“The fees are set by the lawyer, considering the work undertaken, the complexity and importance of the case, the responsibility vested, the outcome and the situation of the client.” (Article 34 LPAv).
However, Swiss law prohibits an arrangement between the lawyer and his or her client providing for remuneration according to the outcome (pactum de quota litis).
In the canton of Geneva, the average hourly rate is around CHF 450.-. This rate can be increased in case of emergency work or if the requested service is particularly complex.
It is customary to request a retainer when opening a new case to cover part of the lawyer’s anticipated activity in managing the case. The provisional amount is deducted from the final invoice.
There are two types of remuneration, namely hourly remuneration and flat-rate remuneration.
The lawyer charges according to the actual time spent on the case (appointments, drafting of legal documents, hearing attendance, etc.).
Flat rate remuneration
The lump sum consists of a pre-determined amount of fees which include a certain number of services (e.g., two interviews, filing a petition and participation in a hearing). Lump sums are intended for less complex and non-contentious cases.
If your financial situation does not allow you to pay your lawyer’s fees and court costs, state legal aid may be granted under certain conditions.
Depending on your financial situation, you may have to repay the amount gradually, especially if your situation improves. We are ready to assist you in obtaining legal aid.
If you are the victim of a criminal offence directly affecting your physical, psychological, or sexual integrity, you can consult the Victims’ Assistance Centre (Centre LAVI, boulevard de Saint-Georges 72, 1205 Geneva; T: 022 320 01 02), which can pay for up to four hours of legal work.