Below are some examples of how are fee structure works and current fees.
How does fixed price billing work?
Oswald Legal Lawyers' method of billing is different from the general method utilised at other law firms and practices in Western Australia. Our system provides our clients with the certainty of their legal costs in what can be a difficult and uncertain period for them. Below are just a few examples of how fixed-price billing works and the benefits to our clients.
Please note that the following are examples only and do not indicate the price for our services. The fees we charge are based on a number of factors including the complexity of the case, the level of work you retain us for and the level of assistance you are able to provide in your matter.
Example 1 - Withdrawing or Defending a charge
John has been charged with assault. He believes that he was acting in self-defence at the time of the incident and intends to plead not guilty. He contacts Oswald Legal Lawyers and explains his situation. He informs us that there were independent witnesses and that the person he "assaulted" is known to be violent. We offer to review the statements of these witnesses and negotiate with police for the withdrawal of the charge, thereby avoiding John having to go to Court. For this work, John is quoted $1,000*. John agrees to this amount and upon instructions, we perform all of the work required to be undertaken including a review of the evidence and communication with the police. If the charges are withdrawn the only amount payable to us by John is $1,000.
If the police decide not to withdraw the charges, we inform John of his options. These may include going to trial or entering a guilty plea in mitigation. Depending on his choice, John may request a quote for our fees for either option. For example, we may quote John a fee of $2,500 for defending him at trial. This is the most that John will pay to us whether he wins or not (note however if John loses he may be required to pay the costs of the Court - approximately $113 for Magistrates Court plus any fine imposed). Even if the trial takes longer than we anticipated or we are required to do more work than we expected (provided John has not caused the delays), John is still only required to pay us the quoted fee of $3,500* (Comprising the original fee of $1,000 for the negotiation and $2,500 for the trial work). If John decided not to retain our services following an unsuccessful negotiation, the only fee payable by John is $1,000.
Example 2 - Pleading guilty to a charge
Mary has been charged with possession of cannabis. She accepts that the cannabis was in her possession and intends to plead guilty to the charge. However, she is concerned that she has a few other charges on her criminal record and is unsure what penalty she is facing. She contacts Oswald Legal Lawyers who inform her that they are able to assist her to draft a plea in mitigation for $1,000*. She accepts this and forwards to us the information we request. From this, we write a plea in mitigation for her to attend Court with to assist the Magistrate in deciding her sentence. The plea sets out relevant information that may reduce the penalty that she receives.
Alternatively, Mary expresses concern about standing up in Court and speaking to the Magistrate. We offer to represent her for $500. On the day of her hearing, we represent Mary and discuss her circumstances with the Court. Through our research, we demonstrate that the best way for the Court to deal with the matter is by way of a small fine and a spent conviction. Mary has also avoided the concern of appearing unrepresented and possibly making a mistake and has had a person who can discuss with her the proceedings and the likely outcome. The total that Mary has to pay us is $1,000 for the preparation of her plea in mitigation and $500 for our representation.
* Fees are set after consideration of the clients particular circumstances and the complexity of the matter. The amounts shown above are for illustration purposes only.
Example 3 - Defending a Restraining Order
Bob has been served with an interim restraining order. He contacts Oswald Legal Lawyers to see what his options are. To avoid a final order being made against him, we offer to enter into negotiations with the other party to enter into an undertaking. For this, we charge Bob $500*.
After a period of negotiations and amendments, the other party has agreed to enter into an undertaking. This means that Bob agrees to do, or refrain from doing certain things, such as going closer than 50m to the other person. The benefit to Bob is that he has not only avoided the costs of going to Court to defend the final order, but does not have to worry about being arrested if he accidentally breaches the undertaking (note however that if he breaches the undertaking the other party may request another restraining order from the Court)
Our most commonly accessed services are included below. (Note: We will negotiate with you regarding fees for these services and we will verify them with you prior to entering into a costs agreement)
- Negotiation with Police
- Negotiation with Other Parties (e.g. undertakings)
- Drafting a Plea
- Court Appearances
- Representation at Trial (Note: this is for up to one (1) day, being the average maximum length of a trial in the Magistrates Court)
*Does not apply to family or complex civil matters. We charge a low hourly fee for these matters and will provide you with an estimate of your costs at your first appointment.