In accordance with article 10 of the law of December 31, 1971, lawyers’ fees are unrestricted.
Apart from the indicative scale for divorce cases, there is no scale of lawyers’ fees in France, because the law does not provide for one and because case law considers that a scale would be contrary to the free play of competition.
Fees are discussed with the customer at the first appointment.
Since August 8, 2015, the date of promulgation of the“Macron law”(article 51), the fee agreement has become mandatory for all matters and all types of lawyer intervention (postulation, consultation, assistance, advice, drafting of legal acts under private seal and pleading).
The fee agreement must specify :
– or the amount of fees due for handling a case;
– or the method used to determine fees for foreseeable work,
as well as the various costs and disbursements envisaged.
When an additional fee based on results is provided for, its amount or method of calculation and the terms of payment must be set out in a fee agreement.
At the customer’s request, the fee agreement can be drawn up in French, English or Russian, as can the invoices.
The different forms of fee calculation
Our fees are agreed with the customer on a case-by-case basis (consultation, drafting of deeds, representation in court, etc.).
The amount of the fee depends on the complexity of the case, the volume of work to be carried out, the research to be carried out, the number of languages to be used, the customer’s particular requirements, etc.
For most of our cases, we charge an hourly rate based on the time spent. The hourly rate is set according to the above criteria. The customer receives a statement with the invoiced services and the corresponding times.
When the legal services we provide consist of a large volume that needs to be processed on a regular basis, particularly in the area of corporate law, we offer the customer the option of concluding a subscription contract. This type of fee arrangement enables the customer to benefit from the services of his advisor for the agreed period, in return for a fixed fee set at the beginning of the period.
In some cases, a flat-rate fee may be agreed, which does not take into account the time actually spent (mainly for company incorporation or contract drafting).
Additional profit fee
French law prohibits the so-called ” quota litis ” or result-based fee, i.e. the fixing of a fee that would only be payable in the event of winning the case and depending on the result obtained.
On the other hand, it is possible to agree that, whatever the result obtained, the lawyer will receive a “minimum” fee (which is generally set at a flat rate), but that if he achieves a particular result he will also receive an “additional result” fee, which is a supplement to the “minimum” fee.
The supplementary fee may be either a flat-rate fee or a fee based on the result obtained (percentage of the sums obtained or of the savings achieved compared with the opposing party’s claim). When working on complex cases whose outcome is difficult for the parties to predict, we can charge an additional fee for results.
Before any work is carried out, the client is asked to pay a deposit on costs and fees. The amount and payment terms of the retainer are agreed with the customer at the outset.
Lawyers’ fees are subject to VAT at the full rate of 20%. VAT is added to the fee.
Legal services rendered to companies established in the European Union are subject to VAT in the country of establishment, provided that the company supplies an intra-Community VAT number.
By way of derogation, lawyers’ fees are not subject to VAT in France when the client is established outside France or another member state of the European Union.
Payment of fees
Fees can be paid by bank transfer or cheque on presentation of the invoice.