4.4 – Family Law Property Program professional costs

Fee table 4.4 sets out all professional fees payable to lawyers and counsel, and disbursements available, in Commonwealth family law property matters under the Commonwealth funded Family Law Property Program.

A ‘cost ceiling’ is the maximum amount which Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) will pay in costs and disbursements in any single grant of assistance for a Commonwealth family law matter. The cost ceiling for family law property matters is $17,464 (including GST).

This fee table is effective from 1 January this year.

Stage 1 – early intervention – dispute resolution

Stage 1B – preparation for early intervention FDRS

Service/proceedingsFee
Preparation for FDRS where the conference proceeds$624
Preparation for FDRS, where the conference does not proceed$208

Entitlements and conditions

  • Where the FDRS conference does not proceed for any reason and the lawyer seeks to claim the higher fee for advice and negotiation, the lawyer must provide evidence that substantial advice and negotiations have taken place.

Stage 1C – representation at early intervention FDRS conference

Service/proceedingsFee
1C – representation at early intervention FDRS conference$832
Distance allowance$208

Entitlements and conditions

  • Where the chairperson recommends another conference and/or the lawyer is of the view that a further conference will assist in resolving the dispute a lawyer may proceed to a further conference without an extension of assistance. The stage 1B – preparation for early intervention FDRS grant is not payable a second time.
  • An extension of assistance must be obtained to attend a third conference, and will not be automatically granted. This is at the discretion of the chairperson and evidenced on the client file.
  • A maximum of three conferences can be claimed in any one matter.
  • The distance fee is available where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 km from court and the lawyer is required to travel for the court event. The fee covers either the lawyer’s travel or briefing an agent.
Service/proceedingsFee
1D – preparing and filing consent orders$416

Entitlements and conditions

  • Where the dispute resolves at this stage, the lawyer can only claim the fee for preparing and filing consent orders without an extension where they prepare the consent orders and the orders are filed with the court.

Stage 2 – urgent litigation in property disputes in any court

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Prepare and appear in an application for an urgent injunctionMagistrates’ Court or FCFCOA$1257 (including appearance fee of $646)
First subsequent appearanceMagistrates’ Court or FCFCOA$646

Entitlements and conditions

  • Only one subsequent appearance fee is available in property matters involving applications for an urgent injunction. No further preparation fees are available where the subsequent appearance fee is claimed.

Stage 2C – initiating litigation, Magistrates’ Court

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Preparation and appearance in Commonwealth family law property matters (see stage 2C table note)Magistrates’ Court$2059 (including appearance fee of $466)
Subsequent appearance fees in property matters (see stage 2C table note)Magistrates’ Court$466

Stage 2C table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the Family Lawy Property Program, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • Where proceedings are transferred to the FCFCOA, the fee becomes a broadband grant, and the lawyer will be entitled to:
    • a transfer from state Magistrates' Court to the FCFCOA grant, and
    • in family law property matters, two further subsequent hearings, one compliance and readiness hearing and one trial management hearing in the FCFCOA grants.

without an extension of assistance.

No further preparation fees are available where a subsequent appearance fee is claimed.

Stage 2D – transfer from state Magistrates’ Court to the Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFCOA)

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Commonwealth family law property matters transferred from Magistrates’ Court to FCFCOA (see stage 2D table note)FCFCOA$1456 (including appearance fee of $646)
Distance allowance (see stage 2D table note)FCFCOA $208

Stage 2D table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the trial, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • The distance fee is available where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 km from court and the lawyer is required to travel for the court event. The fee covers either the lawyer’s travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 2E – initiating litigation, Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFCOA)

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Preparation and appearance (see stage 2E table note)FCFCOA$2496 (including appearance fee of $646)
Two subsequent appearance fees, one compliance and readiness hearing and one trial management hearings (see stage 2E table note)FCFCOA$1040 (including appearance fee of $646) each
Conciliation conferenceFCFCOA$837
Distance allowance (see stage 2E table note)FCFCOA$208

Stage 2E table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the Family Law Property Program, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • The grant is a broadband grant. A lawyer in receipt of an initiating litigation grant will be entitled to:
    • two subsequent appearance fees without an extension of assistance, and
    • fees for procedural appearances without an extension of assistance.
  • Where counsel is briefed under an initiating litigation grant, no additional fees are available. Fees for counsel are to be paid out of this fee.
  • Where the lawyer appears at any of the procedural events, the relevant fee is available without an extension of assistance.
  • The distance fee is available where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 km from court and the lawyer is required to travel for the court event. The fee covers either the lawyer’s travel or briefing an agent.

