General terms and conditions applicable to assignment agreements concluded on 20 October 2020 and thereafter
Dear client. We are honored to offer our services especially to you.
Pekkinen, Attorney Ltd. (Business ID: 3153886-6) (hereinafter also the ”Service Provider” or ”we”) offers solely legal advocacy services. These general terms and conditions are drafted from the perspective that our clientele includes companies, other entities as well as private individuals. Kindly take your time and carefully review the content of these terms and conditions. We are always at your disposal in case of any questions or concerns regarding these general terms and conditions.
1.1 These general terms and conditions apply to all assignment agreements on advocacy services between the Service Provider and its client(s) (hereinafter also the ”Client”) unless expressly otherwise agreed with the Client in an individual assignment.
1.2 The assignment agreements concerning our services are always governed by the laws of Finland.
1.3 We offer only legal advocacy services. Our services do not include advice on other questions, relating to e.g. financial, technical or accounting matters. As regards such matters, we can assist the Client in finding a suitable advisor from our network.
2. Adhering to the code of conduct for attorneys-at-law and applicable laws
2.1 Our attorney(s) are member(s) of the Finnish Bar Association. We are subject to the supervision by the Finnish Bar Association and bound to the code of conduct for attorneys-at-Law (“Code of Conduct”).
2.2 These general terms and conditions are materially affected by the content of the Code of Conduct, other instructions by the Finnish Bar Association as well as the Finnish laws applicable to attorneys, especially the Advocates Act (496/1958, as amended). We follow the Code of Conduct in all aspects of our activities. We take our ethical and legal obligations seriously. This approach is for the benefit of the Client. You can find more information about the regulations and guidelines applicable to attorneys from the website of the Finnish Bar Association, available also in English: www.asianajajaliitto.fi.
2.3 As regards consumer Clients, we comply with the applicable mandatory consumer protection legislation and the provisions of the Code of Conduct. For example, the the maximum amount of our liability identified in the limitation of liability clause under Section 7 of these terms and conditions does not apply to consumer Clients. These terms and conditions together with Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 thereto constitute the required advance information applicable in distance sales of our services, as meant in the Finnish Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended). Appendix 2 to these terms and conditions includes a cancellation form applicable with consumer Clients in the mentioned distance sales of services.
3. Concluding and terminating the assignment agreement
3.1 All assignment agreements are concluded with and on behalf of Pekkinen, Attorney Ltd. (Business ID: 3153886-6) as the Service Provider. The personnel of the Service Provider are never parties/party to the assignment agreement. The assignment agreement between the Service Provider and the Client can be concluded without specific form requirements e.g. orally by phone or in writing by e-mail. As a rule, we require a written confirmation on the scope of each assignment and regarding any amendments thereto. If a specific form is required by the applicable law, concluding the agreement is assessed against the applicable provisions of law.
3.2 Unless otherwise agreed with the Client, the assignment expires without specific termination notification after both parties have fully executed their duties under the assignment.
3.3 The Service Provider is always entitled to suspend its contractual performance and/or withdraw from the assignment in accordance with the Code of Conduct and these terms and conditions. During the term of the assignment, the Client is entitled to request the Service Provider to stop proceeding with the services subject to the assignment.
3.4 If the Client requests a premature termination of the assignment, the assignment expires in accordance with the Client’s written request. In case the Service Provider is entitled to withdraw from the assignment, the assignment terminates in accordance with the Code of Conduct. In any of the aforementioned situations, unless otherwise provided by applicable mandatory laws or these terms and conditions, the Client will be responsible for paying (i) either a reasonable proportion of any agreed fixed fee, depending on the amount of work and preparation made so far, (ii) or the accrued fees based on the work performed so far.
4. Handling the assignment, declining an assignment and withdrawing from an assignment
4.1 The Code of Conduct and other rules governing our activities may entitle or oblige us to decline an assignment or to withdraw from the assignment.
