COSTS DISCLOSURE & FEE AGREEMENT
This document as a whole explains how we (Low Cost Legal ABN 25 161 269 263) charge, and the terms of our engagement with you.
When you accept this document below you are agreeing to the terms and conditions as set out in this document as a whole.
This is a low cost legal service that we provided. In using us you agree that we only have to do what is set out below, which may be less than what a usual lawyer does for you. For example, you will need to print your own documents.
A. Matter Description & Major Steps in Matters:
1. FranchisCheck– when you are purchasing the FranchisCheck product then the following applies:
a. This product is for Franchisees’, and is a review of their Franchise Documents prior to execution.
b. You must lodge all your relevant franchise documents through FranchisCheck web page on the lowcostlegal.com.au website using the document upload function.
c. You must use and complete all customised instruction collection boxes to provide us with all relevant franchise details.
d. We will review the Franchise Disclosure Document and Franchise Agreement against your instructions and you will be called or emailed with any follow up questions.
e. We may propose amendments to the Franchise Agreement, do a draft letter to the Franchisor requesting changes, or a marked up Franchise Agreement for sending to the Lessor, which will be provided to you.
f. We will review the Franchisors response and confirm an execution copy of documents against the matters as agreed.
g. When the Franchise Agreement is ready for signing, you will be provided an execution instruction advice advising you where to sign.
h. We will not do anything else, unless we agree in writing otherwise, for you as part of this product. This may require you to, amongst other things,
i. forward letters or documents to the Franchisor, either that you write yourself or that we have provided you;
ii. print or copy documents for yourself to sign for giving to the Franchisor;
iii. chase the Franchisor for amended documents, or final executed documents.
2. LeasCheck– when you are purchasing the LeasCheck product then the following applies:
a. This product is for Lessees who are entering into a Lease for business Premises.
b. You must lodge all relevant lease documents with instructions through LeasCheck website on the lowcostlegal.com.au website.
c. You must use and completed all customised instruction collection boxes to provide lease details and your instructions.
d. You must provide all relevant documents through the document upload functionality on the website.
e. We will review your lease against your instructions and you will be called or emailed with any follow up questions.
f. We may mark up the lease, or draft a letter to the Landlord requesting changes for you;
g. We will review the Landlord’s response and check that the final lease as as agreed with the Landlord.
h. When the Lease is ready for signing, you will be provided with an execution instruction sheet.
i. We will not do anything else, unless we agree in writing otherwise, for you as part of this product. This may require you to, amongst other things,
i. forward letters or documents to the Landlord, either that you write yourself or that we have provided you;
ii. print or copy documents for yourself to sign for giving to the Landlord;
iii. chase the Landlord for amended documents, or final executed documents.
B. Estimated Timetable:
This applies if the product you have purchased is FranchisCheck:
Often Franchise documents are very lengthy and take some time to read and work through. We expect that it will take between 7 – 14 days to complete steps 1(a)-(e) above. The remainder of the time the matter may take to complete is dependent upon responses from the Franchisor.
This applies if the product you have purchased is LeasCheck:
Often Lease documents are very lengthy and take some time to read and work through. We expect that it will take between 7 – 14 days to complete steps 2(a)-(f) above. The remainder of the time the matter may take to complete is dependent upon responses from the Lessor.
If you are unhappy with the time it is taking to provide our services please provide us immediate feedback through our website.
C. Professional Fees:
a. The fees for FranchisCheck and LeasCheck products will be as agreed with you when you have Requested a Quote through our website.
b. or other matters an hourly rates of:
i. $395(plus GST) per hour for Director and/or Principal Solicitor
ii. Other Fees for Professional & Para-Legal Support as Advised.
a. If we agree a fixed fee arrangement with you, which will be usual for our FranchisCheck and LeasCheck products, then the following disbursements will not apply to you.
b. We may incur expenses and disbursements (being money which we pay or are liable to pay) to others on your behalf. These may include: Search fees; enquiry fees; file storage fees and others. We will inform you of these expenses and disbursements as well as any other payments required to be made.
c. You agree that we will minimise hard copy documents kept in your file. Archiving fees and charges will be charged to you at the cost of us engaging FileMan Records Management to retain your completed file for a minimum of seven years (which we are required to do by law), and unless otherwise stated by you, secure destruction of your client file at the end of that seven year retention period (this price currently ranges from $42.90 for a 10cm file to $121.00 for an Archive Box).
