The Law Society today released a report on transforming the way contingency fees are managed in Ontario’s legal professions. The report puts forward several recommendations to protect access to justice for the public, while ensuring protection from unscrupulous practices and unreasonable fees.
Introduced in Ontario over a decade ago, contingency fees provide members of the public with access to justice by allowing clients not to pay legal fees until a settlement or trial results in damages recovery. The lawyer or paralegal usually receives a fee calculated as a percentage of what is recovered.
“The existence of contingency fees is critical in opening the doors to justice for all Ontarians, no matter your financial situation,” says Malcolm Mercer, Chair of the Law Society’s Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues working group. “The recommendations we are proposing focus on transforming the way contingency fees work, providing equal access to justice for all individuals regardless of their ability to pay, while increasing clarity and visibility, and consumer protection.”