A bill usually summarises the work that your lawyer has done for you and gives a total amount of the legal costs for that work. You have a right to receive a bill before paying for legal work.

Lump Sum v Itemised bills

An itemised bill is one that states, in detail, the work the lawyer did, and the amount charged for each item of work.  

A lump sum bill is one that describes more generally the work done and specifies the legal costs associated with those services as a single amount.  

If you receive a lump sum bill, you may request an itemised bill from your lawyer. They must comply with this request within 28 days of the date it was made.  

Your lawyer must not charge for the preparation of an itemised bill. 

Your lawyer cannot commence proceedings to recover legal costs until: 

  • at least 30 days after delivering a lump sum bill, or 
  • 30 days after giving you an itemised bill if you requested one. 


Your lawyer is allowed to charge interest on unpaid legal costs where: 

  • it’s provided for in the costs agreement 
  • otherwise, 30 days after your lawyer has given you a bill for the legal costs. 

When charging interest, a bill must state that interest is payable and the rate of interest.