Thu, May. 13, 2004

Reforming Costs and Fees

JN - Wellington.   The Federal Diet, Bundestag, in Berlin passed major revisions to the rules on court costs and attorneys' fees, called Gesetz zur Modernisierung des Kostenrechts. The act aims at simplifying the provisions currently governing the law of attorneys' fees. Under the new rules which will come into effect on July 1, 2004, attorneys may no longer charge an extra fee for introducing evidence into proceedings. This fee will be offset by a slight increase in the basic fee. The law also recognizes as statutorily chargeable certain types of legal services, such as mediation and arbitration, tax matters, or counselling witnesses. Significantly for business lawyers, new provisions on matters handled out of court will come into effect on July 1, 2006. Unlike under current law, the issue of compensation for such work will be left entirely to the disposition of the parties. This rule will strenghten fee agreements between attorneys and clients. Link to background information on the fee reform bill, in German.

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