CROSS BORDER SUCCESSIONS ALLIANCE STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
Cross Border Successions Alliance (the Association or CBSA) is a Swiss association which does not itself engage in the practice of law, tax advisory, estate planning or other business. The partner firms of the Association (the Partners or, individually, a Partner), who, themselves or with their entities (the Entity), engage in a coordinated international advisory, tax advisory, legal services, estate planning practice, and other services, even though they are separate firms each of which, absent specific contractual agreement with a client on an individual matter, is solely responsible for its own work and not for the work of any other of them.
Each of the Partners is committed to providing its clients with the highest quality services and to building a lasting relationship with its clients as a trusted adviser.
To that end, these Standard Terms of Engagement will apply to all engagements between the Entity and you as a client unless otherwise agreed in writing by the client and an authorized representative of such Partner, subsidiary or associated entity. These Standard Terms of Engagement are supplemented by additional standard provisions and/or a letter or contract of engagement relevant to the jurisdiction of the Contracting Party (as below defined).
1 Defined Terms
1.1 The following documents will constitute the entire agreement relating to the engagement of a Contracting Party by a client: (i) any letter or contract of engagement, (ii) any additional standard provisions referred to above, (iii) these Standard Terms (iv) any other terms and conditions agreed between the Contracting Party and the client, and (v) any amendments or supplements to any of the foregoing agreed from time to time. In the event of any conflict between the terms of the foregoing, the documents shall be construed in the order of priority in which they are referred to above, but subject to any amendments as referred to in (v).
1.2 In the above-mentioned documents:
(a) Any individual Entity/Partner is or may be referred to as a CBSA Entity. The CBSA Entity with which a client engages at any time is referred to as the Contracting Party.
(b) We, our and us refer to the Contracting Party together with any other CBSA Entity to which part or all of your instructions have been referred pursuant to paragraph 2.3 of these Terms; you and your refer to the client (jointly, if more than one, and not individually) with which the Contracting Party engages. Unless otherwise specifically agreed, you and your do not refer to and no attorney/client or solicitor/client relationship will exist as to persons or entities related to the client such as parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees, officers, directors, shareholders, partners, commonly owned corporations or partnerships, or other such persons, entities or affiliates.
2 Your relationship with us
2.1 When you instruct us on an individual matter, we will write to you to set out:
(a) which CBSA Entity is the Contracting Party;
(b) the scope of the work we have agreed to undertake and any assumptions on which it is based;
(c) who will be the responsible person or director and other key team Partners whom we will try not to replace, although unforeseen circumstances may require that;
(d) the fees and invoicing arrangements;
(e) any applicable limitation of liability; and
(f) the governing law applicable to the contractual relationship with you and the choice of jurisdiction for resolving any issues.
2.2 Your contractual relationship for individual matters is between you and the Contracting Party, not any other CBSA Entity nor any individual or CBSA itself. You understand and accept that we do not make any promises or warranties as to the outcome of the representation.
2.3 If, with your agreement, the Contracting Party has referred all or part of your instructions on any individual matter to one or more other CBSA Entities, legal services provided by other CBSA Entities will be governed by the terms of our engagement, which will apply as between you and such CBSA Entity or Entities, to the fullest extent permitted by the laws and professional regulations applicable in the jurisdictions in which such other CBSA Entity or Entities operate as regards such other CBSA Entity’s or Entities’ representation of you, as well as by, if any are issued, additional standard provisions and any letter or contract of engagement relevant to the other CBSA Entity or Entities.
3 Our fees
3.1 Our bills are payable on receipt and in the currency in which they are submitted. If you ask us to provide bills using an e-billing solution you understand that: (i) we will send your information to our and your third party supplier(s) to enable us to comply with your request and the transfer is at your risk; (ii) any costs arising out of use of your third party supplier shall be borne by you; and (iii) our compliance with your request shall not reduce the fee otherwise chargeable by us.
3.2 If you are required by law to deduct any amount when paying a bill, you will pay to us an additional amount so as to ensure that we receive a net sum equal to the amount of the bill.
