General Terms & Conditions
1.1 These general terms and conditions have been drawn up in both the Dutch and English language. The Dutch text is binding.
2.1 Setting aside Sections 7:404 and 7:407(2) of the Dutch Civil Code, all engagements are exclusively accepted and carried out by Meester Advocaten B.V. The client indemnifies employees of Meester Advocaten B.V. and persons engaged by Meester Advocaten B.V.
2.2 Netherlands law applies to all assignments given to Meester Advocaten B.V.
2.3 The client is obliged to provide Meester Advocaten B.V. with all facts, and to inform Meester Advocaten B.V. of all circumstances, that could be relevant to the correct execution of the assignment in question, as well as to provide Meester Advocaten B.V. with any details and information they request. The client must guarantee the veracity and completeness of all details and information provided to Meester Advocaten B.V.
2.4 Meester Advocaten B.V. has a ‘civil-law’ section and an ‘administrative law’ section. The administrative law section employs attorneys and lawyers with at least fourteen years of relevant work experience in administrative law. Both the attorneys and (senior) lawyers are authorized to act as authorized representative for the client in all administrative law procedures. Not all lawyers are also attorneys. All lawyers, however, work under the responsibility of attorneys (the person with final responsibility is: meester R.G. Meester). Additional information about our lawyers and attorneys can be found on the website "www.meesteradvocaten.nl".
2.5 In the performance of an assignment, Meester Advocaten B.V. may be assisted by personnel and/or other expert parties. Meester Advocaten B.V. can proceed to do so at its own discretion/expertise, but should naturally act reasonably. In respect of relatively unsuitable activities, this does not require any additional engagement on the part of the client (for example, consulting with a colleague who is specialized in another subarea although this input is relevant to the proper execution of the activities of the acting lawyer/attorney). These (subordinate/supporting) activities fall under the present engagement as well. Any such auxiliaries will at all times be working under the responsibility of Meester Advocaten B.V.
2.6 These general terms and conditions apply to all assignments given to Meester Advocaten B.V. In the event of that changes are made to these terms and conditions by Meester Advocaten B.V., the changed terms and conditions shall apply to all new assignments, from the date of their publication on the website.
2.7 Our activities shall correspond strictly to the description stated in the assignment confirmation. It is quite possible that, in addition, developments could become relevant or, resp., decisions could be taken by an administrative organ and/or third party that have a bearing on the assignment in question. Without explicit relevant confirmation from Meester Advocaten B.V., such developments/decisions shall not form part of the activities/responsibilities of Meester Advocaten B.V. It is naturally incumbent upon the client itself to remain apprised of such relevant developments/decisions. It will be self-evident that it does not form part of the tasks of Meester Advocaten B.V. to follow local developments and local publications. In addition, it falls within the responsibilities of the client, and not Meester Advocaten B.V., to take note of relevant publications in local newspapers or, resp., those on the website of the relevant municipality, with regard to the assignment in question. The client must also remain abreast of local decisions/developments/publications.
2.7a In its engagement, Meester Advocaten B.V. can assume that the activities exploited/desired by the client (and possibly: structures erected) are fully in accordance with the prevailing zoning plan, unless the client has promptly stated to Meester Advocaten B.V. in writing that this is or may not be the case. The client is aware that it is not the duty of Meester Advocaten B.V. to investigate of its own accord whether the activities or structures conflict with the (prevailing) zoning plan. Subject to express written instructions for that purpose, an assessment on the basis of the zoning plan is therefore not part of the commission to Meester Advocaten B.V. If the client wants to carry out such an assessment, a written engagement must be provided separately.
If Meester Advocaten B.V. is ordered to investigate which activities are permitted in a specific parcel in accordance with the prevailing zoning plan, Meester Advocaten B.V. will draw up an itemized memorandum (or at least: reply) on the basis of information obtained via www.ruimtelijkeplannen.nl. Meester Advocaten B.V. cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information displayed on this website. Furthermore, Meester Advocaten B.V. relies on the information furnished by the client (including address data, other relevant information) which information is not verified in detail by Meester Advocaten B.V. in the context of these activities but is used as an (established) starting point for the itemized memorandum/reply. In the context of that engagement, the client is itself responsible for furnishing accurate and complete information including the explicit mention of any particulars. The client is aware that zoning plans in actual practice contain many hundreds of pages of text and it is not part of the activities of Meester Advocaten B.V. in the context of such an engagement to map and/or review the entire zoning plan, including all relevant points of attention for the client. In this itemized screening (relevant) aspects of the zoning plan can/will therefore be missed and the results can/may be regarded as purely indicative. The client should be particularly aware that no relevant (investment) decisions can be taken (solely) on the basis of such information. If so desired, Meester Advocaten B.V. can carry out a more elaborate screening of the zoning plan at additional cost, after Meester Advocaten B.V. has been given specific additional written instructions by the client and has accepted the engagement in writing.
