The concept of disclosure developed from the widely held perception that many clients were not aware of the likely costs of a case until they received an invoice from their lawyer. The argument is that the profession often sees clients in immediate difficulty seeking services without thinking about costs or other implications. In these circumstances, the argument is that it is preferable to make the client understand the costs and other implications at the beginning of a case rather than being involved in litigation when attempting to impose a fee for those services. This argument was supported by a study of claims against Law Cover, which showed numerous claims caused by miscommunication during the retainer. For any legal matter, regardless of value, you must have a cost agreement with your client. Although the deal is likely to be less than $750 and you will not have to provide a full cost statement, you still need to have a cost agreement. There are strict rules on how to deal with cost agreements. If you do not comply with these rules, the agreement may be cancelled, even if your client has accepted it. Cost Disclosure and Cost Agreement – NSW Law Society Disclosure must be made in writing and expressed in clear terms: s 179 (1).
Disclosure can be made separately or in a cost agreement or in a general conservation: s 179 (2). There are more and more exceptions to the disclosure requirement. Most of the data in the S 175 (2) is self-explanatory. However, the term “billing terms” is not defined. In the commissions that looked at the bill, that phrase was generally considered to be the frequency with which invoices were sent and that such invoices would be expected to be paid. The lawyers` rules contain a number of other disclosure obligations, when a lawyer is invited to work, “work that is not the work of lawyers”: rr 78 and 79; or if the lawyer is detained directly by a client who is not a lawyer: r 80. Your client has the right to negotiate how you charge the fees; and you can make them a written offer as part of the cost agreement. The presentation must be written and expressed in clear terms: s 179 (1). Disclosure can be made separately or in a cost agreement or in a general conservation: s 179 (2).