Contingent Fee Agreements continued

Restrictions

A contingent fee must be in writing (Rule 8-3(a)), and must contain certain information. Be aware of the requirements of the Legal Profession Act (ss. 66–68), as well as Rule 8, such as:

  • Contingent fee agreements relating to personal injury or wrongful death arising from the use or operation of a motor vehicle allow for a maximum charge of 33 1/3% of the total amount recovered, and Rule 8-4(1) contains text that must appear in such agreements.
  • Contingent fee agreements relating to personal injury or wrongful death arising in circumstances other than by use or operation of a motor vehicle allow for a maximum charge of 40% of the total amount recovered, and Rule 8-4(2) contains text that must appear in such agreements.
  • If the lawyer and the client agree that a greater fee than the maximum is reasonable, the lawyer may apply to the Supreme Court to have a greater fee approved prior to entering into the agreement. The lawyer must serve the client with at least five days notice of the application. The court has the discretion to approve the higher fee if it is satisfied that the lawyer and client have agreed to the proposed fee and that the proposed fee is reasonable (Rule 8-2(1), and Legal Profession Act,s.66(6) and (7)).
  • A contingent fee that exceeds the limits allowed by the Law Society Rules is void unless it has been approved pursuant to s.66(6) of the Legal Profession Act. If the agreement is rendered void for these reasons, a lawyer is entitled to charge fees that could have been charged had there been no contingent fee agreement, but only if the event that would have allowed payment under the void agreement occurs (Legal Profession Act, s.66(5)).
  • Contingent fee agreements for services related to child custody or access are void (Legal Profession Act, s.67(3)).
  • Contingent fee agreements for services relating to matrimonial disputes are void unless approved by the court (Legal Profession Act, s. 67(4)) and the procedure for application in these situations requires an understanding of the Legal Profession Act, s. 66(7)to (9).

Community Discussion

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Interesting part of the Module.