General terms and conditionsn
Ristau & Ristau Fachanwälte Steuerberater (specialist lawyers and tax advisor; hereinafter: law firm)
§ 1 Scope of application
(1) These General Terms and Conditions apply to the legal and tax consultancy agreements concluded between the law firm and the client (hereinafter simply: contract).
(2) These General Terms and Conditions shall also apply to contracts concluded in the future between the partnership and the client, unless otherwise agreed therein.
(3) Deviating, conflicting or supplementary general contractual terms and conditions of clients shall not become part of the contract even if known and shall only apply if this has been expressly agreed in writing.
§ 2 Object of the service
(1) The law firm owes the client representation and/or legal advice on the scale and on the basis of the law of the Federal Republic of Germany in the matter specified in the lawyer or tax consultancy agreement and to the extent specified therein.
(2) Representation and/or advice on the scale and on the basis of foreign law is not owed. Should foreign law become relevant to the agreed case, the firm will inform the client in good time.
§ 3 Remuneration; Advance payment; Invoices; Payment; Assignment; Offsetting
(1) The remuneration of the agreed legal service is based on the Law on the Remuneration of Attorneys („Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz“ (RVG)) or the Regulations on the Renumeration of tax advisors („Steuerberatervergütungsverordnung“ (StBVV)), unless a deviating provision has been or is made.
(2) The law firm may demand an appropriate advance payment from the client for the fees and expenses incurred and likely to be incurred.
(3) In addition to the agreed remuneration claim, the law firm is entitled to reimbursement of expenses and statutory value added tax.
(4) All remuneration claims of the law firm are due upon receipt of the invoice and are payable immediately without deductions.
(5) The client hereby assigns to the other party all claims for reimbursement of costs, legal expenses insurance or other third parties in the amount of the firm’s fee claim. The law firm accepts the assignment.
(6) If the law firm has open remuneration claims against the client, the partnership is entitled to declare the offsetting against incoming payments from the same or another contractual relationship existing between the law firm and the client. The law firm will issue the client an invoice showing the amounts charged.
§ 4 Data acquisition; data storage; data processing
The law firm is entitled to collect, store and process the client’s data entrusted to it within the framework of the contractual relationship and to provide legal and consulting services with data processing equipment. The data is processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR; please see also our information on data protection).
§ 5 Confidentiality; safekeeping of money
(1) The law firm is entitled and obliged to secrecy. The right and obligation to secrecy continue to exist after termination of the mandate.
(2) If payments are received for the client, these shall be held in trust by the law firm. Subject to § 3 para. 6, the law firm shall pay the fee immediately to the account specified by the client upon written request of the client.
§ 6 Obligations of third parties to cooperate in fulfilling the mandate
(1) To the required extent, employees of the law firm or expert third parties (e.g. freelancers of the law firm) may be called in to carry out the mandate.
(2) The law firm is entitled to engage data processing companies to carry out the necessary data processing procedures within the scope of the mandate.
(3) In order to maintain internal data processing, the law firm is entitled to call in service technicians – including external service technicians – for installation, maintenance and repair at the firm, taking into account the necessary security measures that are suitable for preventing unauthorised access to client data and personal data.
(4) If expert third parties (e.g. freelancers of the law firm), data processing companies or service technicians are consulted, it is ensured that they are obliged or subject to the professional confidentiality obligations and data secrecy according to legal provisions.
§ 7 Obligations to cooperate and duties of the client
(1) The client shall provide the law firm with comprehensive and truthful information on all facts required for the provision of the agreed service. In particular, the client undertakes to provide the law firm with all documents and data required for the agreed legal service in a complete and orderly form.
(2) Requests from the law firm and in particular requests from the firm for comments on received briefs or letters will be dealt with by the client in a timely manner and the law firm will be informed accordingly.
(3) If the client receives letters or written submissions from the law firm, the client is obliged to check carefully whether they are complete and truthful. Should changes or additions to the presentation and in particular to the factual presentation be necessary, the client will inform the law firm immediately.
