23 February 2017

Canada's lawyers face pressure over fees

Ontario's legal regulator has proposed significant changes to the fees lawyers take when they refer clients.

Nikola Bilic

Referral fees should either be banned or capped the Law Society of Upper Canada committee said this week. The Advertising & Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group has also proposed curbing or banning the use of paid-for, often misleading awards; and prohibiting practitioners from marketing services they do not intend to provide.


Such a move could put an end to companies attracting clients with fancy advertising campaigns only to refer them out for a fee to lawyers at different firms. It is also thought that it is not unusual for such referrals to take place without the client’s consent.The working group also stated that lawyers should not be advertising a service that they are not intending to perform.The main reason for the proposed changes was the effect of referral fees on injured people, it sais, as it was not clear to injured people looking for a lawyer that referral fees are earned in that process.

Significant hidden fees

The fees are significant with the report suggesting that these referral fees, paid by the lawyer who ultimately handles the case, can range as high as 30 per cent of the overall fee.The working group’s proposals, which will be voted on during the law society’s convocation meeting Thursday. Source: Toronto Star

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