INFORMATION, DISCLOSURES AND COSTS AGREEMENT for SOLICITORS who instruct JEREMY GORDON
In the case of conditional costs or speculative fee work, this document does not apply.
Please also note that this document only applies to Jeremy Gordon's practice as an Australian barrister based in Queensland advising both as to Australian and UK law. He also practises as a barrister in London, England and work carried out from that practice will be carried out under the professional code of the Bar Council of England and Wales - see the "about" page of his website.
INFORMATION and DISCLOSURES
I, Jeremy Gordon, am a barrister practising in Queensland (ABN 22606385100). My contact details are email: or post: PO Box 354 Corinda QLD 4075. I give the following information to solicitors, and makes the following disclosures to solicitors under section 309(2) of the Legal Profession Act 2007:-
- If I am instructed to give advice on specific matters, I prefer my fees (or a range of fees) to be agreed with the solicitor in advance. I can provide an estimate of fees after receipt and perusal of initial documentation.
- Sometimes a solicitor will have questions of clarification on receipt of my advice and there will be no additional fee for this. If further advice is required, I will inform the solicitor when further fees are being incurred.
- Where there is no agreement as to fees, my fees will be fair and reasonable for the time spent on the work.
- In non-contentious matters and larger contentious matters, normally no scale of costs will apply. In other contentious matters it is possible that a scale of costs will apply as provided by the Civil Procedure Rules or the rules of the court or tribunal concerned.
- My hourly rate will vary depending on the type of instruction and the extent of skill knowledge and experience which needs to be applied to the work. The ability of the client to pay the fees may affect the level of fees. My normal hourly rate is $650 per hour although I reserve the right to vary this at my own discretion.
- Fully argued written opinions will be considerably more costly than a shortly argued written opinion or a written or oral preliminary view. Fully argued opinions may be needed in complex or high value cases or where detailed arguments are to be used in correspondence or as a basis for court proceedings. Shortly argued opinions will be more cost-effective and are more likely to be sufficient in clear cases, cases where the amount at stake in money terms is smaller, or where the client has asked for a second opinion. A preliminary view may well be guarded and subject to more information being available.
- The complexity of the matter will affect the level of fees but in my experience this is not necessarily demonstrated by the extent of the documentation and papers provided in the instructions.
- Normally I would prefer to receive copies of all documentation in my instructions (except of course duplicate documents) including correspondence. I find this often helps to understand the background of a matter; and sometimes there is important information available in these documents. I will not charge for the extra work involved. It will also save solicitors the cost of having to filter out unnecessary paperwork in an attempt to provide counsel only with the relevant papers.
- But sometimes the papers are in such disarray or there are so many duplicates that it takes a lot of time to put them in order - for example, date or subject order. And sometimes on further perusal of the papers I will discover that my instructions are missing essential information or documents. Often as a gesture of goodwill I will be prepared to do the additional work involved to get the papers in order or to identify these gaps without fee but I do reserve the right to charge for such work if I consider that it would be fair and reasonable to do so.
- I would estimate that a preliminary view or a short written opinion in a simple matter would take two hours chargeable work and the fee would be about $900 plus GST. The fee in a more complex matter could easily be twice that. And the fee in yet more complex matters could be a lot more.
- Conferences and meetings between with the lay client and/or expert witness with the solicitor in attendance would be charged at the same hourly rate to include both preparation time and the time taken in conference. There is no charge for travelling costs and travelling time in the Brisbane area, but outside the area will be subject to agreement or such cost as is fair and reasonable. I do not charge for disbursements unless these are agreed in advance with the solicitor.
- For court work not only will the above variables affect the fees, but also the level of court or tribunal, the scale of costs applicable to the court or tribunal and the amount in money terms which is at stake in the claim or the importance of the claim to the client (I do not undertake criminal work).
- For hearings whose likely length is known in advance the fee will be based on the anticipated time preparing the case, time spent in preparation once the hearing is underway including conferences and consultations, preparing documents and submissions, time spent in travelling and time spent in court. There will also be an element in the fee to represent the fact that I have booked myself for the hearing and therefore will have to turn away other work. A fixed fee for the hearing and refreshers will need to be agreed in advance of such work.
- For hearings whose likely length is not known in advance or difficult to anticipate I would prefer to provide the solicitor with a fee estimate and a range of fees based on my hourly rate.
- I would estimate that to set aside a whole day in my diary for a fairly straightforward court hearing the fee would be in the region of $4,000 plus GST. The fee in a more difficult matter could be twice that. The fees for longer hearings are not necessarily exact multiples of the day rates. This is because the time taken to prepare for such cases tends to be more so the "brief fee" will be greater in such cases with a lower refresher rate.
