Costs Agreement Terms

  1. In some instances, we may be engaged by you in circumstances that are of an urgent or time-constrained basis, in which it is not practicable for us to issue you with a costs disclosure and agreement prior to our engagement. Where this is the case, this costs disclosure and agreement governs the terms on which we are engaged by you.
  2. You may seek independent legal advice before agreeing to the costs agreement proposed.
  3. You may negotiate the terms of the costs agreement.
  4. You may negotiate the billing method used (for example, by reference to timing or task).
  5. You are entitled to receive a bill and to have it fully itemised if requested within 30 days after the lump sum bill becomes payable.
  6. You are entitled, upon reasonable request, to progress reports of your matter and the current costs incurred in your matter, and to be notified of any significant changes affecting costs.
  7. If there is a dispute or you are unhappy with the costs you can require mediation, apply for independent assessment by an assessor appointed by the Supreme Court within 12 months after the bill was provided or request for payment was made or after the costs were paid, or seek to have the cost agreement set aside. You may also seek the assistance of the Legal Services Commissioner in the event of a dispute about legal costs. In the first instance we suggest that you raise any issues with us.
  8. The law of New South Wales applies to legal costs in relation to this matter.
  9. You are entitled to accept or reject any offer we make for an interstate costs law to apply to your matter or notify us that you require an interstate costs law to apply to your matter.
  10. The cost agreement you enter will show the basis on which the costs and disbursements will be calculated, estimate the total payable, or a range of estimates including major possible variables, when you should pay, the interest payable if you fail to pay, and the person you should speak to about any concerns you have on the costs.

FIRM: PG Gell Legal Services Pty Ltd 

Thank you for your instructions to act in this matter. We are required by the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) to set out the following terms of our engagement for your acceptance or further negotiation.

  1. The work we will carry out

    (to be described in email)
  2. Our fees and disbursements

    Our fees will be calculated as follows:

    Those members of the firm that work on your matter will record the time they spend and charge according to the following rates:

    Director/owner Hourly rate of $650.00 plus GST
    Lawyer Hourly rate of $450.00 plus GST

    The firm’s fees are determined by applying these hourly rates to the units of time recorded by each staff member on your matter. Time is recorded in 6 minute units. For example the time charged for a phone call of up to 6 minutes will be 6 minutes and the time charged for an attendance between 6 and 12 minutes will be 12 minutes.

    Our rates are reviewed on a regular basis and may change during the course of a matter. In relation to lengthy matters this may impact upon our cost estimates, which may be revised accordingly. You will be given 30 days notice in writing of any changes to our rates.


    In the course of your matter it may be necessary to incur disbursements, which are fees, expenses and charges such as court filing fees, bank charges, courier fees, barrister’s fees, title searching and property enquiries, agency fees for law stationers, and process serving. These are payable as and when they fall due for payment. We will not incur any substantial expense without first obtaining your permission.

    Estimate of total professional fees and disbursements

    You will be advised of the estimate of our total fees and disbursements on our present instructions via email. 

    Whilst this estimate is not binding on us it is based on our experience of similar matters. Our costs may exceed this estimate if further information becomes available or circumstances change which affect these matters. Should the scope of work change significantly we will keep you informed of the likely impact on our costs and on disbursements and update our estimate.

    Please note: any rework occasioned through a change in instructions or through wrong instructions being given will be charged in addition to the estimate given.
  3. Billing and payment arrangements
    1. We may ask you to pay us a sum which we will hold in trust on account of our costs and disbursements as disclosed above. This amount will be expressed to you in writing by email. If we require money on account of fees we will separately supply our trust bank account details. Please ensure that you mark the deposit with our file reference number or your name so that we can properly identify the funds as being yours.
    2. Each month, or on the completion of specific tasks, we will render accounts and ask that you authorise us to transfer funds from our trust account to pay them in full. If there are insufficient funds we will ask you to pay the balance and we may also ask you pay additional sums on account of further costs and disbursements.
    3. Alternatively, payment of our accounts or of funds into our trust account may be made using any of the payment options accepted by us either directly or pursuant to the terms of any separate agreement you have entered into with a third party provider such as RapidPay, which may include:

