Modified on Tue, 10 Jan 2023 at 07:37 PM

Disbursements are the costs incurred by a lawyer or a conveyancer in connection with a legal matter, apart from the solicitor's fees. Depending on the circumstances of the matter, disbursement may include application fees, expert opinions, court hearings, and filing fees, interpreter's fees, etc. 


There are two types of disbursements "hard" disbursements and "soft" disbursements. 


Hard disbursements are expenses incurred on the client's behalf that require direct payment by the firm to a vendor. For example, court filing fees and application lodgment fees would be considered a hard cost. You would be expected to have an invoice for the exact cost of this expense that can be presented to a customer on request. 


Soft disbursements are expenses that are not directly paid to the vendor but are charged to the client. Soft costs are items such as faxes, photocopies, or telephone calls. You would not be able to produce an invoice for this expense as it would be an estimate. 


* In some regions, for example, New Zealand there is a requirement to separate "hard disbursements" from "soft disbursements" on your invoice so that disbursements only include hard disbursements and under a different heading you have expenses that include soft disbursements. 

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