Recently, the District Court of NSW ordered a solicitor to pay costs to their client. The solicitor Grace represented the Plaintiff, Bennie from 1999 to 2009 in a dispute with the State of NSW. Bennie, a police officer, had informed on another officer engaged in criminal activities, and in 2009 was awarded $2,236,408.00, plus costs.
However, it was when the costs were assessed that this sum began to shrink. More than 6 years after the judgment in 2009, the total bill was reduced to $1,534,234.59. Bennie had already paid more than this amount to his solicitor and Mr Grace was forced to repay $186,141.00.
Subsequently Mr Grace brought proceedings to avoid payment. The District Court did not decide in his favour and ordered that he pay $187,452,34, plus interest from 2009 and the costs of the matters. This could add up to over $500,000.00.
What was already a costly, 10-year litigation against the State of NSW has amounted to a two-decade dispute in which Mr Grace has not received remuneration. This case shows most of all the utmost importance of resolving legal disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Firstly, we take this opportunity to recommend that any cost dispute should be addressed as soon as possible so that issues in relation to facts and outstanding costs matter can in fact be resolved at the earliest with either party being in a position to address the concerns and issues without the time lapse scenario. As outlined in every Tax Invoice issue by a legal firm it would be most prudent if the legal costs are challenged or disputed and a cost application bought at the earliest.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us on 02 8917 8700. We shall endeavour to revert to you at our earliest.