Queensland Law Society

Personal Injuries Law Costs

Costs Payable in Personal Injury Claims under the Various Legislative Regimes by Paul Garrett, QLS Personal Injuries Conference July 2010.

“The 50% Rule” for Speculative Matters

The rule is to be found in sections 345 to 347 of the Legal Profession Act 2007, Division 8 of Part 3.4 ‘Speculative Personal Injury Claims’.
The rule provides that solicitors may apply to the QLS Council for approval to charge more than the 50% cap. The following guidelines relate to this: “Guidelines for consideration of applications to be paid more than 50% of the net damages in a speculative personal injury matter”.
Legal Services Commissioner v Dempsey [2008] QCA 122
The LSC made an application to the court for declarations as to the proper construction of the rule as it was under the Queensland Law Society Act 1952, specifically as to the definition of “disbursements” (where the client had a litigation loan) and the treatment of GST. The case also made it clear that a client may not contract out of the rule in a client agreement (paragraphs 8-9).
Legal Services Commission Regulatory Guide 3: Charging Fees in Speculative Personal Injury Matters
These guidelines were issued following the Court of Appeal decision in LSC v Dempsey.
50-50 Rule: Court of Appeal upholds decision Proctor July 2008 p 12.
This short article is about the QCA Dempsey decision and the LSC guidelines.
Legal Services Commissioner v Dempsey [2009] LPT 20
Disciplinary charges were proved against this solicitor for charging more than permitted by the rule (charge 5) and for purporting to have his client “waive” the 50% rule (charge 6). The judgment makes it clear that a client may not waive the rule, the only way a solicitor may charge more is by approval of the QLS Council. See paragraphs 1-4, 84-112, 125-130.