Unfortunately, legal proceedings can be expensive. That is why it is important to find a lawyer who has the expertise to help you choose the best course of action from the outset, one who knows exactly what type of legal assistance is required and one who can give you a realistic idea of what you stand to gain at the end of your matter. It is only then that you can ensure you get the best possible value from the legal services provided. 

You don’t want a lawyer who cuts corners if it is going to cost you in the long run, but you also don’t want a lawyer who makes matters more complicated and costly than they need to be. 

Understanding the intricacies of the costs rules that apply in workplace and employment disputes is also important. In a workers compensation dispute before the South Australian Employment Tribunal, an injured worker will usually be able to recover a significant proportion of his or her legal fees, even if the claim is unsuccessful. In many other cases, employees are unable to claim their costs from their employers, even if their claims are successful. The costs provisions that will apply to the type of claim you bring are often an important consideration in determining the best course of action for you.   

At SMB Workplace & Employment Law, we have the expertise to help you properly assert your rights and entitlements, without unnecessary cost. It is in this way that we can help you ensure the best ‘net result’ to you at the end of your matter. 

We charge for all work in accordance with the Higher Courts Costs Scale set by the rules of the Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts of South Australia. This is an itemised scale which has a current hourly rate of $491.59 (inclusive of GST) but, unlike many law firms, we do not charge for everything we do at an hourly rate – we charge for the work we actually do and the outcome produced, not however long we might take to do it. The scale is amended by the Courts from time to time and the current scale is set out below. The scales are also available on the Law Society of South Australia website – here

We are always happy to speak with potential new clients for a brief initial, no obligation consult over the telephone and for compensation matters we are generally willing to wait until a matter is resolved before requiring payment of our fees. Once an appointment is arranged to see or speak with one of our expert employment lawyers  we do charged for all work performed from first interview through to completion of your matter, and we do not generally offer ‘no win, no fee’ or other conditional terms. 

We do accept referrals from certain employee associations, unions and community legal services where we have agreements to charge at reduced rates and we actively participate in a pro-bono referral program through JusticeNetSA. If you are an employee association, union or community legal service looking to include an expert workplace and employment law firm on your panel of referral solicitors, we would be pleased to discuss with you if and how we could assist your members.  


HIGHER COURTS COSTS SCALE (Current from 1 January 2024, all items exclusive of GST)


Drawing and engrossing

1. Drawing any document of importance other than correspondence and those listed in item 2, per ¼ page $64.63

2. Drawing proofs, indices, formal lists, extracts from other documents, lists of authorities, or other formal documents, per ¼ page $21.23

3. Engrossing documents, when copying or scanning is not appropriate, per ¼ page $6.14

Perusing and examining documents and electronic documents

4. Perusing documents, per ¼ page $3.08 – $12.02

5. Examining documents, when a perusal is not justified, per ¼ page $0.77

Documents produced by copying or scanning, or receiving emails, faxes, or any other electronic transmissions

6. Per sheet $0.45


Attendances and oral communications, whether personal or by electronic communication, and including attendances to swear or take affidavits, per six minute unit

7. By a lawyer involving skill $44.69

8. By a lawyer not involving skill $26.81

9. By a non-lawyer employed or engaged by a lawyer $21.23

10. Arranging appointments, per person, including all work involved $30.17

 Attending Hearings, including preparation, and when not attending as instructing lawyer for counsel

11. Ordinary $223.47

12. If protracted, per 6 minute unit of hearing time $44.69

 Filing and delivery

 13. Filing or delivery of documents other than personal service, when no other attendance is properly allowable $30.17



14. Whether sent by letter, email, SMS, or fax, per ¼ page $30.17

15. Circular correspondence, after the first, per item (plus copying for subsequent pages after the first page) $15.09


16. Paying disbursements by whatever means and including all work and associated expenses $30.17

17. Preparation of Trial Books, Tender Books, Books of Exhibits, Application Books, Appeal Books and Briefs, including indices, pagination and binding, per page $2.24

18. Lump sum on a default judgment $3,051.58



SMB Workplace & Employment Law specialise in helping workers with unfair dismissal claims.

Expert Advice. National Recognition.

Leading Employment Law Firm (Employee & Union Representation) – South Australia, 2024.

Epworth Building
Suite 315, 33 Pirie Street

ph: (08) 8410 9699