Briefed by a Solicitor
The most usual way I am briefed is by a solicitor, on behalf of a client. If you are the client, then you can consider which solicitor you would like to brief me, but you could call me first if you don’t know who to use, whether you ought to brief me through a solicitor.
If you use a solicitor, he or she will manage the process and give you disclosure about what it will cost (which will include disclosure from me about my fees, which I bill to the solicitor, and he/she bill to you).
The solicitor will help you gather the relevant materials so as to be able to brief me, and manage the transaction or litigation for you.
Briefing me direct (‘Direct Access’)
Whilst the Victorian Bar’s ethical rules don’t allow me to act for a client without a solicitor in higher level litigation, they do make exceptions for clients to brief me directly, or other professions (eg. accountants) to brief me on behalf of clients. These are called the ‘Direct Access Rules’.
I can be briefed on a ‘direct access’ basis for non-litigious matters such as giving advice or seeking rulings, and for tax disputes in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
If you brief me on this basis, there a few more formalities to go through. My ethical rules require me to contract with you on terms the Victorian Bar has approved (which are largely for your protection, including giving me the right to insist on being briefed through a solicitor, if I think it is in your interests). Also, I then need to give you all the fee and other disclosure that the solicitor would ordinarily give you (as required by s3.4.9 of the Legal Profession Act 2004).
This is not hard though. I will send you a letter (probably by email) confirming the brief and these disclosure requirements – attaching the standard terms and other more standard disclosure. You can then accept this offer in the way set out in the letter – usually by just continuing the brief, or by confirming agreement – say by return email.
I normally charge fees based on the number of hours or days that I work on a matter. You can ask my clerk about my fee rates (see on the link on the Home Page to my clerk).
I am prepared to discuss other bases of charging fees.
And I am prepared to consider rates below my normal rates for deserving cases. Please ask my clerk or me if you think this may apply.