E. Client’s Preferred Method of Communication:
Your preferred method of communication is:
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Legal practitioners employed by Low Cost Legal and Directors of Low Cost Legal are members of the scheme.
1 COSTS DISCLOSURE
This document and any information attached discloses information about the costs of our legal services, and your rights, as required by the Legal Profession Act 2004 NSW (the Act).
All rates, charges, expenses etc. in this document are GST exclusive unless otherwise stated. Where the service provided is subject to GST, GST of 10% will be added and charged to you.
1.2 Fixed fee or ‘lump sum’ costing
(a) We may give you an estimate of costs and if we specify it is a fixed fee then we will charge you the amount in the estimate unless:
(i) You ask us to do more work, or different work to what was agreed (ie. FranchisCheck and LeasCheck) when we made the estimate i.e. you change your instructions.
(ii) The work becomes more complex than what we thought at the time we made the estimate.
(iii) If either of these things occur, we will tell you first and give you the opportunity to cancel your retainer with us. On termination, Clause 3.3(d) of our Fee Agreement will apply.
If we just specify an estimate than time based billing as set out below will apply.
1.3 Time based billing
(a) We estimate our costs based on the time it takes us to do the work. The more work we do, the more it costs.
(b) We have disclosed our hourly fees below. These are also the fees we charge when we tell you the work is likely to be more expensive than our initial estimate, and you ask us to proceed anyway.
1.4 Professional Fees
(a) We will charge you professional fees as set out in Section C of the above Costs Schedule.
(b) For hourly rates, these rates will be proportionately charged for work involving shorter periods less than an hour. Our charges are structured in 6 minutes units. For example, the time charged for an attendance of up to 6 minutes will be 1 unit and the time charged for an attendance between 6 and 12 minutes will be 2 units. An hour is 10 units divided into 6 minute increments.
1.5 Expenses & Disbursements
(a) We will charge you expenses and disbursements as set out in Section D of the above Costs Schedule.
1.6 Estimates Costs
(a) Our charges are based on the estimates as set out in the Costs Schedule which begins on the first page of this document.
(b) Unless it is specified that they are a fixed fee then they are estimates, not a quotation and subject to change depending on your further instructions.
(c) The work we are instructed to do, is as set out in the Costs Schedule.
1.7 Billing arrangements
We will send you an invoice containing information of our professional fees and charges, disbursements and expenses, including GST, either:
(a) monthly, or
(b) at other times as agreed with you, when the work is in progress.
1.8 Payment terms
Our payment terms are same day as the date of our invoice.
We will take from you your credit card details, and you agree that we may take a hold over funds on your credit card in anticipation of payment of the entire invoice amount. You agree that upon issuing our invoice that we may debit your credit card with the entire amount owing to us as set out in the relevant invoice.
1.9 Interest on unpaid costs
If our costs are not paid within 7 days of giving you our invoice, we may charge you interest on the unpaid amount at or under the maximum rate prescribed in Regulation 110A, of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005. The current rate is 10% per annum, but may vary at the time the Invoice is issued.
1.10 Dispute as to legal costs
In addition to the rights set out in the accompanying Form you also have the right to have the costs mediated if the dispute is less than $10,000 (referral for mediation must be made before an application for assessment is accepted by the Manager, Costs Assessment).
1.11 Persons responsible for your matter and legal costs
You may contact us regarding your matter and your legal costs through the website.
1.12 Substantial changes to disclosure
You will be informed, as soon as is reasonably practicable, of any substantial changes to anything contained in this disclosure document.
