Awerian is an integrated network of independent boutique business-law firms in Belgium, Germany, France, Austria and Spain.
1. The client of an Awerian office contracts exclusively with the local law firm listed as contracting party in the instruction letter (hereinafter: "The Firm”).
For each assignment entrusted to and accepted by the Firm, a letter of engagement will be sent to the client confirming the identity of the service provider, the client and the charging rates applied. All engagements will be governed by these general terms of engagement, with the exclusion of any general or specific purchase terms of the client or third party payor (e.g. shared services center, insurer).
It is possible that several instruction letters may be drawn up for different assignments and/or that the client contracts with different law firms that are part of the Awerian network for a single matter.
2. We are undertaking each engagement by establishing an attorney-client relationship with the legal entities so identified in our client engagement letter and neither with any other corporate entity (such as parent companies or subsidiaries), nor client of an instructing law firm in case such law firm is instructing us nor with an other Awerian-office. We will apply the ethics rules relating to conflicts of interest only with respect to our client so identified in our engagement letter.
For certain matters, such as company law matters or real estate transactions, mandatory law for the prevention of money laundering requires law firms to not only identify their clients and the client’s director(s) and agent(s) but also the natural persons who are the ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) of the client and the client’s director(s) and agent(s). The ultimate beneficiary is any natural person who owns or controls the client or the client's agent or whose account the transaction is being carried out. For companies or associations, the natural persons who hold, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the voting rights or of the ownership interest in the company, or who have control of the company or association through other means. If no natural person has at least 25% of the voting rights or ownership interest, the senior management staff shall be considered to be the ultimate beneficiary of the company or association. By consulting our firm, the client accepts to provide us with any and all information that is required by law or which we are legally required asking our clients and to keep that spontaneously up-to-date.
As a client you are legally obliged to provide us with a recto/verso copy of the identity card of the director(s)/agent(s) (of the aforementioned client-legal person) who directs the matter and who is the contact for our firm, before or at the latest at the beginning of our business relationship and spontaneously keep us informed of any changes to this information or documents. Failing that, our service can suspended or discontinued until you comply.
3. Our services are always deemed to be performed in the registered offices of our firm, where our invoices are payable.
4. Our fees are based on the time spent on the matter by the concerned persons. In this respect, we apply hourly rates that reflect the seniority and experience of the involved lawyers and staff, as well as the urgency and complexity of the matter. The hourly rates are annually reviewed and indexed, typically as from 1 January or 1 September, and may be increased based on inflation in accordance with the evolution of the consumer index or other relevant increase of costs. When the rates are increased, the new rates will be reflected in the first invoice after the date of the change.
Legal services provided by other Awerian partners are charged at the rates applicable in the local market and may be included in our time registration and invoice or billed directly to you.
5. Out-of-pocket expenses (such as costs of translation, costs of a notary public or court bailiff, travel expenses, court fees, express courier deliveries, etc…) are charged separately at cost price to our firm.
6. Legal services by European lawyers are subject to VAT. Therefore VAT will be added to our fees whenever required by relevant VAT regulations. Services provided to legal entities are deemed to be provided for and in the interests of the professional purposes of that legal entity. The client must inform us if that is not the case.
7. A breakdown of time spent and detailed description of the work carried out will be provided with our invoice. Those details are subject to legal privilege and professional secrecy and in principle made available to our client, or his insurance company, only.
8. Our fees are invoiced in euro and on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, depending on the amount due and status of the matter at the end of such period.
9. Invoices are payable in euro by wire transfer, within 21 days of issuance, to our bank account mentioned in the original fee note and net of bank charges. No protest with respect to a fee note will be accepted upon expiry of that period.
10. Amounts that remain unpaid as of maturity date will automatically and without notice generate a penalty interest set in accordance with the legislation applicable in case of late payment in the jurisdiction of the Firm that invoiced, as well as a lump sum indemnity of 10% of the amount that remained unpaid. We also reserve the right to stop without warning providing services to a client or in a specific matter whenever an invoice addressed to that client or concerning that matter remains unpaid after its due date. We do not accept any liability for damages or disadvantages arising after the due date of a not timely or incompletely paid invoice, or following the suspension or cessation of our services due to the late payment of our invoices.
11. All our documents and communications in client matters are subject to legal privilege and professional secrecy imposed by local and European mandatory law, as well as to confidentiality as regulated by the local Bar Association Rules. We strive to respect at all times the confidentiality of the information or documents entrusted to us with the exception of those cases where legal or ethical obligations oblige us to share certain information with third parties or public authorities. Nevertheless, we cannot be held liable if, in spite of the reasonable precautions taken by our IT supplier, third parties receive knowledge of confidential information or documents relating to you or your file
12. Our liability and the liability of our partners, associates and staff is limited to the insurance cover provided by the generally applicable professional liability insurance organized by the local Bar Association of the Firm and applicable to each member of that Bar Association. In the event where a liability should arise which is not covered by our professional liability insurance, then that liability shall be limited to the higher of the following two amounts: (i) half of the total amount of legal fees paid by the client (or group of jointly instructing clients) to our firm over the calendar year concerned in the matter concerned; or (ii) € 25,000 per client (or group of jointly instructing clients) for all of the combined claims by that client or group of clients.
