Independently of the legal service provided by the lawyer in charge of a case and, potentially, their colleagues, the handling of the case will entail many expenses, either inherent to it or related to the operation of the law firm. A portion of these expenses are covered, in whole or in part, by the fees billed. Other expenses, directly related to the expenditures incurred by the case, will be billed in addition to the actual fees.
Three calculation formulas for expenses are available to clients based on the practice of the lawyers involved or the nature of the case. The method used is communicated to the client, in complete transparency, when the case is opened.
A first method simply involves the inclusion of fees in the hourly rate used as the value for calculating the lawyers' fees. The hourly rate offered when the case is opened is therefore ‘all inclusive’.
A second method consists of increasing the proposed hourly rate by an additional percentage intended to cover costs on a flat-rate basis.
A third method consists of calculating semi-fixed expenses. In this case, the lawyer will offer to calculate the expenses related to handling the case based on €40 for opening and basic administration of the case plus €15 for every typed page. This assessment method encompasses all expense items and not exclusively secretarial and typing costs.
In either case, the firm's lawyers commit to capping expenses for each fee statement at a maximum 25% of the amount of fees billed. Experience shows that, even with moderate hourly rates, expenses generally amount to between 15 and 20% of the fees billed.
Regardless of the formula selected, proceedings expenses and other potential expenditures (bailiff or court fees, registry expenses, administrative costs for civil status documents and other documents, technical counselling fees, costs relating to searching the national register, etc.) are either billed directly by the third party (bailiff, translator, expert, etc.) or added to the bill based on receipts.