Shortly after you receive your licence to practice as a conveyancer, Kris makes an appointment to see you. During your meeting with Kris, he tells you that, about six months ago, he engaged a conveyancer, Piers Jones, to CLA for him to purchase a business. The transaction was settled two weeks ago, and Kris tells you he was pleased with how the transaction was handled and completed. Yesterday, Kris received a tax invoice from Pricy Jones for the fees associated with acting for Kris concerning the purchase of the business. Kris thinks the bill is exorbitant and seeks your advice on what he should do. In particular, Kris wafts to know how he might go about disputing the fees. Explain why you cannot advise him.
Having informed Kris that you would refer the matter to a solicitor within your firm, you are approached by Natasha, the solicitor to whom the issue has been referred. She says she will see Kris the following day and asks you to join her in that meeting. Natasha asks you to brief her before the discussion concerning the process for disputing costs under the CLA.
Prepare a brief for Natasha
Section 32(2) of CLA, Disclosure of Additional Matters to the clients: -
Section 37(2) of CLA, “If it is not reasonably practicable to make the disclosure before or when the licensee is retained, the disclosure is to be made as soon as practicable after the licensee is so retained.”
Section 39 of CLA says, “A disclosure is not required to be made under this Division when it would not be reasonable to require it.”
The current matter in regard to the tax invoice raised by Mr. Jones once the transaction has been completed in the last two weeks. As per the facts stated by the client, the tax invoice is the cost of fees which he acted on behalf of our client for purchasing the business. However, during the initial stage, Mr. Jones did not state any such fees before conducting the business, and he was bound to disclose all such information as per Sec. 32(2) of the CLA.
As Mr. Jones failed to comply with the rules and regulations of CLA, our client has the right to take further against him for non-disclosure of such cost during the business transaction. In the present matter, the jurisdiction comes under the ambit of the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal or NCAT. Further, NCAT can appoint an independent expert to assess the case and reach an arrangement or agreement to settle the dispute. Once the dispute has been settled, the NCAT shall pass an order.
Solution and Our Next Strategy
Our client has a right to notify NCAT regarding the dispute of the tax invoice u/s. 43(1) of CLA. However, filing such notice within 60 days is a limitation period. So our next strategy will be: -
Intimate to our client about the cost of dispute shall be borne by him as mentioned under Sec. 43(1) of CLA.
Australian Legal Informative Institute (Australia), < http://www.austlii.edu.au/>