Chakera v Kuzamanovic [2003] VSC 92

Chakera v Kuzamanovic [2003] VSC 92 is a decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria’s Justice Nettle in relation to the effect of a default under the costs disclosure regime under the Legal Practice Act, 1996. It stands for the proposition that in the case of complete non-compliance with the costs disclosure regime, the solicitor is still entitled to recover legal costs, albeit possibly on a reduced basis. The consequences of non-disclosure were spelt out in s. 91 of the Act. That section made it clear that costs were recoverable on a quantum meruit basis even where there was no valid costs agreement. All sounds pretty obvious now, but a Magistrate, tactfully unnamed, was adamant that non-compliance with s. 86 of the Legal Practice Act, 1996 meant that no fees for work done in a retainer could be recovered. ‘Nonsense!’, Justice Nettle said.

Today, the correlate of s. 86 of the old Act is s. 3.4.9,and the correlate of s. 91 is the rather more complicated s. 3.4.17.

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