Understanding our legal fees
Many people find legal costs and the way they are calculated quite complex. Hopefully this will give you a clear understanding of the sorts of legal costs you may be up for.
Before we start work on your behalf we'll explain to you in detail:
- How we calculate our fees
- The likely costs involved to prepare and run your case
- Any additional costs that may be incurred
- Any costs that may be recoverable from, or payable by you to the other party.
No nasty surprises - you'll know our fees up-front
There are many different ways to calculate legal fees. Fees may be decided using an agreed hourly rate (usually for commercial litigation cases) or by using official court scales or other statutory scales (for some compensation claim cases), which set out what should be charged for a particular task.
Fees are never calculated as a set percentage of the compensation you receive if your case is successful. This is common in the United States, but is not permitted in Australia. Our fees are presented upfront and agreed to when you decide to choose us to represent you.
Will there be any extra expenses?
In most legal cases, you'll be required to incur expenses for services provided by other parties. These expenses are called disbursements. Examples of disbursements include fees charged by courts, doctors, experts and barristers.
In litigation cases, disbursements are usually recoverable, in total or in part, from the other party if the case is successful. All reasonably incurred disbursements that cannot be recovered from the other party will form part of the legal costs payable by you.
We may require you to make a contribution towards the disbursements incurred or to be incurred on your behalf. If you're unable to fund disbursements yourself, we can offer you some options. Your lawyer will discuss this with you. The Funder will provide you with a finance facility to cover disbursements and we'll use these funds when bills are payable for services provided by other parties.
In compensation cases, at the conclusion of your case, your lawyer will deduct from the compensation you receive, the total amount owed to the Litigation Funder plus interest, and fees and charges that may have accrued over the duration of your claim.
You'll be reimbursed these amounts if they are recoverable from the other party.
What about the costs of going to court?
Slater and Gordon is committed to providing you with clear and complete information about your likely legal costs before you commit to taking any court action. We'll explain, discuss and negotiate legal costs with you before starting your claim.
Nevertheless, it can be difficult to predict whether a case will settle early or proceed to a court hearing. Some court hearings can be short and others lengthy. If we cannot predict the likely direction your case will take, we'll provide you with information about the potential costs at each stage of your case. Statistically, the overwhelming majority of cases settle before going to court.
If my court case is not successful, will I have to pay costs for the other party?
There are always potential risks associated with taking court action. Most courts and tribunals are authorised to instruct you to pay the other party's costs (ie. the defendant's costs) if your case is unsuccessful.
While there is a real risk, it's important to remember that being ordered to pay the other party's costs is only made in a small percentage of cases. This risk occurs in all litigation.
You can be assured that your case will be continually monitored and assessed to ensure you're not exposed to an unreasonable risk of having to pay the other party's costs.
No Win - No Fee*
Depending on the outcome of your case - you may not need to pay legal fees at all.
We understand that legal issues can often have a big impact on your financial position. Having to pay legal fees should not be a barrier to you seeking compensation for someone else’s negligence. People with valid claims should be able to have access to justice. That's why we were one of the first law firms to operate on a No Win - No Fee* payment system.
Free initial appointment**
Those injured in accidents are often left in the dark about their compensation rights and the correct entitlements they should be receiving.
It's at these times when people need the most help as they may be facing extended time off work and unable to keep up with the bills. If you have been injured, we’re here to explain your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.
That’s why we offer a free initial appointment** so you know where you stand.