Law Society NT Logo
Law Society NT Logo

Legal costs information

The Law Society has prepared documentation to assist users of legal services in understanding their rights in regards to the cost of their legal services provided.

Legal Costs - Your right to know

Legal Costs - Your right to know - explains the process of disputing lawyers' costs.

It includes information on topics such as:

  • Your right to negotiate
  • Your right to enter into a costs agreement
  • Your right to receive a bill of costs
  • Your right to be notified of changes
  • Your right to request written progress reports
  • What to do if you are unhappy with your legal costs.

Your right to challenge legal costs

Your right to challenge legal costs

Includes information on topics such as:

  • Talking to your lawyer
  • Lump sum and itemised bills
  • Costs mediation
  • Costs assessment
  • Setting aside a costs agreement
  • Other avenues for challenging legal costs.

Application for costs assessment

Application for costs assessment

Includes information on:

  • Background to costs assessment
  • The fee
  • The application
  • An application form

Page last updated 7 November 2017

Make a complaint


The Society regulates conduct rules between lawyers and deals with complaints against lawyers.

The Legal Profession Act 2006 provides for the Society to be the first tier of a three tiered system of regulation of the legal profession, comprising the Law Society, the Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal and the Supreme Court.

The Society will assess and/or investigate complaints and refer serious matters to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Complaints to the Law Society must be made in writing.

You can lodge a complaint against a lawyer using the Complaints Form

Before lodging your complaint, please read the Complaints Guide

All complaints should be addressed to:

Manager Regulatory Services
Law Society Northern Territory
GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801

An original copy of the complaint form is required.

A complainant not satisfied with the Society's handling of a complaint may refer the matter to the Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal.

Page last updated 7 November 2017

Legal Referral Service

The Legal Referral Service is a service coordinated by the Society for the benefit of members of the public. Firms advise the Society of the areas of law in which they practice and members of the public can then access the information by telephoning the Society on (08) 8981 5104 and asking for a list of firms practicing in the required area of law.

You can also find a practitioner participating in the First Interview Scheme by contacting the Society.

Page last updated 6 October 2017

First Interview Scheme

The Society coordinates a scheme that enables a member of the public to have an initial 30-minute consultation with a legal practitioner for $99.00 (including GST). The scheme introduces clients to the firm and provides the client with an opportunity to obtain initial advice on their situation.

Conditions of the Scheme are:

  1. Consultations are strictly limited to 30 minutes
  2. The client must make an appointment with the firm under the First Interview Scheme
  3. The client must pay the $99.00 fee at the conclusion of the consultation.

Contact the Society on (08) 8981 5104 for a list of participating firms.

Page last updated 6 October 2017


Pro Bono Clearing House (PBCH)

The aim of the PBCH is to match people and organisations who need pro bono (free of charge) legal assistance, with legal service providers able to provide that assistance.

Please note: The PBCH does not accept criminal, family, immigration, defamation or native title / land rights law matters.

The Society has developed Frequently Asked Questions regarding the PBCH.

PBCH application form for individuals

PBCH application form for organisations

Alternatively, you may pick up a hard copy from the Society's office or ask us to mail it to you.

Page last updated 28 July 2014

Pro Bono Clearing House (PBCH) FAQs

Do you have a legal issue but can't afford professional legal fees?

Do your legal needs fall outside established guidelines for legal assistance, like Legal Aid? The Society, the NT legal profession and Community Legal Centres understand that this can happen - so they have established the PBCH to help.

What is 'pro bono' work?

'Pro bono' means 'for the public good'. Lawyers doing pro bono work usually do not charge for their time, or charge substantially below their professional fees. They may charge for other expenses, depending on the type of matter, a person's circumstances and the lawyer's pro bono policy.

Who may apply?

Members of the public may apply directly to the PBCH for assistance. Community Legal Centres, members of the legal profession, politicians and public agencies can also refer people who need provide pro bono legal assistance to the PBCH.

What does the PBCH do?

The PBCH will examine all applications for pro bono legal assistance. Applications that meet the PBCH's eligibility criteria will be referred to the Pro Bono Panel.

If a lawyer accepts a matter through this process, they will contact the applicant directly and arrange to take the matter on. Before commencing any work on the matter, he or she will also discuss what expenses (if any) the applicant is likely to incur.

The PBCH does not grant assistance to applicants but merely acts as an intermediary between the public and the legal profession.

What sort of legal issues will the PBCH accept?

The PBCH will assist applicants in respect of two types of matters:

  • public interest' law matters that affect a significant number of people or that raise a matter of broad public concern; and
  • private interest' law matters that have reasonable prospects of success.

The PBCH will not deal with a matter if it is thought that the assistance should be provided by the Legal Aid Office, and may discuss your application with that Office. Find out more about Legal Aid by telephoning toll free 1800 019 343.

Please note: The PBCH does not accept criminal, family, immigration, defamation or native title/land rights law matters.

