General Terms and Conditions

General Terms and Conditions of Business and Engagement
 of Ettrich Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB

Our activities are subject to the Federal Solicitors' Act (BRAO), the Rules of Professional Practice for Solicitors (BORA), the Specialist Attorney Regulation, the Law on the Remuneration of Attorneys (RVG) and the Professional Rules for Solicitors of the European Union.

The professional regulations to which lawyers are subject may be reviewed at www.brak.de and also obtained from the Frankfurt am Main Bar Council responsible for our firm.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing in individual cases or unless otherwise required by law, the following General Terms and Conditions apply to all contracts or engagements between Ettrich Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB (hereinafter referred to as "Partnership") and its clients (hereinafter referred to as "Clients"). The client's contractual partner is always the partnership.

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I. Scope and fulfilment of the engagement

  1. The order placed in each individual case (hereinafter referred to as "engagement") is definitive for the scope of the services to be rendered by the partnership. The fulfilment of the engagement is carried out in accordance with the principles of proper professional practice. Unless otherwise agreed in individual cases, the partnership is responsible for appointing the person responsible for fulfilling the engagement.
  2. Within the scope of its activities, the partnership shall accept as accurate the facts, in particular documents, figures etc., transmitted/specified by the client. In the event of a subsequent change to facts communicated, the client is obliged to inform the partnership of this in writing without undue delay. If any inaccuracies are discovered in the client's information during the course of engagement fulfilment, the client is be obliged to provide clarification. Obviously incorrect information will not be used by the partnership vis-à-vis third parties.
  3. The verification of the accuracy, completeness and correctness of documents handed over and/or the figures communicated only form part of the engagement if this is agreed separately in writing.
  4. The Partnership shall not be obliged to inspect random documents/bundles of attachments and to inspect them in terms of their legal relevance, unless a separate written agreement has been made and the client has expressly pointed out the need for such an examination. This does not apply if the engagement expressly refers also to the inspection and review of documents provided from any legal aspect.

II. Duty to maintain secrecy, vicarious agents

  1. The partnership is obliged as specified by law to maintain secrecy concerning all facts of which it becomes aware in connection with the fulfilment of the engagement, as long as and to the extent that the client does not release it in writing from its obligation to maintain secrecy. This obligation continues to exist even after the engagement has ended.
  2. The duty to maintain confidentiality also applies to the same extent to professional staff and other employees of the partnership.
  3. If disclosure of facts learned within the scope of the engagement is necessary due to a mandatory statutory regulation or to safeguard the legitimate interests of the partnership or its employees, there shall be no obligation of confidentiality in this respect.
  4. A release from the duty to maintain secrecy also exists in the extent to which the partnership is obliged to provide information and cooperation due to the insurance conditions of its professional liability insurance.
  5. The statutory right to information and the right to refuse to give evidence, in particular according to Articles 53 German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), 383 Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO), remain unaffected.
  6. The partnership is entitled to involve employees in the fulfilment of the engagement and to avail itself of technically suitable third parties as well as data processing companies. In this context, the partnership is released from its duty of confidentiality. However, it must expressly impose an obligation to maintain secrecy on the competent third parties or service providers commissioned by it in accordance with Item II. 1.

III. Correction of defects

  1. The client is entitled to the remedy of any defects. The Partnership is to be given the opportunity to remedy the defects within a reasonable period of time.
  2. Obvious inaccuracies may be corrected by the partnership at any time, also vis-à-vis third parties. The partnership is only entitled to correct other miscellaneous defects vis-à-vis third parties with the consent of the client. The aforementioned consent can be waived if the legitimate interests of the partnership take precedence over those of the client.

IV. Liability, limitation of liability, statute of limitations

  1. Telephone information provided by the partners and/or employees of the partnership is non-binding and is always subject to the necessity of an in-depth examination. If they are not expressly confirmed in writing, they remain non-binding.
  2. With respect to liability for a professional error, the statutory regulation, Art. 8 IV Partnership Companies Act (PartGG) applies.
  3. The partnership has obliged to always maintain professional indemnity insurance, the cover of which per individual case corresponds to least EUR 10,000,000.00 per year.
  4. The client's claim against the partnership for compensation concerning damage caused due to negligence shall be limited to EUR 10,000,000.00.
  5. If the client's claim for damages is not subject to a shorter statutory limitation period, it expires three years after the date on which the claim arose.

V.   Duties of the Client

  1. The client is obliged to provide truthful information and otherwise cooperate with respect to the proper fulfilment of the engagement. This also includes the timely and unsolicited handing over of the documents required for the processing of the engagement in a complete and orderly form, as well as the notification of the partnership of all circumstances which might be of significance for the fulfilment of the engagement. If the partnership provides the client with briefs and/or documents prepared by it for information purposes, the client shall be obliged, even without a separate request to do so, to check these for their factual correctness and completeness and to inform the partnership immediately of any errors or inaccuracies.
  2. The client is to refrain from all actions that could impair the independence of the solicitor or the vicarious agents of the partnership.
  3. The client will only make the documents provided to him by the partnership, in particular expert opinions or briefs, accessible to third parties with the written consent of the partnership, unless the engagement already provides for the disclosure to a specific third party. It is noted that the work results of the partnership are subject to copyright protection.
  4. The client is to inform the partnership without delay concerning any change of address or change in the person designated as the client's legal representative. If the client fails to do so, documents sent to the address or legal representative designated upon client engagement shall be deemed properly served.
  5. The client shall make available to the partnership, within a reasonable time, the costs, including advances, requested in connection with the fulfilment of the engagement.

