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Cost Disclosure Agreement 


The Law requires us to make disclosures to our customers.  

No oral communication shall prevail over the Costs Agreement and Disclosure and you agree and confirm that you did not, and will not in future, rely upon any oral communication that is not later reduced to writing and communicated by us to you. 

You accept our offer of legal services if you:  

sign and return the Costs Agreement; or 

continue to instruct us (either orally or in writing) to perform work, whether or not you sign the Costs Agreement. 


In this Disclosure a reference to the following words has the meaning set out adjacent to them, unless the context in which the words are used requires otherwise: 

Costs Agreement means the costs agreement which is the offer we have made to you to enter into an agreement for the provision of legal services which covers the payment of Legal Costs and other matters governing the provision of legal services to you or at your request; 

Disbursements or Outlays means moneys we spend or incur or are able to spend or incur on your behalf, examples of which are included in the Costs Agreement and this Disclosure;   

Disclosure means this document; 

Law means: 

for New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia – the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (VIC & NSW), Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2022 (WA) and the Legal Profession Uniform Law 

for QueenslandLegal Profession Act 2007 (QLD) 

for South AustraliaLegal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA) 

together with its respective regulations. 

Legal Costs means Professional Fees and Disbursements or Outlays; 

Professional Fees means the fees we charge for the performance of work on any one or more of our lawyers or staff on your matter or for any work that we undertake at your request; 

Service and Fee Schedule means the Service and Fee Schedule which can be found on our website which outlines the available services, scope of work, related fees and additional services or charges that may be applicable to your matter or transaction. 

Settle Easy – QLD Pty Ltd ACN 649 413 605 is referred to as ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ or ‘Settle Easy’. 

The customer is referred to as ‘you’ or ‘your’. 

Incorporated Status 

Settle Easy – QLD Pty Ltd is an incorporated legal practice and we advise that: 

all legal services will be provided by an Australian Legal Practitioner or otherwise be supervised by an Australian Legal Practitioner; 

the provision of legal services is regulated by the Law however the provision of non-legal services is not regulated by that legislation; and 

the information in this paragraph is provided to you in relation to all matters on which you may instruct us on an ongoing basis. 

Legal Costs – Your Rights 

You have the right to: 

  • Negotiate a costs agreement with us; 
  • Receive a bill of costs from us; 
  • Request an itemised bill of costs after you receive a lump sum bill from us; 
  • Request written reports about the progress of your matter and the Legal Costs incurred in your matter; 
  • Apply for Legal Costs to be assessed if you are unhappy with our Legal Costs; 
  • Apply for the Costs Agreement to be set aside; 
  • Accept or reject any offer we make for an interstate costs law to apply to your matter; 
  • Notify us that you require an interstate costs law to apply to your matter; and 
  • Be notified of any substantial change in the matters disclosed in this notice. 
  • If there is a dispute or you are unhappy with costs, in the first instance we kindly ask that you raise any issues with us. 

If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can contact the regulatory authority, that being the Legal Services Commissioner or Law Society in the state or territory in which the services are being provided. We can provide you with the best contact details if you are unsure about who to contact. 

Scope of Work 

The scope of work that we undertake for you is set out in this Costs Agreement and our engagement letter and is strictly limited to the work involved in a standard transaction of its type (Scope of Work). 

Any work that falls outside of the Scope of Work will be an additional cost payable by you. A list of additional costs or charges is set out in the Service and Fee Schedule. 

If you would like us to undertake any additional work not included within the Scope of Work or those services listed in the Service and Fee Schedule, then please make a request in writing and we will advise as soon as possible whether we can action your request. 

If you instruct us to exclude any steps or work that is generally considered usual and necessary for a standard transaction or to save on any costs by not taking a certain action, such as ordering searches ordinarily required, then you acknowledge that you accept any and all risks associated with the exclusions and waive any right to make a claim against us for any costs or loss you may suffer as a direct or indirect result of the exclusions. 

