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Going to court against oil & gas exploration: ASMAA's Provisional Legal Budget!

Our day in court is now just around the corner and is fast approaching. But to be ready with a well-substantiated case, it has taken us nearly three years of background work: - to build the necessary support documentation files, as well as conducting extensive technical and legal research so as to identify the appropriate claims and arguments that can be used.

 

 

A large portion of the funds raised from 2015 to 2017, was used in building the case, while keeping legal costs to the bare minimum.

The first case is due to be submitted to court by ASMAA in the next few weeks, followed shortly thereafter with a second one.

As you can see, we are planning on tackling two legal actions, which although interlinked they are seen by the courts from a legal and costs perspective as two distinct cases.

 

 

Many individuals are under the impression that because we are a not-for-profit association we are exempt from costs to run a legal process. That is not so. In fact we are 100% dependent on donations from individuals and small businesses, or from funds generated through our own activities.

We have set-up an estimated initial budget of 30,000€ for both cases, and now I’m going to explain how we reached that budgetary figure.

 

PROVISIONAL BUDGET (JAN – JUN 2018): 30,000€

1.    Lawyers’ consulting and representation fees – 50% (15,000€)
2.    Court fees – 10% (3,000€)
3.    Documentation – 5% (1,500€)
4.    Other consulting & expert fees – 20% (6,000€)
5.    Research – 5% (1,500€)
6.    Travelling & communications – 5% (1,500€)
7.    Fundraising – 2% (600€)
8.    Administration fees – 3% (900€)

 

NOTES:

Lawyers’ consulting and representation fees

Lawyers’ fees are subject to agreement between the professional and the client. In our case our legal team has greatly reduced their standard fees which we greatly thankful for. Our team has experts in contract law, administrative law, European & International law and environmental law.

Court fees

There is a justice tax for the services of the judiciary system and there are process costs.  Process charges include various generic items such as transcriptions, court solicited documents (e.g. plans, expert opinions), transport expenses, citation services, translation fees, extra-tribunal visits, to name a few. In Portugal courts costs and official fees are not, in general, related to the nature of the case, neither the volume of activity, but as to the value of the disputed claim.  On average these are: Court fees 2.5% Bailiff fees 1% Lawyer fees 15% Expert fees 1% Witness compensation 1% Translation/Interpretation 1-5%

  1. Other court proceedings costs: Charges relating to experts, translators, interpreters, and consultants.
  2. Impact of the number of hearings on costs:The number of hearings increases costs to the extent the hearings increase the perceived complexity of the material as well as any incidental costs, such as the need to have testimony recorded.
  3. Transcription costs:Transcription costs are charged to the party requesting them.
  4. Bailiff fees: In Portugal, the word ―bailiff‖ must be understood to refer to a court official or someone acting on behalf of the court, such as a solicitor designated by the court to complete an execution.
    1. During a court procedure, it is frequent to have recourse to incidental acts, such as serving of a document, a notice, a request. In some cases, the court may issue or send by registered mail the notice. In other cases, as for example, with procedures for a preliminary injunction, recourse will be had to a third party figure known as a solicitor of execution.
    2. Ante judgment. During a court procedure, it is frequent to have recourse to incidental acts, such as serving of a document, a notice, a request. In some cases, the court may issue or send by registered mail the notice. In other cases, as for example, with procedures for a preliminary injunction, recourse will be had to a third party figure known as a solicitor of execution. This may occur prior to judgment.
    3. During proceedings. During a court procedure, it is frequent to have recourse to incidental acts, such as serving of a document, a notice, a request. In some cases, the court may issue or send by registered mail the notice. In other cases, as for example, with procedures for a preliminary injunction, recourse will be had to a third party figure known as a solicitor of execution. This frequently occurs during the court procedure.

Court Translation and interpretation: Both translation fees and interpreter fees will be applicable if documentation is in another language, or if experts do not speak Portuguese.

It is dificult to estimate what the final court fees will be, because its dependent on many factors.

Experts & Technical Witnesses

We will be using 5 expert witnesses, and some will be coming from nations outside of Portugal. The witnesses that do not speak Portuguese will require a translator and interpreter. In some cases we have made provision to cover costs of travelling, accommodation and daily expenses such as meals, etc. In others, some will testify on a total pro-bono basis and they will carry their own costs.

Documentation

Printing, collecting, requesting, etc ... To get access to some documents we are incurring various costs.

 

 

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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
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