VI. Consequences of non-cooperation, default of acceptance by the client

If the client fails to cooperate as required, or if he defaults in accepting the service offered to him by the partnership, the partnership may set him a reasonable grace period with the declaration that it will refuse to continue the engagement after expiry of the grace period.
If the deadline expires without success, the partnership is entitled to terminate the mandate without notice.
The partnership's claim for compensation for additional expenses incurred as a result of the client's failure to cooperate or due to the client's default, in addition to the damage caused, shall remain unaffected and shall exist even if the right of termination without notice is not exercised.

VII. Remuneration

  1. The remuneration of the partnership shall be calculated in accordance with the provisions of the German Lawyers' Fees Act (RVG) and/or a fee agreement concluded with the client, otherwise in accordance with typical remuneration (Articles 612 II, 632 II German Civil Code (BGB)).
  2. Offsetting against a remuneration claim of the partnership is only permissible with legally final or undisputed claims.
  3. The partnership is entitled to an appropriate fee advance in accordance with the general principles of the German Lawyers' Fees Act (RVG). The partnership is entitled to make the fulfilment of the client engagement dependent on the payment of such advances.
  4. If a client engagement ends prior to complete fulfilment, the remuneration claim of the partnership shall be based on the agreed remuneration or, if no fee agreement has been made, on the statutory regulation. Any deviating regulation in individual cases requires a written agreement, which must be drawn up separately and handed over to the client with these General Terms and Conditions of Engagement upon conclusion of the agreement.
    It is expressly noted that a large number of facts substantiating fees provide that the fee is due in full upon commencing the relevant activity.

VIII. Ending the client engagement

  1. A client engagement ends exclusively upon fulfilment of the agreed services, by expiry of the agreed term or through termination.
  2. If a client engagement is for an indefinite period, it may be terminated by either contracting party in accordance with the principles for the termination of continuing obligations, unless otherwise agreed in writing in individual cases when the client engagement was agreed upon.
  3. If the partnership terminates the client engagement, in order to avoid any loss of rights by the client, actions are still to be taken which are reasonable and cannot be postponed (e.g. application for extension of a deadline if the deadline is imminent). In the event of termination, if the client is specifically informed of pending deadlines and any necessary actions as well as the possible necessity of engaging another solicitor, the partnership shall have no further duties to perform. The only exception is if the client is unable to effect transfer to another engagement without undue delay and declares this in writing without undue delay.
  4. Any termination must be made in writing.

IX. Duties of retention, right of return and retention of work results and documents

  1. The partnership is to keep the reference files for a period of seven years after the engagement has ended. The aforementioned obligation expires prior to the expiry of the deadline if the partnership has issued a request to the client in writing to accept the reference files and the client has not complied with this request within six weeks of receipt. The reference file includes all documents received by the partnership from or on behalf of the client in connection with the fulfilment of the engagement. The duty to retain and, where applicable, to surrender, documents does not extend to documents which the client has already received in original form or as a copy and to correspondence between the partnership and the client. The same applies to the working papers prepared for internal purposes by the solicitor in charge and/or other specialist employees and vicarious agents of the partnership.
  2. At the client's request, the partnership is to return to the client the documents provided by the client within a reasonable period of time. The partnership is entitled to make and retain copies of these documents.
  3. The partnership is entitled to refuse to hand over the reference file, the documents pursuant to Item IX. 2. or the results of the work until the fees and expenses relating to the engagement have been settled, unless the retention would constitute a breach of good faith.

X. Applicable Law, Place of Performance

  1. Unless otherwise agreed in writing when our services are engaged, German law applies exclusively to the engagement, its fulfilment and any resulting claims.
  2. The place of performance is the location of the law firm.
  3. The place of jurisdiction for fee and liability disputes is the registered address of the law firm. The law firm's registered office is also expressly agreed as the place of jurisdiction for all other legal disputes if the client is a merchant or does not have his general place of jurisdiction in Germany within the meaning of the Code of Civil Procedure. The aforementioned provision applies mutatis mutandis if the client moves his domicile or habitual abode outside the scope of application of the Code of Civil Procedure after conclusion of the contract or if the client's domicile and habitual abode are unknown at the time the suit is filed.

XI. Other miscellaneous provisions

  1. Should any of the provisions of these General Terms and Conditions of Engagement be or become invalid, this shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions. The provision that has been abandoned due to invalidity is to be replaced by a legally permissible provision that comes as close as possible in fulfilling the economic meaning and purpose of the invalid provision.
  2. The General Terms and Conditions of Purchase and Payment of the client or other third parties are irrelevant and have no effect within the framework of the client engagement. The aforementioned provision applies apply mutatis mutandis to deviating provisions concerning the place of jurisdiction. Third-party General Terms and Conditions protective clauses are invalid.
    Last amended: August 2015