(4) During the term of the contract, the client will only contact courts, authorities, the other party or other parties to the proceedings in consultation with the law firm.
(5) The client shall inform the law firm in good time about longer absences and unavailability due to holidays, business trips, hospitalisation etc. and in the event of a change of address, e-mail address, telephone number, fax number etc. inform the law firm in good time stating the new respective data. The information shall be in text form.
§ 8 Communication by fax and e-mail
(1) The notification of a fax connection by the client includes the client’s consent that (1.) the law firm may transmit client-related information to this fax connection without restriction and without notice, (2.) that only the client or persons commissioned by him have access to the fax machine and that (3.) the receipts via the fax machine are regularly checked by the client at least every working day.
(2) The notification of an e-mail address by the client includes the client’s consent that (1.) only the client or persons commissioned by him have access to the e-mail inbox and that (2.) the client regularly checks the inboxes via e-mail at least every working day. The law firm points out that documents received by e-mail should be printed out and added in order to a paper file upon receipt, unless the client uses other file management systems and records and arranges the documents received by e-mail therein.
(3) The client undertakes to inform the law firm in the event of changes in the modalities for the transmission of e-mails or fax documents regulated in § 7 para. 1 and § 7 para. 2.
(4) The law firm is not obliged to send documents to the client by fax or e-mail.
§ 9 Termination of contract
(1) Unless otherwise agreed, the client may terminate the contract at any time.
(2) The law firm may terminate the contract at any time by giving two weeks‘ notice.
(3) The law firm may terminate the contract without notice for good cause. Important reasons are e.g:
- Hopelessness of further legal proceedings
- Non-payment of advances according to § 9 RVG despite reminder
- Subsequent announcement of reasons of § 45 of The Federal Lawyers‘ Act („Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung“ (BRAO)) (prohibitions of activities)
§ 10 Reference file of the law firm – storage and destruction
(1) Reference files of the law firm, with the exception of the cost file and any titles, shall be destroyed six years after the end of the mandate (§ 50 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2 BRAO).
(2) The obligation of the law firm to keep the reference file expires before the end of the period specified in § 10 para. 1 if the law firm has requested the client to receive the reference files and the client has not complied with this request within six months after receiving them.
§ 11 Liability
(1) The liability of the law firm for contractual breaches of duty as well as in tort is limited to intent and gross negligence. If a consultant can be charged with simple negligence, liability is limited to four times the minimum insurance sum (currently EUR 1 million). In this respect, insurance cover exists within the framework of statutory professional liability insurance.
(2) The limitations of liability under para. 1 shall not apply in the event of injury to the life, body and health of the client or claims due to the violation of cardinal obligations, i.e. of obligations arising from the nature of the contract, the violation of which endangers the achievement of the purpose of the contract. In this respect, the respective consultant is liable for every degree of fault.
(3) If the client is of the opinion that the insured sum mentioned in para. 1 does not adequately cover the risk, the consultant will take out individual property insurance at his request, provided that the client agrees to bear the additional costs arising therefrom.
§ 12 Indications
(1) The client is advised that the fees to be charged according to the RVG are based on the value of the subject matter, unless a remuneration agreement has been made.
(2) The client is informed that in labour law matters, out-of-court matters and in labour court proceedings of the first instance there is also no claim for compensation for the prevailing party due to a delay in time and for reimbursement of the costs for the involvement of an attorney of process or assistance. In these cases, the costs incurred by the law firm will not be reimbursed. Costs may also have to be borne even in proceedings of voluntary jurisdiction.
(3) EU out-of-court online dispute resolution platform: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/
(4) The law firm is neither obliged nor willing to participate in a dispute settlement procedure before a consumer arbitration body.
§ 13 Final privisions
The invalidity of individual provisions of these terms and conditions shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions.
Status: June 2018