO). This amount is covered by a liability insurance.
2. Increase of liability | If the client so wishes and informs us accordingly, higher insurance can be taken out on a case-by-case basis; the cost thus incurred shall be borne by the client.
§ 11 Retention and destruction of files
The client is hereby informed that the lawyer’s reference files (with the exception of the cost file and any legal titles obtained) are destroyed following a period of five years after termination of the client/lawyer relationship (Section 50 (2) Sentence 1 of the German Federal Lawyers Ordinance (BRAO)), unless the client collects the files at the lawyer’s office before such period expires. In all other respects, Section 50 (2) Sentence 2 of the German Federal Lawyers Ordinance (BRAO) shall apply.
§ 12 Place of jurisdiction; applicable law
If the client is a businessperson or a legal entity under public law or has no general place of jurisdiction within Germany, the law firm’s registered office in Frankfurt am Main is deemed the place of performance and of jurisdiction for all and any claims arising under the contract between the client and the lawyer or in connection with such contract. German law applies exclusively to the relationship between the client and the lawyer.
§ 13 Severability clause
If any individual provision of the above is or becomes invalid, this shall not affect the validity of the engagement as such. The validity of the remaining provisions shall remain unaffected thereby.