On 13 April 2022, the Assembly of the Bar Association adopted the Amendment to the Attorneys’ Tariff, which was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 70/22 of 20 May 2022, and entered into force on the fifteenth day after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, i.e. on 4 June 2022.
The amended Attorneys’ Tariff brings a number of changes both in the general and in the special part of the tariff.
In the general part, Article 7 has been substantially amended, in particular, by newly providing for an increase of the total value of the service by 100 per cent for the use of a foreign language when performing services, which applies only to the billing of services between the lawyer and the client, but not to the assessment by the court or other authority.
The Amendment especially modifies the special part, in which individual services are defined by a number of points. The substantial amendments to the special part of the Attorneys’ Tariff are set out below.
Tariff number 1 of the Attorneys’ Tariff, which determines the value of attorneys’ services in settlement and mediation proceedings in criminal proceedings, no longer determines the latter according to the method used to prosecute the offence, but according to the stage of the criminal proceedings in which the agreement is reached. It also provides an additional fee for the conclusion of an agreement on a pecuniary claim (during the criminal proceedings), which is calculated according to the current tariff number 19, i.e. according to the amount of the pecuniary claim.
In the second chapter of the special part of the Attorneys’ Tariff, which regulates attorneys’ services in arbitration proceedings, the services of drafting pleadings and representation at arbitration hearings, which are valued in essentially the same way as in litigation, are now specifically regulated in tariff number 5. In addition, the value of attorneys’ services in disputes before international commercial or investment arbitration or arbitration with an international element has been amended, which may now be increased by up to 200%, depending on the complexity of the case.
The chapter on criminal proceedings has been amended, in particular in tariff number 8, which sets the value of services of drafting pleadings. The Amendment adds two additional forms of application: a reasoned criminal charge for the most serious offences falling within the competence of the specialised public prosecutor’s office (250 points) and a request for an investigation (250 points), while the value of legal services for certain other forms of application is regulated differently. Namely, a reasoned submission of evidence, which was previously valued at 50 points, is now valued at 50 points for each piece of evidence, but not more than 250 points for all the submissions of evidence combined, and the service of drafting a reasoned pecuniary claim is still charged at the tariff number 19 (formerly 18), i.e. according to the amount of the pecuniary claim, however, no longer 50 % of the value of the service, but 100 %. Also specifically regulated now is the representation of the defendant at the hearing for the imposition of a criminal sanction, the value of which is set at 75 % of the value of the service otherwise provided for representation at the hearing in the proceedings.
Tariff number 11, which covers legal remedies in criminal proceedings, has also been amended. In addition to a slightly modified distinction between the types of judicial decision against which each remedy is brought, a reply to the prosecutor’s opinion has also been added and is valued at 50% of the value of the remedy.
Tariff number 13, which covers services in criminal proceedings against minors, has also been amended to a considerable extent. In particular, it no longer distinguishes between criminal offences punishable by up to eight years imprisonment and criminal offences punishable by more than eight years imprisonment, but between criminal offences punishable by juvenile imprisonment and other criminal offences.
The chapter on proceedings before the employers also contains new provisions, namely on employment acts and contracts. Thus, a completely new tariff number 15 has been introduced, which sets the value of the attorneys’ services in case of drafting certain acts and contracts relating to employment law, namely for (i) employment agreements, which are valued between 300 and 600 points, (ii) suspension of an employment agreement and other acts and contracts arising out of or in connection with the performance of work, which are valued at 400 points, (ii) employment agreement (or mandate agreement) of a procurator or director, which is valued according to the value of the annual salary or annual income, but not less than 800 points, and (iv) general acts of the employer, which are valued in accordance with the tariff number 36, which regulates the preparation of general acts and corporate matters.
The Amendment also introduces important changes to the services regarding litigation procedure. The Attorneys’ Tariff no longer lays down special rules for the drafting of pleadings in litigation proceedings in commercial disputes, and in particular increases the upper limit of the value of the attorneys’ services for drafting lawsuits in relation to the value of the (disputed) subject-matter, set out in tariff item 19, which is now set at a maximum of 9,000 points (and no longer 2,000 points, or in case of commercial dispute 3,000 points). Consequently, when the value of the (disputed) subject-matter is higher (above EUR 288,000 or, in commercial disputes, above EUR 528,000), so is the value of the attorneys’ services for the preparation of other pleadings and for representation at hearings, which is calculated as a percentage of tariff number 19.
The second paragraph of tariff number 19 (formerly 18), which determines the value of the attorneys’ services in certain other matters, now provides that copyright, industrial property, unfair competition and similar disputes, if not assessable under the first paragraph of tariff number 19, are to be valued at 500 points (and no longer at 300 points only).
Certain attorneys’ services which, due to changes in the substantive rules, were inappropriately covered by tariff number 19, paragraph 2, have been moved by the amendment to the chapter on the non-contentious civil procedure. Thus, tariff number 27 now covers services relating to matrimonial proceedings, proceedings for the establishment and contestation of paternity and maternity, and proceedings for the protection and best interests of the child. In the chapter on non-litigious proceedings, some other tariff numbers have also been introduced. For example, tariff number 25 regulates services relating to procedures for admission for treatment in a psychiatric hospital in a special ward without consent and in emergency cases, procedures for admission for treatment in a secure ward of a social care institution without consent and procedures for admission for treatment in a supervised ward without consent. Tariff number 26 covers services relating to the placing of an adult under guardianship, and tariff number 28 covers services relating to the acquisition of the legal capacity of a child who has become a parent, proceedings for the authorisation of marriage and other proceedings not covered by other tariff numbers of the non-contentious procedure.
Tariff number 31 governing enforcement and security furthermore makes a new distinction between an application for enforcement on the basis of an authentic document, which is valued at 50 per cent of tariff number 19, i.e. according to the amount of the (disputed) subject-matter in question, but not exceeding 200 points, and an application for enforcement on the basis of a writ of execution, which is valued on the same basis, but not exceeding 250 points.
In the chapter on administrative disputes, tariff number 34 now provides for a higher value for legal services in particularly complex administrative disputes under the law regulating banking, the law regulating the market in financial instruments, the law regulating takeovers, the law regulating auditing, the law regulating insurance, the law regulating the prevention of restrictions on competition, the law regulating measures by the Republic of Slovenia to strengthen the stability of banks and the law regulating legal protection in public procurement procedures.
Under tariff number 38, which relates to drawing up documents, the amendment also included a declaration of acknowledgement of paternity and the drawing up of a declaration of the parents’ expressed parental wish to exercise parental care, both of which are valued at 100 points, and in addition also the agreement on the transfer of shareholdings in a capital company and founder rights in other legal persons and the agreement on the payment of shareholders and members of a legal person on the termination of their shareholding, both of which are charged under tariff number 39 governing commercial contracts.
Tariff number 41 of the Attorneys’ Tariffs comprehensively determines the value of legal services in proceedings relating to offences. The value of legal services is linked to the amount of the fine imposed for each offence; if the fine is imposed within a range, the calculation of the value of legal services is based on the arithmetic mean of the fine imposed.