Pro bono (free of charge) work
I allocate around a quarter of my working time to representing deserving or vulnerable clients free of charge. For the second half of calendar 2019, that budget is unfortunately already committed.
I have a range of very affordable fixed fees for consultations and cases.*
Most of my consultations are by telephone which enables me to keep my fees at a fraction of my former legal colleagues and almost all of my clients, employers or employees, find this more convenient than face to face meetings. I have never once found telephone consults to be less useful than physical meetings. I also have a range of inexpensive fixed fees for various stages of actions such as for unfair dismissal and for recovery of statutory and contractual entitlements or denied contractual benefits. Please read the fine print at the bottom of this page.
My fees are ordinarily fully tax deductible for both employees and employers. The fee for my standard telephone consult of up to an hour including credit card surcharge is $282.64. Physical meetings are available upon request if justified. I also offer a limited number of brief telephone consults for up to 30 minutes each week for a fee (inc credit card surcharge) of $141.79 but it is not available if there is any prior reading to be undertaken, and caution should be exercised when booking a brief consult because it is often difficult to resolve a fair work issue in that time. However the choice is a matter entirely for you.
Subject only to that rider, I will provide a summary of your options during the consult, together with an analysis of the prospects of success, any risks, and the likely costs if further action is required, for example a demand or the preparation of any documents such as an unfair dismissal application. I challenge anyone to find better value for money in the fair work system. Fully receipted tax invoices are of course provided.
Telephone consultations are available by arrangement between 8 am and 5 pm every day except Saturdays. Sundays are very popular with employers and employees for obvious reasons.
Options for payment of fees
All my fees are payable in advance either by electronic bank transfer or by credit card. Credit card payments for fixed or custom fees can be processed via the Payments tab of my web site or by telephone with me. There is a surcharge for credit card transactions of 2.9% plus 30 cents, which is the rate I am charged. In the “Select a Service” field of the Payments tab you will see three drop down options which allow you to choose between two fixed charges, or you can select the “Custom Payment Amount” and process payment of an amount we will have discussed.
Advisory work and representation
My fees other than the range of fixed fees are negotiable. Most of my clients opt for fixed fees so that they have certainty of budget. Otherwise cases such as for unfair dismissal are notorious for uncertainty as to duration and cost. I also have a range of fixed fees for Fair Work Commission conferences and hearings and my standard hourly rate for representation in such cases ranges between $275 and $350 plus GST depending upon urgency and complexity.
My legal colleagues who are involved in the same work as me typically charge between $850 and $1200 per hour.
I do not offer no win no fee services, and have never been impressed by practitioners who do. Nor do I provide free advice or representation, except for pro bono work (see above).
For proceedings in the Fair Work Commission or Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission, I offer a choice between fees which are fixed or calculated by time. The fixed fees cover my advice and representation for the various stages of work for matters in those tribunals.
Often though, many employment issues such as denied contractual benefits can be resolved by a letter, if necessary a demand, for which I also have a range of fixed fees.
Having hung up my legal wig after more than 40 years working as a lawyer, I am not permitted to represent a client in the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court, or any of the other civil courts, but as a registered industrial agent I can do so in the specialist employment tribunals such as the Fair Work Commission, and at a fraction of the cost lawyers tend to charge.
*Fine print and legal stuff
My fixed fees are payable in advance at the point of booking a block of time, except by express agreement. The fixed fee transaction consists of you acquiring from me an enforceable commitment from me to provide you with an agreed block of time. A request for a particular time for a consult does not necessarily secure that time and appointments are not confirmed until payment is made and a time is fixed by agreement. Until then, slots remain available to others. I operate on a “first in, best dressed” basis.
A fully receipted tax invoice is issued after payment is made and it will describe the work you have asked me to carry out.
Fees paid for consults are not refundable in the event of a cancellation except upon at least 24 hours’ notice. This is because others could have used the time. Booked consults are not secured until full payment has been received. Fees paid for consults which conclude before the end of the period booked are not refundable pro rata but I do reserve a discretion, which I normally offer to provide free further telephone advice of equivalent length if later required. This does not apply to brief consults, or to consults more than a month beforehand.
Payment of fees constitutes acceptance of these terms. My schedule is strictly managed and telephone consultations start on time and it is the client’s responsibility to call at that time and not be late. I do not accept any documents e-mailed to me until the appropriate consult or other fees have been paid.