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Tips to maximise your costs recovery

Tips to maximise your costs recovery

By LIV Professional Development

Finance Practice & Procedure 


Understanding how to maximise your costs recovery is an essential skill for all practitioners. Here’s how to get started.  

The LIV’s legal costings team is often asked “how do I maximise costs recovery?” Unfortunately, this is usually asked after the hard work is done and proceedings have been finalised. Manager and principal lawyer of the LIV’s Costs Lawyers John Colonna shares his top tips on how to maximise your costs recovery before it’s too late.

Keep detailed file notes

It’s important to be proactive to get the most out of your files. Keeping accurate, comprehensive file notes from the very beginning is a simple yet effective way of keeping track and maximising costs recovery. Avoid general descriptions when making notes – the more detail, the better. Try to always include the following:

  • who attended (this is important as Scales of Costs provide different rates for legal practitioners and clerks)
  • who did you speak to?
  • the date and time of attendance
  • the duration of attendance

Ideally, you will provide enough information that if a registrar from the Costs Court reads your notes, they will understand the substance of the attendance.

File your correspondence

Accurate filing is another simple yet extremely important step in maximising your costs recovery. Remember, if correspondence is missing it will not be recovered at taxation. Correspondence enclosing documents should include a detailed description of those documents, as well as a page count on the covering letter. Don’t just refer to documents as being enclosed “as requested”.

Keep copies of your drafts

Your initial drafts of pleadings and other documents are often sent to counsel for settling, so it is crucial to keep a record of these drafts and superseded documents. You could recover, as part of your client’s claim for costs, the time spent drafting these initial documents, as well as the approval of the final document settled by counsel.

Track your travel time for Court attendances

Break down your travel time for attendances at hearings, conferences with client and counsel, and the time taken for the hearing itself. If the court requires you to attend at a certain time and you find yourself waiting prior to the hearing, that waiting time may be a recoverable cost as well.

John Colonna is principal costs lawyer and manager, LIV Costs Lawyers.

Want to know more?

Register for the LIV’s Costing Fundamentals Workshop, Tuesday 6 March, and develop a great understanding of costs recovery and the legal costings landscape. Presented by John Colonna, this workshop will cover a range of costs issues relevant to your daily practice to ensure you have the skills you need to manage costing for your clients.


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