Macdonald Rudder are lawyers based in Perth and have extensive experience in land settlements.
Using a lawyer to do your settlement gives you added protection, and to compete, we charge well below the scale prescribed for settlement agents and at or below the rates normally charged by settlement agents.
For the settlement of a straight forward contract for a property worth less than $1m, we fix our fees, including all disbursements (excluding stamp duty), at $950 if you are selling and $1,200 if you are buying. We keep our fees low for properties worth more.
The fixed price includes advice about obvious risks under the contract. It does not include strata title or off-plan contracts or any legal advice that may be required if a problem arises or you require advice on the contract or your rights and obligations under the contract other than obligations that pose an obvious risk. In this event you are under no obligation to take advice from us.
In Neagle v Power  SASR 373 at 376-377 Chief Justice Bray said that a lawyer’s function is not confined to the relatively routine services of a settlement agent (preparation of a transfer, title searches and rates and taxes enquiries, adjustment of rates and taxes, attendance at settlement and registration of the transfer). An essential part of the retainer of a lawyer is that, where reasonably necessary, a lawyer will give legal advice in relation to such a transaction. That legal advice would include the identification of the time at which the client becomes at risk and the steps which should be taken for protection against that risk.
In Francesco Cusmano v Neville Pinner,MLC Insurance Ltd & Ors  FCA 927 Carr J approved of the statement of Lee J in The Green Team (WA) Pty Ltd v Brulee Pty Ltd FCA 1571; (1995) at  (with emphasis added) that:
“The contract between the applicant and [the settlement agent] required the latter to arrange settlement of the transaction and to attend on that settlement on the applicant’s behalf to complete the transfer of the property to the applicant in the terms of the contract of sale. It was not part of the contract that [the settlement agent] advise the applicant as to the applicant’s rights under the contract. The scope of the contractual obligations of [the settlement agent] was considerably narrower than would have applied under a solicitor/retainer if a solicitor had been instructed to perform the same task.”