Terms and conditions
Our fees are based on our skills, expertise and the time we spend on your matter. That time may include speaking with you, your other advisers, other parties and other lawyers; applying relevant law to the facts; preparing advice; preparing and reading documents and correspondence; preparing for and attending (including travelling to and from) meetings and Court hearings; and reporting to you.
Our professional fees will be either be:
- charged in six minute units. For instance a one minute telephone conversation and a six minute telephone conversation will both be charged as one (six minute) unit; or
- fixed at the start of your matter based on the agreed scope of services to be provided. If the scope of work or the assumptions used in determining our fixed fee change during the course of a matter, we reserve our rights to alter the fee. The basis on which we will charge our fees will be agreed with you at the start of your matter. Our rates may be higher than those chargeable under the Supreme Court of South Australia’s scale of fees and by some other lawyers. We consider that our rates reflect our skills, expertise and service levels. Charge rates of the lawyers and paralegals working on your file are available upon request.
We will review our rates annually at 1 July. You will be deemed to accept those changes in rates by paying any invoice issued at those new rates. If you do not accept those new rates, we may end this agreement.
You will be deemed to accept these terms and conditions by confirming acceptance with us in writing or by continuing to instruct us on your matter(s).
You have the right to:
- negotiate the terms and costs under which your matter will be performed;
- request an itemised bill of costs after you receive a lump sum bill from us;
- request written reports about the progress of your matter and the costs incurred in your matter;
- apply for costs to be adjudicated if you are unhappy with our costs;
- apply for the costs agreement to be set aside;
- make a complaint to the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner (if you believe there has been overcharging); and
- seek independent legal advice in relation to these terms and conditions.
We may pay out of pocket expenses to third parties on your behalf. They may include barristers’ and other professional fees, search fees, stamp duty, registration or filing fees, and travel costs. They will be charged to you at cost. We do not charge for internal costs, such as photocopying, faxes, telephone calls, and so on.
We will invoice you periodically (usually monthly) for our fees, GST and out of pocket costs (together ‘Costs’), whether or not your matter is complete. Invoices will summarise the work we have done. You will be presumed to accept an invoice if you do not question it in writing within 14 days of receiving it. Our Costs are not contingent upon, and are payable regardless of, the outcome of your matter. You are responsible for paying our Costs even if, at your request, we send our invoices to others. Our invoices must be paid within 14 days. If you do not pay an invoice on time we may charge interest on our overdue Costs at such rate as we determine having regard to loss we may incur as a result of late payment. Interest charges will accrue daily. We currently charge interest at the rate of 12% per annum. If we have to take action to recover our Costs, you will be required to pay the cost of that action (including legal fees on an indemnity basis).
The Cost Guarantor (if applicable) guarantees your obligations under this agreement, including paying our Costs. The Cost Guarantor also indemnifies us against any loss which we may suffer as a result of you not doing anything (including paying Costs) which you are required to do under these terms. If there is more than one Cost Guarantor, they will each give this guarantee jointly and severally.
If we receive a cheque payable to another person in connection with your matter, we may give that cheque to the payee without first banking it into our trust account.
If we ask, you and/or the Cost Guarantor will give security for our Costs, such as paying money into our trust account or giving a credit card or bank debit authority. You and the Cost Guarantor irrevocably authorise us to call on that security to pay our Costs when due.
If your matter involves litigation, you should be aware that, in most cases, the Courts will order unsuccessful litigants to pay the costs of the successful litigants. These orders are known as costs orders. It is rare that a costs order will entitle a successful litigant to recover all of its costs. As a rough rule of thumb, you can expect that a costs order would allow a successful litigant to recover between 50% and 70% of its costs. You should also be aware that, if you are a successful litigant, there is no guarantee that an unsuccessful litigant will be able to pay your costs under a costs order. Regardless of whether you are a successful or an unsuccessful litigant, you are required to pay our Costs.
Before we agree to act for you we will check that there is no legal or commercial conflict of interest which prevents us from acting for you. However, information or circumstances may subsequently arise which create an actual or potential legal or commercial conflict of interest. We will notify you of any potential conflict as soon as we are aware.
Ceasing to act
We may cease acting on a matter if you do not comply with these terms and conditions or if a conflict of interest arises. You may end an engagement at any time by written notice to us. You are responsible for paying our Costs that are due at the time you provide this notice.
Copyright and intellectual property
We own the copyright and other intellectual property rights in the work that we do for you. We grant you a perpetual licence to use documents that we produce for you, but not to exploit them for commercial advantage. This licence is not exclusive and is not transferable. This licence is granted in return for you agreeing to pay our Costs.
Personal information about you is protected under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). You authorise us to disclose this information if required by law or if necessary in the conduct of your matter. Where the fact we are acting or have acted for you is already in the public domain, we may mention your name as a client in private correspondence and our promotional material (but not to the media, without your consent). You may not refer to us in any document which you publish or otherwise make public without our consent.
We may take and keep an electronic copy of any document we receive in connection with your matter. If we do, we may destroy the original document unless you tell us not to. We are entitled to a lien on your file for any outstanding Costs. This allows us to refuse to release your file until our Costs are paid. Some (but not all) documents on your file will be your property. Subject to our lien we will, if you request, return to you any documents to which you are entitled. If we have not destroyed the original document we will return a copy. We will destroy your file seven years after the date of our final invoice.
We do not accept responsibility and will not be liable for any loss caused by instructions, or by errors or omissions in information, provided by you and/or third parties. This includes information provided by consultants and experts you instruct us to engage on your behalf and government agencies.
Alternatively you can view our Terms and Conditions.