General terms and conditions
1. BVBA DELBOO, hereinafter referred to as "DELBOO", is a limited liability company with registered office at 1140 Brussel, Optimismelaan 1b3 and with company number 0883.715.134. DELBOO has offices in Brussels (Optimismelaan 1b3), Waregem (Vredestraat 55 bus 11), Sint-Martens-Latem (Paalsteen 5) and Zandhoven (Langestraat 223 bus 7).
2. DELBOO provides its services through its lawyers and its appointees governed by current general terms and conditions. Variations of or additions to these conditions are possible, however, these can only be made in writing. These general terms and conditions have legal force in the relationship between DELBOO and the client and are deemed to have been accepted by the client if the latter has not objected within a reasonable period of time after having received them. The acceptance of these general terms and conditions can also be inferred, among other things, from the normal continuation of the performances by DELBOO without objection from the client within a reasonable period of time and from the payment of the fees due.
3. All assignments will exclusively be accepted and executed by DELBOO, even if it is the client’s explicit or implicit intention to entrust the assignment to a specific lawyer (partner or not) at DELBOO. DELBOO is exclusively responsible for the performances of its lawyers (partner or not) and employees. Only DELBOO has or will have any obligation towards the client or any other person with regard to performances provided by its lawyers (partner or not) and employees. The client agrees not to make a claim against any other person than DELBOO with regard to these performances (if such is at all legally possible).
The commitments of DELBOO are not result-oriented commitments but best-effort commitments, unless explicitly agreed upon otherwise or ensuing from the nature of the commitment.
4. For each client, DELBOO appoints a treating partner among its partners. The treating partner will treat the file at his own discretion together with other lawyers (partner or not) associated with DELBOO.
5. The natural person who is a direct or indirect shareholder of DELBOO may be referred to as “partner” or “associate”, in accordance with the general custom in the professional practice. The person referred to in this manner is acting solely for the account and risk of DELBOO when practicing his professional activities.
DELBOO currently has three partners: Mark Delboo (associated with the West-Flanders Bar (main registration) and Ghent Bar (additional registration)), Martijn Derycke (associated with the Brussels Bar (main registration) and West-Flanders Bar (additional registration)) and Mathieu Vancolen (associated with the West-Flanders Bar (main registration) and Antwerp Bar (additional registration)).
6. The client undertakes to provide all data and information required, if necessary substantiated by documents. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that the information provided by him or on his behalf to DELBOO is accurate, complete and reliable.
7. DELBOO is bound by certain obligations with regard to anti-money laundering legislation and will therefore in that respect ask the client for the information which is required in accordance with said legislation. This implies, among other things, that each client must submit the requested identity data, including those of the ultimate beneficial owners in case the client is a legal entity. If the requested data are not submitted within a fortnight, DELBOO will not be able to enter into the business relationship and, in case action has already been undertaken, will have to terminate its intervention. The client also undertakes to update these data in the course of the client relationship, if necessary.
8. DELBOO is responsible for processing the personal data provided to DELBOO by the client. DELBOO uses these data in the context of its legal services to the client and to inform the client about its services or specific activities. By entrusting his file to DELBOO, the client consents to the processing of his data. DELBOO has taken appropriate technical and organizational measures in order to protect these data. They will not be stored for longer than necessary for the aforementioned purposes. The data will only be transferred to third parties if this is necessary for aforementioned purposes or in case DELBOO is deontologically, legally or judicially obliged to do so. The client has the right to consult, modify or transfer his personal data or to object to the use of his data for direct marketing purposes. This can be done at any given time by contacting DELBOO. The client has also the right to file a complaint with the Commission for the Protection of Privacy (Commissie voor de Bescherming van de Persoonlijke Levenssfeer).
9. The assignment is executed exclusively on behalf of the client and for his sole benefit. Third parties cannot derive any rights from the provided services nor from the obtained results (advice, opinion, report, …), except with the express written approval by DELBOO, which will always include a limitation of liability.
10. DELBOO’s standard fees are calculated on an hourly basis. The hourly rates vary between € 150 per hour and € 450 per hour (VAT not included), depending on the lawyer or lawyer-partner treating the file. The exact hourly rates per lawyer and lawyer-partner can be requested free of charge. DELBOO reserves the right to adjust the hourly rate of certain or all of its lawyers on a half yearly basis.
The following elements may justify a supplementary fee: the importance of the case, the favourable outcome, the urgency or specific nature of the assignment.
No general overhead expenses will be charged. Specific costs or exceptional administrative costs will be charged separately. For instance, the fees of bailiffs, the duties owed by them and the costs incurred by them, as well as all legal costs, will be charged separately to the client.
11. DELBOO is entitled to request advance payments in the form of retainers. Statements of fees, retainer notes and expense statements are payable in cash.
If the client does not agree with the statement of fees, retainer notes or expense statements, he must protest same within fourteen days.
After a written reminder for payment of the outstanding statement of fees, retainer note or expense statement and in the absence of a valid protest, the client owes interest on the outstanding amount equal to the legal interest rate from the date of the reminder onwards.
