Legal fees come under scrutiny

Christopher Naudie, Laura Fric, Adam Hirsh, Geoffrey Grove

Feb 20, 2013

Drew Hasselback, Legal Post


Legal fees are much in the news these days.

A high-profile example might be a recent federal court hearing on whether to approve the $66.6-million in fees that would be paid to lawyers in a proposed $887.8-million class-action settlement between veterans and the federal government over clawed-back pension benefits.

Meanwhile, two recent rulings — including one from the Ontario Court of Appeal — could rein in the amounts paid to lawyers in some class-actions cases.

“These separate rulings represent a welcome deterrent to future strategic claims, and they serve as an important reminder that class proceeding statutes were adopted to benefit class members and not only enterprising lawyers,” write Laura Fric, Christopher Naudie, Adam Hirsh and Geoffrey Grove of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. “In light of these rulings, class counsel should be reluctant to ask the court for a fee premium unless and until they have secured a significant settlement and have developed a distribution plan that will benefit actual class members.”

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