3.3 We need to approve in advance any proposal for any part of one of our bills to be paid by a third party. Notwithstanding our approval, you agree that you will remain responsible for paying the whole bill and any interest accrued on it.
3.4 Unless otherwise agreed, any other CBSA Entity or Entities to whom the Contracting Party has referred instructions under paragraph 2.3 may provide statements of their fees and charges to the Contracting Party, who will include such fees and charges in its statements to you as disbursements, which you will be obligated to pay in order that it can remit payment to such other CBSA Entity or Entities.
3.5 If a bill remains unpaid 30 days after delivery:
(a) you agree that we may be entitled to charge interest, if any, on it at such rate and under such arrangements allowable under the laws and professional regulations applicable to us as may be provided for in applicable additional standard provisions or an agreement between us and you, and
(b) on giving written notice to you, we may cease work on the matter to which the bill relates and any of your other matters. You agree that we are not responsible for any loss resulting from such inactivity. If the matter is litigious, we may also remove ourselves from the Court or tribunal record.
3.6 You agree that we may exercise a lien over your files and documents until all bills due to us from you have been paid in full, subject to the laws and professional regulations applicable to us.
3.7 If we are required by any governmental or regulatory body, or by a service provider appointed by you, to submit one of our bills to audit, to produce documents or provide information on any individual matter on which you have instructed us, we shall be entitled to bill you for the work involved (and any disbursements incurred) at the rates agreed for the relevant matter. If legal privilege attaches to any such documents, you will either waive privilege or instruct us to review them in your interests.
4 Disbursements and other charges
4.1 We may consider it to be in your interests to instruct counsel or engage correspondent lawyers, experts or others on your behalf and at your expense. We will consult you before doing so if such instructions or engagements will result in significant fees becoming payable.
4.2 We may also charge for photocopying, telephone calls, travel, searches, court fees, hosting on-line data or deal rooms and for other services at our or their standard rates from time to time and for other expenses. These charges will be included in our bills and will not include any mark-up of expenses for which the precise cost can be readily determined but may vary from or exceed our or their direct cost for services for which the precise cost cannot be readily determined.
5 Money held on account for you
5.1 We will deposit any money we hold on your behalf with a regulated financial institution and manage it in accordance with the laws and professional regulations applicable to us. You agree that we are not responsible for any loss of funds so deposited and managed.
5.2 If you deposit money with us on account of our fees, the principal and interest accrued, if any, will be applied to your final bill, rendered when we complete your instructions. Unless you and we have agreed otherwise, we may also apply any part of the money in settlement of any outstanding interim bills we submit to you.
6 Communicating with us
6.1 When you seek and receive legal advice from us on your rights and obligations, legal advice or attorney- client privilege will attach to our communications related to that advice. If we act for you in contemplated or actual legal proceedings, litigation or attorney-client privilege will attach to our communications related to those proceedings.
6.2 You agree that we may communicate with you using electronic means, knowing that certain risks (including, for example, interception, unauthorised access and risk of viruses) are associated with such means.
7 Confidentiality, conflict of interests, and our relationships with other clients
7.1 We will keep all information obtained from you, which is not in the public domain, confidential, and will only otherwise disclose it with your authority or if required to do so by the laws and professional regulations applicable to us or if permitted under paragraph 9.3. Nevertheless, you agree that we may disclose any relevant information in order to protect and/or defend ourselves in any actual or threatened legal, civil or regulatory proceeding and may also disclose any relevant information in confidence to our insurers, insurance brokers, auditors, bankers and other advisers if and to the extent such disclosure may occur without waiving or losing any applicable legal privilege.
7.2 You will provide us, and will instruct your other advisers and any co-venturer or other co-participants to provide us, on any matter on which we are instructed, with all relevant information and documents, all of which will have been properly obtained and on which we may rely without verification. You agree that, unless you instruct us otherwise, we may disclose any relevant information to your other professional advisers.
