CanLaw shows you how to effectively and productively get your lawyer's bill reduced.
Lists numbers to call and people to contact to get the help and answers you need to fight that lawyer's high bill.
These deadlines start from when you received the complete bill in question. You may be required to prove when you did in fact receive it. Keep the envelope it came in (if you still have it) as it has the postal cancellation stamp.
A lawyer is entitled to keep your file until you pay your bill in full.
The way to avoid this problem is to demand copies of all correspondence as you go.
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An Assessment Officer who reviews the bill is usually an official of the Court in your province.
Contact your local court office to find out how to start and assessment review and hearing of your lawyer's bill. The rules and forms differ from province to province, but the procedure is very simple and easy to follow. It just takes a bit of effort by you.
You probably should make an appointment to have the bill assessed as a precaution while you are negotiating with the lawyer.
Try to ascertain what the charges are for and if they seem reasonable. Do not allow this to consume too much time.
If your lawyer refuses to adjust her bill, you can seek to have the amount assessed by a Court Assessment Officer.
In Ontario if you apply for the assessment within one month of delivery of the lawyer's bill the assessment is automatic.
Delays may weaken your position and make it appear you just are trying to get out of paying a legitimate bill. In addition, obtaining a judge's order could be costly and the judge may refuse your request for an assessment. and order you to pay some court costs.
If you delay longer then the month, you will be required to seek either the lawyer's consent to the assessment or a judge's order. Obtaining the judge's order may require you to retain yet another lawyer, although it is possible to represent yourself.