A contingency fee agreement is a type of agreement between a client and an attorney where the client only has to pay the attorney`s fees if the attorney wins the case. This type of agreement is becoming increasingly popular in the legal industry, especially in personal injury cases. In fact, many attorneys now offer contingency fee agreements for a variety of legal services, including bankruptcy, employment law, and even intellectual property law.
In British Columbia, contingency fee agreements are governed by the Contingency Fee Agreement Regulation. This regulation sets out the rules and requirements that lawyers must follow when offering contingency fee agreements to their clients in the province.
One of the key requirements of the regulation is that the agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both the client and the lawyer. The agreement must also specify the percentage of the award that the lawyer will receive if the case is successful. The regulation sets a maximum percentage of 33% for most types of cases, although this can be higher for certain types of cases, such as personal injury cases.
The contingency fee agreement must also outline any expenses that the lawyer will deduct from the award, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and other costs associated with the case. The client must be informed of all of these expenses up front and must agree to them before signing the agreement.
Another requirement of the regulation is that the lawyer must provide the client with regular updates on the status of the case, including any settlement offers that are made. The lawyer must also provide the client with a detailed accounting of all expenses as well as the percentage of the award that the lawyer will receive.
It`s important for clients to understand that while a contingency fee agreement can be a great option for those who can`t afford to pay for legal services up front, it does come with some risks. If the case is not successful, the client will not have to pay the lawyer`s fees, but they may still be responsible for paying any expenses that were incurred during the case.
Overall, a contingency fee agreement can be a good option for clients who are facing a legal issue but can`t afford to pay for legal services up front. However, it`s important to carefully review the terms of the agreement and to make sure that you understand all of the costs and risks involved before signing on the dotted line.