practice in Western Australia is regulated by the Legal Profession Act
2008 (WA) (the "Act"). The Act requires solicitors to provide certain
information to their clients in relation to a number of things
including how legal fees are charged and invoiced as well as who will
be responsible for your matter and your right to have bills reviewed.
If you want to engage us, we will send you a Costs &
Engagement Agreement (Agreement), usually via email. The Agreement
will set out the work to be done for you, who will do the work, how
we calculate our costs and how we invoice you. We usually send the
Agreement and ask you to return a signed copy or an email confirming
your acceptance before we commence work. However, if your matter is
urgent we will send the Agreement as soon as practicable.
The Agreement and these General Terms of Engagement will, in
combination, make up our costs & engagement agreement with you.
The Agreement will override these General Terms of Engagement to the
extent that they are inconsistent with the Agreement.
If anything in the Agreement and/or General Terms of Engagement
is inconsistent with or does not comply with the Act, it will be
excluded, varied or read down to be consistent with, and comply
with, the Act.
Acceptance of terms
You may accept the Agreement in writing, orally or by instructing
(or continuing to instruct) us to undertake work on your behalf. If
you instruct us (or continue to instruct us, including verbally or
by email) to undertake work on your behalf it will be deemed that
you have accepted the Agreement and/or these General Terms of
Conduct of the matter and responsibility
Our Agreement will name a lawyer who will be responsible for your
matter. Other staff will be involved in your matter from time to
time as required.
Our professional fees will be calculated on a fixed fee or
time-cost basis, or a combination of them. The Agreement will set
out the method applicable to your matter. If no method is specified
in the Agreement, our professional fees will be calculated on a
If our professional fees on a matter are to be calculated on a
- The hourly rates for work to be performed by our lawyers,
paralegals and law clerks will be set out in our letter of
- Our time will be charged in
units of six minutes, rounded up to the next full six minutes
if the time spent is not
a multiple of six minutes (for example, if 10 minutes is spent
it will be rounded up to
12 minutes or two units); and
- No charge will be made
for secretarial or administration staff except in circumstances
where, due to the requirements of your matter, the staff are
attending to work on your matter that removes them from the
office (such as filing/lodging of documents) or requires them to
work outside normal office hours.
Where we act for you on a fixed fee basis, if you
decide not to proceed after
instructing us to act, you agree
to pay a portion of the agreed fixed fee as follows:
|Amount of Work Completed
||% of Agreed Fee Payable by You
|Instructions received, work not
work sought from you, but no work started
exchanged, and work
started but less than
Work 50% or more completed (but lessthan
Work 100% completed
Our invoices will also include disbursements incurred by us or
paid by us on your behalf. These include photocopying charges,
telephone and facsimile transmission charges, printing of emails and
documents, travel fares and expenses, stamp duty and fees paid to
third parties such as registration fees, land title and company
search fees, court fees and the fees of others engaged by us on your
behalf (such as couriers, barristers and expert witnesses). You may
be asked to approve the terms of engagement of any third party whom
we engage on your behalf.
Most disbursements are charged at their cost to us, but we will
charge a service charge in addition to the charge to us for some
internal disbursements such as photocopying, facsimile
transmissions, printing of emails and documents, and STD and IDD
telephone calls. Details of our current disbursement rates are set
out in the Agreement.
You agree to pay or reimburse the following disbursements
invoiced in each matter:
- those incurred with your prior authority; and
- those incurred without your prior authority where:
- it was not reasonably practicable for us to seek your
authority and we considered it desirable to incur the
disbursement for the proper conduct of the matter; or
- the amount of the disbursement is not significant having
regard to the nature of the matter.
We may ask you for funds in advance for our professional fees or
for disbursements that we will be required to incur on your behalf.
You are entitled to, and will, receive a bill of costs (invoice)
for any work done on your behalf.
We will usually send you an invoice on completion of your matter
for fixed fee matters or monthly for time-cost matters. In some
matters we may to send you an invoice on completion of part of our
work on the matter.
Each invoice will contain details of our professional fees,
expenses and disbursements. If you want a breakdown of the
professional fees you can request it within 30 days of receiving the
Unless other payment terms are agreed, each invoice is payable
within 14 days of you receiving it.