The fees and/or expenses will be increased by 10% by way of fixed compensation in case we have to proceed to recovery.
In default of payment, DELBOO reserves the right to suspend its services until payment in full has been received.
12. The client and DELBOO may at any time and without any compensation terminate the agreement, however with the understanding that the services provided and the costs incurred have to be settled in full.
13. Any assignment entrusted to DELBOO entails the competence to avail itself of the services of third parties or to engage other experts and to accept on the client’s behalf the possible limitations of liability of said third parties or experts, without the client’s consent. DELBOO cannot be held liable for the acts of these third parties or other experts, regardless whether or not their services provided are charged separately to the client and regardless of the fact that the consulted third party or other expert will charge his fees and expenses to DELBOO or to the client.
14. Any professional liability is always limited to the amount that in the respective case is actually covered and remitted under the professional liability insurance of DELBOO, of course with the exception of those cases in which such a limitation is not possible under Belgian law (basically only in case of intent or bad faith).
Attached to these general terms and conditions is the certificate of the professional liability insurance (in Dutch) with Vanbreda Risk & Benefits which gives a general overview of the current policies. A general overview of the policies in force at a certain point in time in the past, as well as the insurance policies contracted now or in the past, may be obtained upon simple written request.
If, for any reason whatsoever (except in case DELBOO is wrong), no remittance is made under the professional liability insurance applicable to that particular case, any liability is in any case always limited to twice the fee paid to DELBOO with regard to the assignment, with a maximum of 500.000 EUR (of course with the exception of those cases in which such a limitation is not possible under Belgian law (basically only in case of intent or bad faith)).
In case the client deems the coverage which is or could be applicable to his file insufficient and wishes to extend said coverage, this is possible upon his explicit request (and if an insurer agrees) if the client pays the additional premium. This extension is always subject to an express, written agreement between DELBOO and client, in contravention to the general terms and conditions.
The client indemnifies DELBOO against all third-party claims which are in any way linked with or ensuing from the client’s assignment and/or the activities performed on the client’s behalf.
15. The aforementioned explicit limitations of liability do not only apply to DELBOO, but also to its shareholder or shareholders, partners or associates, directors or managers, lawyers and staff (insofar as one of them could be approached – ref. sub 1, 3 and 5 above). With regard to the hypothesis that no payment is made under the professional liability insurance applicable to that particular case, this means that in any case the payment is always limited to twice the fee paid to DELBOO with regard to the assignment, with a maximum of 500.000 EUR, it can only be carried out once and not additionally by a shareholder or shareholders, partners or associates, directors or managers, lawyers and staff of DELBOO.
16. Any claim for compensation expires if the client does not hold DELBOO liable, explicitly and in writing, within ninety (90) days after the facts upon which the claim is based were known or could reasonably have been known to the client.
In addition, the termination of DELBOO’s assignment which is the starting date of the five (5) year limitation period with regard to professional liability, is the moment at which a specific performance or service is completed, or – in the absence of such a specific performance or service – the moment at which six (6) months have elapsed since the invoice.
17. Not only DELBOO but also all (legal) persons working for DELBOO, attached to DELBOO and/or all persons who were involved during the execution of an assignment, can invoke these general terms and conditions. The same applies to former staff members (their heirs included), if they are held liable after having left DELBOO (insofar as one of them could be approached – ref. sub 1, 3 and 5 above).
18. All electronic communications from DELBOO are merely indicative and can under no circumstances give rise to any liability on the part of DELBOO, except attachments forwarded in PDF-format, signed by a partner.
DELBOO undertakes reasonable efforts to ensure that e-mails and attachments are sent free from viruses and/or other defects which might damage a computer or data processing system. However, it remains the client’s responsibility to take all necessary measures to protect his computer or his data processing system.
DELBOO cannot be held liable for any loss or damage that might result from receiving or using electronic documents of DELBOO.
19. Funds which DELBOO receives from clients and which it needs to hold for them will be placed on a third-party account with an institution of DELBOO‘s choice. DELBOO does not accept any liability vis-à-vis the client or any other person for bankruptcy or any legal act or negligence on the part of an institution with which DELBOO holds funds or through which funds are transferred. Consequently, DELBOO cannot be held liable for repayment or transfer of the funds which the institution in question cannot repay or transfer.
20. DELBOO has the option, but not the obligation, to include special conditions in an agreement with the client, in particular, however not limited to, the settlement of conflicts of interest and the method of payment for the execution of the assignment. If explicitly agreed upon with the client, these special conditions may deviate from the general terms and conditions.
21. If one or several provisions of these general terms and conditions should prove invalid or null and void, this will in no way affect the validity and enforceability of the other provisions of these general terms and conditions. In this case, the invalid provision will be deemed to be automatically replaced by a valid and enforceable provision which has an equivalent effect to the greatest extent possible. The provisions of these general terms and conditions will always be interpreted in such way that they are legally valid.
The Dutch text of these general terms and conditions is the only one with binding force. Free translations are available in French and English.
The legal relationship to which these general terms and conditions apply, is governed by Belgian law and the applicable deontological rules. All disputes will be settled by the courts in Brussels.