7.3 Except as may be provided in applicable additional standard provisions or an agreement between us and you, we will not act where a conflict of interests – or a significant risk of such a conflict – exists, unless we are permitted to do so under the laws and professional regulations applicable to us and, where required, with your consent. However we advise a large number of clients and may not always be able to anticipate all such occasions; please inform us promptly if you become aware of any such circumstances.
7.4 You agree that we or any other CBSA Entity may act for other clients in transactions or disputes in which you or any affiliated entity of yours has an interest provided that we or such other CBSA Entity do not thereby breach our or their duty of confidentiality to you.
7.5 You agree that we are under no duty to disclose to you or use on your behalf any information in respect of which we or any other CBSA Entity owe a duty of confidentiality to another client or any other person.
7.6 You agree that we may disclose our role as legal advisers in any matter on which we are instructed following its completion, for the purposes of publicity, unless you instruct us otherwise. You also agree that, unless you instruct us otherwise, we may publicise the fact that we have a relationship with you.
8.1 Any concerns or complaint about our work should be directed initially to the partner/director responsible for carrying out your instructions or, if you prefer, to the relationship partner/director. We maintain internal procedures that can be employed should a concern require escalation beyond the responsible partner/director. The laws and professional regulations applicable to us may also provide formal complaint procedures.
8.2 In particular, you should raise any queries regarding any of our bills with the partner or director responsible for the matter as soon as possible. If any part of one of our bills is queried by you or the relevant payer, you agree to immediately pay, or procure payment of, those parts not subject to query.
9 Data protection, exchange of information and storage of documents
9.1 We act as a data controller in the provision of our legal services. We will process personal data provided to us by you or your employees or agents in relation to any instruction in accordance with data protection standards required by applicable law and will implement appropriate technical and organisational security measures to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing of that personal data and against accidental loss of, or damage to that personal data. Please see our Privacy notice for further information on our processing of personal data: https://cbsa.eu/privacy-policy/
9.2 Each party (you and we) will assist the other party in complying with its respective obligations under applicable data protection law and will ensure that the provision of personal data to the other party is fair and lawful. You agree that you will make our Privacy notice available to your employees or other individuals whose personal data you share with us where this provision of information is required by applicable data protection law. We in turn agree that we will promptly notify you either: (i) upon receipt of a request or complaint from a regulatory authority or an individual exercising a data subject right; or (ii) in the event of loss, disclosure or unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data that you have provided to us or that we have obtained on your behalf. We will cooperate with you and provide all reasonable assistance as may be required in either case.
9.3 In the course of providing our services to you, personal data (if any) with respect to persons in the European Economic Area (EEA) may be accessible to and used by other CBSA Entities and their contractors and/or agents, including those located outside the EEA where data protection laws may not be as comprehensive as in the EEA, but as to such personal data we will ensure compliance with the data protection standards of the EU GDPR regulations or higher standards under other laws applicable to such personal data.
9.4 We will also share your contact details, and those of your staff with whom we have contact, with other CBSA Entities in order to provide you with information relevant to your business, and to ensure your continuous access to publications, events and news in areas of interest to you. Where your employees supply their contact details to us, we will only use that personal data in accordance with our Privacy notice referenced above or as otherwise consented to by them.
9.5 We will not exchange information that will result in waiver or loss of any client privilege with other CBSA Entities. Otherwise, you agree that the Contracting Party may exchange your information (including personal data) with other CBSA Entities, including for the purposes of conflict checking, compliance, financial planning, billing, business development and matter management. Arrangements are in place among all CBSA Entities to protect the confidentiality of the information exchanged.
9.6 We may outsource certain functions associated with servicing clients to a service centre dedicated to CBSA located outside of the EEA or to other third party providers. For example, we may outsource information and document management, office support, technology and IT services, word processing, photocopying, and translation services.
9.7 Some of your data may be stored using cloud technology managed by a third party service provider. We have agreements in place with the third party service providers referred to in paragraphs 9.6 and 9.7 where applicable and also employ technical and organisational measures to protect the confidentiality and security of any information shared with them.