The client expressly agrees to this working method of Meester Advocaten B.V., also with due observance of the (limited) rate Meester Advocaten B.V. charges for the itemized activities in order to review the zoning plan as set out above.
2.7b Meester Advocaten B.V. expressly has no expertise in a number of legal areas including, but not limited to, social insurance law and tax law. It should be emphasized that advice and inventory as to the relevance of such areas shall not/never fall within the scope of the assignments. The client is advised to seek advice from an expert third party pertaining to such fields, in particular where tax issues are involved.
2.8 Pursuant to the Identification (Provision of Services) Act, Meester Advocaten B.V. is obliged to ask you to provide the office with documentation concerning your identity. For legal persons, this means a recent and authenticated extract of the Chamber of Commerce registration accompanied by a copy of a valid form of identification of the person who will serve as the contact for our office. For natural persons, it involves producing valid identification. Pursuant to this act, Meester Advocaten B.V. is only permitted to commence the services after receipt of the documentation in question.
2.9 Additionally, Meester Advocaten B.V. hereby notify you that if in the files they handle they ascertain any information concerning unusual transactions, Meester Advocaten B.V. required under the Disclosure of Unusual Transactions (Financial Services) Act to report that information to the Office for the Disclosure of Unusual Transactions (MOT). In such cases, Meester Advocaten B.V. is legally prohibited from notifying the client of the report.
2.10 Furthermore, we inform you that our work may be subject to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act, for example if legal advice or support is provided in the purchase or sale of property and/or companies or any other financial transaction.
Pursuant to this act, client screening may be required. This screening may include verification of the identity of the client, persons behind the legal person, the object and intended nature of the business relationship, etc.
2.11 Meester Advocaten B.V. retain files in the archives for a period of five years once Meester Advocaten B.V. has closed and archived the file after the end of an assignment. This term will only be extended under exceptional circumstances. After the term five years, the file will be destroyed without further notice. Of course, all appropriate steps for the protection of confidentiality are taken in the process of file destruction.
2.12 When confirming an assignment, or subsequently, Meester Advocaten B.V. shall request the client for inclusion in the file until receipt of the digital hotel, restaurant and catering sector newsletter. This digital newsletter shall not contain any advertisements. Receipt of this newsletter can of course be cancelled with immediate effect by means of an email sent to email@example.com or by using the opt-out option included in every issue of the digital newsletter.
In addition, the client grants Meester Advocaten B.V. consent, in the future, to inform the client (for example via email), without obligation, about relevant developments (in the hotel, restaurant and catering sector). This information, too, shall not contain any advertisements. Should the client not wish to receive the latter information, this can be indicated via the aforementioned email address.
3.1 Meester Advocaten B.V. carries professional liability insurance in accordance with the requirements of the Netherlands Bar Association. The liability of Meester Advocaten for any damage ensuing from or connected to the execution of an assignment issued to Meester Advocaten B.V. shall be limited to the maximum compensation payment under the policy of the relevant professional liability insurance, increased by the excess that in accordance with the conditions of the policy is not payable by the insurer. The maximum insured amount in the context of professional liability is € 2,500,000.00 per claim (the maximum insured amount for corporate liability is € 1,250,000 per claim). As it is possible that a lower maximum compensation payment is provided for under the policy of the professional liability insurance in question, in such a case, Meester Advocaten B.V. shall not be liable for compensation exceeding such amount. In the event that the professional liability insurance does not proceed to the pay-out of compensation, the liability of Meester Advocaten B.V. shall be limited to the amount invoiced for the assignment from which the damage/loss ensued or to which the damage pertains, with a maximum amount of € 10,000.00.
3.2 Meester Advocaten B.V. has an internal complaints handling scheme, which has been published at the website www.meesteradvocaten.nl. Meester Advocaten B.V. aims to have satisfied clients and will seek to reach a settlement with the client on the basis of this complaints handling scheme. If parties cannot reach a satisfactory settlement, disputes will be settled in accordance with article 3.3.
