Planning Your Legal Budget: How Sydney Criminal Lawyers Can Help



Hiring an Australian lawyer will cost you depending on a number of factors, such as the experience and skill level of the individual lawyer and law firm, the nature and complexity of the case, your instructions regarding the case (e.g., whether you want to proceed with a hearing in a family law case or plead guilty in a criminal case), and whether the work is to be done on an hourly or fixed fee basis.

Hourly cases, also called time-costed matters, have rates that can range from $250 + GST for a junior attorney in a general practice to $600 + GST or more for an Accredited Specialist. An Accredited Specialist is a lawyer with at least five years of experience in a particular area of law who must complete a demanding additional training and certification process before the legal regulator will certify them. Only a very small number of lawyers who go through that process—some multiple times over many years—are successful.

If the law company doesn’t have the necessary experience to handle the case on its own and has to hire a specialist barrister—a lawyer who appears in higher courts wearing a “wig and gown”—the cost of legal representation will go up dramatically. Barristers can bill up to $15,000 + GST per day, plus or minus $2,000. Therefore, rather than having to brief a barrister, it is a prudent and economical notion to hire attorneys with the experience and knowledge to handle matters themselves.

In the realm of criminal law, fixed fee legal services can range in price from $1000 to $3000 + GST for a sentencing and guilty plea in Local Court to hundreds of thousands of dollars for an involved and drawn-out District or Supreme Court jury trial.

The cost of hiring a lawyer is not always clear-cut, so it’s usually a good idea to take advantage of the free initial consultations that many Australian law companies offer. This can help you decide which lawyer is best for you and how much they will charge.

There will be a cost agreement created during or right after the conference, which you should carefully read to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

There are occasional exceptions to the rule, even though a competent attorney will always take the time to thoroughly explain cost and ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises as the case moves forward.

Man objects to legal bills

A guy from Queensland has challenged a bill for the firm’s efforts on his behalf of more than half a million dollars in court by going to court with his legal representation.

After being charged $549,923.65 for the unfair dismissal case, Nicholas Smith has taken Brisbane-based law company FCB Workplace Lawyers to District Court. Smith claims the amount represents “excessive fees” and involves “duplicated work” by many lawyers at the firm.

Court records state that Mr. Smith felt “trapped” within the firm’s cost agreement and that, had he known the costs would be so expensive, he would have left the firm after hiring it to draft and submit a “letter of demand.”

He added that he was “already ill” when he hired the business, which he claims the firm knew about and exploited instead of pressuring him for an early settlement when his legal team pursued his case in the Federal Circuit Court and Federal Court.

Judge Suzanne Sheridan of the Queensland District Court, however, found that there was not enough evidence to conclude that the firm had overcharged him and that it was common for multiple attorneys to work on a case in a substantially similar way so that each attorney was aware of the evidence and issues.

Her Honour dismissed Mr. Smith’s claim, noting that his legal team had done nothing unethical or illegal, but rather that the staggering amount was the “hallmark of being the product of proceedings which simply became expensive.”

Law is a complex field, and legal counsel is not inexpensive

Furthermore, there have long been discussions regarding how the expense of legal counsel can be a major barrier for many individuals in need of it.

Undoubtedly, the rising number of individuals preferring to defend themselves in court as well as the growing number of people depending on the legal aid system are both mostly due to cost.

Though many people do so out of necessity, representing oneself in court is not always the greatest decision. If you decide to represent yourself, you should get legal counsel before appearing in court. Many companies provide “free initial consultations,” which can be quite helpful.

It is crucial that you select a lawyer wisely; look for a firm that you feel comfortable working with. Find someone you can talk to and who will take the time to explain key legal concepts to you in a way that makes sense. Being able to have candid conversations will be crucial throughout the entire process of handling your legal matter.

Consult your attorneys about up-front costs. You should be able to get a schedule detailing the hourly rate for the individuals working on your case, if an actual cost estimate cannot be provided. Attorneys are required to give written notice to clients about their intended fees.

How can I minimize my legal expenses?

Additionally, there will be fees known as “disbursements” that the attorneys will pay. These will cover court fees and are associated with the case’s administration. GST is applied to all fees.

Maintaining open communication with your legal staff is the greatest method to ensure transparency and prevent surprises when it comes to charges. Inquire about the billing procedure and the anticipated expenses you may face. At any point during the legal procedure, the firm ought to be able to advise you on “running costs” and send you an itemized invoice that breaks down all the individual fees.

Fees Charges

Sydney Criminal Lawyers was the pioneer Australian law company to announce fixed rates for traffic and criminal law cases in 2004. These days, a large number of firms handle less complicated cases and small offenses in this way.

All of SCL’s attorneys, including Accredited Criminal Law Specialists and Senior Associate Lawyers—some of whom have decades of combined experience practicing criminal law and others who are in high demand as defense attorneys—have fixed rates.

The firm’s website discloses all fees, providing prospective clients with transparency and assurance from the outset. More significantly, costs are meant to be reasonable, allowing considerably greater accessibility for everyone to legal counsel.

Even while most cases may be finished on the first court date, there may be extra costs if the case requires further time.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers will provide a reasonable and fair cost estimate for more serious criminal cases so that you may plan and budget for your legal expenses.


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