- Mediations and settlement conferences will incur fees similar to court work.
- My fees will be billed with such frequency as will enable the solicitor to comply with the disclosure and progress report obligations to the client. Usually such billing times will be a reasonable time after each individual piece of work has been done or otherwise at a natural time for such bills. A solicitor may ask at any time for a memorandum of fees showing work to date.
- If instructions are cancelled once I have started work on instructions received from a solicitor the following provisions apply. For advice work I shall charge a fair and reasonable amount based on the billable hours spent on the instructions up to the time of the cancellation. For court work where the brief has been delivered to me if the case is not reached, or it is adjourned, vacated, settled or my attendance is ultimately not required I shall charge the first day's fee (the "brief fee") provided the cancellation occurs on or before the first day of the hearing. If the cancellation occurs after that time I shall also charge the appropriate refresher fees. If the brief has not formally been delivered to me by the time of the cancellation I may charge a fair and reasonable amount for any work reasonably done on the case in anticipation of the brief formally being delivered unless I am instructed not to do such work by the solicitor.
- The costs agreement (below) provides for interest to be paid if my fees are not paid within 30 days of the memorandum of fees being rendered at the prescribed rate.
- All the fees referred to above and agreed with the solicitor are plus GST in so far as applicable and unless otherwise stated.
Insurance and liability
The work is carried out under the Bar's rules and code of conduct and is covered by professional indemnity insurance to a limit of $1.5m; above that, my liability is limited by a scheme approved under the professional standards legislation.
Jeremy Gordon invites solicitors to accept the following terms of engagement which makes the solicitor and the firm company or body sending the instructions personally liable for his fees. In making this invitation Jeremy Gordon does not seek to eschew his obligations under the "cab-rank" principle set out in the rules of the Queensland Bar Association, and under which he may be obliged to accept instructions anyway.
- This is an offer to enter into a costs agreement and it may be accepted in writing or by other conduct. Instructing or continuing to instruct Jeremy Gordon having had notice of this costs agreement and a reasonable opportunity to read it shall be deemed to be acceptance by conduct.
- The costs agreement which you and Jeremy Gordon enter into shall be made up of:-
- this document;
- the information and disclosures set out above;
- the description in the instructions of the work that Jeremy Gordon is retained to do and any other instructions given in writing or orally; and
- the agreement about the fee to be paid for that work or how it is to be calculated.
- These terms apply in any case where Jeremy Gordon accepts a brief or instructions as a barrister in Queensland from a law practice except for publicly funded work and conditional fee (speculative fee) arrangements.
- In certain circumstances which are set out in the rules of the Queensland Bar Association, Jeremy Gordon may have to refuse a brief or instructions, or may at his discretion so do, and if this happens he will not be liable for any loss arising.
- Jeremy Gordon shall carry out his instructions in accordance with the rules and code of conduct of the Queensland Bar Association.
- The solicitor who instructs Jeremy Gordon and also any firm or company or other body in whose name the instructions are delivered (in this agreement collectively called the "law practice") shall be contractually bound to pay the fee which was agreed with Jeremy Gordon, or if there is no such agreement, to pay a fair and reasonable fee. If more than one person is contractually liable by the above provision such liability shall be joint and several.
- Where the lay client has put the law practice in funds wholly or partly for the purpose of paying Jeremy Gordon's fee the law practice shall hold those funds on trust for Jeremy Gordon.
- Where the fee is to be paid out of a fund but cannot be paid without an order of the court the law practice shall:-
- use best endeavours to achieve payment of the fee and pay the cost of this if the client does not do so;
- keep Jeremy Gordon informed as to progress on the above.
- If the memorandum of fees has not been paid within 30 days of it being delivered to the law practice then unless special arrangements have been agreed interest will start to be payable even if there is a pending costs application. The rate of interest which shall apply is that prescribed by regulation (currently 2% above the Cash Rate Target stated by the Reserve Bank of Australia).
- Any challenge to Jeremy Gordon's fee must be made by costs application in accordance with Division 7 of Part 3.4 of the Legal Profession Act 2007. This requires that a costs application for an assessment of the legal costs must be made by the law practice within 60 days after the memorandum of fees was given or the request for payment was made (whichever event is the earlier) or within 60 days of the fee being paid if neither a memorandum of fees was given nor a request for payment was made.
- If no challenge is made to Jeremy Gordon's fee in the manner above then his fee shall be payable in full without any deductions or set-off whatsoever and the fee shall not be subject to any assessment.
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