Costs disputes where client first instructs solicitor on or after 1 July 2015

Part 4.3 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014 (External link) applies to costs disputes to the Costs Court. There are three ways of attempting to resolve your costs dispute:

  1. You may complain to the Legal Services Commissioner if your bill is under $100,000 or if more than that amount and the amount in dispute is less than $10,000. Please contact the Legal Services Commissioner (External link) for further information. Strict time limits apply to these complaints.
  2. If you are out of time to complain to the Legal Services Commissioner, or your bill is over $100,000, you may also commence proceedings in the Costs Court. Refer to Costs Court (External link) for information on current procedures. 
  3. In any matter, no matter what the amount of the bill of costs is, you may apply to the Costs Court to assess your lawyer's bill of costs, even if the amount in dispute is less than $100,000.
If you apply to the Costs Court, the Court may order you or the solicitor to pay the legal costs of the costs dispute. Your lawyer may also issue proceedings in the Costs Court if there is a dispute and you fail to pay a bill of costs.


Applications to the Costs Court for taxation out of time (outside 12 months)

If 12 months have elapsed from receipt of the bill, and you first instructed your solicitor after 1 July 2015, you may make an application to the Costs Court to extend the time. The Court will have to consider the reason for the delay and whether or not it is just and fair for the application to be dealt with after the 12 month period. A fee may be required for this application.  This application must be accompanied by an affidavit by you setting out the reasons why the Summons for Taxation is being filed out of time, and why it is just and fair to extend the time limit.