When litigation involves family, emotion can eclipse reason. Legal costs can then escalate well beyond what is rationally proportional to the real value of the matters at issue. The role of your lawyer should always be to provide calm, considered advice in order to keep your costs low as low as possible.

If you believe that your lawyer failed to keep your costs to a reasonable amount, Legal Bills Ontario can help. We provide assistance to those who believe they may have been overcharged for family law services.

family law

The fees charged by lawyers are not simply a personal matter but are regarded by our judicial systems as being an important public interest concern. Consequently, in order to safeguard access to justice, our court system if requested to do so will review legal bills in order to ensure that the amounts charged are reasonable.

Lawyers are legally obligated to justify the fees charged to clients. The process through which a lawyer is held accountable is called an assessment.

During an assessment, the lawyer must provide a detailed explanation of all of the fees and expenses charged. The judicial officer overseeing the assessment hearing will then make a determination on whether the charges were both fair and reasonable. Any charges that cannot be justified must be refunded.

When determining whether a legal bill is fair and reasonable, the assessment officer will consider the following factors:

1. The time expended by the solicitors;

2. The legal complexity of the matters at issue;

3. The degree of responsibility assumed by the solicitor;

4. The monetary value of the matters at issue;

5. The importance of the matter to the client;

6. The degree of skill and competence demonstrated by the solicitor;

7. The results achieved;

8. The ability of the client to pay;

9. The amount the client reasonably expected to pay for the services provided.

In principle, every solicitor/client assessment is determined by the application of these nine factors. No one factor is more important than the others. However, in practice, an assessment is often largely devoted to a dispute over the skill and competence demonstrated by the lawyer following a less than satisfactory resolution to a legal proceeding.

If you think you may have been overcharged on your fees, you should seek professional advice.

At Legal Bills Ontario, we offer a free review of your legal bills by a senior lawyer specializing in civil litigation. If you have been overcharged on your family law fees, our team at Legal Bills Ontario is able to either negotiate a refund or obtain an order requiring repayment.