25/07/2022 09:28

When does the legal service contract between the lawyer and the client end in Vietnam?

When does the legal service contract between the lawyer and the client end in Vietnam?

Whenever a lawyer acts as a consultant or a legal representative for a certain client, the two parties sign a legal service contract to facilitate the performance of the tasks requested by the client.

A legal service contract is an agreement between the parties. Following that, one party provides one or more legal services to the service hirer in order to receive remuneration, and the legal service user is obliged to pay remuneration as agreed. So, for this type of contract, when is it considered to end?

Typically in Judgment 62/2018/DS-PT dated November 2, 2018 on legal service contract disputes, whereby:

“On August 30, 2015, Mr. Nguyen L signed a legal service contract to ask Mr. Tran Cao N to protect his rights until the competent authority recognized his land use right. The contract agreement is 90,000,000 VND, but Mr. N's participation in the long-distance travel is expensive, so he voluntarily gives Mr. N 10,000,000 VND. A total of 100,000,000 VND.

After receiving the money, Mr. N instructed him to do some procedures. But during the implementation process, Mr. N discovered that there was an unfavourable document leading to the possibility that Mr. N could not protect him, so he forced him to withdraw his lawsuit at the People's Court of District C, Province G to wait for the opinion of Mr. N. The Court has issued a Decision to terminate the case. After many discussions between him and Mr. N about the lawsuit again, Mr. N did not reply to his request but sent a letter saying "Because he withdrew the lawsuit petition, the lawyer is no longer responsible". Mr. L filed a lawsuit requesting to force Mr. Tran Cao N to return him the amount of VND 100,000,000 and the interest rate from September 16, 2015 to August 24, 2018 is 35 months as prescribed by law."

The court declared : 

The plaintiff's claim was not accepted because: "On June 24, 2016, Mr. Nguyen L voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit petition and the Court issued a decision to suspend the settlement of the case on June 25, 2016. Considering that Mr. Nguyen L's withdrawal of the lawsuit is completely voluntary, not forced by anyone, the evidence of the People's Court of district C, province G on June 24, 2016 that Mr. Nguyen L gave him, he could not prove that his withdrawal of the petition was due to Mr. N's fault.

Therefore, it can be seen that the legal service contract between Mr. N and Mr. L ends when Mr. L withdraws the lawsuit petition and the Court issues a decision to suspend the settlement of the case, not when the agency has the authority to recognize the land use right for Mr. L.

Compare with the provisions in Articles 518 and 524 of the 2005 Civil Code of Vietnam:

Article 518. Service contracts

A service contract is an agreement between the parties whereby the service provider shall perform a task for the service hirer, and the service hirer must pay service charges to the service provider.

Article 524. Payment for services

1. The service hirer must pay the service charges as agreed upon.

2. When a contract is entered into without agreement on the service charges, the method of determining the service charges or without any other instructions on service charges, the service charges shall be determined based on the market price of the service of the same kind at the time and place the contract is entered into.

3. The service hirer must pay the service charges at the place where the task is performed and when the service is accomplished, unless otherwise agreed upon.

4. In cases where the service is provided below the agreed level or the task is not accomplished on time, the service hirer shall have the right to reduce the service charges and demand compensation for damage.

In fact, some clients mistakenly believe that having hired a lawyer (signing a legal service contract), the lawyer will be responsible for protecting their rights until they achieve the desired results or until they I don't want to sue anymore. Without knowing that the Lawyer only protects within the scope of the signed contract and will end at the end of that case, regardless of whether it is resolved by the court or because the plaintiff withdraws the lawsuit. If the client has withdrawn the lawsuit and then sued again, the lawyer must continue to defend himself under the old contract signed before.                

It is thought that before the two parties sign a legal service contract with each other, the lawyer needs to clearly explain to the client his responsibilities. On the client side, it is also necessary to understand clearly the lawyer's responsibilities for their case to avoid conflicts later.

Sang Nguyen

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