1. THE COSTS OF THE LAWYER
The costs of the lawyer are the fixed, general expenses for office operations on the one hand and the costs to be allocated to a specific file for rendering the services requested by the client on the other.
These costs are assessed as follows:
- creating a new file: € 75.00
- correspondence and procedural documents: € 12.00 per page
- copies: € 0.50 per page
- travel expenses: € 0.65 per kilometre plus VAT (21%)
- General costs (phone, etc.): fixed percentage of registered costs.
2. THE LITIGATION EXPENSES
The litigation expenses are the expenses that the client must pay to third parties such as process servers, the office of the court, translators and public authorities. The client pays these expenses directly to these third parties. If the lawyer pays litigation expenses on the client’s behalf, these
will be listed accurately and in detail in the fee and cost statement.
3. THE LAWYER’S FEE
he lawyer’s fee is the remuneration for services rendered by the lawyer or his staff.
In principle, it is discussed at the start of the cooperation in which way the fee will be charged.
One either agrees on an hourly rate or on a fixed amount agreed upon for a specific procedure or a specific part of a procedure. One can also agree on an additional fee in case of a positive result.
For establishing the hourly rate, the significance of the case, the experience and specialty of the lawyer, the urgency and the financial position of the client are taken into account.
In general, services and performances are charged at an hourly rate between 150 EUR and 400 EUR, exclusive of VAT (21%), unless it is agreed upon or established otherwise. The nature of a file can be decisive to establish a fixed amount, a percentage (e.g. for debt collections) or a success fee. It is also possible to agree upon an additional benefit – in advance or afterwards – in case of a positive result.
The fee can be incremental depending on the level of difficulty of the actual services rendered or a flat-line, uniform rate can be applied as an average value for all services to be rendered; all time needed for travelling is consistently charged at the hourly rate because the lawyer is indeed active in this file at that moment and this time must be remunerated as well, the compensation, if any,
being incorporated in the hourly rate itself.
4. THE AMOUNTS REGARDING THE PROCEDURAL COSTS
Since 1 January 2008, a party winning a process is entitled to recover (part of) the fee and costs of his lawyer from the party losing the process (= ‘recoverability of fees’).
This concerns a fixed compensation, the exact amount of which is established by the judge. The amounts regarding the procedural costs, both the basic amount and the minimum and maximum amount, are established in the royal decree of 26 October 2007. More information can be found on: www.advocaat.be.
In principle, the judge awards the basic amount. If at least one of the parties so asks, the judge may, based on 4 grounds listed in the above-mentioned decree, lower or raise the basic amount within the limits of the minimum and maximum amount. If the judge decides to increase or lower
the basic amount, he must motivate this.