Smith Legal Solutions is registered with the Queensland Law Society.
The contents of this website are intended for general guidance or interest only and are not a substitute for specific legal or other professional advice. Use of this website is therefore entirely at your own risk and you are recommended to obtain specific professional advice before making any decisions or taking any action. Smith Legal Solutions, its principals, employees and agents will not be liable for any loss in connection with this site or its use.
The contents of this website may only be used if it is for personal or non-commercial use; if it is not modified; and if all proprietary and copyright notices are displayed (© 2010 Smith Legal Solutions).
Limitation of Liability
Smith Legal Solutions has liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.
Smith Legal Solutions are available to clients from 9:00am until 5:00pm Monday to Friday. As part of the firm’s client dedication value, we regularly meet with clients outside these hours, as required. The Principal, Tracey Smith, is contactable on mobile out of hours for urgent matters.
Destruction of files
Once we have completed a client’s matter their file is closed and stored in our secure file archive. After seven years have elapsed the file is destroyed without reference to our client, unless alternative arrangements are made.
Storage of documents
Important documents are securely held for clients in our document safe, providing a safe and protected facility.
Cost of legal services
The Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld) requires us to disclose certain information to our clients and to prospective clients. An overview of this information is set out below.
For legal services, Smith Legal Solutions charges either:
- An agreed sum for professional services
- An hourly rate
The hourly rate is variable according to the experience and position of the lawyer or clerk carrying out any particular part of the matter. The hourly rate is calculated in units of six minutes or part thereof. The rates are exclusive of any Goods and Services Tax (GST) and may vary from time to time. If the rates increase by more than 10% in any year,Smith Legal Solutions will inform the client.
Excluded in the professional fees for hourly rate charged matters are communication costs (photocopying, local telephone calls, facsimile and postage). These will be charged at a flat fee of 2% of the professional fees charged. Any estimate of the legal costs Smith Legal Solutions is able to give is provided to the client. If an estimate is not given, it is because it was not reasonably practicable to do so at that time. In such instances, a range of the estimates of the total costs is set out. Variables which may affect the calculation of the range of these costs include the complexity of the matter, the legal processes involved and the number of attendances on the client and on other parties required to implement the client’s instructions.
Any other significant matters that Smith Legal Solutions is currently aware of, which may affect the calculation of costs, are outlined for the client. Where an agreed sum is specified, this may need to be varied if unforeseen work is to be carried out.
In addition to our professional fees, clients will be responsible for the payment of expenses incurred by Smith Legal Solutions on their behalf. These may include search fees, court fees, stamp duty and government charges. Where possible, Smith Legal Solutions will consult with the client about these fees and expenses. If it is necessary to engage barristers or other consultants, Smith Legal Solutions will notify the client of the basis on which these fees will be charged.
When will clients receive accounts from us?
Smith Legal Solutions generally bills clients on a monthly basis or at the conclusion of each matter or stage of the matter. Where we bill on a monthly basis, this will either be an account for the time spent up to date on the matter, or, where the fee is to be an agreed sum, a proportion of that sum.
In many instances with monthly billing, clients may not have received much correspondence or documentation from Smith Legal Solutions at the time of receiving their account. This does not mean that work has not been carried out. Our work often involves significant levels of research and analysis in relation to how the law applies to a client’s individual circumstances. This can take a significant amount of the total time and cost involved in the matter.
In the case of matters involving disputes, this includes communicating with the lawyer representing the other party. Smith Legal Solutions also provides clients with written progress reports as to the work being undertaken at any time upon reasonable request from the client.
By rendering accounts on a regular basis, clients are kept aware of the costs they are incurring and are able to manage their cash flows. If a lump sum bill is received but an itemised bill is required, clients have the right to request an itemised bill within 30 days of receiving the lump sum bill. Smith Legal Solutions will also provide clients with written updates as to incurred legal costs at any time upon reasonable request from the client.
Payment of accounts/interest charged
Smith Legal Solutions requires accounts to be paid within 7 days of the date on which they are raised. If accounts are not paid within 7 days, interest may be charged at the Cash Rate Target as fixed by the Reserve Bank of Australia plus 2%. At this time, we may cease working on the matter until payment is made. We also hold a lien over all files and documents in our possession as security against unpaid costs or any interest charged by us.
Smith Legal Solutions trust account
By law, Smith Legal Solutions is required to operate a trust account which is regularly audited by both our own auditors and independent auditors. We are required to pay all money which we receive on behalf of a client into our trust account, unless it is:
- Payment of an account which we have rendered and sent to a client
- Reimbursement of expenses we have paid on behalf of a client
- Payable directly to a third party and payment is made immediately
In some instances we will require money to be paid to us either in advance for professional fees or in anticipation of disbursements. When these fees or disbursements are incurred and an account rendered to our client, we will transfer the money from our trust account in payment of the account. If we have received money on behalf of a client and there is an account outstanding, we are entitled to transfer all or some of that money to the payment of the account. Our client will be advised that the transfer is to take place.
Termination of services
A client may terminate our services in writing at any time whereby Smith Legal Solutions will render the client an account for our services and disbursements incurred on their behalf and included interest.
We may cease acting for a client at any time and for any reason, including a client’s failure to accept our advice or to provide adequate instructions. If a client fails to pay any of the accounts within the specified time, we may at our option cease working on their file.
If Smith Legal Solutions should cease to act for a client prior to the completion of their matter, including for the reasons set out above, we shall be entitled to be paid for all of the professional costs and out-of-pocket expenses and interest incurred to the date on which our services cease to be provided to the client. Until payment of those costs, expenses and interest, we will retain any file or files which we hold on the client’s behalf.
Prior to commencing work, Smith Legal Solutions will give clients a costs agreement, setting out the work required and the estimated costs of completing this work. Clients are entitled to negotiate the costs agreement with Smith Legal Solutions. Clients are liable to for payment of costs upon accepting the costs agreement. Where instructions are given by a company, the directors giving instructions will be personally liable for the cost of the work done for the company.
At Smith Legal Solutions, we believe it is important for clients to receive information on costs in advance of them being incurred so they are fully aware of their liabilities when they arise. Of equal importance is a client’s understanding of our operating terms. If you require any additional details or clarification, please contact us and our team will be able to assist.
If you have a complaint in relation to our provision of legal services, please raise the matter with us. Smith Legal Solutions is a member of the Queensland Law Society, to which you may also direct a dispute or complaint in relation to costs or legal services.