Legal Costs Disputes
Morgan Mac Lawyers are experienced in providing exceptional legal advice to assist in legal costs disputes. Our lawyers can help illuminate the steps you need to take to resolve the dispute. If you are faced with this situation, you should obtain legal advice from Morgan Mac Lawyers to calculate your options. Morgan Mac Lawyers can help you resolve the situation quickly, and professionally.
Are you concerned you were charged legal fees that are more than your lawyer is entitled to be paid?
You have a right to challenge the amount you are charged. Normally, the lawyers who acts for you will in good faith consider a complaint about the amount of legal fees you were charged, and the matter may be informally resolved, especially for small matters, by a reduction in the amount you are required to pay.
If you cannot informally resolve the matter, you have a right to have legal costs assessed by an independent cost assessor. If necessary, you can obtain an order from the court that the costs be assessed.
You can obtain an order for an assessment of the legal costs you are charged even if you have already paid, or part paid those costs. Time limits apply and you should obtain legal advice quickly if you wish to challenge the legal costs you were charged and for which you are liable or which you have paid.
You also have a right to challenge the costs agreement if it is unfair and unreasonable and obtain an order setting it aside. If you are successful, you will still have to pay legal costs, but the amount may be reduced.
The main causes of costs disputes include:
- Not giving costs estimate or not revising them when the legal costs exceed or are likely to exceed the initial estimate;
- Lack of clarity in the scope of the retainer (the work you and the lawyer agree the lawyer will do) which leads to additional work and higher costs than both parties initially expected;
- Changing circumstances. Actions of the other party or a third party, or unforeseen problems or complexities emerging, may cause more work to be done than anticipated at the start of a matter.
We have acted for many clients in costs disputes against their former lawyers. Our strategy aims at early resolution, and we have been successful in obtaining large refunds for clients through negotiation even before commencing a court proceeding. This may involve obtaining the expert opinion and assistance of the experienced and highly skilled cost consultants with whom we successfully work to resolve legal costs disputes.
As in all negotiations, early resolution of a legal costs dispute requires a proper understanding of the merits and strength of your position and vulnerability and points to apply pressure on the other party. The goal is not about avoiding paying legal fees your previous lawyer has earned and has a right to receive. It is about not paying more than you must if you were charged too much.