Contingency Fee Reforms – Request for Comment

Posted: 02/22/2018

Advertising and Fee Arrangement Issues Working GroupThe Law Society’s Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group would like to hear from lawyers, paralegals and the public about potential changes to the regulation of contingency fees.

The Group has released a request for comment from lawyers, paralegals and the public on its proposed:

  1. Mandatory Standard Contingency Fee Agreement
  2. Know Your Rights Guide for the Public
  3. Related rule amendments

The deadline for submissions is March 20, 2018.

With this consultation, the Working Group is proceeding with plans approved by Convocation in December 2017 and January 2018, to reform the regulation of contingency fees.

Reforms include:

  • The introduction of a mandatory standard contingency fee agreement.
  • A ‘Know Your Rights’ guide for the public.
  • Disclosure requirements on completion of an agreement, which provide the consumer with the following:
    • a clear breakdown of the final settlement or award, the net amount going to the client, disbursements costs, legal fees and taxes;
    • a statement explaining the reasonableness of the fee in light of factors such as legal complexity, the results achieved and the risk assumed, including the risk that the matter would not have been successful; and
    • a statement that the client has the right to assess the account.
  • A requirement for legal professionals to publicly disclose the maximum contingency fee percentage they charge by practice area, allowing increased transparency, and the ability for individuals to shop around for representation; and
  • New reporting information required on lawyers’ and paralegals’ annual reports to the Law Society. Aggregate data will be shared with the public and policy makers to better inform future consumer choice and policy decisions.

These reforms protect the public’s access to justice while safeguarding against unscrupulous practices and unreasonable fees by enhancing transparency and consumer protection.

Since February 2016, the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group has been considering contingency fees arrangements, along with related advertising and referral fee issues, and recognizes the vital role these fee arrangements play in ensuring transparency, simultaneously protecting the public interest.

For more information, see the Professional Regulation Committee report to February Convocation and the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group’s webpage.


Return to February 2018 Convocation Newsletter

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