Unless we specifically agree, our Scope of Work does not include giving financial, commercial or taxation advice, town planning advice, advising on the commercial viability of any transaction, advising on your financial capacity to enter into or complete a transaction, advising on the financial viability or stability of any other party involved in the transaction and whether that other party is capable of performing its obligations. We may also specifically exclude other matters. 

How are your Professional Fees Calculated? 

In general terms, your Professional Fees will either be calculated on the basis of a lump sum estimate or a fixed fee as set out in the Costs Agreement or Service and Fee Schedule. 

If we provide a fixed fee for the work, our fee will be based on the agreed Scope of Work but will not cover any additional services that may be required as a result of any variation in the Scope of Work. Please note this amount will not include Disbursements. We may vary this fee with your consent if the circumstances, scope or requirements upon which we based our fee vary. 

In the event that your matter or a transaction is terminated or cancelled, we will invoice you an administration fee as set out in the Service and Fee Schedule and may invoice an additional amount proportionate to the amount of work performed as assessed by a senior member of our team. 

If additional legal work is required which is outside the Scope of Work or otherwise not set out in the Service and Fee Schedule then we may cost the work at time costing rates which are as follows: 

  • Principal Lawyer: $500.00 per hour 
  • Senior Lawyer: $400.00 per hour 
  • Junior Lawyer: $300.00 per hour 
  • Conveyancer or Paralegal: $200.00 per hour 

Time will be charged in 6-minute intervals – with 6 minutes being the minimum interval recorded for professional services. For example, the time charged for an attendance of up to 6 minutes will be one unit and the time charged for an attendance between 7 and 12 minutes will be 2 units. 


We must give you, on reasonable request, a written report of the progress of your matter and the Legal Costs incurred by you to date, or since our last invoice to you.  

Trust Account 

You are not obliged to use our trust account for any transaction, however sometimes this may be necessary in order to settle your transaction. If we instruct you to use our trust account, or you request the use of our trust account, you will need to comply with the following requirements. If you do not comply with these requirements, you acknowledge that you will not be insured in the event of loss or fraud and you will indemnify Settle Easy against any claim. 

You must: 

  • advise your conveyancer or lawyer that you intend to use our statutory trust account; 
  • call and speak to your conveyancer or lawyer to verify the statutory trust account details which would have been provided to you by email or other secure exchange; 
  • provide evidence of transfer (copies of transfer or deposit receipts) to your conveyancer or lawyer as soon as possible and in any event no later than 2 business days after the transfer is made. 
  • If we receive money into our trust account on your behalf, you authorise us to draw on that money to pay any amount due from you to us.  
  • Use of our trust account may incur a trust account administration fee and any associated bank cheque fees. You can find these in the Service and Fee Schedule (if applicable). 

Disbursements or Outlays 

In addition to Professional Fees, you agree to pay all Disbursements or Outlays incurred by us in acting for you or acting in accordance with your instructions. These include search fees, enquiry fees, registration fees, courier fees, cost of expert consultants, filing and lodgement fees, banking charges, government revenue charges, stamp duty, transaction specific banking charges. 

If we become liable to pay any interest on any liability for Disbursements as a consequence of delay on your part, then you agree to us passing that charge on to you. 

Where possible, we will give you an estimate of these costs. 

You acknowledge that certain Disbursements or Outlays may have a mark- up or surcharge which is to compensate us for general care and attendance in sourcing and securing the disbursement or outlay and otherwise any discounts we have negotiated with a provider directly. A general summary of surcharges or markups are set out below: 

  • Victoria Searches: between 50-70% 
  • New South Wales and South Australia: between 25-50% 
  • Queensland and Western Australia: 25-50% 

For searches where the cost to us exceeds $100.00, such as body corporate certificate or owners corporation certificates, the markup will be capped at 20%. 


