8.6 Contingency Fee Agreements - Rules of Court
According to Rule 10.7(2) of the Rules of Court, a Contingency Fee Agreement must, among other items, contain statements as to:
- the manner in which the contingency fee is calculated,
- the event on which the lawyer’s fee is to be paid,
- whether the client is to pay disbursements,
- whether the lawyer will receive anything from a costs award,
- the fact that the client can, without penalty, terminate the Contingency Fee Agreement within five days of being served with a copy of it (although the client would be responsible for disbursements that the lawyer incurred) and
- the client’s right to have a Court Review Officer review both the contingency fee and the lawyer’s charges and to appeal the Court Review Officer’s decision to a judge.
The Contingency Fee Agreement must be witnessed and the witness must swear an affidavit of execution. The lawyer must also swear an affidavit that the Contingency Fee Agreement has been served on the client.
You should review Rule 10.7(2) carefully when entering into a Contingency Fee Agreement.
Contingency Fee Agreements are complicated; there are technical requirements and case law continues to evolve. The Law Society is preparing a basic interactive contingency fee agreement guide which you can work through to develop your own working document. This guide is under construction.
When a lawyer issues an account under a Contingency Fee Agreement, the account must contain a statement that a Court Review Officer may determine both the reasonableness of the account and the reasonableness of the Contingency Fee Agreement. If the account does not contain this statement, then the account is of no effect unless certain facts are proven and the Court waives the requirement for the statement to be present in the account.