The decision to represent yourself or to hire a lawyer is your choice.
Keep in mind the Independent Assessment Process involves complex legal concepts and processes. This is why every party who signed the Settlement Agreement encourages you to hire a lawyer to help with your IAP claim.
If you do hire a lawyer, find someone you can trust. You will have to talk openly because your lawyer needs to know all the facts about your claim.
For a list of lawyers who signed on to the Settlement Agreement and who represent former students and family members, click here.
In the IAP a lawyer must not charge more than 30 per cent of any compensation awarded to you.
If you have a lawyer for your claim, the Government of Canada will contribute 15 per cent of your award amount to help pay your legal fees. You will need to pay anything above that up to an additional 15 per cent. You may also have to pay GST/HST and PST.
You have the right to negotiate the fee with your lawyer. Before you hire a lawyer, you should ask:
You have the right to ask your IAP Adjudicator to review the legal fee you are being charged to ensure that it is fair and reasonable. Your lawyer must provide the fee agreement to the adjudicator. If the Adjudicator decides the fee is not fair, he or she has the power to reduce how much your lawyer charges you.
You will receive a copy of the Adjudicator's legal fee ruling. It will state the amount of compensation you should receive taking into account the legal fee ruling. The lawyer is bound by that ruling unless it is overturned on appeal. Lawyers are bound by the ruling of the appeal Adjudicator.
Over-billing under the IAP is when a lawyer bills you more than the amount approved by the Adjudicator for your case.
For every claim, you will receive a copy of the Adjudicator's legal fee ruling. It will state the amount of compensation you should receive taking into account the legal fee ruling. If the amount you actually receive is less than the amount of the ruling, ask your lawyer for an explanation. It is rare for a lawyer to be uncooperative, but if that explanation is unsatisfactory contact your provincial or territorial Law Society.
As the client of a lawyer, you have the right to be comfortable with all aspects of how your claim is handled. To find out more about your rights as a client, contact the law society in your region or visit the following link: Expectations of Legal Practice.