4.2 As an example, we do not accept such assignments where we consider, subject to our discretion, that we cannot ensure the Client’s best interests in a cost-efficient manner. This decision may be attributable to the nature of the assignment or our current workload. Similarly, we do not accept such assignments where the suggested approach or opinion by the Client is in conflict with ours and we consider that proceeding with the matter as proposed by the Client will not serve the Client’s best interests. We will always conduct a conflict of interests check as required by the applicable laws and the Code of Conduct. Should there exist a conflict of interest, we will naturally reject accepting the assignment. We are not always able to identify the specific grounds for declining an assignment.
4.3 If, for one reason or another, we are unable to accept the assignment, we will assist, as best as we can, in finding a suitable advisor for the Client.
4.4 Mutual trust and integrity between the Client and the Service Provider form the foundation in advocacy services. We expect that we can trust the Client and the Client can trust us. In case it appears that the mutual trust is broken during the term of the assignment, we may need to draw the conclusion that we are no longer in a position where we can protect and promote the Client’s best interests as required. In such case, we may need to consider withdrawing from the assignment in accordance with Code of Conduct and other applicable rules and regulations, unless the situation is remedied.
4.5 Pursuant to applicable legislation governing the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism, we have an obligation to identify our Clients as well as their beneficial owners/ultimate beneficiaries and persons acting on the Client’s behalf. Similarly, in certain situations, it is also our duty to determine the origin of the Client’s funds. We have an obligation to decline or suspend an assignment, or to report our observations to the relevant authorities, in case the Client does not provide us with the required information or if a transaction is unusual or if we suspect that funds are being used to finance terrorism or launder money, or if the Client or their business is subject to sanctions. In these cases, our obligation to report and disclose our observations to the relevant authorities prevails over our duty of confidentiality towards our Clients.
4.6 We do not require unnecessary efforts or input from the Client. However, we cannot perform our own duties without the Client’s contribution and smooth cooperation. Therefore, concluding and continuing of the assignment requires that we have a good interaction with the Client and that both parties adhere to the schedules required by the nature of the assignment. The Client must provide the Service Provider with such contact information that allows the Client to be reached without difficulty. The Client is required to respond to the Service Provider in a timely manner, considering the nature of the assignment. The Client must provide the Service Provider with a background information of the assignment and related matters, as considered sufficient by the Service Provider. At the commencement of the assignment and during its term, the Client must provide the Service Provider with required information and documents considered necessary in the given assignment. The Client must immediately notify (if possible, in writing) the Service Provider of any amendments to the scope of the assignment. To conclude, the communication and cooperation between the Client and the Service Provider must be smooth and adhere to good manners.
4.7 Unless otherwise provided by applicable mandatory laws, the Client must notify the Service Provider without delay and at the latest within six (6) months from the expiry of the assignment, if the Client considers that the Service Provider’s performance in the assignment has been defective or faulty to any extent.
5. Electronic communication and data protection
5.1 We strive to handle the assignment in the most practical manner and as efficiently as possible in terms of time and costs. In most cases this means using modern means of electronic communication, such as e-mail and electronic documentation, to the extent possible. The Client approves this working method by entering into the assignment agreement with us. In case the working method described in this section of the general terms and conditions is not possible for the Client, the Client must inform the Service Provider about this without delay at the commencement of the assignment. In such case we need to assess whether we can handle the assignment in a practical manner and cost efficiently, considering the best interests of the Client.
5.2 Pursuant to applicable laws, the protection of electronic communication is strong in Finland. As the Service Provider, we have taken necessary measures in an appropriate manner to mitigate risks and ensure sufficient data protection and confidentiality of electronic communication. Despite such measures have been taken, there are situations where even due care is not enough. As a Service Provider, our liability is limited to loss and damages that are due to intentional breach or gross negligence regarding the laws and comparable rules applicable to our operations and always subject to the limitation of liability clause set under these terms and conditions, unless otherwise provided by applicable mandatory laws and the mandatory provisions of the Code of Conduct. The Client approves the risks relating to electronic communication and the described working methods in general as well as the mentioned limitation of liability.
