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James D. Ford
James D. Ford, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 1601
Experience:  Consulting Principal at Nexus Law Group
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In Victoria Are lawyers permitted to demand legal costs on

Customer Question

In Victoria Are lawyers permitted to demand legal costs on behalf of a client for a for an outstanding debt?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.
The Law Institute of Victoria advises lawyers in Victoria that: A letter of demand should not threaten the institution of legal proceedings if legal costs are not paid within a particular time unless the creditor has an enforceable contractual right to recover the legal costs from the debtor. Additionally, the ACCC has advised practitioners that, when reviewing debt collection letters and notices, some important things to remember are: • If something is only a possible consequence of not paying a debt, ensure you do not create the impression that it is a definite consequence; • Before asserting the right to payment of administrative and/or legal costs on top of a debt amount, ensure you are aware of whether or not your client has a legal entitlement to claim this amount; • Ensure you do not create the impression that your debt collection letters and notices are documents that have been or are able to be filed with a Court. Kind regards, James
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have been asked to pay legal costs for lawyers acting for their client, in regards ***** ***** payment of my business registration. They have issued me with a summons to court charges for running a food premises without a valid council registration. I want to pay the registration fee, but I am aware that I am not obliged to pay legal costs. Is this correct?
I recently had an outstanding debt with a energy retailer, who enlisted the services of lawyers to collect the outstanding amount. They also advised me that i wasn't obliged to pay legal cost, hence I paid the outstanding invoice without costs.
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.
There is a difference between legal costs incurred in association with a letter of demand (prior to Court proceedings).. and legal costs incurred in the preparation, filing and service of a claim/offence (that is - commencement of Court proceedings) against you. I assume, in your previous matter, that the energy retailer had not yet commenced legal proceedings against you.Please advise if this is not the case. In the current matter - Court proceedings have commenced. Therefore: What specifically are the charges you are being asked to pay? If they are Court filing costs, and service costs - to serve the court summons for the offence of running a food premises without a valid council registration... then, if you have no defence, and have been provided with the opportunity to pay prior to the commencement of the proceedings.. then, my view is that you will have to reimburse them for their actual outgoings. Are any lawyer's fees included? how much? If the legislation enables the Council to recover 100% of their legal costs... there will be nothing you can do.. and you will have to pay the total amount regardless. Kind regards, James