Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Mandatory minimum fees for Romanian lawyers

Starting in 2017, UNBR released the decision that lawyers charge their clients according to the minimum rates for services rendered. For example, an hour of legal assistance should be charged with a minimum of $ 120, while a divorce request without minors should cost at least $ 960. On the other hand, attorneys may lower minimum rates by up to 50% for certain categories of people in order not to affect access to justice. This set of minimum fees applies to legal assistance contracts with physical perks, while minimum fees are 50% higher for legal persons. However, these minimum fees cannot be used in payments that exceed one year, otherwise, these rates would fall below the minimum.
This minimum fees table includes the following services:
1.       Representation in civil / contentious administrative and fiscal matters (tariffs between 120 and 240 lei)
2.       Professional activities in the concurrent procedure (between 240 and 860 lei)
3.       Shares and demandable money (between 450-13,000 lei)
4.       Actions and non-pecuniary claims (between 960 and 1200 lei)
5.       Actions in respect of forced execution (between 960 and 1200 lei)
6.       Actions and requests related to family relationships (between 840 and 1680 lei)
7.       As regards administrative consistency (between 840 and 1680 lei)
8.       Insolvency (between 120 and 960 lei)
9.       Contraventions - 600 lei
10.   Land Book - 840 lei
11.   Work disputes, rights and obligations of social character (between 360 and 1200 lei)
12.   Legal advice and drafting of documents (between 120 and 1680 lei)
13.   Criminal investigation (between 120 and 1440 lei)
14.   Preliminary Chamber (between 120 and 480 lei)
15.   Judgment at first instance (between 240 and 840 lei)
16.   Judgment on appeal (between 120 and 1440 lei)
17.   Extraordinary ways of attack - 480 lei
18.   Execution of criminal decisions and special laws (between 120 and 360 lei)
19.   Rehabilitation (between 120 and 720 lei)

This decision has raised many controversies among lawyers, and they are dissatisfied with the decision, and considering that lack of competition in terms of prices will prevent them from increasing their client portfolio. Although these tariffs have existed in the past, they were eliminated in 2004.

On the other hand, these regulations could also bring benefits to the law industry. The main purpose of this regulation was to protect consumer rights by developing a competition based on the quality standards of the services offered. However, the law is erroneously written, leaving room for interpretations and contradictions. For example, once it is clear that these minimum rates are mandatory, it is also specified that it is forbidden to set minimum and maximum rates for lawyers.

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