At Burt & Davies we believe that:
- Lawyers should always provide clear and transparent information about fee arrangements.
- Clients should be equipped to make a fully informed choice.
- Injured accident victims should have fee arrangements that ensure benefits are not consumed by legal fees.
- All fee arrangements should be fair and ethical.
Unfortunately, not all lawyers share our commitment!
We want you to understand as much as possible about the way fees are calculated before entering any fee agreement. Lawyers are required to have an agreement that details how fees are charged.
In most cases we act on behalf of clients on a “no success – no fee” basis. That means if the claim is unsuccessful, we will not charge any fees for our services.
In all cases, clients are required to pay the out of pocket expenses that we incur in conducting the claim. Out of pocket expenses can include hospital and medical report fees. They are amounts that we pay to third parties to obtain information or evidence which is important to the claim. Fortunately, in TAC claims the majority of out of pocket expenses are reimbursed by the TAC.
If a claim is successful, we are entitled to charge fees in accordance with the fee agreement. Fees are calculated on the scale of costs set by the Supreme Court of Victoria. The scale is set by the Judges of the Supreme Court. It is said to reflect the fair and reasonable value of services provided by lawyers conducting litigation in that Court.
Some law firms have fee agreements that contain their own scale of charges. They produce the “in-house” scale of charges. You should be cautious about such agreements. The charges contained in such agreements are often considerably higher. Higher than the charges in the Court scale that we utilise.
Lawyers offering services on a “no success – no fee” arrangements are entitled to charge a “success fee”. This is on the basis that they may never be paid for the work they perform if the matter is unsuccessful. This is a fee of up to 25% of the value of the legal work performed. This does not mean 25% of the damages recovered by the client. By way of example, if we performed work worth $20,000.00 on the Court scale, we would be entitled to charge up to 25% of that sum (up to $5,000.00) as a success fee. In such a case, the total charges would not exceed $25,000.00.
It is our policy to send fee agreements to our clients before any commitment is made by the client to retain our services. Accordingly, clients have the opportunity to carefully consider the fee agreement before making any commitment. The law requires that these agreements contain a cooling off period. What better cooling off period could you have than the opportunity to consider the fee agreement for as long as you need before any commitment is made.
We are happy for prospective clients to obtain independent legal advice about our fee arrangements. Further, we are happy to negotiate the terms of our retainer.
Prospective clients should feel free to call us to discuss the question of legal fees.