Queensland Law Society

Seek assessment of a barrister’s fee

In a recent blog by Stephen Warne on the 18 October 2011 he has highlighted two unreported decisions from the Victorian Supreme Court that we need to give careful consideration to.

The blog post notes the problem arising from differences between the time frames for assessment of legal costs between legal practices (for the purpose of our Legal Profession Act 2007 a barrister is a legal practice) and solicitor-client assessment time frames. For legal practices it is a non-extendable 60 day period; for clients and third party payers it is an extendable 12 month period. The blog notes that we have an exposure in that the barrister’s fee may be assessed as a disbursement in a solicitor- client assessment and reduced but that we remain liable to the barrister for the full fee as the assessment reduction will not be binding on the barrister.

The note by Stephen Warne is something we need to keep in mind when reviewing a barrister’s fee note. The legislation considered in the Victorian decisions is very similar to the provisions in our Legal Profession Act 2007.