The lawyer´s fee

We invite you to tell us your concern in a first interview. As this is very often about finding out how our law firm can support you, we can agree that a short talk is free of charge. However, we point out that we are already performing service in the course of an initial consultation, which can be invoiced according to the tariff (even phone calls). The performed legal service can be invoiced as flat-rate fee, time-based fee or according to tariff.

Flat-rate fee
The prerequisite for this agreement is that the lawyer´s expected work can be estimated well in advance. Then you have the advantage that the costs are known from the start.

Time-based fee
The lawyer´s fee is agreed per time unit and depends on the level of difficulty of the services to be performed.

Invoice according to tariff
Here, the basis is the Lawyer´s Fee Act, the Fee Criteria of the Austrian Chamber of Lawyers (AHK) and the Notary´s Fee Act. These also apply if there is no agreement between lawyer and his/her own client.

As lawyers we are entitled to demand appropriate payments on account or to deduct unpaid fee claims from incoming money for the client.

Legal protection insurance

If you have a legal protection insurance, this covers the costs of our intervention up to the agreed sum insured. As legal protection includes different sectors, it must be reviewed in advance whether the present legal matter is actually covered by the insurance. Our office will take over talking to your insurance for you.

Reimbursement of costs in civil proceedings

In legal disputes (and in some areas of out-of-court proceedings), the defeated party must reimburse the costs to the opponent. The prevailing party, who enforces a valid claim or wards off any invalid claims, is not to be burdened with costs of representation and procedural costs, but should be reimbursed by the opponent.

In a partial success there is no full reimbursement but only a part is reimbursed according to the extent of success. Extent and amount of cost reimbursement is determined by court in its decision and obliges the other party to reimburse. The corresponding procedures determine details regarding cost reimbursement.

The cost decision of the court of first instance can be contested in the legal remedy proceedings together with the main cause (e.g. in the appeal) or also separately in a cost recourse.

In judicial criminal proceedings which end with an acquittal, the federal government has to pay a contribution to the suspect/defendant´s defence cost in certain cases. The amount of this contribution is determined by court.

However, by law only tiny maximum amounts are provided, which usually do not even cover a part of the actual defence costs.

Reimbursement of costs in criminal proceedings

In judicial criminal proceedings which end with an acquittal, the federal government has to pay a contribution to the suspect/defendant´s defence cost in certain cases. The amount of this contribution is determined by court.

However, by law only tiny maximum amounts are provided, which usually do not even cover a part of the actual defence costs. 

In legal disputes (and in some areas of out-of-court proceedings), the defeated party must reimburse the costs for the opponent. The prevailing party, who enforces a valid claim or wards off any invalid claims, is not to be burdened with costs of representation and procedural costs, but should be reimbursed by the opponent.

In a partial success there is no full reimbursement but only a part is reimbursed according to the extent of success. Extent and amount of cost reimbursement is determined by court in its decision and obliges the other party to reimburse. The corresponding procedures determine details regarding cost reimbursement.

The cost decision of the court of first instance can be contested in the legal remedy proceedings together with the main cause (e.g. in the appeal) or also separately in a cost recourse.

FAQ

Costs

There is no obligation to take out a legal protection insurance, this is up to each person individually.

The (sometimes high) premium payments are contrasted to the cost coverage in the event of a dispute. Even if a legal protection insurance has been taken out, you should check in advance whether the relevant cause is covered by it. It is important to inquire with different legal protection insurances and to get detailed information on premium payments, scope of insurance, insured sum and general terms of the legal protection insurance.

Please bring all documents which are connected to the dispute. This can be letters, file memos, agreements, names and addresses of witnesses, existing evidence – especially photographs or medical history – as well as the insurance policy of a possibly existing legal protection insurance.

If you file a lawsuit, court fees and lawyer´s fees become payable. The court fees are so-called flat rates, which depend on the value in litigation. For a value in litigation of for example € 15.000,-, the flat rates for the filing of the lawsuit are about €750,-. These fees can increase if for example several parties are involved on the one side. If you were granted legal aid as the person who files the lawsuit, you can be exempted from these fees temporarily.

The lawyer´s costs depend on the according fee agreement with the lawyer. If you have agreed on an hourly fee, the lawsuit of course costs the invested time, times the agreed hourly rate, plus legal VAT and the flat rate of the court. How long a lawyer needs for a lawsuit cannot be answered generally and especially depends on the complexity of the case.

With an agreement according to the Lawyer´s Fee Act (RATG), the tariffs for the lawsuit are fixed and are graded according to the value in litigation. For example a value in litigation of € 15.000 means the tariff for a payment procedure is about € 400,-. In addition, there is the so-called standard rate (= a percentage surcharge to the tariff costs), which covers the entire costs which are usually connected to the filing of the lawsuit (correspondence, telephone calls, conferences). The lawyer can also charge these supplementary services separately. The standard rate for values in litigation up to about € 10.200,- is 60%, above 50% of the tariff. In certain cases (e.g. in payment proceedings or appeal against payment summons), it amounts to 120% resp. 100%. If the lawyer represents several parties, or if he/she is confronted with several people (so-called joinder of parties), he/she can additionally demand a “Streitgenossenzuschlag” (surcharge for joinder of parties) of 10% for every first member of the joinder of parties and 5% for every further member, however a maximum of 50%. The sum is increased by a surcharge for electronic legal dealings (ERV), which is € 4,10 for a filing of the lawsuits without documents.

Sample calculation:

Filing of payment procedures in the amount of € 15.000,- against two people. The lawyer´s fee for the filing according to tariff costs €1.075,48 gross. This amount is composed of: € 405,60 (tariff) + € 405,60 (100% standard rate) + € 81,12 (10% Streitgenossen surcharge) + €4,10 ERV surcharge plus legal VAT. You still have to add the court fees which must be transferred to court at the moment of filing the lawsuit for the entire first-instance proceedings. In our case these amount to € 817, 30 which means that altogether, costs of gross € 1.893,– are payable for the filing of the lawsuit.

It is basically every lawyer´s free decision whether he /she charges his lawyer services as a flat rate or on an hourly basis, or according to single services, resp. according to the Lawyer´s Fee Act (RATG). Also a success fee is possible.

A flat rate is purposeful if the scope of the expected can be estimated. Your advantage here is that the costs are known right from the start.

If, however, the expected effort is not predictable, very often an hourly rate or the payment based on single services is agreed upon. Especially with very high values in litigation, an hourly billing can be a good alternative to the tariff.

If no other fee agreement was made, the billing is carried out according to the Lawyer´s Fee Act (RATG), the general fee criteria of the Austrian Chamber of Lawyers (AHK) and the Notary´s Fee Act. The amount of the lawyer´s fee depends on the value in litigation, the type of service and the number of involved people.

In Austria, lawsuits are subject to the “Obsiegensprinzip”. This means the prevailing party is refunded the court costs as well as the lawyer´s fee (as far as the court regards them necessary for the appropriate prosecution) according to the regulations of the RATG by the defeated party. Partial prevailing can cause a proportionate refund. If lawyer and client agreed on an hourly fee, it can happen that the prevailing client is not refunded the entire lawyer´s fee, if the hourly fee is higher than the tariff due to the invested time or if certain services are not regarded as appropriate and are therefore not refunded.

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