What you need to know about Ontario’s contingency fee amendments
This post was written by Andrea Girones:
Significant changes to legislation surrounding Ontario’s contingency fees – a sum of money a lawyer receives for fees only if there is a favourable result – have come into effect as of July 1, 2021.
A contingency fee agreement is the usual way that victims of car accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice hire lawyers to pursue a case on their behalf. Because a victim who is hurt and unable to work cannot afford to pay a lawyer in advance, this kind of agreement delays the payment of fees until the end of a case when settlement monies are actually in hand.
This allows clients with little to no extra money to be able to hire a lawyer to help them obtain justice. It also encourages lawyers to only take on cases where they believe there is a good chance of success and to not waste court resources on questionable lawsuits.
How does this benefit our clients?
These amendments seek to standardize how contingency fees are calculated across the whole province which allows clients to better compare fee agreements and therefore better understand the nature and purpose of a contingency fee agreement. This also avoids fee disputes at the end of a case as everyone has a clear statement of the fees to be charged.
Along with providing clients with a reasonable opportunity to review information in the contingency fee consumer guide, lawyers and paralegals must now disclose the following information before entering into a contingency fee agreement with a client:
- The likelihood of success;
- The nature and complexity of the claim;
- The expense and risk of pursuing it;
- The amount of the expected recovery; and
- Who is to receive an award of costs.
According to the Law Society of Ontario, “The contingency fee reforms seek to address long standing issues with the existing contingency fee regime by enhancing consumer protection, improving transparency and fairness for clients, and facilitating access to justice. The reforms also support efficiency and reduce burden for lawyers and paralegals.”
Our firm offers contingency fee agreement in personal injury and insurance matters. We do not offer contingency fee agreement for criminal or family matters. Our maximum contingency fees is 40% for complex medical malpractice and 33% for injury and insurance matters.
If you have any additional questions about contingency fees, the experienced lawyers at Girones Lawyers will help walk you through your concerns. Book your free consultation today.