Australia: Appendix 2 Sample Pro Bono Costs Agreement

Last Updated: 5 June 2012
Article by Tony Holland


Our ref: [ ]

Your ref: [ ]


[Addressee details]


Dear [Name]


Thank you for your instructions [state how/when instructions received]. We are pleased to be able to assist you in this matter.

At the outset, we need to enter into a Client Agreement with you setting out the terms on which we will assist you.

This letter, [if there are attachments insert, its attachments] and the enclosed Pro Bono Standard Conditions form our offer to enter into a Client Agreement with you. If there are any inconsistencies between the terms outlined in these documents, the terms stated in this letter will prevail.

Please read these documents carefully.

If they are acceptable to you, please sign and return the enclosed copy of this letter.

If they are not acceptable to you, please contact me immediately.

If you do not return a signed copy of this letter, but continue to provide us with information and instructions on your matter, we will assume that you have accepted our offer and the terms contained in these documents.


Our client in this matter will be [enter full legal name of specific client entity or, if client is an individual, insert words such as 'the person to whom the letter is addressed'] (you). Your advisor will be [enter full legal name] (we or us).


We will provide you with the following services in relation to your matter:

[Clearly set out the scope of the work so there is no dispute regarding the extent of our pro bono assistance].


We will not be providing advice on [list related issues/matters which we will not be advising on].


We confirm that [tasks, due dates or time for completion – set out what has been agreed as to timetable]. If we become aware that this timetable is likely to change we will notify you as soon as possible.


[Name], [title], is the legal practitioner who will primarily perform the work. [First name]'s direct line is [number]. Please contact [first name] if you would like to discuss anything in relation to the matter. [Name], [title] will also supervise [first name] and assist as necessary.

Where appropriate, we will adopt a team approach to ensure that your work is performed as efficiently as possible. A senior lawyer will always be responsible for your work. However, the senior lawyer may delegate tasks to other members of the team with the appropriate skill and experience.


We have agreed to act for you in this matter on a pro bono basis. This means that we will not charge you for our professional fees or for our [if not charging third party disbursements insert standard charges or disbursements if charging third party disbursements insert standard charges].

[Delete the following paragraphs if not charging for third party disbursements]

We will charge you for disbursements. Disbursements are expenses we incur on your behalf for services supplied or payments charged by third parties. We will incur such disbursements as agent for you and will only recover from you the amount paid by us to the third party (inclusive of any GST the third party has included in that amount).

Set out below is a list of the likely disbursements you will incur in this matter and an estimate of your total disbursements. However, this is only an estimate and is not binding on us. I will let you know if the estimate needs revising.



[type of disbursement] $[ ]
[type of disbursement] $[ ]
[type of disbursement] $[ ]
Estimated total disbursements $[ ]

We will obtain your approval and consent before we incur any disbursements which are not listed in the table above.

We will normally send you an account for disbursements monthly, but this may vary depending on the amount of disbursements incurred. In certain circumstances we may request that you provide us with the funds for such disbursements up front. We will place this money in our trust account in your name. Once we have issued you with an account for disbursements we are entitled to withdraw that money to pay for them.

Where possible, we will assist you to obtain funding for, or exemption from, third party disbursements. If we do receive any funding or are able to claim exemption from a disbursement incurred in your matter, and you have already paid us for the relevant disbursement, we will provide you with a refund up to the amount we have received or the amount of the exemption.


[Set out any review processes that are proposed or agreed]

We pride ourselves on the provision of a high quality service to our clients at all times. If you would like to discuss our performance, please contact [name]. If that does not resolve the situation, you can contact me [or our Team Leader, [name]].

Once again thank you for instructing us. We look forward to working with you. If you have any queries about any aspect of this letter [if relevant insert, its attachments] and the Pro Bono Standard Conditions please do not hesitate to contact us. Otherwise, please confirm your acceptance by signing the enclosed copy letter and returning it to us as soon as possible.


I agree to be bound by this letter [if relevant insert, its attachments] and the Pro Bono Standard Conditions.

After I have been issued with an account for disbursements in relation to this matter, I authorise and direct [insert full legal name] to recover such amounts out of any funds which they hold in their trust account on my behalf from time to time.

I consent to an external quality system accreditation authority accessing files in relation to my matter provided they do so on a confidential basis.

Signed: .....................................

[Client's name]

Dated: ___/___/___

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