Terms of Engagement
Our terms of engagement will vary depending on the type of instructions we receive and the nature of our attendances. All terms and conditions of our attendances will be discussed with you at our initial consultation. Some examples of the Terms are set out below but may be subject to change from time to time:
PRIVATELY FUNDED MATTERS
- In Privately funded matters, the hourly rate charged by our firm, may differ depending on which Lawyer is handling your matter. The hourly rate may be higher than those designated by the appropriate legislation and for that reason you are required to enter into our Client Agreement confirming our rate of fees and terms of engagement prior to any work being undertaken on your behalf.
- You will be required to pay for your initial consultation at the time you attend for this appointment. You will also sign a Trust Account Authority and you will be asked to deposit an amount of money into our Trust Account, either at that time or within a set period, in advance of future attendances and outlays made on your behalf. It is expected that your Trust Account balance will always be in credit until the matter is finalized.
- Fully itemized accounts are issue on a fortnightly basis to keep you fully informed of the ongoing cost of your matter and so that there are no surprises at the end of it. Payment of those accounts are to be made within seven (7) days of the date of issue if there are insufficient funds held in our Trust Account to meet the account. We reserve the right to cease to represent you until such time as the account is paid and further funds deposited to our Trust Account.
- For any unusual disbursements that are required, such as filing fees, barristers fees or reports, monies will always have to be deposited into Trust in advance.
- In very exceptional circumstances it may be agreed that we will conduct a matter for a designated period on the basis that full payment (plus interest) will be made at some future time (i.e. the sale of a property or such other similar event). We are a small firm and find it increasingly difficult to offer this service to our clients.
- We will always strive to achieve the desired outcome for our clients in a most cost effective and efficient manner whilst ensuring that their best interests are secured.
- In Conveyancing matters, we request that payment of professional fees and outlays (ESTIMATED SEARCH FEES AND STAMP DUTY) is made upfront. These monies are withdrawn from Trust as and when required. You will be provided with an estimate of these fees in the very early stages of your matter.
- When we act for clients in respect to the sale of their property, professional fees are usually deducted from the sale proceeds at completion (providing that there are sufficient funds available. Any unusual disbursements must be paid in advance with monies being placed in Trust.
FIXED FEE MATTERS
- There are services which we provide whereby a designated fee is charged. These include but are not limited to Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Health Directives, Consent Orders, Divorce matters, short Court Appearances (i.e. pleas of guilty and remands, and some limited commercial matters).
- You will be advised of the amount of the fee and payment in advance will be requested to be placed in Trust to cover those anticipated fees. There may be some limited exceptions to this rule.
- All disbursements such as filing fees, searches, stamp duty and agents fees will need to be paid in advance and we will give you an estimate of those costs at the time of your instructions.
- An estimate of disbursements such as photocopying, faxes, postage and telephone charges may also be made and these fees will also be required to be placed in trust.
- In some circumstances the fixed fees may need to be extended in cases where our attendances exceed the original expectation (i.e. complicated Will or a delay in Court etc.)
- In all instances at the completion of the matter an itemized account will be forwarded to you with either a refund or a further invoice for the balance of fees.
LEGAL AID MATTERS
The terms of our engagement are in accordance with the Agreement we hold with the Legal Aid Office Queensland. We are a Preferred Legal Aid Supplier.
Legal Aid pays us for our attendances at a set rate (greatly reduced scale) and designates how much time we are to be paid for on any given matter. We are not given an exhaustive, open-ended grant of funding. Most grants are very restrictive.
Should the terms of your instructions exceed or go beyond the grant of funding Legal Aid has given us, you will be required to pay for our attendances privately. In all other respects you are not charged for our attendances unless you are required to make an initial or retrospective contribution by Legal Aid.
All our attendances either before a grant from Legal Aid is applied for or after the grant is terminated, are not covered by Legal Aid and you will be required to pay for those attendances.
The grant of Legal Aid is based on the provision by you to us and Legal Aid of your financial circumstances, which are assessed in accordance with their current eligibility guidelines. Should your financial circumstances change you are required to immediately advise Legal Aid or us so that your continued eligibility can be re-assessed. You are also required to notify us or Legal Aid immediately of any change of address or contact details.
We are required to inform Legal Aid if there are any changes in circumstances, which suggest to us that you are no longer eligible for a grant of funding (i.e. your financial or contact circumstances change or it becomes apparent that you no longer have merit to pursue a particular outcome). Legal Aid will then make a decision regarding further funding.
Should you have any further queries please telephone or e-mail us.