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Barristers' fees and pro bono instructions
Enquiries concerning fees should be made of individual barristers or their clerks.





Fees may be charged on a time basis, by the hour or by the day, or may be charged upon a fee for service basis as a 'brief fee'. For instance, if a barrister charges a brief fee for an appearance in court, that fee might cover all preparatory work and the first day of the hearing, but additional fees may be charged for conferences, consultations and preparation. If a brief fee is charged, there may be further fees on a 'refresher' basis for subsequent days.

The Legal Profession Act 2004 includes requirements in relation to the legal fees which may be charged by barristers and solicitors. A barrister's fees should generally be the subject of a costs agreement, entered into in accordance with the Act.  Barristers usually enter into such an agreement with the solicitor, not the client directly. The exception to this is when a client is briefing the barrister directly, without the involvement of a solicitor.

The Act also requires barristers (and solicitors) to disclose to their client a range of matters including the basis of calculation of legal costs and an estimate of total legal costs (or a range of estimates). The disclosure should be made before the barrister (or solicitor) is retained, or as soon as practicable after the barrister is retained. The disclosure must be made in writing.  If the disclosure is not made in accordance with the Act, the client need not pay the costs until they are assessed under the Act.

The provisions of the Act relating to costs are extensive.  The provisions are found in Chapter 3 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 and Part 9 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005.

Pro bono instructions
The Bar has a long tradition of providing legal help to the community free of charge. This commitment continues today although it is not recognised as widely as it should be. It involves the provision of legal services without cost to members of the public. It also takes the form of legal assistance to the legislature and individual members of parliament with regard to proposed legislation or amendments to existing legislation.

Barristers may undertake work on the basis that they are paid only if their client's case succeeds. Many donate their services in matters where there is no likelihood they will ever receive payment. Most barristers undertake some pro bono work.

Inquiries can be made directly to LawAccess New South Wales, the state government’s 'one stop shop' providing access to legal services and assistance on 1300 888 529 or by visiting their web site at www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au.