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Dangerous for remote clients

Consumer law

Dangerous for remote clients

The pandemic also promotes contact with clients who instruct lawyers only by e-mail. If these are consumers, the lawyer - in Italy and in Germany - runs a considerable risk of being stuck with his costs.

A German university student commissioned a Cologne law firm to advise him on how to proceed against what he considered to be an unjustified grade decision in the field of higher education law. The law firm sent the student a corresponding mandate contract with a fee agreement, prepared the expert opinion and issued the invoice. The student accepted the expert opinion with thanks and objected to the fee agreement. The lawyer unsuccessfully sued the student for payment. In distance selling, every contract with a consumer - this applies EU-wide - must be provided with a cancellation policy (See BGH, judgment of 19.11.2020, IX ZR 133/19).

A prudent lawyer should add a cancellation notice to his client agreement and wait 14 days before taking action. Alternatively, the client can be summoned to the law firm. Here, in corona times, the risk of contagion must be weighed against the risk of default.