4.3 – counsel costs and daily circuit fees

4.3 – counsel costs and daily circuit fees

Costs payable to counsel in Commonwealth family law and child support matters, including fees for counsel briefed by an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL), are listed in Counsel costs.

This fee table is effective from 1 January 2017. For fees payable prior to this date, See Archived versions of the handbook.

Counsel costs

State Magistrates' Court

Service/proceeding Fee
Daily fee, including conferences $408

Federal Circuit Court

Service/proceeding Fee
Pre-trial: brief to appear in opposed family law matters, matters anticipated to be opposed, ex parte orders $565
Defended matters: daily fee $1489
Conferences (maximum of 3 hours) $209 per hour
Take judgment $209

Family Court​

Service/proceeding Fee
Pre-trial: brief to appear in opposed family law matters, matters anticipated to be opposed $565
Appeals: single judge $1157
Appeals: full court $1489
Defended matters: daily fee $1489*
Conferences: (maximum of 3 hours) $209 per hour
Take judgment $209

Entitlements and co​nditions

Counsel costs w​hen briefed by an ICL

Federal family courts

Service/proceeding Fee
Conference (3 hours maximum at $209 per hour) Up to $627
Counsel fees (daily defended fee) $1489*
Take judgment $209

Entitlemen​ts and conditions

  • In ICL proceedings, counsel’s costs are only payable in addition to lump sum fees at the following court events/stages:
  • Fees for counsel briefed at Stage 1 – First court hearing and FDRS (ICLs) are to be paid out of the lump sum fee paid to the lawyer.
  • *In matters appearing in the Less Adversarial Trial stream, if the first day of trial is run as a directions hearing and no evidence is taken, the appropriate appearance fee is $565, and not the defended daily fee of $1489.
  • VLA requires that barristers are paid directly in ATLAS. To do this, it is important that at the heading of ‘Payee Service Provider’ in ATLAS, the lawyer should choose the appropriate barrister from the list and change the payee to the barrister for the payment to go directly to the barrister.
  • Counsel’s fees are not payable where a matter is in the list but not reached.
  • Lawyers can claim all fees online using ATLAS (unless not registered for GST).
  • The fee for taking judgment is available where the appearance is required on a separate day to receive the judgment.

Daily circu​it fees

Court Fee
Albury $336
Bairnsdale $324
Ballarat $207
Bendigo $242
Castlemaine $193
Geelong $177
Hamilton $336
Mildura $410
Morwell $247
Sale $292
Shepparton $280
Traralgon $248
Warrnambool $324

Entitle​ments and conditions

  • Circuit fees generally include travel, accommodation and compensation for being out of the office.
  • Lawyers claiming these fees must use ATLAS unless they are not registered for GST, in which case a tax invoice can be submitted.
  • Lawyers can claim these fees using ATLAS or submitting a tax invoice.