RATH AND COMPANY BARRISTERS & SOLICITORS v STURGEON LAKE CREE NATION, 2019 ABQB 949
10.10: Time limitation on reviewing retainer agreements and charges
10.13: Appointment for review
13.5: Variation of time periods
The Applicants, Rath and Company Barristers and Solicitors (“Rath Law”), brought an Application to set aside an appointment obtained by its client, Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation (“SLCN”), for a review of their retainer agreement and accounts for Rath Law’s services rendered. SLNC had obtained an appointment from the Review Officer on August 7, 2018, within the six-month requirement set out in Rule 10.10 (the “Appointment”), but did not serve the Appointment on opposing counsel until December 24, 2018 (outside of the six-month period). Master Prowse noted that while Rule 10.13(4) requires that a client or lawyer who obtains an appointment date for review must serve the opposing party “10 days or more before the appointment date,” that date is not an override of the overarching six-month deadline pursuant to Rule 10.10.
Master Prowse concluded that, pursuant to Rule 10.10, the Appointment must be obtained and served within the six-month period. Accordingly, since SLCN failed to do so, Master Prowse set aside that Appointment, subject to SLCN’s (presently adjourned) Application under Rule 13.5 to extend the six-month period. Master Prowse specifically emphasized that while some may find this decision harsh and lacking in flexibility, there is no flexibility under Rule 10.10 which states that a lawyer’s charges may not be reviewed if six months have passed after the date on which the account was sent to the client. Master Prowse noted that there is flexibility under Rule 13.5, which states that the Court may extend the six-month time limit contained in Rule 10.10, but that matter was not before Master Prowse.View CanLII Details