Procedural appearances

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Inspecting subpoenaed documents (see procedural appearances table note)FCFCOA$416
Appearance at defended subpoena list (see procedural appearances table note)FCFCOA$624
Telephone mention (see procedural appearances table note)FCFCOA$208
Mention, directions hearing or callover (see procedural appearances table note)FCFCOA$416

Procedural appearances table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the Family Law Property Program, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • The fee to attend court to inspect subpoenaed documents is payable per attendance, not per document. Lawyers are expected to minimise the need for multiple attendances to inspect documents. This is because the inspection of documents is considered to be preparation for trial and should primarily be covered by the trial preparation fees.

Stage 2G – interim contested hearing, Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFCOA)

Service/proceedingsCourtLump sum fee
Prepare for an interim contestFCFCOA$1040
Appearance in an interim contest hearing (defended daily fee) (see stage 2G table note)FCFCOA$1707
Take judgment (see stage 2G table note)FCFCOA$237

Stage 2G table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the Family Law Property Program, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • The interim contested hearing grant is a lump sum grant.
  • An interim contested hearing is any matter where the court allocates a specific fixture to hear the matter on a contested basis, but which is not the final hearing, ie any interim matter which could not be dealt with in the Registrars Duty List at a hearing, because the matter was particularly complex.
  • The fee for taking judgment is available where the appearance is required on a separate day to receive the judgment.
  • Conference fees are not payable under an interim contest grant.
  • Circuit fees (see fee table 4.3) or distance fees can be requested where appropriate.
  • The distance fee is available where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 km from court and the lawyer is required to travel for the court event. The fee covers either the lawyer’s travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 2I – application for enforcement or contempt proceedings, Federal Circuit and Family Court (FOFCOA)

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Application for enforcement or contempt of courtFCFCOA$2288
Distance allowance (see stage 2I table note)N/A$208

Stage 2I table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the Family Law Property Program, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • The enforcement and contempt of court grant is a lump sum grant. The grant includes all necessary appearances. No subsequent appearance fees are available.
  • The distance fee is available where the lawyer’s office is more than 50 km from court, and the lawyer is required to travel for the court event. The fee covers either the lawyer’s travel or briefing an agent.

Stage 3 – preparation for trial, Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFCOA)

Service/proceedingsCourtFee
Preparation for hearing, estimated at one dayFCFCOA$1248
Preparation for hearing, estimated at more than one dayFCFCOA$2080

Stage 4 – trial costs in the Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFCOA)

Service/proceedingFee
Defended matters: daily fee (see stage 4 table note)$1707
Conference (maximum of 3 hours) (see stage 4 table note)$237 per hour
Take judgement (see stage 4 table note)$237

Stage 4 table note: Parties with a concurrent legally aided parenting dispute can only claim for appearances fees, distance fees and fees for taking judgement under the Fee table 4: Commonwealth family law and child support matters, 4.1 – lawyer professional costs (excluding ICLs). For example, when inspecting subpoenaed material for party with a legally aided parenting dispute matter and a property matter under the Trial, the fee can only be claimed once, and it must be claimed under the parenting matter.

Entitlements and conditions

  • Counsel’s fees are not payable where matter is in the list but not reached.
  • Circuit fees (where applicable) are also payable (see fee table 4.3 – counsel costs and daily circuit fees).
  • Lawyers can claim these fees using ATLAS or by submitting an invoice (where not registered for GST).
  • Instructing fees are not available for lawyers when counsel is briefed to appear in family law matters, except for independent children’s lawyers in limited circumstances.
  • The fee for taking judgment is available where the appearance is required on a separate day to receive the judgment.

Disbursements – commonwealth family law property matters

Service/proceedingsFee
DisbursementsAll reasonable fees as assessed by VLA

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