These Terms and Conditions of Engagement shall apply to all contracts between Bette Westenberger Brink Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB (hereinafter referred to as "Partnership" or "Lawyers") and its contracting partners (hereinafter referred to as "Clients") for the provision of legal advice, representation, information and/or other legal services (hereinafter referred to as "Mandates", "Mandatierung").
2.1. All mandates are granted by transmitting and/or confirming a Partnership Mandate Agreement.
2.2. The mandate relates exclusively to German law. Tax advice and/or representation is not owed unless the mandate expressly refers to this. The tax implications of civil law arrangements are to be examined by the client through competent third parties (e.g. tax lawyers, tax advisors, auditors). If the matter involves foreign law, the lawyers shall point this out in good time.
2.3. The lawyers shall point out changes in the legal situation during the mandate to the extent that the mandate is affected thereby. If the legal situation changes after the submission of the final professional statement, the lawyers shall not be obliged to point out changes or consequences resulting therefrom.
2.4. If several clients are jointly contracting partners within the scope of one and the same mandate, their individual mandate-related acts shall be effective for and against all other clients of this mandate. Actions taken vis-à-vis one of several clients are effective for and against all clients. This does not apply to a termination of a mandate. If the instructions or the interests of several clients conflict, the lawyers may resign from the mandate.
3.1. Unless remuneration has been agreed separately, it shall be calculated in accordance with the German Lawyers' Fees Act (RVG). The fees stated therein are calculated according to the value in dispute.
3.2. The lawyers' remuneration and other claims for costs shall be due and payable by the client when they arise and when the invoice is issued. Upon request of the lawyers, the client shall be obliged to pay reasonable advances. This shall also apply if there are claims for reimbursement of costs against the legal expenses insurance, the opposing party or third parties.
3.3. The client shall assign all claims for reimbursement of costs by the opposing party, the court cashier, the legal expenses insurance or third parties to the lawyers by way of security. The lawyers accept the assignment and undertake to release these claims at the client's request if the sum exceeds the lawyers' fee claim by 10%. The lawyers shall be entitled to notify the debtor of the assignment.
3.4. The lawyers shall be entitled to set off incoming payments against outstanding claims for remuneration, also from other matters, insofar as these are due and the set-off is permitted by law.
In labour court disputes there is no entitlement to reimbursement of fees or other costs out of court or at first instance. This also applies in principle to costs in proceedings of voluntary jurisdiction. In other disputes, too, it cannot always be ensured that all costs incurred will be borne by the losing party in the event of a successful outcome.
5.1. The partnership is a partnership company with limited professional liability (PartGmbB). Liability is limited to the assets of the partnership. The partners are not personally liable to the client, not even in the case of faulty professional practice.
5.2. The lawyers maintain liability insurance for claims of the client due to breach of duty up to an amount of € 10,000,000.00 (ten million euros). The liability of the partnership arising from faulty professional practice is limited to this sum and to the typically foreseeable damage. This limitation of liability does not apply to damages resulting from intentional or grossly negligent conduct or in the case of injury to life, body or health.
5.3. Third parties shall only be subject to obligations to perform and protect under the mandate if this has been expressly agreed by way of exception. The aforementioned limitations of liability also apply to third parties. Statutory obligations, such as those arising from pre-contractual obligations and tort law, remain unaffected.
The lawyers shall hold any monies received on behalf of the client in trust and - subject to clause 3 – shall pay these monies without delay to the office designated by the client upon the client's written request.
7.1. As a matter of principle, the lawyers shall not keep originals in the files unless the submission of originals is required by way of exception.
7.2. After the termination of the mandate, the lawyers shall keep the documents received and prepared in connection with the mandate as well as the correspondence for a period of 6 years. After that, they are promptly destroyed in accordance with data protection regulations.
7.3. Upon the client's request, the lawyers shall, after settlement of all invoices for fees and expenses, surrender all documents received from the client or third parties, of which the client does not already have the original or a copy.
7.4. The lawyers shall be entitled to make and retain copies of all documents. The keeping and storage of files in electronic form or in any other form of storage shall be permitted.
Lawyers are obliged under the Money Laundering Act to carry out certain checks and to inform the competent authorities if they suspect violations of the Money Laundering Act. The client does not receive any notification of this.
9.1. The client shall inform the lawyers fully and truthfully about all facts related to the mandate without any special request and shall provide them in due time with all documents and data related to the mandate in an orderly manner. This shall also apply to processes, circumstances and documents which only become known during the mandate.
9.2. The client shall carefully check the documents and information provided by the lawyers, which are sent to him in advance in draft form, to ensure that the information contained therein is true and complete. The client shall inform the lawyers without delay whether these can be sent to third parties in the version submitted to him.
10.1. Insofar as the Client provides the Lawyers with a fax number or an e-mail address, the Client hereby agrees, until revoked or otherwise expressly instructed, that the Lawyers may communicate without restriction by e-mail or fax on a case-by-case basis.
10.2. Provided that the technical requirements are met by the recipients, e-mails from the lawyers are encrypted using the certified S/MIME procedure and via TLS. The S/MIME end-to-end encryption ensures that only addressed recipients can open the e-mail. If recipients do not have encryption, e-mails are sent unencrypted. The client is aware that only limited confidentiality is guaranteed with unencrypted e-mails.
10.3. The Client warrants that only he/she or persons authorised by him/her have access to the e-mail addresses or fax numbers provided by him/her and that he/she regularly checks incoming mail there. The Client shall be obliged to inform the lawyers if there are any restrictions, e.g. if the Client wishes to receive mail only after prior notice.
10.4. Files attached to e-mails must not exceed a volume of 15 MB. Larger e-mails are automatically blocked without the lawyers or the client receiving any notification.
The lawyers reserve all rights to the documents drafted by them (pleadings, expert opinions, statements, reports, etc.). The Client shall be entitled to use them within the framework of a simple right of use insofar as they relate to the mandate. Any disclosure to third parties shall require the written consent of the lawyers, unless the consent to disclosure to a specific third party already results from the mandate.
12.1. The legal invalidity of any provision shall not affect the legal validity of the other provisions of these Terms of Reference.
12.2. German law shall apply exclusively. The place of performance and jurisdiction vis-à-vis merchants, legal entities under public law and special funds under public law shall be the registered office of the commissioned office of the lawyers.
12.3. The lawyers are willing to participate in dispute resolution proceedings at the Schlichtungsstelle der Rechtsanwaltschaft, Rauchstraße 26, 10787 Berlin, www.s-d-r.org. The EU maintains a platform for the online settlement of disputes between entrepreneurs and consumers at https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/.