By virtue of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) (Law), we are required to disclose certain information to you about the fees we will charge for the legal services you have requested us to provide.
This disclosure is provided on the basis that you accept our offer to provide legal services and that a Cost Agreement exists between us. Reference in this disclosure to:
- we or us means FCW Lawyers Pty Ltd (ABN: 56 623 181 617).
- you means the recipient of this disclosure.
Additionally, we provide the following information about your rights. It is your right to:
- negotiate a costs agreement with us (which we have already done);
- negotiate the method of invoicing (e.g. task based or time based);
- request and receive an itemised invoice within 30 days after a lump sum invoice or partially itemised invoice is payable;
- seek the assistance of the designated local regulatory authority (the NSW Legal Services Commissioner) in the event of a dispute about legal costs;
- be notified as soon as is reasonably practicable of any substantial change to any matter affecting costs;
- accept or reject any offer we make for an interstate costs law to apply to your matter; and
- notify us that you require an interstate costs law to apply to your matter.
If you request an itemised invoice and the total amount of the legal costs specified in it exceeds the amount previously specified in the lump sum invoice for the same matter, the additional costs may be recovered by us only if:
- when the lump sum invoice is given, we inform you in writing that the total amount of the legal costs specified in any itemised invoice may be higher than the amount specified in the lump sum invoice; and
- the costs are determined to be payable after a costs assessment or after a binding determination under section 292 of the Law.
Nothing in this Costs Disclosure affects your rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
Acceptance of offer
We are not able to provide services until we are satisfied that you have accepted this Costs Disclosure. We will be satisfied that you have if you:
- expressly confirm that you have accepted it (by email or by returning a copy of this document to us signed by you); or
- continue to instruct us.
We will let you know the names of our personnel who are responsible for the legal services we provide to you.
The amount we will invoice to you for the legal services we provide will comprise:
- the fees for those legal services as notified to you; and
- the disbursements, if any, we incur on your behalf in providing those legal services.
Together these are referred to as our costs.
The fees we charge for the legal services we provide will be based on the amount of time taken by our staff to do the work and their hourly rate (as shown in the Details).
Our fees are reviewed on a regular basis and may change during the course of a matter. In relation to lengthy matters this may impact upon our cost estimates (which may be revised accordingly). You will be given 30 days’ notice in writing of any changes to our fees.
For the services we are to provide to you, we estimate our costs to be the amount stated in the Details.
This is an estimate only and not a fixed quote. The total costs may exceed this estimate. While the estimate is based on present information and instructions and our current understanding from you as to what services are required, our costs may exceed the estimate if further information becomes available or circumstances change which affect these matters. In this event we will provide you with a revised estimate as soon as reasonably practicable. If there is a significant change in your matter we will advise the impact of the change on the legal costs.
Our costs for any work done, in addition to the work requested, will be calculated on the basis of our current fee rates and otherwise in accordance with this disclosure.
Some of the variables which may affect and change the costs estimate include:
- the number and duration of telephone calls or other communications;
- your prompt and efficient response to requests for information or instructions;
- whether your instructions are varied;
- whether documents have to be revised in light of varied instructions;
- the lawyer or other persons with whom we deal and the level of co-operation of the lawyer’s clients and other persons involved;
- changes in the law; and
- the complexity or uncertainty concerning legal issues affecting your matter.
We may incur disbursements (being money which we pay or are liable to pay to others on your behalf).
Disbursements may include search fees, court filing fees, process server fees, expert fees, witness expenses, travel expenses, transcript expenses and barrister’s fees.
Where you instruct us to brief a barrister or other expert and they provide a disclosure and costs agreement we will provide this to you.
We usually issue a tax invoice on a monthly basis. We may issue tax invoices on a more frequent basis depending on the nature of the work.
Our invoices will be sent to you by email and will describe the work we have done in broad categories.
All tax invoices are due and payable seven days from the date of the tax invoice.
This section applies only if GST is payable in respect of our costs. Unless otherwise stated all amounts in this disclosure exclude GST.
Disbursements incurred on your behalf will be charged at cost after deducting the amount of any input tax credit available to us and adding GST applicable to our supply of those items.
If we incur any taxes, fees, charges or expenses which are GST free we will do so as your agent.
Discussing our costs
You may contact us on +61 2 8188 0909 to discuss our costs.
Dispute concerning our fees
If you have a dispute in relation to any aspect of the legal fees we have invoiced:
- in the first instance we encourage you to discuss your concerns with us so that we have the opportunity of resolving the matter promptly and without adversely impacting our business relationship;
- you may apply to the Manager, Costs Assessment (located at the Supreme Court of NSW) for an assessment of our costs. This application must be made within 12 months after the invoice was provided or request for payment made or after the costs were paid; or
- seek the assistance of the NSW Legal Services Commissioner. A complaint to the NSW Commissioner, in relation to an invoice, must be made within the required period of 60 days after the legal fees become payable or, if an itemised invoice was requested, 30 days after we complied with the request. The NSW Legal services Commissioner may waive the time requirement if satisfied that the complaint is made within four months after the required period and it is just and fair to deal with the complaint, having regard to the delay and reasons for the delay.
On request and at your cost, we will provide a written report on the progress of the services we are providing to you.
On reasonable request we will provide, without charge, a written report of costs to date or since the last invoice.
Termination by us
We may cease to act for you or refuse to perform further work, including:
- while any of our tax invoices remain unpaid;
- if you do not within seven days comply with any request to pay an amount in respect of disbursements or future costs;
- if you fail to provide us with clear and timely instructions to enable us to advance your matter, for example, compromising our ability to comply with Court directions, orders or practice notes;
- if you refuse to accept our advice;
- if you indicate to us or we form the view that you have lost confidence in us;
- if there are any ethical grounds which we consider require us to cease acting for you, for example a conflict of interest;
for any other reason outside our control which has the effect of compromising our ability to perform the work required within the required timeframe; or
- if in our sole discretion we consider it is no longer appropriate to act for you; or
- for just cause.
We will give you reasonable written notice of termination of our services. You will be required to pay our costs incurred up to and including the date of termination.
Termination by you
You may terminate our services by written notice at any time. However, if you do so you will be required to pay our costs incurred up to and including the date of termination (including if the matter is litigious, any cancellation fees or other fees such as hearing allocation fees for which we remain responsible).
The law of New South Wales governs this disclosure.