5.3 The filtering functions of our e-mail system may prevent reception of e-mails in certain cases. Thus, we recommend the Client to confirm by phone or by other suitable means of communication that particularly important e-mails have been received.
6. The basis for our fees and invoicing procedures
6.1 Our applicable rates are simply based on reasonable pricing. Similarly, our services are based on high quality, client orientation and professional pride. Therefore, as a Client, you may expect services with reasonable price and high quality, always taking account your needs and circumstances.
6.2 The initial discussion for the purpose of identifying the content and scope of the assignment is always free of any charge unless it results to an assignment. As noted, the purpose of the initial discussion is to identify the content and scope of the assignment and confirm whether the Service Provider can accept the given assignment. The Client is not entitled to consider any potential opinions, given by the Service Provider in connection with the initial discussion, as a legal advice in which the Client can rely on.
6.3 The applicable reasonable rates and charging principles, as in force from time to time, are identified on our website www.pekkinen.fi. We apply hourly rates, unless agreed with the Client of applying a fixed fee for the assignment. As a rule, our rates are defined by the effective time (hours and minutes) used for the assignment, meaning we apply hourly rates so that the minimum billable time unit is fifteen (15) minutes. The applicable hourly rates in an individual assignment could be affected by the nature of the assignment, the required efforts, the applicable timetable, considerable interest or other comparable factors.
6.4 We always handle the assignment effectively and in accordance with the Client’s best interests. In some situations, complying with the mentioned criteria may require that we e.g. take extraordinary efforts or act in an unusually tight timeframe. Such exceptional circumstances are reflected in the costs as we reserve the right to apply our increased rates, as applicable from time to time, subject to the percentual increase identified on our website. We always notify the Client about the grounds for applying increased rates as soon as we become aware of such grounds. Similarly, we will inform the Client about the cost impact arising from such grounds.
6.5 We strive to predictability and transparency as regards costs and invoicing. When expressly requested by the Client, we can provide suggestive fee quotes identifying the approximate costs from handling the assignment if a fixed fee is not possible in the given individual case. The suggestive fee quotes are not binding, yet we always seek to provide realistic assessments.
6.6 In addition to our advocacy fees, managing the assignment as required and in an appropriate manner may also cause other costs and expenses to the Client. Other necessary expenses and specific fees, such as travel expenses, fees for acquiring documents, costs of potential expert opinion(s) or handling fees payable to authorities as well as costs for extraordinary amount of printouts are invoiced separately.
6.7 Our fees and other costs or expenses relating to handling the assignment are always added with the applicable value added tax as in force from time to time.
6.8 The Client is invoiced monthly afterwards in all matters unless otherwise agreed in an individual case. We reserve the right to apply also shorter invoicing interval of fourteen (14) days as well as the right to request reasonable prepayment as a precondition for commencing or continuing our work, taking into account the nature of the assignment and the relationship with the Client.
6.9 As part of the mutual trust, we expect timely payment of our invoices. The invoiced amounts fall due on the date identified in the invoice. As a rule, the due date is fourteen (14) days from the date of the invoice unless otherwise agreed with the Client. In the event the invoice is not paid on time, the outstanding amount is subject to the interest rate identified in Section 4.1 of the Finnish Interest Act (633/1982, as amended), accruing as of the due date.
6.10 In addition to what has been stipulated in the Code of Conduct, the Service Provider reserves a right to cease performing work for the Client or to withdraw from the assignment if the Client does not pay due invoices after the Service Provider’s notification.
6.11 Unless expressly otherwise agreed, we will invoice the Client directly and expect the Client to pay the invoice as mentioned above, irrespective whether the costs of the assignment are covered by a legal expenses insurance.
6.12 Even if an insurance company would reduce the amount to be compensated to the Client or the court would decide to reduce the opposing party’s liability to compensate the Client’s legal fees, we have the right to invoice the agreed or accrued fees, as applicable, in their full amount.
