Before you instruct us to proceed, the lawyer handling your case will first advise you on your chances of success and discuss our fee structure with you. He or she should be able to give you an estimate of the total cost of the case. As far as the fee structure is concerned, you can choose from the following options.
1. Fixed price
If you’d prefer to rule out any financial surprises at the end of the day, the best option is to agree beforehand on a set price. In most cases, it’s fairly straightforward to divide a case into a number of separate components. By estimating the amount of time we are likely to spend on each component, and then factoring in any additional expenses (i.e. out-of-pocket expenses such as registry fees and bailiff’s charges), we can propose a price for each one. Thanks to our extensive experience, we’re pretty good at estimating beforehand how much time things are likely to take.
2. Hourly rate based on results
Although success may not be guaranteed, what we can guarantee is that we’ll do our very best to obtain the best possible result for you. Under their professional code of conduct, Dutch lawyers are forbidden from entering into ‘no cure, no pay’ deals. What we can do, however, is to agree beforehand on the hourly rates we charge as a function of the results obtained in your particular case. In other words, we agree up front on two hourly rates, a high rate and a low rate. If we do not obtain the result you want, for example if the court rules against you, we charge the lower of the two rates. If we’re successful, however, as when the court rules in your favour, we charge the higher of the two rates.
3. Plain hourly rate
We can of course charge you in the conventional manner if you’d prefer us to do so. In that case, we keep a careful record of the amount of time we spend on your case and send you a monthly invoice based on this. Our hourly rates range from €120 to €330 and we agree beforehand on the rate on which our invoices will be based.
Each of our lawyers keeps a careful record of all the various activities they perform in connection with your case, and how much time is spent on them. A full itemised statement is supplied together with your invoice.
Please note that our hourly rates are index-linked , which means that they are adjusted for inflation on 1 January of each year.
4. Mixed fee
Combinations of the above options are also possible. For example, we can invoice part of the job on the basis of a fixed price and base the remainder on a flexible hourly rate.
5. Pro Bono
If your income and assets are below the statutory limit, you may be eligible for legal aid. This means that the Dutch State pays some or all of your lawyer’s fees. You then only have to pay a personal contribution, which we will pass on to you.
To find out whether your income is below the statutory limit, please visit the website of the Dutch Legal Aid Board (www.rechtsbijstand.nl). This is the body that deals with and assesses applications for legal aid.
6. Legal aid insurance
Have you taken out legal aid insurance? In that case you have the right to choose your own lawyer, at the insurer’s expense, if you are involved in a judicial or administrative procedure. That is what the Court of Justice of the European Union has decided. You also have this right to freely choose a lawyer if it is not mandatory to engage a lawyer (e.g. cases before the sub-district court). The Court of Justice has ruled that dismissal proceedings before the UWV are considered an ‘administrative procedure’. In that case, too, you have the right to choose a lawyer yourself, at the insurer’s expense.
A fixed 7% office charge is added to the lawyer’s fee to cover certain office expenses that are difficult to itemise (such as postage, photocopying and secretarial support). Most of these expenses are liable to VAT.
Out-of-pocket expenses and financial risks
If we end up litigating on your behalf, your lawyer will tell you beforehand about any out-of-pocket legal expenses that may be incurred. These include costs incurred in calling witnesses and experts, and also costs such as registry fees, bailiff’s charges and travel expenses. Your lawyer will also inform you in advance of the financial risks involved. You should bear in mind that the court may order the losing party to pay the costs.
In principle, we invoice you on a monthly basis, thus enabling you to keep track of the costs of your case. Each invoice is accompanied by an itemised list of the activities we have performed for you, so as to keep you fully up to date with the status of your case and to help you decide on the next step. The invoice consists of lawyer’s fees, a fixed office charge, out-of-pocket legal expenses and VAT.
In most cases, we require an advance payment to be made before we embark on a case.
Terms and Conditions
All cases handled by VAN LEEUWEN LAW FIRM are subject to our Terms and Conditions, a copy of which is enclosed with the engagement letter we send you confirming our acceptance of your case.
If you are not satisfied with the conduct of any of our lawyers during the progress of your case or after its completion, you are free to lodge a formal complaint by making use of our complaints procedure, the details of which will be supplied to you upon request. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this procedure, you can make use of the Complaints and Dispute Procedure for the Legal Profession (‘Geschillenregeling Advocatuur’).