Guidance Notes for Legal Services Expenditure Data Collection
Legal Services Coordination, Department of Attorney General and Justice (DAGJ)
The notes below provide clarification for agencies that require guidance on what and how to collect
data on legal services expenditure. For further discussion on any of the issues here or anything else,
please contact Legal Services Coordination by telephone 8061 9216 or email
[email protected]
Tab A – Total Expenditure Reporting
Tab A summaries all the data captured in the spreadsheets. The fields in each
respective heading in Tab A are derived from the tabs that proceed this worksheet.
Please fill in all green sections of Tab A. This includes the total internal legal services
expenditure despite its corresponding Tab E being optional.
In filling out Tab A please ensure that the following logic is observed A=B=C+D
Where A= Total External Legal Services Expenditure
B = Total Expenditure by Area of Law
C = Total Expenditure on Law Firms
D = Total Expenditure on Counsel
These amounts should also correspond to the total figures in each respective
It would be useful for the agency to fill out Tab A last as it would be required to obtain
the figures from Tab B – Tab F.
The total costs recovered refer to an agency's legal costs. Agencies should only
record the total costs recovered and received by the agency either through litigation
or ADR. Costs that have been awarded, but which have not been received, should
not be included. Fines, moieties or reparation payments do not have to be included.
Tab B – Expenditure by Area
Tab B records information on the agency’s total legal services expenditure by area of
Tab B must include law firm fees and disbursements and counsel fees and
disbursements. Please ensure that this figure is the same as the figures relating to
total legal services expenditure and total expenditure by area of law in Tab A.
The sub areas are listed to give guidance as to what type of legal work is covered in
that area of law. Only one total is required for each area of law. Reporting on each
sub area is not required.
In respect to the “Litigation” area of law, for the purposes of this data collection
exercise, litigation arises when there is a statement of claim.
As it relates to litigation arising from IRC matters and disciplinary actions, these
matters should remain in the “Employment & Industrial” area of law.
As it relates to litigation arising from child protection matters, these should remain in
“Specialist State Responsibilities”.
Tab C – Expenditure by Law Firm
Tab C records information on the agency’s expenditure by law firm.
This figure includes acceptable disbursements as per discussion on disbursements in
FAQs above.
If Counsel fees are included in disbursements, such fees should be separated from
this figure and captured in Tab D instead. If the agency is not able to separate
Counsel fees then this should be noted.
Please ensure the removal of cost awards, settlement monies and other exclusions
as discussed in the FAQs on disbursements.
The total expenditure by law firm calculated in this Tab should also be noted in Tab
Tab D – Counsel Reporting
Tab D records information on the agency’s expenditure on Counsel in the financial
year. It records information on gender, seniority, number of briefs issued to each
Counsel and the amount paid.
As well as monitoring expenditure on Counsel, this information is also required as
part of the Equitable Briefing Policy. Going forward, the information provided here as
part of the Equitable Briefing Policy will replace the equitable briefing recording sheet
that DAGJ had previously collected from agencies.
Tab D should also include the number of briefs given to each Counsel. If an agency
briefs the same Counsel on three occasions, the agency should count this as three
briefs to Counsel, not one.
Tab D should contain information on direct briefs to Counsel by the agency and
indirect briefs to Counsel (ie. matters outsourced to a private law firm which
subsequently briefs Counsel.)
o In outsourced matters it may not possible to separate the figure paid to
Counsel from the disbursements. In this case, agencies may find that Tab C
will be inclusive of Counsel fees although it should ideally be in Tab D
instead. As a result agencies should note that Counsel fees in Tab D do not
include indirect briefs to Counsel and that this is included in Tab C.
Although not required in this Tab, please ensure that data on the area of law in
regard to each Counsel briefed matter is collected for Tab B.
The total expenditure on Counsel calculated in this Tab should also be noted in Tab
Tab D – Internal Legal Unit Costing
Completing this Tab is optional. However, agencies are still required to calculate total
internal legal services expenditure for Tab A. Moreover, agencies do not have to use
the template if they already know their total internal legal services expenditure.
Total Internal Legal Services Expenditure includes:
o direct salary costs
o indirect salary costs (superannuation, leave entitlements) often calculated as
a percentage of direct salary (eg. 22.4%)
o direct overhead (costs of desks, computer, stationary)
o indirect overhead (including support staff costs, apportioned rent, electricity
o legal unit overhead (specialist software licences cost of law library).
To calculate direct salary costs, please use the actual salary paid and not the
maximum salary in which the position can pay.
If the agency has a department-wide method to calculate indirect salary costs, please
provide a comment on the method used.