Except where a fixed price has been agreed, our invoices will describe:  

  1. the date of each attendance; 
  2. the author who did the work for the relevant attendance; 
  3. the service performed on each occasion;  
  4. the total of the time charged by the author for the billing period;  
  5. the Disbursements and out of pocket expenses incurred on your behalf;  
  6. any amounts held to your credit in trust;  
  7. the total amount payable by you.  
  8. Accounts will be issued either monthly, upon completion of the matter or at another appropriate point for billing purposes, as set out in the Service and Fee Schedule.  
  9. We may suspend work on your matter if your payment of an invoice is overdue.  
  10. You hereby authorise and request us to provide invoices to you electronically.  
  11. We reserve the right to withdraw an invoice and to issue an invoice prepared by an independent legal costs consultant for a different amount if:  
  12. the invoice contains a material error or omission;  
  13. the invoice remains unpaid after 7 days from the date of issue; or  
  14. if the amount of the invoice in a reasonable opinion (based on a review of your file, an assessment of our costs and disbursements or for some other reason) does not accurately reflect the correct amount of our costs. 

In the circumstances referred to in (5) we will withdraw the invoice and substitute it for an itemised invoice prepared by an independent legal costs consultant, which may be for an amount greater than the invoice originally provided to you (irrespective of any reductions agreed with you regarding the amount of our costs).  

At our discretion, our costs may be assessed by an independent legal costs consultant. The independent legal costs consultant may prepare a short form assessment of costs, and the cost of the assessment will be charged and payable by you as a disbursement. If you elect not to have our costs assessed by an independent legal costs consultant you must give us those instructions in writing.  

Failure to Pay our Bill 

Our bills are payable on receipt. If you do not pay a bill within thirty (30) days of us giving you the bill then you agree to pay to us interest on the same from the date when each account sent to you states it was due for payment at the rate prescribed under the Law. 

You also agree that we may charge Legal Costs for all reasonable attendances needed to collect payment of outstanding debts on a time basis. If you do not pay our account then we are entitled to exercise a solicitor’s lien. The lien allows us to retain all your documents and trust funds until the account is paid. 

You acknowledge that this is a genuine pre-estimate of the amount that we have lost as a consequence of your breach of our retainer with you. 

More than one Client 

Where we are acting for more than one person on a particular matter each of you will be jointly and severally responsible for payment of all bills issued by us. 


Unless otherwise specified, the Legal Costs described in this Costs Agreement or Service and Fee Schedule for the supply of services are exclusive of GST. If we do quote a GST exclusive fee then, if GST is payable in relation to any goods or services we supply, the amount of GST will be added to the GST exclusive supply price attributable to any supply and is payable by you at the time our bill is given to you. 

We can also ask you to pay any GST which we may have to pay on reimbursement of Disbursements in excess of any input tax credit which we are entitled to receive for the Disbursements. We will advise you of the amount you have to pay for GST on Legal Costs when our bill is given to you. The amount is payable by you when our bill is given to you. 

Advance Payments 

At the commencement of a matter, or thereafter from time to time, we may ask you to deposit money into our trust account to cover our anticipated Legal Costs. 

We may require further advance payments to be made as the matter proceeds. By Law, we can only accept retainer payments into our trust account by electronic funds transfer or by cheque (not credit card). 

We are unable to commence work or continue work (as the case may be) on your behalf if these payments into trust are not made. 

Termination of this Agreement  

You may terminate our engagement with you and withdraw your instructions at any time and for any reason.  

We may also terminate our engagement and cease to act for you for lawful cause or if you:  

  • breach any of the terms set out in this Costs Agreement;  
  • require us to act unlawfully or unethically;  
  • fail to give us adequate instructions;  
  • directly or indirectly indicate or suggest you have lost confidence in us;  
  • fail to pay for any accounts in accordance with our credit terms or to provide money to be paid into trust as may be required under the terms of this Costs Agreement;  
  • lose legal capacity; or 
  • engage other lawyers to conduct the work or matter to which the engagement relates.  

We will give you reasonable notice if we intend to terminate our engagement.  

If our engagement is terminated by either of us you agree, we are entitled to all Legal Costs up to the termination and will be entitled to retain possession of your file and all of your documentation until payment of those fees and costs is received by us. You acknowledge and agree that we have such a lien over your file and documentation.  

