Navigating Costs Applications in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia: What You Need to Know

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By Shannon Jenkin, Lawyer


In family law proceedings, it is customary for each party to bear their own legal costs. There are, however, several exceptions to this.

Types of costs

Solicitor/client costs, are the fees a lawyer charges a client for providing legal services in accordance with their signed cost agreement.

Party party costs are payments made by one party to another as specified by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (“the Rules”) or a Court order. Typically, these costs are calculated in accordance with Schedule 3 of the Rules, or may be fixed by the Court.

Indemnity costs are all reasonable legal expenses and disbursements incurred by a party during the proceedings.

When can I apply for costs?

A costs application can be made where a party can prove there are circumstances that justify an order, for example having regard to the conduct of a party or non-compliance with Orders, or if a party has been wholly unsuccessful in the proceedings. The Court must also have regard to the parties’ financial circumstances (See S 117 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)). A cost application arising from an outcome in the proceedings must be filed within 28 days of the decision.

The Importance of Legal Guidance

It’s essential to recognise that navigating costs applications within the Court can be challenging. Therefore, having experienced legal representation is crucial for comprehending your rights and obligations regarding costs. If you have any questions or uncertainties related to costs, we encourage you to reach out to our team of skilled lawyers who can provide valuable assistance and steer you in the right direction.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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