      (i) Credit card by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay and JCB;
      (ii) BPAY;
      (iii) Electronic funds transfer (EFT);
      (iv) Instalment plans by direct debit;
      (v) Pay by the month;

      subject to your compliance with the terms of any such separate agreement.
    4. Our accounts will include a brief narration of work undertaken on your behalf. Should you require a detailed explanation of our account, please let us know.
    5. If these payment arrangements do not work for you then please discuss an alternative with us.
  4. Trust money

    You authorise us to receive into our trust account any settlement amount, or money received from any source in furtherance of your work, and to pay our professional fees and disbursements in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Profession Uniform Law and Rule 42 of the Uniform General Rules. A trust statement will be forwarded to you on completion of the matter, or as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year, or upon request.
  5. Your right to a bill of costs
    1. The Legal Profession Uniform Law provides that a legal practitioner cannot take action for recovery of legal costs until 30 days after a bill of costs has been given to the person charged with their payment.
    2. At the expiry of 30 days after a bill of costs is given to you, interest, at the rate specified in the Legal Profession Uniform Law may be charged on any amounts unpaid.
  6. Your right to fair and reasonable costs

    The Legal Profession Uniform Law gives you the right to have the costs charged by us assessed by an assessor appointed by the Supreme Court for fairness and to determine if they have been proportionately and reasonably incurred, and are proportionate and reasonable in amount.
  7. Interest charged

    In order to avoid further increasing our fees, and penalising those clients who pay promptly, we have adopted the practice of charging interest on all amounts outstanding for more than 30 days. This will be calculated on any balance outstanding 30 days from an account being rendered, on a monthly basis, at the rate being 2% above the Cash Rate Target fixed by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
  8. Termination of this agreement
    1. We will not continue to do the work if you fail to pay our bills, if you fail to provide us with adequate instructions, or if you indicate to us that we have lost your confidence.
    2. Either of us can terminate this agreement at any time. You will be required to pay our charges for work done, and for expenses incurred, up to the date of termination.
  9. Electronic communication
    1. We are able to communicate electronically with clients and other parties using electronic mail, both direct and via the Internet, and using data storage devices. If we communicate electronically with or for you, you acknowledge and agree as follows:

      (i) There are some delivery risks in using electronic mail and you accept the risk of interception of the email by third parties or of non-receipt or delayed receipt of the message; and
      (ii) Computer viruses and similar damaging items can be transmitted through emails and by introducing data storage devices into your system. We use virus-scanning software to reduce these risks and ask that you do the same. However, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of introducing viruses.
    2. If we communicate electronically with or for you, you release us from all claims, losses, expenses and liabilities caused by any of the risks referred to above and arising directly or indirectly out of that communication.
  10. The persons who will be responsible for the work

    If you have any concerns about our costs or your matter, please speak to Peter George Gell who will be responsible for the work:
  11. Solicitor’s lien

    Legal ownership in and title to all documents, records, papers, titles and any other material created or obtained by us in the performance of your instructions or in dealing with your matter, belongs to us and does not pass to anybody, until the matter is completed and all outstanding fees, costs and disbursements have been paid to us. We will retain possession of all of those documents, records, papers, titles and any other materials, until the matter is completed and all outstanding fees, costs and disbursements have been paid.
  12. Security for costs

    Before we commence work on your matter, we may require you to provide us with security for our legal costs and the payment of any interest on unpaid legal costs. If you fail to provide this security, we may refuse or cease to act.
  13. Acceptance

    Before acceptance of this offer you are entitled to negotiate these terms. If you instruct us to commence work, that will be taken to be an acceptance of this offer and costs will be charged in accordance with this agreement.