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Case Details

Case Details
National ID link
Member State Belgium
Common Name link
Decision type Court decision, first degree
Decision date 24/06/2015
Court Canton Court of Westerlo
Subject
Plaintiff D.
Defendant V.
Keywords fees, lawyer, legal profession, price information, scope of the Directive

Unfair Contract Terms Directive, link Consumer Rights Directive, link

(1) A lawyer-client relationship falls within the scope of Directive 93/13.
(2) A unilateral decision by a lawyer concerning the manner in which fees are billed is not in agreement with Directive 93/13.
The plaintiff, a lawyer, demanded payment from the defendant, his client, of a fee statement for legal services rendered by the plaintiff to the defendant. The defendant argued however, that the plaintiff had not clearly communicated to the defendant the manner in which the fee and costs would be charged to the defendant. For this argument, the defendant invoked the rules as stipulated in the European Directive Directive 93/13.
The court ruled that the relationship between a lawyer and a client (consumer) has a contractual basis. It follows that both parties have to agree in advance on the manner in which applicable fees and costs will be charged. The system of unilateral decision by one party, which was common during a time period prior to the applicable rules coming into force, is not in conformity anymore due to Directives 93/13 and 2011/83 on consumer protection (implemented into Belgian law by the Code of Economic Law).
(1) Does a lawyer-client relationship fall within the scope of Directive 93/13?
(2) If yes, is a unilateral decision by a lawyer concerning the manner in which its fees are billed in agreement with Directive 93/13?
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The plaintiff's claim was dismissed.