Judge lambasts law firm over bill to client
19 May 2017
An Australian judge has berated a law firm for its "entirely cynical"
behaviour in refusing to provide a former client with an itemised bill.
Sydney firm Brydens Lawyers acted on a personal injury case for Tan Thanh Le, who had been injured in a forklift accident at work. Le switched to another law firm, and was successful in his claim. The court awarded costs to Le, but his employer disputed the sum and so an independent assessment of costs was required.
When Le asked Brydens lawyers to provide a breakdown of their bill of AUS $304,688, the firm refused, and tried to argue that a 12 month time limit had expired.
Le was met with a helpful response from Brydens
Le made an application to court for Brydens to provide the itemised bill.The court took a very dim view of Brydens' antics. Justice Schmidt blasted the firm saying that it had failed to "abide by its statutory obligations
" and instead relied on "hopeless technical points
" in fighting its former client. The judge added that Brydens was aware that Le (who was originally from Vietnam) had a "limited command of English
" and should have consented to his application to have the costs assessed.
The court ordered Brydens to pay Le's costs in having to make the application to court.