1.13 Engagement of another law practice (e.g. barrister)
It may be necessary for us to engage, on your behalf, the services of another law practice to provide specialist advice or services, including advocacy services, or to act as our agent. We will consult you as to the terms of that law practice’s engagement, but you may be asked to enter into a costs agreement directly with that law practice. The law practice engaged by us will disclose costs in a similar manner and we will disclose those costs to you.
1.14 Limitation of Liability
(a) Subject to clause (b), under no circumstances will we or any related body corporate of ours, or our or their respective directors, contractors, agents or employees, be liable to you, and you hold us harmless and release us from any such liability and agree that we will not be liable, for any losses, damages, liabilities, claims or expenses (including legal costs), whether direct, indirect or consequential irrespective of how they were caused (including, without limitation, negligence, or any other tort, breach of contract, breach of a term, warranty, or condition implied by statute, or breach of any statutory or equitable duty), and whether the act or omission of ours is wilful or otherwise, suffered or incurred by you arising out of any goods or services offered or made available or provided to you by us.
(b) If the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (“CCA”) or any other legislation implies a condition or warranty into this agreement in respect of goods or services supplied by us, and our liability for breach of that condition or warranty may not be excluded but may be limited, clause (a) does not apply to that liability and instead our liability for any breach of that condition or warranty is limited to, in the case of a supply of goods, us doing any one or more of the following (at our election):
(i) Replacing the goods or supplying equivalent goods;
(ii) Repairing the goods;
(iii) Paying the reasonable cost of replacing the goods or of acquiring equivalent goods; or
(iv) Paying the reasonable cost of having the goods repaired,
and, in the case of a supply of services, us doing either or both of the following (at our election):
(v) Supplying the services again; or
(vi) Paying the reasonable costs of having the services supplied again.
(c) Nothing in this agreement between us and you excludes, restricts or modifies any terms, conditions or warranties or our liability for them which are imposed or implied by any statute, including but not limited to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cwth) and which cannot be excluded, restricted or modified. Limitation and exclusions are made only to the extent that we may legally do so.
1.15 Professional Standards Legislation
Liability is also limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Legal practitioners employed by Low Cost Legal and Directors of Low Cost Legal are members of the scheme.
1.16 Applicable law
The law of New South Wales applies to legal costs regarding this matter. However, see your rights in the accompanying Form – in Point 2 below.
2 NOTICE: Clause 109A Legal Profession Regulation 2005
Legal costs – your right to know
You have the right to:
(a) Negotiate a costs agreement with us
(b) Receive an invoice from us
(c) Request an itemised invoice after you receive a lump sum bill from us
(d) Request written reports about the progress of your matter and the costs incurred in your matter
(e) Apply for costs to be assessed within 12 months if you are unhappy with our costs
(f) Apply for the costs agreement to be set aside
(g) Accept or reject any offer we make for an interstate costs law to apply to your matter
(h) Notify us that you require an interstate costs law to apply to your matter.
For more information about your rights, please read the facts sheet titled Legal Costs – your right to know. You can ask us for a copy, or obtain it from your local law society or law institute (or download it from their website).
3 FEE AGREEMENT
The disclosure requirements which we required to provide you under the Legal Profession Act 2004 are contained in the Costs Disclosure section which forms part of this document.
(a) This document is an offer to enter into a costs agreement with you. The work we have been instructed to do is set out in clause 1.6(c) above.
(b) OurOur retainer with you expressly excludes:
(i) Financial advice
(ii) Accounting advice
(iii) Tax advice
(a) If you accept this offer you will be regarded as having entered into a costs agreement. This means you will be bound by the terms and conditions set out in this document, including being billed in accordance with it.
(b) Acceptance may be by any one of the following ways:
(i) Clicking that you accept, or give some indication that you accept, these Terms and Conditions through our website, lowcostlegal.com.au;
(ii) giving us instructions after receiving this document;
(iii) oral acceptance.
(c) Failure to accept our offer within 7 days of dispatch of this document can result in the immediate withdrawal of our offer to act on your behalf.
