民事诉讼中的法律费用问题 Costs in Civil Litigation | 澳法评
Civil litigation is a process that can help clients resolve disputes. However, in most cases, civil litigation is not the first recommended choice. Among them, the cost is one of the primary considerations leading to this phenomenon. In Queensland, the litigation process is roughly divided into the plaintiff/applicant making a claim or application and filing in the court, serving the sealed documents to the defendant/ respondent, the defendant/respondent’s filing notice of intention to defence, replying, disclosing, and hearing in court (if the defendant/ respondent does not respond to the plaintiff/ applicant’s request, the plaintiff/ applicant may apply for default judgment). In the context of different case facts and demands, it is difficult to make an exact cost estimate for all cases. Many clients do not have a clear understanding of the content of the bills they receive.
民事诉讼是可以帮助客户解决纠纷的过程。然而在大多数情况下民事诉讼并不是被推荐的第一选择。其中，费用是导致这种现象的主要考虑因素之一。在昆士兰州，诉讼的阶段大致分为原告在法院建立档案提出主张申请， 送达申请给被告， 被告发出辩护的意向的通知，回复，披露，出庭（如果被告不对原告请求做出答辩时，原告可申请缺席判决）。在不同的案件事实和诉求的环境下，很难对所有案件做出统一的费用预估。很多客户在对收到的账单的内容理解并不清晰。
What are included in litigation costs？
There are two methods to calculate solicitor fees. The first is based on time, charging a fixed fee per hour, and calculating the number of hours worked for the client. The second is to calculate according to different types of work. The basis of the calculation has been described in the relevant regulations.
Solicitors play different roles in each stage of litigation.
Before entering the proceedings
Before entering the litigation process, the solicitor will conduct a preliminary assessment of the matter, give the client suggestions and the possibility of a successful resolution, and the options for promoting the resolution. The solicitor will wait for the client to give instructions on the next step. After obtaining the client’s instructions for litigation, the solicitor will draft relevant documents for the client, file them to the court, and serve a copy of the sealed documents to the other parties involved in the matter.
As the responding party, the solicitor will draft defence documents for the client and file them with the court.
Alternative dispute resolution
Even if the client has decided to go to court, alternative dispute resolution methods can still be considered as a way to solve the problem. The solicitor will represent the client in mediation or negotiation with the opposing lawyer. This approach can help clients save time and money, and is conducive to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere for both parties.
Some ancillary issues need to be resolved before the core dispute be hearing at the court. Both parties can make interlocutory steps in litigation, such as interlocutory applications. These steps ensured the smooth progress of the trial.
During the trial, the solicitor will attend on behalf of the client, answer questions from the judge and the opposing lawyer, and submit relevant evidence documents and submission for the final conclusion.
When the case becomes complicated, the solicitor will recommend that the client choose a barrister to participate in the litigation. The solicitor will organize and brief over all relevant documents of the case to the barrister. The fees of a barrister are related to the lawyer’s experiences.
The expense for Expert witness
In civil litigation, experts in related fields may be required to provide professional analysis. The solicitor will consider for the client whether to introduce expert testimony or evidence to support the client’s trial. Experts who give testimony need to be approved by the court.
When a civil dispute is hearing, the court will make a judgment on the cost. Cost orders will occur at any stage of the trial, including after the trial. The cost judgment can be for the entire trial process; it can also be for a specific issue in the trial process or a particular part of the trial process. In Queensland, the general principle is ‘costs follow the event’. The court will require the losing party to pay part or all of the winning party’s legal costs, which may include the fees of the barrister, expert testimony support costs, and filing fees.
In civil litigation, related litigation fees are required to be paid to the court according to the needs of different cases, such as file registration fees, case acceptance fees, and summons issuance fees.
The solicitor will communicate with the client during the litigation service process to explain the expenses that will be incurred in the future, and list the details of the above expenses in the bill.
In conclusion, litigation is one of the most potent methods for civil dispute resolution. However, compared to other alternative dispute resolutions, civil litigation requires more time and high costs. These costs may contain:
1. payment for solicitors
2. payment for barristers
3. payment for expert evidence
4. Court’s order of cost
5. other litigation-related expenses
Based on the consumption of time and costs, clients ought to carefully choose whether to commence civil litigation after seeking relevant legal advice.
总的来说, 诉讼是处理民事纠纷的重要方式之一。然而，相较于其他代替性纠纷处理方式， 民事诉讼时间更长，费用更高。这其中可能包括事务律师费用，出庭律师费用，专家证据证言费用以及法庭判决中要求支付的费用等等。客户应当在咨询相关法律意见后谨慎选择是否进行民事诉讼。