Rules 19.20 - 19.38 of the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) set out the process for disputing costs.
Party to party costs
From the 1 July 2008 only disputes about costs between parties (i.e. party to party costs) can be adjudicated by the Family Law Court. Where a party wishes to dispute the costs awarded to or against them a Notice Disputing Itemised Costs Account must be served on the other party within 28 days of being served with the account.
The parties to the dispute must make a reasonable and genuine attempt to resolve the dispute [See r 19.24(2)]. If the dispute cannot be resolved, either party can take it to court by filing the itemised costs account and a Notice Disputing Itemised Costs Account with the court no later than 42 days after the Notice Disputing Itemised Costs Account was served.
Disputes between lawyers and clients regarding costs are no longer dealt with by the Family Law Courts. Where a person has a dispute with their lawyer regarding costs they must make an application to the Supreme Court of South Australia under section 42 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA) for the resolution of the dispute.
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