9.8 We do not undertake to store or retain your files (whether paper or electronic) for any particular period of time, but will do so for at least the minimum number of years required by applicable laws and professional regulations or local business custom. Files may be destroyed at any time after the expiry of such period, without notice, except those files you ask be delivered to you.
10 Copyright and intellectual property
10.1 We retain all copyright and other intellectual property rights in all material developed, designed and created by us in the course of a matter. You may only use and copy material created by us for you, or which we have developed independently of our work for you and used in the course of your matter, in accordance with our advice or specific licence terms. All material must be kept confidential by you unless we agree otherwise.
10.2 We may use all material created and/or modified by us in the course of any matter for legal training, forms, service development (including in the training of artificial intelligence technologies in which event the materials may be hosted on a third party system) and research purposes, without reference to you.
11 Our compliance with certain laws and regulations
11.1 We may require you to provide identifying documents and information concerning yourself and individuals and/or entities associated with you in order to comply with anti-money laundering laws and regulations, and to keep those documents and information up to date. We may be unable to carry out your instructions if we are unable to verify your identity or, in some instances, the identities of your directors, shareholders and eventual beneficial owners.
11.2 We may be required by law or regulation to report to a governmental or regulatory authority our knowledge and/or suspicion that certain criminal offences have been committed, regardless of whether such an offence has been committed by a client of ours or by a third party. We may not be able to discuss such reports with you because of restrictions imposed by those laws and regulations, and we may have to cease acting for you in those circumstances. You agree that we are not responsible for any adverse consequences you may suffer as a result of our compliance with such laws and regulations.
12 Force majeure
Neither you nor we will be responsible for failure to perform our respective obligations concerning your instructions (save for your responsibility to pay our bills in full) if the failures are due to causes outside, respectively, your or our control.
From time to time, we may need to amend these terms of engagement. If this occurs, we will notify you of the changes by means of a notice in the Legal Notices section of our website but they will not affect any matter on which we are then currently instructed.
If the validity or enforceability of any of these terms of engagement is in any way limited by the laws and professional regulations applicable to us, those laws and professional regulations will take precedence over these terms of engagement but they will be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by such laws and professional regulations, and such limitation shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other term.
15 Integrity and ethics
Our policy is to act at all times in accordance with the highest professional, ethical and business standards, and we expect you to act in like manner in all your dealings with us and your business counter-parties. We do not countenance bribery or corruption in any form and you agree (i) not to expect or request any conduct from us that might bring our name into disrepute or compromise our integrity, (ii) that you and your employees and agents will refrain from any practices involving bribery or any other corrupt activities and (iii) that you have taken or will take internal steps or procedures designed to ensure that the risk of corruption and bribery during the course of our relationship is eliminated.
16.1 Either you or we may terminate our engagement at any time by giving reasonable prior notice in writing, subject, in our case, to any applicable laws or regulations. We will only stop acting for you if we believe we have a good reason to do so, including in the circumstances contemplated by paragraph 3.5 (b), but we retain sole discretion regarding any such decision.
16.2 If our engagement is terminated for any reason, you agree to pay in full our bills representing fees, costs, disbursements and other charges up to the time of the engagement’s termination.
16.3 A solicitor/client or attorney/client relationship exists between you and us only if, at the relevant point in time, we are working under instructions from you; we shall have no duty to provide you advice at any other time concerning changes in laws, rules or regulations that might affect your rights. Further, if we are not under instructions from you at a given point in time, you agree that, unless prohibited by applicable laws or regulations, we are entitled to accept at that time other instructions to act in respect of the subject matter of your previous instructions although we will not disclose to, or use to the benefit of, another client any information or documents in respect of which we owe you a duty of confidentiality.
16.4 We and other CBSA Entities may send you general information on legal developments without charge, or may include you in general mailings, after our or their engagement with you has been terminated. This will not change the fact that our or their engagement has been terminated.