4.3 – counsel costs and daily circuit fees

4.3 – counsel costs and daily circuit fees

These tables list costs payable to counsel in Commonwealth family law and child support matters, fees for counsel briefed by an Independent Children's Lawyer (ICL) and daily circuit fees.

This fee table is effective from 1 January 2018. 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 $416

Federal Circuit Court

Stage 4 – trial costs in the federal family courts

Service/proceeding Fee
Pre-trial: brief to appear in opposed family law matters, matters anticipated to be opposed, ex parte orders $576
Defended matters: daily fee $1518
Conference (maximum of 3 hours) $213 per hour
Take judgement $213

Family Court​

Stage 4 – trial costs in the federal family courts

Service/proceeding Fee
Pre-trial: brief to appear in opposed family law matters, matters anticipated to be opposed $576
Defended daily fee $1518*
Conferences (maximum of 3 hours) $213 per hour
Take judgment $213

*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.

Stage 5 – appeals in the Family Court

Service/proceeding Fee
Daily fee

Single judge: $1180

Full court: $1518

Conference (maximum of 1 hour) $213

Entitlements and co​nditions

Counsel costs w​hen briefed by an ICL

Federal family courts

Service/proceeding Fee
Conferences (maximum of 3 hours) $213 per hour
Counsel fees (daily defended fee) $1518*
Take judgment $213

*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.

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.
  • 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 $342
Bairnsdale $330
Ballarat $211
Bendigo $246
Castlemaine $196
Geelong $180
Hamilton $342
Mildura $418
Morwell $252
Sale $297
Shepparton $285
Traralgon $253
Warrnambool $330

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.