3.3 Termination of Agreement
(a) We will not continue to do the Work:
(i) if you fail to pay our bills;
(ii) if you fail to provide us with adequate instructions within a reasonable time;
(iii) if you give instructions that are deliberately false or intentionally misleading;
(iv) if you fail to accept an offer of settlement which we think is reasonable;
(v) if you fail to accept advice we (or counsel) give you;
(vi) if you engage another law practice to advise you on this matter without our consent;
(vii) if we, on reasonable grounds, believe that we may have a conflict of interest, or
(viii) if you indicate to us that we have lost your confidence; or
(ix) for other just cause.
(b) We will give you at least 7 (7) days’ notice of our intention to terminate our agreement, and of the grounds on which the notice is based.
(c) You may terminate this agreement at any time.
(d) If the agreement is terminated either by you or us, you will be required to pay our professional fees and charges for work done, and for expenses and disbursements incurred, up to the date of termination.
(i) For lump sum fee matters, you must pay the part of our lump sum fee that we reasonably estimate has been incurred in respect of the legal services provided to you up to the date of termination, plus charges, expenses and disbursements, subject to your right to a costs assessment.
(ii) You will be liable to pay our costs whether or not the other party to any court proceedings has to pay your costs of the proceedings.
(e) On termination, we are entitled to retain possession of your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses, unless and until security is provided for our costs.
Without affecting any lien to which we are otherwise entitled at law over funds, papers and other property of yours in our possession:
(a) We are entitled to retain by way of lien any funds, property or papers of yours, which are from time to time in our possession or control, until all costs, disbursements, interest and other moneys due to us have been paid;
(b) Our lien will continue notwithstanding that we cease to act for you.
3.5 Retention of your documents
We will, on completion of the Work, retain any papers to which you are entitled, but leave in our possession (except documents deposited in safe custody) for no more than seven (7) years on the undertaking that we have your authority to destroy the file seven years after the date of the final bill rendered by us in this matter.
3.6 Privacy Protection
Personal information about you, provided by you and other sources, is protected under the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000. Disclosure of such information may be compelled by law (e.g. under the Social Security Act). You also authorise us to disclose such information where necessary to others in furtherance of your claim/matter (e.g. within the law practice, to the Court, the other party or parties to litigation, to valuers, experts, barristers etc.).
3.7 Money on Account
We may ask you to pay us, in advance, some money on account of payments which will be made to others and our costs. We will ask you to repay the money paid on your behalf as and when we send you bills for these payments.
3.8 Authorisation to Transfer Money from Trust Account
You authorise us to receive directly into our trust account any judgment or settlement money, or money received from any source in furtherance of your work, and to pay ourselves our costs, disbursements and expenses in accordance with the provisions of clause 88(3)(a)(i)of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005.
3.9 Retaining third parties
(a) We are authorised to retain an agent, barrister, expert or private investigator if necessary.
(b) Except in circumstances of extreme urgency or if it is otherwise impracticable, we will discuss with beforehand and take into account your wishes before doing so.
(c) You must pay all agent fees which are billed to us accordance with the third party’s retainer, which terms and conditions may differ from our own.
(d) Wherever practicable, we will provide you with a copy of the third party’s fee agreement. If you object to the fees of counsel, as set out in such a fee agreement, then you shall forthwith notify the firm.
3.10 Electronic Communication
(a) We are able to communicate electronically with clients and other parties using electronic mail (‘email’) and other electronic means. If we communicate electronically with or for you, you acknowledge and agree as follows:
(b) There are some delivery risks in using email and you accept the risk of interception of the email by third parties or of non-receipt or delayed receipt of the message; and computer viruses and similar damaging items can be transmitted through emails and by electronic means. We use virus scanning software to reduce these risks and ask that you do the same. However, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of introducing viruses.
(c) If we communicate electronically with or for you, you release us from all claims, losses, expenses and liabilities caused by any of the risks referred to above and arising directly or indirectly out of that communication.