A Matter is also called a File and is assigned a unique number or file or case number. The Law Society of Ontario requires each Matter to have its own file number assigned to it. You could have two or more files and each will have its own file number.
A Matter is over when you have resolved the situation the Paralegal was retained to do. Also you will receive a Reporting Letter summarizing what was done on your behalf as well as an account or invoice for fees and disbursements paid. A Matter may also be terminated in accordance with the Retainer Agreement.
No, A Matter or File Number is assigned by the Paralegal where a Court File Number is assigned by the court or tribunal to identify the proceeding in their system. You will, whenever possible have both referred to on any correspondence.
A Retainer is an agreement between you and the Paralegal, setting out what you are asking me to do for you and authorizing me to act on your behalf to accomplish this. A retainer also specifies payment and rates for the work being asked to be done.
A Retainer Agreement specifies obligations that we have towards each other.
A Retainer Agreement also states how and when the relationship between you and I can be cancelled as well as consent to use email communications between the two of us.
A Limited Retainer is a Retainer Agreement where you would only require my services for a particular part of a Matter. For example, You could file the Claim in Small Claims Court and hire my services to appear for you in court. This is also considered un-bundled services.
Every Matter needs to have a Retainer Agreement in order to proceed. It is also a requirement with the Law Society of Ontario. After our initial consultation, you will be sent a Retainer Agreement (usually by email) to review and sign.
Fees and Disbursements
When you sign the Retainer Agreement you will be requested to provide a Retainer Fee. This would be $1,000.00 to be deposited into Trust.
A Fee is the cost of mine, and/or an associates time, spent on your matter. This is usually an hourly rate broken down to tenths of an hour (6 minute intervals).
Some Matters are charged with a Block Fee where the service is charged one set rate and you do not pay for the amount of time taken to complete the task. For example a Demand Letter would have a block fee rate of approximately, $175.00 to compose.
A Disbursement is a cost paid by me, on your behalf. Examples are Court Filing Fees, photocopies, parking expenses, travelling and other clerical costs. These costs are taken out of Trust or invoiced to your account.
I am registered for HST and my HST Number will appear on invoices and accounts sent to you.
HST is applicable on all Fees and in Ontario it is 13%
Some Disbursements are not charged HST such as court filing fees.
Some Disbursements have HST such as photocopies and stationary supplies.
There are two components to legal service being Fees and Disbursements. Both are paid out of the Trust account of monies given to me at the start of the Matter. Both are paid and an invoice is sent to you, showing how your money was used.
Generally, billing is done at the end of the matter. For more complicated cases, billing will be done after substantial milestones of the case, for example in a Small Claims Court matter.
Currently, I accept cash, cheque, money order as well as E-transfer to deposit a retainer amount.
This is a valid question and it will be discussed prior to you retaining my services.
Most services should be within the retainer funds that you provide at the start of the matter.
Typically a Small Claims Court matter could amount to 3,000 to 5,000 dollars if it is required to go to court.
I get paid out the monies that I have placed in Trust on your behalf. That money is in an separate interest bearing account until you are invoiced for the services performed on your behalf. Only then can the money be transferred to pay your account. The Law Society of Ontario strictly monitors the activities of Trust accounts.
No, the Law Society Act requires that any interest generated on Trust accounts be transferred to the Law Foundation of Ontario in accordance with section 57(1) of the Law Society Act.
The Law Foundation of Ontario assists with Legal Aid and other Legal initiatives in Ontario.
After the Matter has concluded, along with your final report and account, any extra monies will be returned to you in a Trust cheque.
No, according to the Legal Aid Services Act of Ontario, Paralegals are not permitted to accept Legal Aid Certificates.
Contingency Fees are used when dealing with starting a claim against or appealing a decision with WSIB (Workplace Safety Insurance Board). All other matters require a deposit to Trust and a fee arrangement (Retainer) in place.
Disbursements are still payable by you regardless of the outcome of the matter and would be specified in the retainer agreement.