The costs recovery process is influenced by a number of factors, including whether or not you have been through formal costs assessment.
If you have unpaid invoices or other costs that you would like to recover, you might be unsure if it is too late to take action. Read on to find out more about recovering costs, and how we can help…
When can you recover costs?
Recovering costs from another party pursuant to a court order is not subject to a time limitation in NSW. This means that there is no date on which the court will refuse to accept an application for assessment on the basis that it is too late after the orders have been made.
For costs assessments which do not derive from a court order – including practitioner/client, practitioner/practitioner and third party assessments – under the Legal Profession Uniform Law there is a 12-month time limit within which an application for assessment should be filed from the date of the final invoice. There are circumstances where a court will grant a client or third party leave to lodge an application for assessment after the 12-month period.
At Blue Ribbon Legal, we take care of all types of costs assessments from drafting the application, filing and serving the documents, preparing submissions, reviewing the determination and advising you on the next steps.
The assessment process is different to court proceedings to recover costs, which is similar to debt recovery action.
Once the costs assessment process is finalised, the court will issue a determination that can be registered with the court as a judgment — this is the same as obtaining a court judgment in your favour. Judgment debts can be enforced for 12 years after the date of the judgment in NSW.
Where a solicitor issues an invoice to a client and it remains unpaid, neither party have applied for costs assessment and more than 12 months has passed, the solicitor can commence court proceedings to recover the unpaid costs for up to 6 years from the date of invoice. This 6-year time limit applies to most debts under the Limitation Act (NSW) At Blue Ribbon Legal, this type of formal debt recovery is another of the services that we provide.
At Blue Ribbon Legal, we also offer services related to different kinds of enforcement action, including garnishee orders and bankruptcy. There are various ways to enforce a judgment, and the choice of enforcement action will depend on the circumstances. For example, the Sheriff’s office may become involved, or you may be able to can seek orders against property owned by the person that owes you money. One of these options – a garnishee order – is discussed below.
What is a garnishee order?
A garnishee order is a court order that money owed to you be repaid by a third party on behalf of the person who owes you money, for example a bank (bank account) or employer (salary). It requires an application to the court. . Multiple garnishee orders can be applied for, until the debt is repaid in full.
How can we help?
At Blue Ribbon Legal, we provide a range of services, including legal proceedings to recover costs, costs assessments and enforcement action. If you need assistance with a costs dispute, we encourage you to get in touch. Our team is able to provide expert evidence and will guide you through the best course of action, depending on your specific needs.
If you would like to arrange a consultation with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or give us a call on (02) 8599 3100.