In compliance with the federal law of June 23, 2000 on our profession, once we accept a mandate, we are obligated to inform our client of the billing terms and inform him periodically, or upon request, of the total fees due.
According to the federal law mentioned above, before a case is closed, it is unauthorised to make a convention with the constituent, in which the latter accepts that the fees depend on the results of the case; we also cannot accept to waive the fees in the event of an unfavourable trial.
The issue is settled in the Canton of Vaud, by the law of September 24, 2002 on the profession of lawyers. Article 45 stipulates that the lawyer is entitled to the fees set in accordance with the time dedicated to executing the mandate, to difficulties and delays in execution of this mandate, to the extent of the interests involved, the result of the litigation and his experience.
Moreover, the Swiss Federation of Lawyers (FSA), of which we are members, decreed a Swiss code of ethics on June 10, 2005 which sets similar rules.
Lastly , this code allows agreeing to a fixed rate and a premium if successful, which is added to the fees.
Concerning the information we need to provide during the mandate, it is possible to create regular intermediary bills.
In compliance with the general rules of the profession, it is equally possible for the lawyer to request advance partial payment applied to the fees.
In the event of civil judicial proceedings, except for rare cases, the claimant in the lawsuit must advance the total amount of expenses as required by the concerned Court of law. Each Canton has its own proceedings expenses tariff.
The Court must define who will cover the overall incurred costs in its final decision.
Simplifying matters, one can say that the person who wins the case may demand that the opposing party reimburses the expenses they have incurred, including contribution to his own attorney fees («costs»). It is only question of contribution, which rarely covers the agreed upon expenses.
Conversely, the person who loses the case, risks to not only pay for his own judicial & attorney fees, but also to reimburse those of his opponent.
We hope that this information will be sufficient & useful for you and we are obviously available to provide any additional information that you may desire.