New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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Conditional costs agreements

181 Conditional costs agreements

(1) A costs agreement (a
"conditional costs agreement" ) may provide that the payment of some or all of the legal costs is conditional on the successful outcome of the matter to which those costs relate.
(2) A conditional costs agreement must--
(a) be in writing and in plain language; and
(b) set out the circumstances that constitute the successful outcome of the matter to which it relates.
(3) A conditional costs agreement must--
(a) be signed by the client; and
(b) include a statement that the client has been informed of the client's rights to seek independent legal advice before entering into the agreement.
(4) A conditional costs agreement must contain a cooling-off period of not less than 5 clear business days during which the client, by written notice, may terminate the agreement, but this requirement does not apply where the agreement is made between law practices only.
(5) If a client terminates a conditional costs agreement within the cooling-off period, the law practice--
(a) may recover only those legal costs in respect of legal services performed for the client before that termination that were performed on the instructions of the client and with the client's knowledge that the legal services would be performed during that period; and
(b) in particular, may not recover any uplift fee.
(6) A conditional costs agreement may provide for disbursements to be paid irrespective of the outcome of the matter.
(7) A conditional costs agreement may relate to any matter, except a matter that involves--
(a) criminal proceedings; or
(b) proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 of the Commonwealth; or
(c) proceedings under legislation specified in the Uniform Rules for the purposes of this section.
(8) A contravention of provisions of this Law or the Uniform Rules relating to conditional costs agreements by a law practice is capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct on the part of any principal of the law practice or any legal practitioner associate or foreign lawyer associate involved in the contravention.

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