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Paying for Legal Services

What are Lawyers Entitled to Charge

A lawyer is entitled to charge and receive reasonable fees for work properly done on behalf of their clients.

The law governing what advocates are entitled to charge in Sabah is the Advocates Remuneration Rules 1988 (“the Remuneration Rules“).

Non-contentious matters

Under Rule 2 of the Remuneration Rules, the remuneration of an advocate in respect of non-contentious matters shall be as follows:

(a) sales, purchase and charges for completing any transaction – First Schedule;

(b) sale and purchase agreements and transfers for housing and commercial estates of 15 units and more – Second Schedule;

(c) leases and agreements for leases, or agreements reserving rent – Third Schedule;

(d) satisfaction of charge – Fourth Schedule;

(e) debentures by way of fixed or floating charge – Fifth Schedule;

(f) witnessing miscellaneous documents – Sixth Schedule;

(g) lodgement of an application for the renewal or removal of caveats – Seventh Schedule;

(h) searches at the Central Land Registry, District Land Offices and Company Registry –  Eighth Schedule;

(i) administration of estates – Ninth Schedule;

(j) partnership agreements – Tenth Schedule;

(k) submission of notice of acquisition or disposition of assets under the Real Property Gains Tax 1976 – Eleventh Schedule;

(l) foreclosure action under Land Ordinance (Cap. 68) and it’s relevant rules – Twelfth Schedule;

(m) collection of debt – Thirteenth Schedule;

(n) execution proceedings – Fourteenth Schedule;

(o) incorporation of companies – Fifteenth Schedule; and

(p) non-contentious work not covered by any provision – Sixteenth Schedule

The remuneration prescribed above do not include general disbursement fees payable on matters such as:

  • fees payable on the registration of documents requiring registration
  • stamp fees
  • counsel fees
  • auctioneer fees
  • valuer charges
  • traveling expenses
  • accommodation expenses
  • fees paid on searches or registration
  • costs of extracts from any register or record
  • other disbursements reasonably and properly paid

For  a detailed breakdown of the prescribed fees under the First to Fifteenth Schedule, please download the Remuneration Rules here: ##

Contentious  matters

A lawyer is entitled to charge a fair and reasonable sum for any contentious matter having regard to the circumstances as set out in the Sixteenth Schedule:

(a) the importance of the matter to the client;

(b) the skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved on the part of the advocate;

(c) the complexity of the matter or the difficulty or novelty of the question raised or both;

(d) the amount or value of any money or property involved;

(e) the time expended by the lawyer;

(f) the number and importance of the documents prepared or perused without regard to the length;

(g) the place where the circumstances under which the service or business or any part of it are rendered or transacted.

No Discount

Rule 7 specifies that no advocates shall give any discount to any persons or receive in consideration any other consideration other than the remuneration set out in the First to the Fifteenth Schedule. Exceptions are provided for the following persons or body of persons:

(a) bodies registered or incorporated under the law and having their objects which are wholly or mainly charitable or religious in nature;

(b) full time employees of the firm in which the advocate is practising;

(c) immediate family members of the advocate (means spouse, children, parents and siblings of the advocate or the advocate’s spouse); and

(d) a fellow advocate


A lawyer is entitled to charge additional remuneration for any special exertion of effort in respect of any business which is required to be carried through in an exceptionally short space of time and having regard to the Sixteenth Schedule.

An advocate may accept from client a security for the fees due to the advocate and interest on such fees.

An advocate may charge interest at 14% per annum on his fees and disbursements from the expiration of one month from demand from the client.

Complaint on breach

Rule 9 specifies that any person who has reasonable grounds to believe an advocate had committed any breach of this Rules may complain to the Inquiry Committee. Alternatively, the complaint can also be forwarded to the Disciplinary Board.