10.19: Review officer’s decision
10.26: Appeal to judge

Case Summary

The Plaintiff appealed a Provincial Court Decision dismissing the Plaintiff’s Civil Claim against a lawyer and law firm. The Plaintiff sought a refund of legal fees paid and damages equivalent to the amount that the Plaintiff alleged he would have received from the Energy Resources Conservation Board had the Defendants properly represented him.

The Provincial Court Trial Judge determined that the issue of legal fees had already been decided by a Review Officer pursuant to Rule 10.19, and that Rule 10.26 provided an appeal period of one month from the Review Officer’s Decision. The Plaintiff did not appeal the Review Officer’s decision to a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, so the Trial Judge determined that the process had been taken to conclusion and there was no jurisdiction to consider the Application for return of legal fees.

However, Justice Greckol found that the Provincial Court Trial Judge conflated the issue of quantum of legal fees and the question of incompetence or breach of contract by the Defendant, leading to return of legal fees as a remedy. Her Ladyship held that a Review Officer deals with quantum, not questions of incompetence or breach of contract. The issue was therefore whether the legal fees should be returned because of incompetence or failure to provide services promised. Justice Greckol found that the legal services were not provided in a timely and cost effective fashion. The Appeal was allowed and the Plaintiff was awarded $4,254.23 in damages for the return of legal fees, and was also awarded his Costs.

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