This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Lady Penelope 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #36315
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    nochance
    Flatchatter

    After three years in NCAT, and not actually ever having a chance to be heard, I ended up losing my case (god knows how) and have now been stuck with a bill of $75000 from the builders lawyer that literally destroyed my house

    Does anyone know anything about NCAT. I recently had a dispute in NCAT and the builder somehow managed to get a lawyer (which I had no idea you could do) I lost my case and was then given a $75000 bill from his lawyer … the claim was for $33000 and was put in because this builder not only didn’t finish the job but destroyed the house.

    My legal bill was only $9000. I’m now confused as to how his lawyer, who put in no evidence against my 187 pages of evidence has created a $75000 bill over 6 hearing dates.

    Can anyone help me out with an answer or where I can go to get one?

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Jimmy-T.
    #36319
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Unless you had an agreement before the case was heard that the loser would pay all costs, you have to be guided by NCAT which rarely if ever awards costs and certainly not on this scale.

    I have a feeling that the lawyer may be trying it on and, on that basis, I would be raising a complaint with the Legal Services Commissioner. 

    Lawyers don’t get to decide how much the other side of a dispute pays. That is up to judges and NCAT Members.  Perhaps the builder has left the lawyer in the lurch and they are just trying to cover their costs.

    But click on that link, talk to someone at the Legal Services Commission and take it from there.  Keep us posted on how you go.

    #36320
    Sir Humphrey
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    The state and territory Tribunals are intended to be low cost, often able to be run without lawyers, and generally don’t award costs except in unusual circumstances. If the lawyer has just given you their bill or the builder has passed it on to you, I don’t think you need to pay it. They are bluffing. For you to be liable to pay the bill, they would have needed to apply to the Tribunal to award costs, specified what those costs were, shown that they were reasonable, and then the Tribunal might have ordered you to pay those costs. Generally the loser in a matter is only ordered to pay costs if the Tribunal believes they have been uncooperative or caused the other party’s costs to be excessive through unreasonable behaviour. The Tribunal would generally provide written reasons for such a decision along with its orders.

    Edit: And do what JT says, above.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Sir Humphrey.
    #36329
    Lady Penelope
    Lady Penelope
    Strataguru

    I have noticed, in Qld at least, an increase in successful claims in QCAT for costs based on the characterization of the applicant (generally an owner) by the respondent (generally the body corp or committee – who often use the services of a lawyer) as being a vexatious litigant, or of the claims being frivolous.

    I have found this to be a harsh and intimidating way of dealing with a frustrated owner (applicant) who has  problems that are often genuinely concerning.

    Although the use of the Tribunals is supposed to be a way of reducing costs it seems that those with the deepest pockets have the advantages.

     

    #36488
    Avatar
    Whoopi
    Flatchatter

    It was my understanding if costs are awarded there is a specific process to arrive at the correct amount. Does not sound to me like this process has happened. Did they put in a submission on costs ? If they did, you would have seen it. It would have been sent to you.  Then the Tribunal  decides if costs are awarded. You would have also received a letter from the tribunal saying whether costs were awarded or both parties bear their own costs. If the letter regarding  cost did not come from the Tribunal I would have a high index of suspicion.  I think Jimmy is right. Good luck.

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