Am I eligible for assistance?

You may be eligible for assistance from the PBCH if you are a not-for-profit organisation or community group whose purpose is primarily charitable and you can demonstrate an appropriate financial need.

You may also be eligible for assistance if you are likely to suffer a serious injustice without legal representation, you are not eligible for a grant of Legal Aid and you are of insufficient means to afford legal services at professional charging rates.

Unfortunately, assistance may not be available even if you are eligible. This can happen if lawyers are busy or timeframes tight. An information sheet Am I eligible for Pro Bono? is available for you to download.

What will it cost?

A pro bono lawyer may charge his or her client for some expenses, or substantially reduced fees. If your matter is accepted by a lawyer from a PBCH referral, it is up to you and that lawyer to come to an arrangement about the expenses you will have to pay. The PBCH encourages lawyers accepting referrals to strictly limit any charges passed on to the client.

Is my application private and confidential?

The Society and the PBCH will treat all information that you provide as confidential. Applicants should be aware that a Freedom of Information request or court order may compel the Society and the PBCH to provide your records to a third party. The Society and the PBCH may discuss your application with one or more lawyers when attempting to obtain legal assistance for you.

The Society will keep your application form until it is either referred to a lawyer or returned to you. The Society will then keep a brief record of your application.

How do I apply?

Application forms for pro bono legal assistance are as follows:

PBCH application form for individuals

PBCH application form for organisations

The PBCH can be contacted at the Society on (08) 8981 5104. If you need assistance filling out your application form, you should speak to the PBCH Coordinator.

Completed application forms should be hand-delivered to the Society's office or mailed to:

Pro Bono Clearing House
C/- The Law Society Northern Territory
GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801

This information is based on a brochure produced by the ACT Pro Bono Clearing House. The PBCH thanks the ACT Pro Bono Clearing House, who kindly gave us permission to adapt it for our own use.


Opening of the Legal Year

The legal profession recognises the Opening of the Legal Year in February each year with events osted by the Law Society and the Chief Justice of the Northern Territory, that include a keynote speaker and provides an opportunity to reflect on their role of administering the justice system.

Traditionally, Opening of the Legal Year ceremonies were steeped in tradition. The legal profession and local dignitaries participated in a procession into the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory for an ecumenical service, which Ministers of different denominations are invited to conduct each year.

Page last updated 6 March 2014

Public Purposes Trust (PPT)

170602 PPT Logo   RGB   web1

About the PPT

The Law Society PPT was established in 1988 for the purpose of improving legal education and services within the community. The PPT is administered by the Law Society NT and provides grants to fund projects that further its objectives of:

  1. Advancing legal education within the community
  2. Advancing the collection, review and dissemination of legal information within the community
  3. Improving community access to legal services
  4. Improving legal services available to the community
  5. Protecting community members using legal services

Applications for grants are considered by the Allocations Committee, which comprises three members, two nominated by the Law Society NT and one by the NT Attorney-General. The Allocations Committee makes recommendations on projects to fund to the Attorney-General, who has the final approval for any grant.

Program and deadlines

Grants are made twice a year, and applications should be received by the end of January and July. Advertisements are placed in the Northern Territory News and the Centralian Advocate inviting applications and providing details of closing dates for submissions.


Public Purposes Trust Guidelines for Applicants

Contact details

Dagmar Brautigam
Law Society Public Purposes Trust
GPO Box 2388

Tel: (08) 8981 5104
Fax: (08) 8941 1623
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Law Society Public Purposes Trust ABN: 48 813 464 972


acnc registered charity tick

Page last updated 14 July 2017

School talks

The Law Society can source speakers from within the legal profession to conduct legal education sessions in Territory schools.

If you are interested in having a solicitor speak at your school, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your preferred date, time, topic and venue.

The Law Society invites secondary legal studies teachers to advise us of the topics most relevant to their curriculum at the time, so appropriate speakers can be sourced.

6 March 2014

Warning Corporations Act

Funds Management Committee, Law Society Public Purposes Trust, Law Society Northern Territory Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme warning

Please note that the person responsible for the following matters is not licensed by ASIC under the Corporations Act:

In respect of the Law Society Northern Territory - for the operation of the Law Society Public Purposes Trust Fund established under the trust deed set out in the Schedule of the Law Society Public Purposes Trust Act (now repealed).

Also note that the Law Society Northern Territory, and Funds Management Committee established by section 659 of the Legal Profession Act of the Northern Territory are not licensed under the Corporations Act in relation to the following schemes and the schemes are not regulated under the Insurance Act 1973:

  1. Professional indemnity insurance arrangements pursuant to Part 3.4 of the Legal Profession Act of the Northern Territory.
  2. The Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund of the Northern Territory established under section 385 of the Legal Profession Act of the Northern Territory.

Page last updated 11 February 2009


Office Location

Level 3, 9 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800

Mailing Address

GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801


Phone: 08 8981 5104
Fax: 08 8941 1623