General Terms and Conditions
I. Range of Application:
- The General Terms and Conditions apply to all actions, consultations or representative services in front of a court or public authority as well as representative services of extrajudicial nature conducted in connection with an engagement (subsequently “Mandate”) between Görg Lenneis Geréd Rechtsanwälte GmbH (subsequently “the Law Firm”) and the Client.
- The General Terms and Conditions correspondingly apply to a Mandate to which an attorney employed with the Law Firm has been appointed personally.
- The General Terms and Conditions also apply to new Mandates in the future, insofar no other written agreements exist.
- The Law Firm is entitled and obliged to represent the Client in such manner as necessary and useful for a fulfillment of the Mandate. Should the legal situation change after the Mandate is completed, the Law Firm is not obliged to inform the Client about changes or any consequences of such changes.
III. Terms of Representation:
- The Law Firm has to conduct the commissioned representation in accordance with the law and to represent the Client’s rights and interests against anyone with diligence, loyalty and conscientiousness.
- The Law Firm is generally entitled to render its services in its own discretion and to take all steps, especially measures of attack and defense of any kind, as far as they do not contradict the Client’s commission, the conscience of the attorney at work or the law.
- In case the Client orders the Law Firm to conduct an action that would disregard or contravene with basic principles based on the law or professional directives and / or guidelines regarding proper professionalism of the Austrian bar association, the Law Firm may elect to refuse fulfillment of this order.
- In case the Law Firm deems an instruction unfavorable or disadvantageous to the Client, the Law Firm has to inform the Client of possible disadvantageous consequences prior to a fulfillment of this order.
- If time is of the essence, the Law Firm is entitled to take or refuse actions not entirely covered by or contradicting a given order, provided that it seems necessary for a fulfillment of the Client’s interest.
- The Client acknowledges that a potentially necessary archival storage of documents (for commercial- and land-register) lasts for no longer than seven years at a time and that this duration of archival storage must be renewed once said time span has expired. Archival storage over a longer period of time is possible, but is effected only upon explicit request of the Client. In any case, the costs for electronic archiving are treated as cash expenditure and have to be paid by the Client.
IV. Obligation of Information and Co-operation of the Client:
- The Client is obliged to promptly provide the Law Firm with all facts and information that may be of importance in the fulfillment of the Mandate and grant access to all necessary documents and judicial evidence.
- The Law Firm may assume that the information, facts, documents, records and judicial evi-dence given are accurate as far as their inaccuracy is not apparent.
- For the duration of the Mandate the Client is obliged to inform the Law Firm of all new circumstances that may be of importance for a fulfillment of the Mandate as soon as the Client learns of their occurrence.
V. Obligation of Secrecy, Conflict of Interests:
- In accordance with its legal obligations on confidentiality, the Law Firm is obliged to keep confidential all information and facts learnt in the course of its works, the concealment of which is of interest to the Client.
- The Law Firm is entitled to instruct employees with the processing of matters according to applicable law and guidelines, provided that these employees have been verifiably instructed on their obligation of secrecy.
- As far as the enforcement of its own claims (esp. claims concerning the legal fees) or the defense against claims against the Law Firm or against attorneys and employees operating on behalf of the Law Firm (esp. claims for compensatory damages of the Client or third parties) is concerned, the Law Firm is released from their obligation of secrecy.
VI. Reporting Commitment of the Law Firm:
- The Law Firm is obliged to inform the Client of all actions taken in connection with the Mandate to an appropriate extent in verbal or written form.
VII. Subsidiary Power and Substitution:
- The Law Firm is entitled to appoint an attorney or associate employed at the Law Firm or any other authorized attorney or associate with their representation (subsidiary power). If unable to attend at a hearing or appointment in front of a court or public authority, the Law Firm may pass the commission or individual actions to another attorney (Substitution).
VIII. Legal fees:
- As far as not agreed otherwise, the Law Firm is entitled to an adequate compensation.
