Legal Costs Lawyer shares helpful assistance re concerns about legal costs

No-Win-No-Fee

A very kind and generous Legal Costs Lawyer contacted us in relation to disgraced and banned VCL lawyer Sam Bektas, and shares much needed and helpful assistance with regard to concerns about legal costs.

It may be of assistance to injured workers to know they have somewhere to turn if they think their lawyer is charging too much!

Legal Costs Lawyer shares helpful assistance with regard to concerns about legal costs

No-Win-No-Fee

As you may recall, Sammy “The Rogue” Bektas is well known to us here at Diary of a WorkCover Victim. We’ve have had a number of serious complaints posted on this blog by injured workers whom have fallen victim to Mr Bektas’s grossly unprofessional and predatory conduct. Mr Bektas was – thankfully- recently banned from practice for four years for gross overcharging of vulnerable injured workers.

Legal Costs Lawyer offers assistance for injured workers who believe they may have been overcharged by their lawyer(s)

“I have read the comments on the blog (regarding Sam Bektas and VCL) with interest.  I have seen numerous bills prepared by Mr Bektas and, sadly, am not surprised to learn Mr Bektas has been struck off for overcharging.

I am a costs lawyer (an area of law that deals with legal costing issues, including bills of costs prepared by or on behalf of law firms).

I would like the people in touch with this forum to know that the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) can also provide assistance with regard to concerns about legal costs.

The personal injury process is lengthy and tedious enough, without being faced with a lawyers bill at the end of it that totally detracts from any award of compensation you receive.

The LIV has lawyers who can review bills, costs agreements, etc on behalf of members of the public.

There are also individuals and companies who practise solely in legal costs.  You can ask the LIV for advice or referral to these people.

Please note, not ALL legal costs consultants are lawyers – but from my [many] years of experience in the costing area, most of them are very conscientious and experienced (whether legally qualified or not).

It may be of assistance to people to know they have somewhere to turn if they think their lawyer is charging too much.  This applies whether it is personal injury or any type of legal proceeding.”

We’re certainly extremely grateful for this information!

If anyone of you needs assistance with reviewing their legal bills, we may be able to put you in touch with this very kind, but certainly not “touting for business” Legal Cost Lawyer. Simply contact us.

What’s more, s/he is also happy to provide us with further assistance, anonymously and as “general information” that we can pass on to our readers. So, bring on the questions!

 

[Post dictated by workcovervictim and manually transcribed on behalf of WCV]

 



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11 Responses to “Legal Costs Lawyer shares helpful assistance re concerns about legal costs”

  1. Very curious in terms of costs for a case to run for reinstatement of weekly payments. If a worker is successful in a court case and is required to receive back pay which they were legally entitled to. Is it acceptable for the law firm to take a % of the monies received from backpay? Or are they only entitled to charge the other side for their costs ??

    I understand with common law and negligence and such where a lump sump that a lawyer may charge a % for that

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  2. It is is a widely held belief that an injured worker (the Claimant) will be charged a certain percentage ( i.e. 25 %) of the settlement sum by their representing lawyer(s) after a common law case has reached settlement [and with a no win no fee structure.]. Some injured workers even believe that their lawyers will take a certain percentage of their lumpsum. This is NOT true!
    Please note and remember at all times that it is illegal for a Victorian (VIC) lawyer to charge a percentage of a settlement sum.
    Read more: http://workcovervictimsdiary.com/2013/02/will-you-be-charged-a-percentage-of-your-compensation-payouts/

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    workcovervictim3 January 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm
  3. What about when its not a settlement, but a reinstatement of payment also covering backpay ??

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    • @ TashyWashy

      Contingency fees – charging a % of the judgement or settlement amount – are prohibited in all States in Australia. This is not the same as the “uplift fee” that all lawyers charge in no win no fee arrangement. An uplift fee is a % of the total lawyer’s fees for doing the work that is added to the bill, usually about circa 20% of the total fees. It is a % of the lawyers fees not a % of the judgement or settlement amount. The uplift fee is to recompense the lawyer for wearing the risk of taking on the matter and potentially not getting paid and to also take into account that the lawyer is not been paid upfront or progressively throughout the matter (effectively interest at overdraft rates on your unpaid legal fees throughout the duration of the matter which can be many years).

      If your action is successful in court generally costs follow the event i.e. if you win the other side pays your costs. However, the costs that the other side pay is not your actual total legal costs. Costs are generally only ever recovered at Scale, not what your lawyer charges you.

      The best way to understand how scale costs work is to think of the analogy to how Medicare rebates work. The Medicare “schedule fee” for a specialist may be $180 but the specialist charges you $300 so your out of pocket is $120. The court Scale rate is the equivalent of the Medicare scheduled fee and it is the rate at which the other side will pay your legal fees at, but your lawyer will be charging you a much higher hourly rate so you will have an out of pocket difference of between the two rates. The costs that you receive from the other side generally are only a maximum of about 60% of your actual legal costs, so you have another 40% that you will have to fund out of your settlement plus any uplift to the fees that the lawyer is charging you if they acted in your matter on a no win no fee basis.

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  4. Thanks for that information, That is one thing that doesn’t kinda suck, especially if all you are fighting for is whats legally yours and the only way you can get it is with enlisting the services of a lawyer.

    It would probably be one of the only scenarios I can think of where you have to pay somebody to recover whats legally yours in the first place 🙁

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  5. Hi Madame Zena,
    great information on lawyers rates. why though if you are recovering approx. 60% of your own legal costs and you have to pay the difference when you have given the other side numerous times to settle including mediation.
    Can you apply to have heard more costs to be awarded? as it seems once again unfair that as a plaintiff you will lose more with paying fees in the 10’s or 100k of a settlement when it should have been resolved with the defendant much earlier on.
    For example I have had 6 arbitrator for 100% result in the WCC in NSW and everytime the lawyers were awarded uplifts of 25% on average on costs for what I could have sat there and represented, no bull.
    Court however different.

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  6. I agree with ian in regards to the fact the defendant should have to pay 100% of your fee’s, clearly if you win the case they have done the wrong thing, why should people have to pay to have a court tell somebody they have done the wrong thing

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    • @TashyWashy

      certain cases the defendant pays about 100% of your legal fees. the article above hasn’t shown this.

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      HuntingWorkcover January 28, 2014 at 10:01 pm
      • was referring to this article:
        http://workcovervictimsdiary.com/2014/01/understanding-win-fee-cost-agreements-pitfalls/

        successful common law claims the defendant pays your legal fee’s / costsz

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        HuntingWorkcover January 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm
        • A decent ethical lawyer’s own words: A common question raised by clients is why given that they have won their case are they paying a legal bill to their lawyers. The answer is very simple. Usually, the opposing party pays a portion of the entire amount of legal costs, and you are left to pay the remainder. The legal costs that will be payable by the other side will not cover the entire amount of legal work performed in a case. It is similar to the Medicare “gap”. Only in very extreme cases or in very particular circumstances can the Court order that the other side pay the entirety of your legal costs.

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          workcovervictim3 January 29, 2014 at 3:04 am
  7. I was given a costs agreement to read, understand then sign when I began with my solicitors which gave me a clear indication of what my out of pocket costs would be if/when we won. It was exactly that in the end – I was extremely happy with the service & advice provided throughout my almost 1 12 year court battle which we won. I understood that there would be an out of pocket cost as not only are they taking on all the risk as I wasn’t paying anything upfront, but they only get back a proportion of their fees from the other side at the end. The Medicare rebate example is an excellent one by the way!

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