3.3 Within one month after completion of the internal complaints procedure as described in Article 3.2 client has the possibility of the civil proceedings against Meester Advocaten B.V. brought to, the jurisdiction of the Court of Amsterdam, in the absence of which an action cannot be instituted before a new complaints procedure has taken place or alternative written consent has been issued by Meester Advocaten B.V.
4.1 Though you are no doubt aware of this, officially Meester Advocaten B.V. must point out the availability of the option of having an attorney appointed for you under the Legal Aid Act (Wet Rechtsbijstand On- en Minvermogenden/"WROM"). Such an appointment can be made by one of the Legal Aid Boards in Amsterdam, The Hague, Leeuwarden, 's-Hertogenbosch and Arnhem.
Meester Advocaten B.V. do not handle cases under the WROM, and the client have explicitly indicated the desire to engage my services. If, however, upon further consideration the client do choose to use an assigned counsel, you must therefore engage a different attorney. To do this, you must apply to the Legal Aid and Advice Centre (http://www.rvr.org)). They can refer you to attorneys who can be assigned to your case. The client is aware that, if it might have qualified for financed legal aid, another law firm (which carries out activities on the basis of financed legal aid) might have been engaged, whereupon the client would owe to that law firm only a ‘financial contribution’ and would not have to incur attorney’s fees on the basis of an hourly rate (therefore: would have to incur considerably lower attorney’s fees).
4.1a The client itself must actively verify to what extent it has a legal expenses insurance and must point this out to Meester Advocaten B.V. Unless the contrary has been expressly agreed upon between parties in writing, Meester Advocaten B.V. will carry out its activities by order of and for the account of the client and use the address stated by the client as billing address, whereby the invoices of Meester Advocaten B.V. are registered in the name of the client.
If the client (either or not at a later stage) indicates that it has a legal expenses insurance, Meester Advocaten B.V. is in principle prepared to lend its cooperation to the reimbursement of the attorney’s fees by the legal expenses insurer and perform the acts in direct relation thereto. This does not alter the fact that Meester Advocaten B.V. continues to be entitled to the reimbursement of its fee (as a rule: hourly rate multiplied by the number of chargeable hours) as laid down in the commission, which is guaranteed by the client itself/personally. Should the legal expenses insurer of the client be willing to pay, for example, €2,500.00 exclusive of VAT in terms of attorney’s fees while on the basis of the order confirmation and the extent of the activities a fee of €3,500.00 exclusive of VAT can be charged, the remaining amount of €1,000.00 exclusive of VAT can be paid by the client to Meester Advocaten B.V.
4.2 In the event that an initial meeting is held in connection with an assignment, the same standard hourly rate shall be payable for this meeting as that which applies of Meester Advocaten B.V. at that time. An initial meeting shall not be free of charge, unless prior written arrangements to the contrary have been made known by Meester Advocaten B.V.
4.3 In the event that an initial meeting is held, Meester Advocaten B.V. reserve the right, for reasons of their own, to continue or not continue the relevant activities. In the event that a discount is given on an hourly rate or, resp., the fee of Meester Advocaten B.V., (which is simultaneously to be understood as a lower hourly rate than the usual one), such a deviating rate shall apply until 1 January of the following calendar year. No rights may be derived from discounts previously given. Subject to other arrangements, the standard rate of Meester Advocaten B.V. shall again apply from 1 January of the following calendar year. Discounts which (according to the client) were not given in the past may not be invoked.
4.4 The final payment that is due (hourly fee, flexible fee, fixed fee and/or discount) is always confirmed by the client in writing (by email or fax) in advance of the instruction to carry out the activities being given. This confirmation is binding for both parties.
4.5 Meester Advocaten B.V. is not responsible for any statements made by third parties concerning its hourly fees, fixed price agreements and possible discounts. Clients cannot make any claims based upon such statements without the prior written agreement of Meester Advocaten B.V.
4.6 Meester Advocaten B.V. will then send the client periodic interim invoices for the work that is performed up to that moment. From these interim invoices the client will be able to determine the amount and extent of the work performed for them up to that point. If the client desire time accounting of the hours spent on these activities, Meester Advocaten B.V. will provide the client with this time accounting immediately upon her request. (Interim) Invoices are initially always sent by email.