Interest on our unpaid costs
If our invoice is not paid in full by the due date, we may charge
you interest on the unpaid amount at the rate prescribed by the
regulations under the Act. This will be noted on each invoice we
send to you.
If we charge interest on our costs, any subsequent payment made
by you will be credited first to any unpaid interest that has
accrued on our unpaid costs by the date of the payment and then any
balance left over will be credited towards payment of our unpaid
Disputing our costs
If you have an issue with our costs you should first contact the
lawyer responsible for your matter. We will attempt to answer your
questions and resolve any dispute fairly and promptly.
If we cannot resolve a dispute you may:
- apply to have the invoice assessed by the Supreme Court;
- apply to the Supreme Court to set the invoice aside; or
- lodge a complaint with the Legal Profession Complaints
Before we commence work on your matter and from time to time
during our work, we may ask you to provide funds to us in advance to
pay our costs and/or disbursements. Any funds paid in advance will
be deposited to your credit in our trust account. If we hold such
funds in our trust account, these General Terms of Engagement and
the Agreement authorise us to transfer the funds in payment of
invoiced fees and disbursements in accordance with the Act.
You may pay us by:
- cash, bank cheque or money order;
- credit card; or
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
You may pay for all of our professional services and other
charges by making an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from your bank
account into our bank account. The payment details are set out in
Cash, bank cheque or money order
We accept cash (in Australian dollars) for all of our
professional fees, disbursements and other charges. Cash payments
may only be made in person. Bank cheque or money order payments may
be made in person or by post.
We accept payment by Visa or MasterCard for our professional
fees, disbursements and other charges.
A lower limit of AUD$100 and an upper limit of AUD$3,000 apply
for all credit card transactions. Credit card payments may be made
in person, by phone, or online via the link on our invoice.
As part of providing legal services to you we may collect
personal information about you from you and other sources. We handle
and use this personal information in accordance with our privacy
Except as required by law, we do not use your personal
information for any purpose other than directly in relation to the
provision of legal services to you , updates on your matter,
invitations to events and seminars that we believe may be of
interest to you, and to allow us to maintain proper business
You consent and authorise for us to disclose your personal
information to third parties, including but not limited to courts,
parties to litigation, valuers, experts and barristers where it is
directly in connection with our provision of legal services to you
or necessary to maintain proper business records.
Our responsibility to you
We will be liable to you only for that proportion of the total
loss that we have caused or to which we have contributed and we will
not be liable for any consequential loss.
We will not be liable for any loss or failure to provide the
services which is caused by an unexpected delay or which arises as a
result of us relying on any false, misleading or incomplete
To the extent permitted by law, our total liability for any claim
against us, including for any implied warranties, is limited to the
amount paid to us for the services or, if we choose, to supplying
you the services again.
Ending our agreement
You may end our agreement at any time by giving us written
notice. We may end our agreement if:
- you fail to pay our invoices;
- you fail to provide us with adequate, timely instructions;
- you give instructions that are deliberately false or
- you fail to accept an offer of settlement that we think is
- you fail to accept or act on advice that we give you;
- you engage another law practice to act for you on the same
matter without our consent;
- we believe that we have a conflict of interest;
- you indicate to us that we have lost your confidence;
- you fail to pay into our trust account an amount we ask you to
provide to us on account of our costs and/or disbursements; or
- there is, in our sole discretion, any other good reason.
If you or we end our agreement, you will be required to pay our
professional fees and charges for work done, and for expenses and
disbursements incurred, up to the date that the Agreement comes to
an end. For fixed fee matters, you must pay that proportion of our
fixed fee that we reasonably estimate has been incurred in respect
of legal services provided to you up to the date that the agreement
comes to an end, plus charges, expenses and disbursements.
Retention of files
We reserve the right to keep your files and documents if there is
any money owing to us for fees or disbursements, even if this
agreement has been terminated by us, regardless of the reason for
These General Terms of Engagement authorise us to destroy your
files in a matter after a period of seven years from the date we
provide you with our final invoice.
The law of Western Australia applies to legal costs regarding