13. When we complete a particular matter or sub-matter, we will keep the essential records relating to our work for you for five years following the date of the last correspondence in that matter or sub-matter. Your identification data will be kept, as required by anti-money laundering legislation, for a period of ten years.
14. The relationship between the client, any third party payor and the Firm shall be governed only by the law applicable in the jurisdiction of the Firm that provided the concerned services to the client and the courts of that jurisdiction have exclusive jurisdiction in case of litigation concerning our services. This also applies to the collection of invoices that remain unpaid. The legal proceedings will only be conducted in the language of the jurisdiction or region of the Firm that provided the concerned services. We accept neither the application of foreign law nor the jurisdiction of foreign courts<
15. From the fact that the client has contracted with the Firm, we assume until written notice to the contrary, that that the client is not eligible for legal aid. As part of our ethical obligations, we wish to inform the client of the possibility for a private person with limited resources to request legal aid if the client would be eligible. We do not make that assessment in the client's place and advise the client to consult additional information on this subject through the Firm’s local Bar Association.
16. When the client can benefit from legal aid or legal insurance or other insurance that would cover the services of the Firm, the client must immediately take the necessary steps to report the sinister to its broker and insurer. Any financial or other cover limits or exclusions that the client has agreed with its insurer or which are invoked by that insurer, as well as any protest or discussion of our invoices by the insurer of the client, are not binding on the Firm. In the absence of timely full payment of our invoices by the insurer, the client must immediately proceed to the full payment of the outstanding invoices and provide an appropriate retainer or security for the payment of the services by the Firm in the concerned matter. Any costs or services relating to the discussion or protest of our invoices by the insurer of the client, will be invoiced to the client at the applicable hourly rates and will be fully due by the client irrespective of the outcome of such discussion.
17. The client is expressly advised that disputes may, at any moment during legal proceedings or arbitration, be settled by mediation, reconciliation, or negotiation. The choice of the method applied for the resolution of a dispute should be considered by the client before and during the proceedings as this may have a significant impact on the cost, the duration of the dispute resolution and the acceptability of the result achieved. It is the exclusive responsibility of the client to consider or reject an amicable settlement and to make an opportunity choice in this regard, also taking into account the factual evidence, elements and arguments that the client has or can supply.
18. For the Awerian policy on the protection of personal data, we refer to the separate document that can be consulted on the website www.awerian.law and the document attached to the instruction letter of the Firm which who the client contracts (if any).
Terms and Conditions release date December 2018
Awerian is a network of independent boutique business law firms in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, the details of which can be found on the awerian.law website.
Awerian, Attn. Marjan Gorez, Culliganlaan 1A, B-1831 Diegem, Belgium Tel.: +32 2 711 40 40 and e-mail: contact(at)awerian(dot)law
SECURITY OF YOUR PERSONAL DATA
Awerian takes the protection of your personal data very seriously and has adopted adequate measures to protect your personal data against accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed Awerian uses industry standard physical and procedural security measures to protect your personal data from the point of collection to the point of destruction. This includes firewalls, access controls, policies and other procedures to protect information from unauthorised access.
Where data processing is carried out on our behalf by a third party, we have taken steps to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to prevent unauthorised access to disclosure of your personal data. Awerian cannot, however, guarantee the security of information transmitted over the internet or that unauthorized persons will not obtain access to personal data. In the event of a data breach, Awerian has put in place procedures to deal with a suspected breach and will notify you and its regulator of a breach where required to do so.
If you would have the impression that your personal data is not adequately protected or if there are indications of abuse, please let us know via your usual contact person or via contact(at)awerian(dot)law.
OVERVIEW OF THE INFORMATION WE COLLECT
The categories of personal data provided may include:
- first and last name
- e-mail address
- phone number
- postal address
- IP-address, browser type, internet service provider, device identifier, your login information, time zone setting, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform (e.g. when visiting our website)
- other personal data you actively provide us with (e.g. by telephone, correspondence)
- marketing and communications data includes your preferences in receiving marketing from us and your communication preferences
- Information we collect from third parties or public sources (e.g. companies register, the Belgian State Gazette and other public sources, in the course of client due diligence , social media platforms, introductions, etc.).
Awerian further collects, stores and uses information about your visits to our website.
SENSITIVE AND/OR SPECIAL PERSONAL DATA
We do not generally collect sensitive personal data. Sensitive personal data includes personal data revealing a person’s racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, or data concerning health.
Our website or services are not intended for or directed at persons under the age of 18 years and we do not knowingly collect data relating to children under this age. We are, however, unable to verify whether a visitor is older than 18. We recommend to parents to be involved in the online activities of their children in order to prevent the collection of personal data of minors under the age of 18 without parental consent.
If we do collect sensitive or special personal data, we will ask for your consent / parental consent to our proposed use of that information at the time of collection.
