GENERAL TERMS & CONDITIONS
- All instructions are accepted and carried out by the law firm Grotius Chambers, pursuant to a contract for professional services, retainer or letter of mission.
- This also applies in the event a client requests, explicitly or implicitly, that instruction is carried out by a specific person at Grotius Chambers.
- In the event a client agreed to a retainer, contract for professional services or letter of mission outside the establishment of Grotius Chambers, or concluded it remotely, for example by electronic means, the client has a right of withdrawal for a period of 14 (fourteen) days from the day of the conclusion of this agreement (“cooling off period”).
- The provisions of articles 7:404 and 7:407 paragraph 2 of the Netherlands Civil Code, which imposes joint liability where instruction is given to two or more persons, shall not be applicable.
- Grotius Chambers shall carry out any instruction with due care, to the best of its knowledge, skills, and abilities.
- In acting upon an instruction, Grotius Chambers is authorised to call upon the assistance and engage the services of third parties such as attorneys, experts, bailiffs, foreign lawyers and other Dutch or foreign service providers and advisors.
- If, in the context of carrying out an instruction, an event leads to the liability of Grotius Chambers or one of its attorneys, then such liability shall be limited to the amount(s) as covered by a professional liability insurance as may be taken out by Grotius Chambers and/or its attorneys, including the deductible that may be carried in connection with the insurance. If, within one year upon awareness of the event having led to liability, the client has not started a claim against Grotius Chambers and/or one of its attorneys, Grotius Chambers or its attorneys cannot be held liable any longer.
- If, for whatever reason, no amount shall be paid by a professional liability insurance as described under section 5 above, the liability of Grotius Chambers and/or its attorneys shall be limited to an amount equal to three times the invoiced amount for the specific matter having led to liability, up to a maximum of 10.000,00€ (ten thousand Euros).
- If, in the context of carrying out an instruction, third parties have been involved, Grotius Chambers and its attorneys shall not be held liable for duties performed or not performed by said third parties.
- Communication between attorneys and Client are privileged and confidential. Nevertheless, Grotius Chambers cannot guarantee the means of communication between Grotius Chambers and the client or third parties. Therefore, the means of communication between Grotius Chambers and the client or third parties, including electronic correspondence (e-mails), shall be for the risk and account of the client.
- In respect of any instruction given by the client to Grotius Chambers, the general conditions of the client, if any, shall not be applicable.
- The complaints procedure as defined in Annex A is applicable to each contract for professional services between Grotius Chambers and a client.
- The relationship between Grotius Chambers and its clients shall be governed by Dutch law. Disputes which cannot be resolved after completion of the complaints procedure as defined in Annex A shall be exclusively submitted to an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, The Netherlands, as defined in Annex B.
- Grotius Chambers’ attorneys are bound by the rules and code of conduct of their respective orders and their rules apply consequently.
- Grotius Chambers is a law firm organised as a “maatschaap” registered at The Hague Chamber of Commerce under the KvK number 72984317.
- Grotius Chambers can amend the present General Conditions without previous notice to the clients.
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This complaint procedure has been published on the website of Grotius Chambers and before providing services Grotius Chambers will inform the client that this procedure is applicable.
Definition of the terms
- Complaint: any written dissatisfaction with an attorney or a person working under the responsibility of an attorney, expressed in writing by or on behalf of a client, concerning the conclusion or execution of a contract for professional services or retainer, the quality of services, or the amount invoiced, other than a complaint as referred to in article 4 of the Dutch Attorneys Act (‘Advocatenwet’);
- Complainant: the client or the representative of the client that expresses a complaint;
- Complaints officer: the attorney in charge of the handling of the complaint.
Scope of application
- This procedure is applicable is the Parties could not solve the dispute amicably.
- This complaint procedure is applicable to all contracts for professional services concluded between Grotius Chambers and a client.
- Every attorney at Grotius Chambers ensures that complaints are handled in accordance with the complaint procedure.
The purpose of this complaints procedure is to:
- establish a procedure for dealing with complaints expressed by clients within a reasonable period of time;
- establish a procedure for determining the causes of complaints expressed by clients;
- maintain and improve existing relationships;
- improve the quality of services.
- In the event that a client approaches the firm with a complaint, the complaint will be passed on to Mr. Thomas John, who acts as complaints officer. If the complaint refers to the actions of Mr. Thomas John, Ms. Marine Veissiere will act as alternate complaints officer.
- The complaints officer informs the attorney concerned and provides the client and the attorney with the opportunity to elaborate on the complaint.
- The attorney concerned does, together with the client, try to find a solution, before or after the complaints officer’s intervention.
- The complaints officer assesses the complaint within six weeks after he has received the complaint. In case this deadline is not met, the complaints officer will inform the client and explain the reasons for this; he will further set a new deadline for assessing the complaint.
- The complaints officer informs the client and the attorney in writing about his assessment of whether or not the complaint was justified, and, if appropriate, provides recommendations.
- If the complaint has been resolved, the client, the complaints officer and the attorney concerned sign the written assessment.
Confidentiality and fees
- The complaints officer and the attorney to whom the complaint relates maintain confidentiality when dealing with the complaint.
- The client does not owe any fee for the handling of the complaint.
- The complaints officer is responsible for the timely resolution of the complaint.
- The attorney to whom the complaint relates, keeps the complaints officer informed of his/her contacts with the client and of any possible solutions.
- The complaints officer keeps the complainant informed about the handling of the complaint.
- The complaints officer maintains the complaint file.
- All complaints are registered within the internal management system of Grotius Chambers by the complaints officer.
- Once a year, the complaints officer report to the management that will discuss ways to improve the quality of services of the firm
- If the Parties – the Client and Grotius Chambers – are unable to resolve the issue by way of amicable settlement following the complaints procedure of Annex 1, each Party may notify the other Party to have the dispute resolved by fast-track arbitration.
- Arbitration is governed by the following rules:
- The fast-track arbitration is based in The Hague, The Netherlands;
- The Arbitration Notification must be writing (“Arbitration Notification”);
- The arbitration is conducted before a sole arbitrator;
- The sole arbitrator is appointed consensually by the Parties, or, if the Parties cannot agree within 15 days after the Arbitration Notification, the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration as appointing authority;
- The maximum indemnity for the arbitrator is 4000 Euros (four thousand euros);
- The Parties must share this fee in equal shares;
- The Parties bear their own costs for legal representation;
- The fast-track arbitration is to be conducted on the papers;
- The arbitrator may request an in-person meeting if necessary; and
- The arbitration is conducted in English.
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