If the matter involves a fixed fee or lump sum fee, you must pay the part of our fixed fee or lump sum fee that we reasonably estimate has been incurred in respect of the legal services provided to you up to the date of termination (either by time spent or the value of the work provided up to that time), plus fees for other items, expenses and disbursements, subject to your right to a costs assessment.  

Copyright and Retention of Documents  

We may use precedents and other tools in providing our services to you. You have a right to use the documents we prepare for you only for the purposes for which they are supplied. Unless otherwise agreed, we retain the copyright in any documents that we prepare for you. 

You consent to:  

  • your documents being held in electronic form; 
  • us destroying any paper duplicates at any time;  
  • us transferring your documents to you in electronic format.  
  • At the completion of this matter and if all outstanding Legal Costs are paid: 
  • we may write to you to seek instructions about the collection or transfer of your documents without charge, or the destruction of your documents; and 
  • if you do not collect or provide instructions to transfer or destroy your documents, please note the relevant legislation provides that we may destroy a client document relating to a matter if— 
  • it is at least 7 years since the completion of the matter; and 
  • we have been unable, despite making reasonable efforts, to obtain instructions from you about the destruction of the document; and 
  • it is reasonable in the circumstances, having regard to the nature and content of the document, to destroy the document. 

You should retain for safekeeping all original documents that are provided to you. You agree that we may destroy all documents and correspondence that we receive in hardcopy form, other than those original documents that are returned to you.  

You agree that we may store documents and correspondence relevant to your matter electronically in servers hosted by third parties located outside of our premises. 

Taking Instructions from more than one Client 

Where we are acting for more than one person on a particular matter, unless you tell us in writing otherwise, we may accept instructions in relation to work to be conducted for you from either one of you. 

Where the client is a company, unless you tell us in writing otherwise, we may accept instructions in relation to the work to be conducted and all matters in which we act on behalf of the company, from any one of its directors or any person we reasonably believe to be the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, general manager, in-house lawyer or its company secretary or a person we have been told (verbally or otherwise) has such authority without confirming those instructions with the other directors or the secretary of the company.  

We are also entitled to assume that any person who has been a director or secretary of the company is still a director or secretary until we have been notified in writing otherwise by the company. 

Information or instructions given by one client may be shared with the other joint client(s). 

If one of you insists that information or instructions be withheld from the other(s), we will have to cease acting for all of you. 

If a conflict arises between you as joint clients, you all need to engage new solicitors and you may incur additional Legal Costs. 


We respect your right to privacy and we are committed to safeguarding the confidentiality and security of personal information. We adhere to the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). 

Personal information about you, provided by you or other sources, is protected under the Privacy Act.  

You authorise us to disclose such information where necessary to others in furtherance of your matter (e.g. within the law practice, to the Court, the other party or parties to litigation, to valuers, experts, barristers etc). 

You agree that we may disclose your personal information to any of our employees, officers, related companies, insurers, professional advisers, agents, suppliers or subcontractors insofar as reasonably necessary for the purposes set out in the Costs Agreement, Disclosure or our Privacy Policy (which can be accessed on our website). 

We may also share your information with: 

  • our service providers and other third parties (who may be located overseas) so that they can assist us to provide you with ancillary products and services; and 
  • an organisation that has an alliance with us to share information for marketing or analytics purposes (and any of its outsourced service providers or agents), to enable them or us to provide you with products or services;  
  • and/or to promote a product or service that may be of interest to you. 

We may receive a referral fee from the third parties to whom we disclose your personal information.  

We will take reasonable steps to ensure that any such third party treats your personal information in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles and our Privacy Policy. 


We will not accept any responsibility if post or parcels sent from or to our office are lost and we are not liable for any loss or damage if post or parcels are lost in transit, to or from you. 


On occasion clients ask us to sign or lodge caveats in the Land Registry on their behalf. This can render us personally liable for a damages claim if it is determined that the client has no right to lodge the caveat. For this reason you agree that if you ask us to execute or lodge a caveat in the Land Registry on your behalf then you shall accept personal liability in relation to the caveat and shall unconditionally and irrevocably guarantee and indemnify us against any and all claims, damages, liabilities and expenses which may be made or brought against or suffered or incurred by us in relation to the caveat. 


