On April 15 the Council of RA Chamber of Advocates approved the Order for determining reasonable fees for attorney services in the cases regarding compensation of damage caused to the honor, dignity and business reputation. The provisions of the RA Civil Procedure and Administrative Procedure Codes, providing for “reasonable attorneys’ fees” and “reasonable rates of court expenses” (including attorney services), respectively, served ground for developing this document. The legislation authorizes the courts to define reasonable rates of attorneys’ fees. Since the Civil Code was supplemented by Article 1087.1 (“Order and Conditions of Compensation of Damage to the Honor, Dignity or Business Reputation”), in addition to the compensation foreseen by the law, the lawsuits versus media contain demands for paying off the attorney services, “which make in the average 2 million AMD in cases being considered nowadays” (about $ 5,400), emphasized the Chamber’s Council. The document authors expressed a concern that in case of excessive claims by the plaintiffs, the court decisions, which are not pursuant to the reasonable rates of attorneys’ fees, can be incommensurate to the financial situation of media.
The Order for determining reasonable fees for attorney services sets maximum rates: 200,000 AMD – in cases on protecting the honor and/or dignity, and 300,000 AMD – in cases on protecting the business reputation, damaged by libel and/or defamation. At the same time, even if the suit contains all the three demands (protection of the honor, dignity and business reputation) or also others, the maximum amount should not exceed 300,000 AMD. While considering the cases by the upper jurisdictions, the abovementioned rates are applied by a factor of 0.8. Besides, the Chamber’s Council specified that the Order does not curtail the freedom of attorneys when concluding contracts with their clients and setting their conditions. In its turn, the court may not take into account the contracts that stipulate large amounts.
The Chamber’s Council stressed that the approved document has a supplementary nature and is destined only for judges, entitled to define the limits for attorneys’ fees, as mentioned above.
As the Chamber of Advocates informed YPC, the Order was presented to the RA Judicial Department for considering its applicability in the judicial practice.