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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.


Costs Guidebook 6th Edition Revised – a practical introduction to costs, featuring a suite of customisable precedents for compulsory costs disclosure and fee agreements.


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

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.


  • 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