4.7 Barring explicit arrangements to the contrary, our fee is subject to VAT and 8% office charges. Urgent handling or other unusual circumstances may be subject to surcharges on our fee.
4.8 Meester Advocaten B.V. reserve the right to increase her fee annually, with effect from 1 January, with a maximum increase of 5% under normal circumstances.
4.9 Where circumstances so demand, Meester Advocaten B.V. reserve the right to require an advance for fees and/or expenses to be incurred, and to not commence the work or, if work has already commenced, to suspend the work until the advance and/or any outstanding invoices are paid.
4.10 It is an eventuality that the case could require immediate handling, resulting in the postponement of other activities. It could also result in the need, for example, to work in the evening hours, at the weekend or on a national holiday, in order to provide the client with the best possible representation. In such situations, our normal fee is increased by up to 25%. However, such increases will only come into force after we have notified the client of such activities in advance, and/or will only come into force as a logical result of the instructions the client have issued to us.
4.11 Subject to special circumstances, to be substantiated by the client, all payments are to be made via bank credit.
4.12 Under normal circumstances the payment period is 14 days. Our invoices must be paid within the given payment period, and the amount of invoice must be received on/credited to the bank account of Meester Advocaten B.V. in full within this period.
4.13 Meester Advocaten B.V. reserve the right to cease the work (at any stage of the proceedings) if the invoices are not paid in a timely manner and/or if any payment arrears arises.
4.14 If the client have not made full payment within the set payment period, then in addition to extrajudicial costs the client owe statutory interest, and specifically commercial transaction interest, pursuant to European Directive 2000/35/EC on combating late payment in commercial transactions, as well as the charges determined under article 119(a), Book 6, Dutch Civil Code based on this directive. The client acknowledge that the engagement in the present instance is a commercial transaction and that the client owe this commercial transaction interest.
4.15 If the invoice is paid late, the payment made will first go towards payment of the outstanding statutory commercial transaction interest and/or statutory interest. After payment of the outstanding statutory interest, the remainder of the payment will be applied towards payment of the invoiced principal.
4.15a Payments to Meester Advocaten B.V. shall be exclusive of the right of deferral or set-off.
4.16 In the event that the client is more than two months in arrears in fulfilling its payment obligation vis-à-vis Meester Advocaten B.V. in respect of the payment-due dates of the invoices, Meester Advocaten B.V. shall have the right to have a recovery investigation carried out by a third party. In the event that recourse is made to this right, Meester Advocaten B.V. shall also recover the resulting costs, which are normally about € 400,00 exclusive of VAT from the client.
4.17 In the event that a discount is given on the regular hourly rate or, resp., a lower hourly rate than the standard one is charged, such a discount / reduced rate shall apply solely in the case of prompt payment of the invoices of Meester Advocaten B.V. Said discount / reduced rate shall become null and void with retroactive force in the event that two consecutive reminders have been sent, and the terms of payment provided therein have expired.
4.18 Upon the end of the work, the claims against the client become immediately exigible, regardless of any previous or different arrangements, and Meester Advocaten B.V. will then entitled to exercise the right of retention to the fullest extent of the law.
4.19 Any agreements concerning discounts and/or flexible and/or fixed prices made by Meester Advocaten B.V. are only applicable in a single instance, and are not applicable in combination with other agreements on discounts and/or flexible and/or fixed prices, or to future activities.
4.20 Should the client not agree with the amount of any invoice or invoices Meester Advocaten B.V. send to them, the client must notify Meester Advocaten B.V. within one month of receipt of the invoice in question. In the absence of such notification, the client shall accept the invoices sent.
5.1 On the basis of the current General Data Protection Regulation 27 April 2016 (Regulation 2016/679), professional use of the data of the client without notice is permitted. In addition, the data of the client will be used in new cases in order to check for any conflict of interests (with the client as client).
5.2 The client agrees to the electronic data exchange (Internet and e-mail) and is aware that, despite all safety precautions observed by the firm, no absolute certainty can be provided against consultation by unauthorized persons.
5.3 Any disputes arising from the formation and execution of the engagement, the quality of the professional services or the amount of the claim(s) are settled by the competent judge of the Amsterdam District Court.
5.4 Not only the contracted party, Meester Advocaten B.V., but persons engaged by Meester Advocaten B.V., as well, can rely upon these general terms and conditions.