When you first hire a lawyer, they will talk to you about how much their fees will be and about how their fees and other costs will be calculated. They will also give you this information in writing. Your lawyer will explain their charges at the end of your case – and at any time you ask.

But legal costs can still be puzzling. And people in a legal dispute often disagree about who should pay what. At times like these, a specialist group of lawyers can help.

Costs lawyers

Costs lawyers are regulated legal professionals who are experts in the law governing legal fees. They can help to resolve or prevent disagreements about legal fees.

For non-specialists, what the law says about legal fees can be hard to understand. The law on legal fees changes, too. That’s why solicitors, barristers, insurance companies and others involved in legal cases may choose to rely on costs lawyers.

In some types of case, legal costs are set or fixed by rules. In all other matters, legal costs must be “reasonable”. As a result, costs lawyers are often involved in disputes over whether legal costs are reasonable or not. Each side may hire a costs lawyer to argue for their position. 

Other ways costs lawyers can help

  • Prepare an invoice detailing the costs you are claiming (a “bill of costs”)
  • Review and challenge an invoice you have received from the other side in the case or from you own lawyer (including an invoice for a “success fee”, particularly relevant for personal injury claims)
  • Review and advise you on a proposed contract (a “retainer”) for legal services between you and a lawyer.
  • Review and advise you on costs estimates from your lawyer
  • Prepare costs estimates or budgets
  • Review and advise you on the budget of the other side in a legal case.
  • Negotiate about costs claims
  • Attend court hearings about costs

Some costs lawyers are qualified as legal project management practitioners or mediators. They can help you with those areas of a case, too.

If you think you might need help from a costs lawyer, you can search for one at the Costs Lawyer Standards Board website, or visit our gateway to regulators’ registers of legal professionals.

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