MyDefence offers a referral legal service acting for clients in criminal law matters. These Terms of Agreement comprise of the following:
By registering an account on the MyDefence website you hereby provide permission for MyDefence to refer you to a legal practitioner to act on your behalf in relation to your legal matter and to request documents from third parties as may be required.
You agree to pay professional costs plus disbursements of the referred legal practitioner pursuant to the below Costs Disclosure Statement (Part A) and Costs Agreement (Part B).
Under Division 3 of Part 4.3 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law(Victoria) (“Uniform Law”), we must disclose to you the following information relating to legal costs.
1. The basis on which our charges will be calculated – section 174(1)(a)
Subject to you entering into a Costs Agreement with us, the referral lawyer’s charges are determined by Fixed fees depending on the number of charges in your police brief and if you have a prior criminal history or not.
If we incur other costs on your instructions and with your consent, your lawyer will charge $330.00 per hour including GST.
In providing referred legal services to you, it may also be necessary to incur other fees, expenses and charges including, Court filing and issue fees, Barristers’ fees, expert Doctors fees, freedom of information fees, bank charges, travel expenses, stamp duty, courier fees, long distance telephone charges, photocopying fees and company and other search fees.
These fees, expenses and other charges incurred on your behalf are referred to as disbursements. Your referral lawyer will charge you at cost for any disbursements we incur on your behalf. You must pay reasonable disbursements, including GST (Goods and Services Tax), incurred by us on your behalf on demand. The referral lawyer charge a sundries fee of $180 plus GST which is intended to cover sundry items such as postage, telephone, DX, insurance, archiving and stationery.
Your referral lawyer may also request that you provide them with payment in advance of incurring a disbursement on your behalf. These funds will be held in their trust account until payment of the disbursement is required.
If there are disbursements to be incurred that are unusual, they will seek your instructions before incurring the expense.
2. Estimated total legal costs – section 174(1)(a)
Your referral lawyer will endeavour to resolve your matter as cost effectively as possible. Please see an estimated plan of costs.
We estimate that total legal costs, including charges and disbursements will be $2,200.00 per court appearance. This per appearance fee is payable where your lawyer secures a full withdrawal of charges or you are found not-guilty at a contested hearing. The daily fee for attending a contested hearing is $3,300.00 per day which includes a barrister and instructing solicitor. We estimate that you can recover around 80% of your legal costs where you win at a contested hearing or police withdraw charges with costs.
Where you plead guilty to any charge, the police withdraw all charges without costs, or we secure Diversion the below fixed fees apply and the lawyer is registered for GST.
Where you have no criminal priors and up to 5 criminal charges per police brief.
Our Professional Fees: $1000.00
Disbursements: $ 0.00
GST: $ 100.00
Where you have criminal priors and up to 5 criminal charges per police brief.
Our Professional Fees: $1,300.00
Disbursements: $ 130.00
GST: $ 1430.00
Where you have more than 5 criminal charges per police brief.
Our Professional Fees: $1,800.00
Disbursements: $ 0.00
GST: $ 180.00
This estimate of total legal costs is NOT BINDING on your lawyer, as the work required may change, but is the best advice at this point in time. The estimate is based on the current understanding of the present circumstances of your matter. If the scope of this matter or your instructions change in a way that results in a significant change to anything we have previously disclosed, including this estimate, your lawyer will revise the estimate as soon as practicable.
The major variables that might affect the calculation of these costs are:
Recovery of costs from the police in criminal matters (Magistrates’ Court only)
If you are successful in defending your charges, the court is likely to award costs against the Police. In the event this occurs. you are likely to recover 90-100% of your legal costs, unless in any negotiation with prosecutors you agree not to claim costs.
3. Your rights – section 174(2)
4. Our accounts
5. Interest on unpaid accounts – section 195(1)
If a bill remains unpaid 30 days after we gave it to you, your lawyer may charge you interest at a rate not exceeding the Cash Rate Target, as fixed by the Reserve Bank of Australia, plus 2 per cent, at the date the bill is issued.
6. Your right to request a written report on legal costs – section 190(1)
You have a right to request a written report of the legal costs incurred to date or since your last bill (if any) and your lawyer must provide such a report within a reasonable period and without charge.