7. Limitation of liability
7.1 The Service Provider’s financial liability for any loss and damage relating to the assignment is
(i) limited to damage caused by a professional fault in handling the assignment;
(ii) limited in the aggregate of a maximum amount of two hundred and fifty thousand euros (EUR 250,000); and
(iii) it does not cover indirect or consequential damages or claims by third parties.
7.2 The Service Provider’s professional liability insurance is provided by LocalTapiola Metropolitan area Mutual Insurance Company (business ID: 2647339-1).
8. Specific dispute resolution bodies available for the Client
8.1 The Client is entitled to bring a potential dispute as regards fees before the Finnish Bar Association’s Disciplinary Board. Similarly, a consumer Client is also entitled to bring a dispute with the Service Provider before the Consumer Disputes Board. Further, the Client may file a complaint as regards the Service Provider’s personnel to the Finnish Bar Association’s Disciplinary Board.
Appendix 1 – Advance information applicable in distance sales under the Finnish Consumer Protection Act
1) Name, postal/street address and contact information regarding the service provider:
Business ID: 3153886-6
Registered office: Helsinki
2) Main characteristics of the service and applicable rates, costs and charging principles:
The offered services are legal advocacy services. Information on the applicable rates and the charging principles as well as other cost-related information can be found under Sections 3.4 and 6 of the general terms and conditions of Pekkinen Attorney, Ltd. and on the service provider’s website (www.pekkinen.fi). In case a fixed fee has been agreed with a consumer client, the applicable advocacy fees are identified in the assignment agreement with the given client.
3) Terms applicable in payment and delivery and other contractual terms:
In accordance with Sections 1-7 of the general terms and conditions of Pekkinen, Attorney Ltd.
4) Consumer’s right to cancel an assignment agreement regarding advocacy services and instructions applicable in case of cancellation:
The consumer client is entitled to cancel an assignment agreement concluded by means of distance sales as meant under the Finnish Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended). An agreement could be concluded by means applicable in distance sales if the agreement is concluded e.g. by e-mail. In order to cancel the agreement, the consumer must do it in a clear and unambiguous manner (e.g. by e-mail) at the latest within fourteen (14) days since the agreement on the advocacy services has been confirmed between the parties. In case of cancellation, the consumer is recommended to use the cancellation form sheet under Appendix 2 and print, fill and send an electronic copy (e.g. PDF) of the filled form by e-mail to email@example.com.
Example: The agreement is confirmed on the 1st day of the month. The agreement can be cancelled still on the 15th day of the same month.
An agreement regarding advocacy services, concluded by means of distance sales, is confirmed as meant under the Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended) if the content of the agreement has been confirmed with the consumer by e-mail or by other permanent and verifiable manner and the consumer has been provided with the advance information, including information and instructions on cancellation. The confirmation must be made in reasonable time after concluding the agreement and at the latest before the commencement of the service provider’s work.
The cancellation notification is delivered on time if it is sent within the mentioned fourteen (14) period. According to the Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended) an electronic notification is considered received on the same day when sent unless no other information can be presented regarding the time of receipt.
In case the last day of the cancellation period is Saturday or a public holiday, the notice of cancellation can still be given during the first business day occurring thereafter.
As regards an agreement on advocacy services, concluded by distance sales as meant under the Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended), if the consumer has made an express request for the service provider to commence work prior to the expiry of the cancellation period, the service provider is entitled to reasonable compensation for such work performed until the cancellation notification is received. The amount of the reasonable compensation proportion payable by the consumer is calculated based on the total price for the services.
The consumer is not entitled to cancel the assignment agreement if the services have been been commenced due to the consumer’s express request prior to the expiry of the cancellation period and the services are also completed.
5) Expiry of the assignment
In accordance with Section 3 of the general terms and conditions of Pekkinen, Attorney Ltd.
6) Specific dispute resolution bodies available for a consumer
In accordance with Section 8.1 of the general terms and conditions of Pekkinen, Attorney Ltd.