Further information can be found in the Australian National Audit Office's (ANAO)
Better Practice Guide: Legal Service Arrangements in Australian Government
Agencies published in 2006 which can be found at
The provided template is based on the ANAO's worked example which may assist
agencies. However, agencies will have to modify the template to fit with the
establishment profile of their legal team. For instance, an agency may have no Legal
Officers at Grade VI, or employ Legal Officers at Grade III/IV rather than Grade I - III.
Agencies do not have to use the template if they already know their total internal
legal services expenditure.
Tab F – ADR Reporting
GIPA and PIPA matters should be included in this Tab.
The agency should, to the best of its ability, provide savings estimates although LSC
appreciates the problems with the overall template as it currently stands.
It is suggested that the agency provide assumptions on:
o how the savings estimates are calculated, and
o the number and types of matters in which the ADR techniques were used.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the purpose of the
data collection?
What information does the
data collection include?
The spreadsheet captures both external and internal legal services
expenditure. The spreadsheet also captures information on the
agency’s use of ADR.
What kind of expenditure
should be captured under
‘external legal services
For external legal services expenditure this means fees and
disbursements paid to engage external law firms to undertake legal
services for the agency/department and fees paid to counsel briefed.
What expenditure should be
excluded from this data
The following kinds of expenditure are not to be included in the data
 Any settlement monies paid to the plaintiff.
 Any legal costs paid on behalf of the plaintiff or other party that
is not the agency’s own legal fees.
 Any ex gratia payments.
 Other payments which are not related to the payment of the
agency’s own legal fees or to fees paid to counsel. Eg. Amounts
paid to the courts that are associated with cost
awards/settlement payments.
 Amounts transferred to law firms to be held in trust for the
How are ‘legal services’
defined for the purposes of
data collection?
In addition, Legal Services Coordination will collect all agency legal
services expenditure data related to the Crown Solicitor’s Office
(CSO) and the Treasury Managed Fund directly from the CSO and
SiCorp. If you are unsure about whether or not to include an item of
expenditure, please contact Legal Services Coordination.
Legal services means: Professional services for which legal
qualifications are considered necessary in order to –
 determine a legal position on issues such as the provision of
legal advice, on the legal meaning or legal effect of legislation or
 manage legal processes including the preparation of documents
involving legal rights and obligations;
 manage legal risks or achieve results lawfully; and
 conduct litigation or proceedings before a court or tribunal.
Legal services do not generally include those resources used on the
development or implementation of policy proposals including legal
policy, except to the extent that professional legal services as
outlined above are utilised in those processed.
What types of
disbursements should be
Disbursements are incidental costs paid on behalf of the client by
the external law firm or counsel in the course of providing legal
services. Disbursements include, but are not limited to costs for
expert advice and reports, witness fees, interpreter/translation fees,
court filing fees, interpreter’s fees, travel costs, mediator fees,
transcription fees, conduct money for subpoena documents,
photocopying etc.
Any disbursements which have payments relating to cost
awards/settlement monies (or any other excluded amounts as
discussed above) embedded within them must be removed.
Do disbursements include
Counsel costs?
Our agency counsel costs
can’t be broken down by
Area of Law. What should I
Should Counsel costs only
include direct briefings?
Must agencies include fees
paid to the Crown Solicitor’s
Office (CSO)
Must agencies include fees
incurred by the Treasury
Managed Fund (TMF)?
Which Tabs must be must
be completed?
Should GST be included?
Does the legal services
expenditure include accrued
Is quarterly reporting per
the Equitable Briefing Policy
still required?
No. Agencies should not include this data in their spreadsheets.
Legal Services Coordination directly obtains this information from
the Crown Solicitor’s Office and SiCorp.
Agencies must complete all fields in:
 Tab A – Total Expenditure Reporting
 Tab B – Expenditure by Area
 Tab C – Expenditure by Law Firm
 Tab D – Counsel Reporting
 Tab E – Internal Legal Units (although providing a detailed
breakdown is optional)
 Tab F – ADR Reporting (Tab F)
Yes. All legal services expenditure data submitted to Legal Services
Coordination must be GST inclusive.
We understand that some financial management systems are
exclusive of GST. However legal services are a taxable supply and
should be reported as GST inclusive for the purposes of producing
the legal services expenditure report.
Yes, the spreadsheets are prepared on an accrual basis. For the
financial year, please include all legal fees paid and incurred to law
firms and counsel between 1 July and 30 June.
This also applies to counsel who were briefed in the period but had
not yet issued an invoice during that period. Agencies may need to
make further inquiries with counsel about the amounts not yet
No. Going forward, the information required on counsel provided
here will replace the equitable briefing recording sheet that DAGJ
had previously collected from agencies on a quarterly basis.
Agencies will only need to report on counsel once a year in these
What is the deadline for data
What happens to the
information I provide?
Please submit the legal services expenditure data to
[email protected] by 30 September 2013.

Guidance Notes and Frequently Asked Questions