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Costs

In the legal profession, the term ‘costs’ generally refers to the fees and other expenses a solicitor charges a client for their expertise and other payments that arise out of the provision of legal services, such as court fees.

Costs are one of the most heavily regulated aspects of practising law. Solicitors owe many duties to their clients, such as the duty to disclose. The laws are not only complex, but have been frequently amended over the past decade.

The Law Society of New South Wales has an educational and regulatory responsibility to ensure solicitors comply with the laws relating to costs. It assists in the settlement of costs disputes and in the investigation of complaints. The Law Society also helps solicitors by providing information and resources.

Our role

Our role – read more about the Law Society’s Legal Costs Unit and the Costs Committee.

Review of Billing Practices

November update - Council of the Law Society resolutions on billing practices:

Presidential statement

Time Billing - reminder to the profession

The following documents were developed following a symposium on Billing Practices, held at the Law Society of NSW on 5 July 2011.

Note on the symposium

Discussion paper

Help with costs

Costs assistance – confidential assistance for solicitors with cost issues via phone, email or correspondence.

Costs education – face-to-face costs seminars, including customised in-house continuing professional development (CPD) programs.

Publications

Costs Guidebook 6th Edition Revised – a practical introduction to costs, featuring a suite of customisable precedents for compulsory costs disclosure and fee agreements. (Please note - this is being updated for the new uniform law)

Resources

Precedents and forms – download up-to-date samples which assist in ensuring compliance.

Tripartite Deed – precedent deed which can be used in the event of a termination of a retainer, when a client's file is handed over to a new practitioner. (Please note - this is being updated for the new uniform law)

Client fact sheets – view information the Law Society is required by law to provide to the public.

Costs Assessment Guides – Step-by-step guides for solicitors advising clients on the costs assessment process. (Please note - this is being updated for the new uniform law)
- Note regarding Costs Assessments and transitional provisions from 1 July 2015:

  1. Legal Profession Act 2004 and CURRENT assessment processes CONTINUE to apply to: Practitioner, client and third party costs assessments - where client first instructed the Law Practice BEFORE 1 July 2015 (see Legal Profession Uniform Law - Schedule 4 Clause 18) 2. Party Party Costs assessments (quantifying costs pursuant to an order of court or tribunal) - where proceedings to which the costs relate commenced BEFORE 1 July 2015 (see Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015 - reg 59)
  2. Legal Profession Uniform Law - Please note the Transitional provisions and in summary, any NEW costs assessment provisions will only apply to: Uniform costs (previously client and practitioner costs) - where client FIRST INSTRUCTED the law practice on or AFTER 1 July 2015 (see Legal Profession Uniform Law - Schedule 4 Clause 18) 2. Ordered Costs (previously party party costs) - where the proceeding to which the costs relate COMMENCED on or AFTER 1 July 2015 (see Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015 - Reg 59)

Further information.

CONTACT

  • Legal Costs Unit
  • The Law Society of NSW
  • 170 Phillip St
  • Sydney NSW 2000
  • DX 362 Sydney
  • F: (02) 9221 5804
  • E: costs@lawsociety.com.au