March 5, 2016
Legal Fee Disputes: Arbitration instead of Court or an Assessment
Here’s an article on arbitrating legal fee disputes:
Where things stand as of May 2017 (this blog post was updated after being posted):
If there is an arbitration clause, disputes go to arbitration.
If there is no arbitration clause, clients may commence an assessment within one month or longer if leave (permission of the Court) is obtained.
After one month is up, lawyers with hourly rate or fixed fee agreements can start an assessment or start a claim in Small Claims Court or Superior Court.
The Small Claims Court will not hear lawyer legal fee disputes if there is a written contingency fee retainer agreement. Contingency fee retainer agreements go to Superior Court.
If the terms of a contingency fee retainer agreement is disputed, the matter goes to a Judge of the Superior Court, not an Assessment Officer.