Chakera v Kuzamanovic  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.
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