You can give your client either:
- a lump sum bill covering their entire legal matter, or
- an itemised bill identifying the different fees incurred.
You don’t have to wait until your client’s matter has finished. You can give them an interim bill (in either a lump sum or in itemised format), which covers part of your legal services.
You cannot charge for preparing or giving your client a bill.
Your client has rights
If you give your client a lump sum bill, they are entitled to ask you to itemise that bill. They have 30 days after your initial bill becomes payable to ask for the itemised bill, and you must provide it within 21 days of their request.
If the itemised bill is higher than the lump sum bill, you can recover the additional costs only if:
- you told your client in writing before you had the file costed that the itemised costs may be higher than the original lump sum bill; and
- a costs assessment or a binding determination determines they are payable.
Progress reports of legal expenses
Your client has the right to ask you for an update on the legal costs they have incurred to date, or for the period since the last bill. You must prepare an update for them in writing , without charge and within a reasonable timeframe.
Disputing your bill
Your bill must include:
- a written statement explaining that your client can dispute your bill with us;
- the time limits for disputing your bill (see Disputing your bill for further information on time limits); and
- that they can apply for a costs assessment.
Who is responsible for the bill?
Your client has the right to know who to speak to about the bill. A principal of the law practice must sign either the bill itself, or a letter accompanying the bill. Alternatively, the accompanying letter should indicate which of the law practice’s principals is responsible for the bill.
Practitioner Remuneration Order
The Practitioner Remuneration Order, which commences on 1 January 2021, is available at no cost.