7. If you have a concern about our legal costs – section 174(3)
If you have any concerns about the legal costs, please do not hesitate to contact us at mydefence.com.au/contact. This is because it is important to us that, in consenting to the proposed course of action for the conduct of your matter (in particular the proposed costs), you are informed and understand the issues involved.
8. Your documents
Your documents may be destroyed after seven years from the date of our final bill unless you write to us requesting retention for a longer period. At the end of the matter, and provided our invoices are paid in full, we will release your file and your documents as you direct.
The Uniform Law as applied in Victoria is applicable to legal costs in this matter.
10. Engagement of another lawyer or law practice – section 175
In providing referral legal services for you, it may be necessary to engage another law practice (including barristers) to provide specialist advice or services.
We will consult you about the terms of these engagements before incurring the expense. We will provide you with a statement setting out the rates and estimated costs of any other law practice we propose to engage as soon as the retained law practice provides this information to us.
We will likely engage a specialist barrister in the Contested Hearing stage of this estimate if you instruct us to contest any charges. The cost for a barrister is approximately $2,200.00 per day.
Division 4 of Part 4.3 of the Uniform Law allows a law practice and you (the client) to agree on how the law practice’s charges are to be calculated and paid. It is called a “Costs Agreement” and it may be enforced in the same way as any other contract.
This document is an offer to enter into a Costs Agreement in accordance with the information contained in the Disclosure Statement given to you in compliance with Division 3 of Part 4.3 of the Uniform Law.
If you accept these terms, the Disclosure Statement and this Costs Agreement document will make up the complete Agreement for this matter.
To accept this offer to enter into Costs Agreement, you must sign and return a copy of this document to us. Various methods for signing this document are set out in the Acknowledgement at the end of this document.
1. The basis on which our charges will be calculated
Charges will be calculated in accordance with the method (i.e. combination of hourly rate and scale of fees where appropriate) detailed in the Disclosure Statement (Part A) that forms part of this Costs Agreement with you.
2. Your liability for our charges
An Interim Bills of Costs will be given to you at suitable breaks in the matter and a final Bill of Costs will be given to you at the conclusion of the matter. Our accounts are immediately due and payable.
If a bill remains unpaid 30 days after you receive it, we may charge you interest at a rate not exceeding the Cash Rate Target, as fixed by the Reserve Bank of Australia, plus 2 per cent, at the date the bill is issued.
If you do not pay our bill, we may be entitled to exercise a common law right known as a ‘solicitor’s lien’. The lien allows us to retain your documents until our bill is paid.
3. Your liability for disbursements
Your lawyer will charge you at cost for any disbursements we incur on your behalf. You must pay disbursements, including GST (Goods and Services Tax), incurred by us on your behalf either on demand or at the conclusion of this matter.
We may also request that you provide us with payment in advance of us incurring a disbursement on your behalf. These funds will be held in our trust account until payment of the disbursement is required.
4. Trust money
If your lawyer receives money into a trust account on your behalf, you authorise them to draw on that money to pay any amount due from you to us in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Law and the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 relating to the withdrawal of trust money for legal costs. A trust statement will be forwarded to you upon completion of the matter.
Your lawyer may give bills to you in any way specified in Rule 73 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015. For thepurposes of Rule 73, you consent to receiving bills:
6. Your obligations
We require you to, and you agree to:
If you fail to comply with any of these conditions, we have the option to terminate this Costs Agreement by advising you of termination in writing.
7. If we cease to act for you or you stop using this law practice
Circumstances may arise (such as a conflict of interest) that make it impossible for us to continue to act for you. We may also cease acting for you if you breach your obligations as set out in above.
We will notify you immediately if any of the above matters arise.
If we cease to act for you:
If this law practice ceases to act for you during the course of this matter and before there is an outcome, then all legal costs incurred up to the date of the termination will be charged without any uplift fee being applied.
You may end our engagement by written notice at any time. If this occurs, then all legal costs incurred up to the date of the termination will be charged without any uplift fee being applied.Depending on circumstances, we may be entitled to exercise our right to a solicitor’s lien by retaining documents related to any matters we are conducting on your behalf.
8. Seeking independent legal advice
You are advised to seek independent legal advice prior to signing this Costs Agreement or otherwise agreeing to the terms of this Costs Agreement.
By registering an account on the MyDefence website, you ACKNOWLEDGE that you have: