There are many factors to consider if you are trying to choose a lawyer to work with. Cost is undoubtedly a very important part of this decision. The cost of a lawyer is comprised of judicial costs and extrajudicial costs. You should always ask for an explanation if you do not understand your invoice.
Judicial costs, often known as legal costs, consist of judicial disbursements. This includes the fees of bailiffs and the cost of judicial stamps, among many others.
Extrajudicial costs are what your lawyer is billing you for and it is made up of extrajudicial disbursements and fees. Each party pays their own lawyers’ fees unless a judge decides otherwise. Extrajudicial disbursements are the expenses necessary to work on your case such as: expert reports, photocopies, transportation, bailiff fees, and stenographs. Extrajudicial fess are based on the time your lawyer spends on their file. For example: meetings, phone calls, drafting letters, drafting procedures, legal research, going to court, attendances, trial etc.
Further, generally in Quebec, the court costs are paid by the person requesting a divorce and each party will pay their own legal fees. One party may request that the other pay for their legal fees. This is called a provision for cost. This is based on the circumstances of the divorce, the income and assets of each spouse, as well as financial dependency throughout the marriage.
When hiring a lawyer, it is important to consider the way in which they bill for their services. Also, regardless of the billing method, you are often expected to pay a retainer fee which is a certain amount in advance held in your lawyer’s trust account.
Most lawyers using an hourly rate based on how many minutes and hours they worked on your file. This hourly rate is set before the lawyer starts working on your case. It includes all the time they have spent from phone calls and research until the end of your case.
A lawyer and their client can also decide on a flat rate that the client will pay the lawyer for all the work that they do on the file. However, it is important to ask your lawyer what this lump sum includes. For example, it may or may not include the cost of expert reports.
Further, a lawyer can agree that their compensation will be a percentage of what their client receives in the case. This way of billing is primarily used for proceedings where the client is claiming damages. However, if the client does not receive any money, the client and lawyer need to determine another way that the lawyer will bill them for their work such as their hourly rate.