10.13: Appointment for review
14.5: Appeals only with permission

Case Summary

The Respondent First Nation had previously applied pursuant to Rule 10.13 for a review of a contingency fee agreement (the “CFA”) entered into with the Applicant law firm. The Review Officer determined that the CFA was “not… clearly unreasonable”. This Decision was overturned on Appeal to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.

Justice Khullar noted that Rule 14.5(1)(e) provides that no Appeal is allowed to the Alberta Court of Appeal from a Decision as to Costs only, unless permission is obtained. The Applicant applied for a Declaration that the Court of Queen’s Bench Decision revoking the Review Officer’s Decision was not “as to Costs only”. In the alternative, the Applicant sought permission to Appeal.

Justice Khullar held that a dispute about the recovery of legal fees between a lawyer and their client does not fall under the purview of Rule 14.5(1)(e). Rather, this Rule is aimed at the payment of Costs between parties to litigation. Khullar J.A. further held that resolving the dispute required a review of the CFA, which could not amount to “a Decision as to Costs alone”.

Having found that permission to Appeal was unnecessary, Khullar J.A. nonetheless directed that the Appeal be held in abeyance until the final Order from Court of Queen’s Bench was issued. Justice Khullar did so in order to avoid litigation by installment because, at that point in time, the Decision under Appeal was interlocutory in nature.

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