August 27, 2020 – Update: Non-Class Counsel Fees

We understand that Claimants are being approached for paid legal support by certain third party law firms (non-Class Counsel). Please note that any requested fee for services must be pursuant to Rule 334.4 of the Federal Courts Rules13.04 of the Settlement Agreement, and the Federal Court Order dated June 17, 2020.

What this means: Claimants can choose to retain their own lawyers; however, they will have to pay for non-Class Counsel legal fees and disbursements. Canada does not pay for the legal fees or disbursements of non-Class Counsel lawyers. Any fees or disbursements charged by a non-Class Counsel lawyer under a retainer or payment agreement must be approved by the Federal Court before the lawyer can require payment. Court approval is not intended to limit choice of counsel but to ensure that problems that developed in other class action settlements do not occur again. This includes the charging of unnecessary or unreasonable costs.

The retainer of non-Class Counsel must outline the consequences that a retainer with them will have on the usual duties and responsibilities owed by Class Counsel to the Claimant. By signing a separate retainer agreement and/or choosing to use a lawyer other than Class Counsel, the Claimant will be deemed to have given up their access to free legal services from Class Counsel and will be deemed to have released Class Counsel from their obligations to support that particular Claimant.