We aim to provide you with the best possible property and conveyancing experience but if you have any questions or concerns about your transaction, we ask that you: 

write to the conveyancer or lawyer who has carriage of your matter setting out your questions or concerns. Your questions or concerns will be addressed with two business days; 

if you are not satisfied with the response then we kindly ask that you escalate your matter to our Chief Legal and Risk Officer by emailing: failing that, you can seek assistance from your local regulatory authority. 

You agree that you will not post any negative comments on social media sites or search engine review tools (for example Google) unless you have notified us of your concerns and we have failed to respond. We reserve the right to ask you to remove any material that you post if you fail to comply with this term. If you fail to comply with our request and your complaints are proven to be false, we reserve the right to claim any losses suffered as a result of your actions. 


A referral fee is a sum of money or other reward paid directly or indirectly for the referral of your matter in accordance with a referral or partnership agreement. We may receive referrals, for which we may pay a referral fee. Or we may give referrals, for which we may receive a referral fee. 

The referral or the payment or receipt of the referral fee has no impact on our professional fee structure, or the fees you must pay to us. 

We use our marketing budget to engage with the wider property industry. We like to reward those parties who make the administration of our property transactions easier, simpler and more convenient, thereby saving our customers on fees and time. This also means our conveyancing fees remain competitive and our services remain at a high standard. 

We make it very clear to referral partners that we owe our obligations and duties to our customers and we do not act on referrals where a conflict of interest exists. 

We do not allow any referrer to influence the nature, style and extent of our engagement. 

You are under no obligation to accept a referral to our services, or to third party services we recommend. You may use the services of an alternative service provider. 

For the avoidance of doubt, we are committed to providing the best service to you and will only accept a referral to act for you, or refer you to a third-party service provider, if we believe there is no conflict and you will benefit from the service. 

General Matters 

Any amendments to this Costs Agreement must be made in writing or if agreed verbally between us, must be confirmed in writing within a reasonable time after such verbal agreement. 

From time to time the advice given by us in the course of your matter will be based on assumptions or qualifications and those assumptions or qualifications will be set out in the advice. We will not be liable for any part of our advice that is conditional upon any of those assumptions in circumstances where further information or events make any part of our advice incorrect. 

To the extent permitted by law, you agree that our liability for any loss or damage you suffer as a result of the professional services or advice given to you is capped at $1,500,000.00. 

We retain ownership of all copyright (including all moral rights) in all contracts, agreements, declarations, forms and other documents (Documents) created and developed by us to the extent to which we are lawfully entitled to assert ownership of that copyright. We retain and reserve all rights at all times with respect to copyright ownership in the Documents. 

You agree that we may use email to communicate with you (including for issuing bills and statements) and may use the email address that you provide to us for that purpose. 

You agree to release us from any liability for any loss which you might incur if an email is intercepted or corrupted during transmission or if a document which we prepare for you is altered by you or any other party without our written consent. 

This agreement is governed by the laws of the State or Territory in which the property the subject of the transaction is located and each of us agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of that jurisdiction. 

In the event we are unable to perform our services under the terms of the Cost Agreement because of an Act of God, any pandemic, epidemic or endemic or interruptions arising from such, labor difficulties, strikes, equipment or transmission failure or damage reasonably beyond our control, we will not be liable to you for any damages resulting from the failure to perform our services or otherwise resulting from that failure. 

You agree that we can assign, novate or otherwise transfer any of our rights or obligations under the Costs Agreement we have entered into with you without the need to obtain your consent. You agree that if we merge or amalgamate with another law firm or restructure to another trading entity that we can transfer your file and all documents held on your behalf to that other firm or other entity. 

The Costs Agreement may be executed, in original form or by electronic signature, and in any number of counterparts each of which will be considered to constitute the same instrument. 

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