Costs of legal consultation and representation

Cost of legal consultation and representation in Germany are relatively high. Before you undertake any action whatsoever involving a lawyer, make sure you are aware of his or her fees for the initial consultation, which can be up to 190 Euros plus 19% VAT. The initial consultation focuses upon clarifying the further procedure of your individual case.

Should you then choose to retain this respective lawyer he or she will take into account this initial fee. In Germany, the RVG (Rechtanwaltsvergütungsgesetz – Lawyers Fees Act) applies.

In general, there are two kinds of fees - the sliding-scale fee that applies for the administrative, criminal and social law and fees that are stipulated in accordance with the jurisdictional value.

Costs to be borne on resolvement of the court case

In the scope of civil law, the party that has been defeated must bear all costs of the legal dispute, such as all costs for the lawyer, for the opposing counsel and the court fees. An exception to this rule applies in cases where there is no clear winner or loser. In such cases, the costs are distributed proportionally.

In case of a composition, each party bears the costs of his own lawyer and the parties will share the court costs. There is also the possibility for the parties to agree on other terms. With labour law each party has to bear its own costs while no court costs will arise for either of them.

In civil law, charges are stipulated according to the jurisdictional value of the case. Here, the RGV (Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz – Lawyers Fees Act) applies.

Some examples: In tenancy disputes, the jurisdictional value will be 12 times the annual net rent plus possible rent arrears.

In the case of an employee wanting a warning to be removed from his staff file, the fees be calculated on the basis of the jurisdictional value of 1 gross salary. If the accused in a criminal law case is found not guilty, the cost of the court case will be at public expense.

Theoretically, fees are freely negotiable, however, this is normally only the case with big companies or very high jurisdictional values.

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