- Where a flat rate or hourly fees have been preconcerted, the Law Firm is entitled to at least the part of the cost reimbursement gained from the opposing party which surpasses said honorarium; this provided that cost reimbursement is granted, otherwise the flat rate or time wages have to be paid as agreed.
- The honorarium agreed upon/ the Law Firm is entitled to is to be amended for value added tax to a lawful extent, the required and appropriate fees (e.g. for travelling expenses, telefax, copies) as well as cash expenditures paid on behalf of the Client (e.g. court fees).
- The Client acknowledges that any cost estimations the Law Firm may give about the honorarium that are not expressly labeled as being obligatory are non-committal and cannot be regarded as a binding quotation (Sec. 5 para 2 Consumer Protection Act); this for the reason that the extent of the Law Firm’s services inherently cannot be predicted to a reliable degree.
- The Law Firm is entitled to invoice honorarium or retainers at any time and in any case quarterly.
- Should the Client be a business owner, an accordingly itemized invoice sent to the Client is regarded as approved as far as the Client does not send a written objection within a month (counting the date of arrival at the Law Firm) after receipt of the invoice.
- In case payment of the legal fees is delayed entirely or partly, the Client has to pay an overdue interest to the lawful extent but at least 4% above the currently valid base rate. Any further statutory claims (e.g. Sec. 1333 para. 2 Austrian Civil Code) remain untouched.
- The Law Firm may – as it sees fit – forward any legal or magisterial costs (cash expenditures) and charges (e.g. for acquired external services) to the Client for direct payment.
- At assignment of a Mandate through multiple Clients regarding one legal matter, they are jointly liable for all the Law Firm’s claims arising through the matter.
- Any entitlements for cost reimbursements the Client may have against the opponent are herewith surrendered to the Law Firm in the amounts of the Law Firm’s arising honorarium. The Law Firm may inform the opponent of this assignment at any time.
- Any liability of the Law Firm as well as all persons acting on behalf of the Law Firm arising from consultation, substitution, the issuance of agreements and written opinions, advice or other services of any kind are limited to an amount of € 1 million (Euro one million). A liability exceeding this maximum amount shall be expressly excluded. The same applies to any liability towards third parties, i.e. an agreement with protective consequences for third parties. A liability for damages from attorneys not concerned with the processing of the particular case is expressly excluded. This limitation of liability is valid for grossly as well as slightly negligent infliction of damage, but only for slightly negligent infliction of damage should the Client be consumer.
- Provided the existence of two or more aggrieved parties (Clients) the maximum amount shall be reduced for each individual aggrieved party in relation to the amount of their entitlements.
- The limitations of liability in XI.1. and IX.2. are also valid to the benefit of anyone acting on behalf of the Law Firm.
- Only in the case of culpa in eligendo will the Law Firm assume liability for third parties (esp. external experts, foreign attorneys) who have been assigned for partial performances in the course of the service provision but are neither employees nor associates of the Law Firm.
- The Law Firm assumes liability only towards their Client, not towards third parties. The Client is obliged to expressly inform third parties who may get in contact with the Law Firm’s ser-vices through the Client’s actions of this fact.
- The Law Firm does not assume any liability in connection with the knowledge of foreign laws. EU-law is not treated as foreign law, while the laws within the individual EU member states are treated as such.
- Any claims against the Law Firm expire should the Client not lawfully enforce them within a time frame of six months after the Client has gained knowledge of the damage and the identity of the author of damage or any other circumstance a claim would arise from, but no longer than five years after occurrence of the damage-causing (basis of claim) behavior (of-fence). Should the Client be consumer, the expiry date ends after one year; the lawful dead-line for the enforcement of guarantee-claims ends after two years.
XI. Insurance for Legal Costs (Client):
- Provided that the Client has obtained insurance for legal costs, he has to inform the Law Firm about this fact without delay and provide the necessary documents (as far as they are available).
