Apply to set aside a cost agreement

We can only hear applications to set aside cost agreements where the client gave instructions to their lawyer before 1 July 2015. These are cases where the Legal Profession Act 2004 applies.

Applications to set aside costs agreements cannot be made where the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) applies.

We can only order a costs agreement to be set aside if it is not fair or reasonable under section 3.4.32 of the Act.

Order to pay legal costs

If a costs agreement is set aside, we may order that legal costs be calculated and paid to the lawyer. We would normally require that costs are calculated in line with Victorian or Commonwealth legislation.

Costs of the VCAT hearing

  • If the costs agreement is set aside, VCAT may order that the lawyer pays the client’s costs of the hearing Definition The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. .
  • If the costs agreement is not set aside, VCAT may order that the client pay the lawyer’s costs of the hearing.

Before you apply

Try to resolve the dispute directly with your lawyer. If that fails, you can seek the assistance of the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner to try to resolve the dispute. If the Legal Services Commissioner has not been able to resolve your case, you may apply to VCAT.

If you are applying to review a decision by the Legal Services Board you must attach a copy of the Board's decision to your application. When the form asks you to specify the Act that applies, specify the Legal Profession Act 2004.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

If you want to be represented by a lawyer or have some other professional representation at the final hearing tell the member Definition A person who hears and decides cases at VCAT. Some members are specialists in particular areas of law. at the directions hearing Definition A directions hearing is a hearing where a VCAT member decides how a case should be managed and how much time it will take.   .

The VCAT member who conducts the final hearing grants or refuses permission for you to be represented.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Cases VCAT can hear

We can hear applications to set aside cost agreements where the client gave instructions to their lawyer before 1 July 2015. These are cases where the Legal Profession Act 2004 applies.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

We cannot hear applications to set aside costs agreements if the client first gave instructions to the lawyer on or after 1 July 2015. This is because the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) does not provide for such an application.