HOW WE USE YOUR INFORMATION
Purposes for which we may process the information are legitimate and include:
- compliance with legal, regulatory and ethical obligations (e.g. tax and accounting purposes, anti-money laundering compliance, provision of legal services to clients and representation in court, etc.);
- to provide you with information and services that you request from us;
- to respond to your queries and provide you with the information requested in order to generate and develop business, which we consider to be proportionate and not prejudicial or detrimental to you;
- to keep you informed about legal developments by sending you legal updates and other communications such as invitations to seminars and events, newsletters on legal developments or notifications we believe may be of interest to you. We consider this use to be proportionate and not prejudicial or detrimental to you. You can always opt-out of receiving informative e-mail communications by following the unsubscribe link below each such e-mail;
- to send information regarding changes to our policies, terms and conditions and other administrative information, which we consider to be proportionate and not prejudicial or detrimental to you;
- to improve our website or to keep our website and IT systems safe and secure.
In case of reliance on legitimate interests, Awerian will carry out a balancing test to ensure that your interests, rights and freedoms do not override our legitimate interests.
Awerian will only use your personal data for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal data for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you in a timely manner and we will upon request explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.
Awerian does not engage in automated decision-making that could have considerable consequences to persons. Automated decision-making entails decisions that are being taken by computer programs of systems, without intervention of a natural person.
HOW LONG WE KEEP YOUR PERSONAL DATA
Awerian will not keep your personal data for longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it was collected and processed. The criteria we use for retaining different types of personal data, includes the following:
Legal and regulatory requirements: we will retain the information for as long as legally required (e.g. accounting and AML regulations may require retention up to 10 years).
General queries: we will retain your information for as long as necessary to respond to your queries. Subsequently, we will retain the information for five years after the last contact.
Direct marketing: Information processed solely for direct marketing purposes will not be retained longer than one year after you choose to unsubscribe.
WHO YOUR PERSONAL DATA IS SHARED WITH
Your personal data can be shared with the following third parties:
- Awerian partners, associates and staff;
- third party suppliers providing marketing services to us;
- third party data processors and service providers who assist Awerian with maintaining the website and office services including our IT systems and IT support services, client reception and telephone answering services and data or file storage/back up services
Our third party processors and service providers are subject to security and confidentiality obligations and are only permitted to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions. Awerian has concluded data processing agreement with these third party processors to safeguard the protection of your personal data.
Cookies are small text files that are saved on a computer or other device during a visit to a website. Cookies are usually used to allow websites to function optimally and to track actions of the visitors of the website, or for example to store your login details.
DATA PROTECTION PRINCIPLES
Awerian adheres to the following principles when processing your personal data:
Lawfulness, fairness and transparency: data must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner. Purpose limitation: data must be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
Data minimisation: data must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
Accuracy: data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. Storage limitation: data must be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed.
Integrity and confidentiality: data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage by using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
GENERAL INFORMATION BY EMAIL
When Awerian sends general information by email to an identified or identifiable natural person, this person can withdraw his consent at any time by:
- sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- using the unsubscribe link below each marketing email
Awerian does not transfer your personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
Users have the following rights, notwithstanding that Awerian may refuse the exercise of these rights when legally obliged, when derogations exist relating to processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes, in the framework of a legal claim or when derogated from by the legitimate interest of free speech and information:
- right to access and update your personal data: You have the right to access the personal data we hold about you. Upon request, we shall provide you with a copy of your personal data which we are processing.
- right to data portability: In principle, you have the right to receive the personal data which you have provided to us in a structured and commonly used format so that it can be transferred to another data controller.
- right to rectification: You have the right to have inaccurate personal data rectified or completed by contacting us on email@example.com
- right to object: You have the right to object at any time to our processing of your personal data. In aforementioned case, we will no longer process your personal data unless we can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your interests, rights and freedoms or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- right to be forgotten
- right to restrict the processing of your personal data to processing in certain circumstances
Please note that the above rights are not absolute and we may be entitled to refuse requests, wholly or partly, where exceptions under the applicable law apply. Furthermore, where we have reasonable doubts concerning the identity of the person making the request, we may request additional information necessary to confirm your identity.
Our website may contain links to and from third-party websites. Please note that these websites have their own privacy policies and Awerian does not accept any responsibility or liability for these policies.
COMPLAINT WITH A SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY
You have the right to make a complaint at any time with a supervisory authority. The supervisory authority can be contacted:
in Austria at: Österreichische Datenschutzbehörde, Wickenburggasse 8, 1080 Wien, tel.: +43 1 52 152-0.
in Belgium at: Gegevensbeschermingsautoriteit, Drukpersstraat 35, B-1000 Brussel, tel.: +32 (0)2 274 48 00.
in Germany at: Die Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit, Husarenstr. 30 53117 Bonn, tel.: +49 (0)228-997799-0.
in France at: Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, 3 Place de Fontenoy TSA 80715 - 75334 Paris Cedex 07 – France, tel.: +33 (0)220.127.116.11.22.
in Spain at: Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Calle Jorge Juan 6, 28001 Madrid, Spanje, tel.: +34 912663517.