- The Client’s announcement regarding an existing insurance for legal costs and the obtaining of an according cover note through the Law Firm does not affect the Law Firm’s right for remuneration towards the Client and is not regarded as the Law Firm’s agreement to settle for the remuneration paid by the insurance.
- The Law Firm is not obliged to directly invoice the honorary at the insurance company, but can demand payment of the entire honorarium from the Client.
XII. Termination of Mandate:
- The Law Firm or the Client may terminate the Mandate at any time without having to adhere to a time limit or give specific reasons for the termination. This does not affect
the Law Firm’s right for remuneration.
- In case of a termination of the Mandate by the Client or the Law Firm, the Law Firm has to represent the Client for a period of further 14 days if required to protect the Client from any judicial disadvantages. This obligation is not valid should the Client terminate the Mandate and make clear that he does not wish any further representation through the Law Firm.
- After termination of the Mandate, the Law Firm is obliged to forward original documents
to the Client upon the Client’s request. The Law Firm is entitled to keep copies of these
- Insofar the Client requests further documents (copies of documents) which he has already received in the course of the Mandate after the Mandate has been terminated, these costs have to be paid by the client.
- The Law Firm is obliged to store the files for time of five years after termination of the Man-date and to provide the client with copies upon Client’s request (Clause 13.2 applies). Should the lawful deadlines for the time of archiving of the files be longer, such have to be met accordingly. The Client approves of the destruction of the files (including original documents) after expiration of the deadline for storage of files.
XIV. Choice of Law and Place of Jurisdiction:
- The General Terms and Conditions and the Mandate regulated herewith are subject to
Austrian substantive law (without its rules on conflicts of laws).
- Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or in connection with this contract, or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof, shall be exclusively and finally settled by arbitration in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Viennese Chamber of Commerce. The arbitral tribunal shall be composed of 3 (three) arbitrators. The seat of arbitration shall be Vienna, Austria. The language to be used in arbitral proceedings shall be English.
- The Law Firm is however entitled to file claims against the client at any other competent
court within Austria or abroad where the client is domiciled, has its seat of residence or
- Sec 14 Consumer Protection Act applies to clients who are consumers within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act.
XV. Final Provisions:
- Amendments to these General Terms and Conditions must be made in writing.
- Any statements issued by the Law Firm and sent to the address announced by the Client at the time the Mandate is granted or any new/changed address the Client announces in writ-ten form at a later point of time are generally regarded as delivered. However, the Law Firm is entitled to correspond with the client in any way it deems appropriate, provided however nothing else has been agreed upon with the Client. Written statements within the meaning of these General Terms and Conditions may – if not otherwise determined – also be sent via telefax or email.
- Unless instructed by the Client otherwise, not order otherwise, the Law Firm is entitled to correspond with the Client as well as with anyone the Client wishes the Law Firm to communicate with (e.g. legal or other counsels, business partners, their legal or other counsels), through unencrypted emails. The Client confirms that he has been briefed on all risks involved (especially access, confidentiality, alteration of messages in the course of delivery) and that he agrees to correspondence via email in full awareness of the fact that the emails will be transmitted in unencrypted form.
- For the processing of any personal data received in the context of the performance of this engagement letter, the Law Firm is considered a “controller” according to Art. 4 para. 7 of the GDPR. All processing will be in accordance with the applicable provisions on data protection, especially the General Data Protection Regulation and the Austrian Data Protection Act DSG.
- The Client expressly entitles the Law Firm to process, present or forward (in accordance with the Austrian Data Protection Act) personal data regarding his person or enterprise to an ex-tent that is necessary or useful for a fulfillment of the orders given to the Law Firm by the Client or as arises from lawful obligations or in connection with the Law Firm’s professional etiquette (e.g. use of legal communication by electronic systems).
- The ineffectiveness of one or all regulations in the General Terms and Conditions or any con-tractual relationship regulated by means of the General Terms and Conditions does not affect the rest of the agreement. The signatories agree to substitute any ineffective regulation(s) for an economically most compatible regulation.