Counsel Fee FAQs

How often are counsel fees reviewed by the CDPP?

The CDPP conducts a review of fees for junior and senior counsel every 2 years in order to determine whether a fee increase would be appropriate for individual counsel based on experience and performance. This process is known as the Biennial Fee Review. The last review was completed in March 2023.

What factors are considered when determining whether a counsel receives a fee increase?

The factors considered in determining whether a fee increase is appropriate include:

  • whether counsel’s current fee is appropriate within our indicative fee bands (based on years of experience at the Bar)
  • the level of work counsel has performed for the CDPP during the previous two years and the experience that has been gained in Commonwealth matters in doing so;
  • counsel’s performance
  • If counsel has demonstrated expertise in a niche area of law which means that there is less available counsel or a greater disparity between CDPP fees and what is paid by other government/private clients, for example cartel experience
  • relevant jurisdictional factors, for example less suitable counsel available when compared with other jurisdictions, higher market rates when compared with other jurisdictions
  • other circumstances unique to that counsel, such as a high volume of advice work for the CDPP and
  • the length of time counsel has been on their current fee.

Fee increases are not dependent upon the fact that 2 calendar years have expired. The 2 year period gives a time frame for review, not a guaranteed increase.

Can I request a review of my rate outside the Biennial Fee Review?

Outside of the Biennial Fee Review process, counsel rates will only be reviewed in exceptional circumstances. Any increase outside of this review must be approved by the Deputy Director, Legal Capability and Performance. Requests must be made by email via the Legal Capability and Performance Practice Group (

What are exceptional circumstances?

Without limiting the matters that may be taken into account, exceptional circumstances may include:

  • where counsel had not been briefed by the CDPP for a lengthy period of time and their current fee is well outside of the indicative fee ranges or
  • significant operational needs of the office.

The fact that counsel did not receive a fee increase at previous biennial fee reviews will not, in itself, be considered to be exceptional circumstances.

When does my fee increase take effect?

The fee increase will apply to all new briefings. Fee increases will not apply to existing briefings, except where a new phase of a matter counsel is currently briefed in commences after counsel has been notified of their fee increase (for example, when the matter moves from the committal phase to the trial or sentence phase).

For further information about fees or fee payment, please contact: