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Fees are always time based. An attorney is free to charge his clients whatever fee he and the client agree to. Most if not all attorneys have a standard hourly rate. However they are not bound to this rate which may fluctuate up or down depending on the nature of the matter and the specific circumstances of the client . While the free market reigns in this regard an attorney may not “overreach” a client or charge a client a fee which is not commensurate with the service rendered. This is part of the oversight function of the Law Society. If you investigate you will find that hourly rates vary widely between attorneys. You will even find junior attorneys charging more than senior attorneys! These differences are usually explained by differences in practice overheads. The larger the firm and the more services it offers the more it costs to run.

Times have changed for lawyers and rapid advances in Information Technology assist us in outsourcing a lot of the administrative tasks which need to be done in a legal practice. This can help to keep costs down.

In Litigation there is a nearly always a difference between what you are charged by your attorney (called “Attorney and Client” Fees and what you can recover from the other party (called “Party and “Party Costs”). The “Party and Party” costs are those charges that are set out in The Magistrates Court Act Tariff. Ask your attorney to explain this to you.

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