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Uniform Law top tips

Uniform Law top tips

By LIV Media

Uniform Laws 

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November 2015

The LIV Uniform Law and Practice Support teams have compiled some tips based on popular queries.

  1. Rule 36(4) of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 requires law practices to, as soon as practicable, give the original trust account receipt to the person from whom the trust money was received. The Legal Services Board+Commissioner has advised the LIV that emailing the receipt is acceptable.
  2. Unless there is a costs dispute, proceedings to recover costs can be commenced 30 days after a bill is given, or if an itemised bill is requested, 30 days after that is received, whichever is the later date.1
  3. The assessment of solicitor-client legal costs in Victoria is undertaken by the Costs Court.2

1 Legal Profession Uniform Law s194.

2 http://www.legalservicescouncil.org.au/Documents/information-res/costs-assessment-arrangements.pdf.


Disclaimer

The information in this document is intended to be a general guide only. The information is not intended to constitute professional or legal advice, and you should rely on your own inquiries and assessment. The Law Institute of Victoria expressly disclaims any and all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information in this document.

October 2015

  1. Your bill must include or be accompanied by notification of the client’s rights regarding the avenues open to the client, and the applicable time limits, should the client wish to dispute the bill. 1 The LIV Notification of Rights includes other helpful paragraphs2.
  2. If you act for a commercial or government client3, a compliant cost agreement may authorise the withdrawal of trust money for payment of legal costs. There must also be a request for payment referring to the proposed withdrawal.4   
  3. If your client is not a commercial or government client it is not sufficient to rely upon a term in a cost agreement to authorise a withdrawal of trust money to pay legal costs. The provisions of r 42 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 must also be complied with.
  4. Interest must not be charged on a bill given more than 6 months after the completion of the matter 5. However, interest may be charged if the lump sum bill is given within time and an itemised bill is requested after the six month period6.
1. Legal Profession Uniform Law, s 192
2. http://www.liv.asn.au/For-Lawyers/Regulation/Uniform-Law/Forms-and-Precedents
3. Legal Profession Uniform Law, s 170
4. Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 r 42(6)
5. Legal Profession Uniform Law, s 195(5)
6. Legal Profession Uniform Law, s 195(6)(a)

Disclaimer

The information in this document is intended to be a general guide only. The information is not intended to constitute professional or legal advice, and you should rely on your own inquiries and assessment. The Law Institute of Victoria expressly disclaims any and all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information in this document.

July 2015

The LIV Uniform Law and Practice Support teams have compiled some tips based on popular queries.

  1. You may destroy client documents (except deeds) seven years after completion of the matter or termination of the retainer, provided there are no client instructions or legislation to the contrary.1 However, if there is the prospect of future litigation, you should retain the original documents and associated files that may be the subject of litigation beyond the seven year period.2
  2. If your client agrees, you may send your bill electronically.3
  3. When your client pays a bill that includes unpaid disbursements, that payment should be banked into your office account.4 Best practice would ensure that you immediately pay those disbursements from the office account. 
  4. You may charge interest on unpaid costs in accordance with the terms of your costs agreement,5 but you must not exceed the specified rate as at the date of the bill, currently 2 per cent above the Reserve Bank Cash Rate Target.6
  5. If your cost agreement is silent as to the charging of interest, you may still charge interest on unpaid costs if they are unpaid 30 days or more after giving a bill,7 providing your bill includes a statement that interest is payable and the rate of interest,8 currently 2 per cent above the Reserve Bank Cash Rate Target.9

1. Legal Profession Uniform Law ASCR 2015, r 14.2.

2. http://www.liv.asn.au/PDF/Practising/Ethics/2011FileOwnershipRetention

3. Legal Profession Uniform Law General Rules 2015, r 73.

4. Note 1 above, s129 (2).

5. Note 1 above, s195 (1).

6. Note 3 above, r 75.

7. Note 1 above, s195 (2).

8. Note 1 above, s195 (3).

9. Note 3 above, r 75.


Disclaimer

The information in this document is intended to be a general guide only. The information is not intended to constitute professional or legal advice, and you should rely on your own inquiries and assessment. The Law Institute of Victoria expressly disclaims any and all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information in this document.


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