WHEREAS JusticeNet is a Federal not-for-profit corporation with its seat in Toronto (hereafter “JusticeNet). Its primary mission is to help people in need of legal expertise, whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees. It aims to achieve this mission through the JusticeNet Access to Justice Program (hereafter “The JusticeNet Program”, or simply “the Program”). The JusticeNet Program provides a framework for Canadian lawyers, paralegals and licensed mediators (hereon “Service Providers”) to offer their services to qualifying clients at reduced fees. The Program includes an on-line directory (the “Directory”) and a call centre, both of which are intended to connect participating Service Providers with members of the public.
WHEREAS the Program’s scope is limited to establishing the conditions for reducing the fee component of any fee agreements, including client qualification and a reduction of the Service Provider’s regular fee(s) for qualified clients. All other components of the agreement between a client and the Service Provider fall outside of the scope of the Program. The JusticeNet Program is not a matching or referral service for commission.
WHEREAS lawyers, paralegals or mediators wishing to join the JusticeNet Program should do so with the primary intention of service to the public, and of assisting persons of limited financial means to gain better access to the justice system. An agreement to reduce fees is one concrete manifestation of this commitment, but must be viewed as a part of a general attitude and ethic of service on the part of the Service Provider.
Reduction of Standard Fees
Service Providers wishing to participate in the Program (hereafter "I", "Me" or "My") understand that fees charged to clients are based on the application of a JusticeNet fee schedule appropriate to My profession (the "Fee Schedule"). The Fee Schedule is a sliding scale of hourly rates or discounts, adjusted according to the client's net family income and the number of dependants. Fee schedules for each profession are posted on the JusticeNet website and are subject to change without notice.
I acknowledge that I have reviewed the Fee Schedule and that, subject to My time constraints and professional discretion, I agree to offer My services to qualified clients at reduced rates in accordance with the Fee Schedule or my own rate, whichever is lower.
I understand that it is My responsibility to determine whether an applicant qualifies for the JusticeNet Program and, for this purpose, I may request copies of the applicant’s financial or tax records and otherwise assist the applicant in determining their net family income by reviewing financial information. JusticeNet will not screen applicants.
I acknowledge that applicants will generally qualify for reduced fees in accordance with the Fee Schedule where:
a) they do not qualify for government funded legal assistance; and
b) their net family income from all sources is under $59,000.
To qualify for the JusticeNet Program, it is not necessary to consider the value of the applicant’s assets. However, I may request disclosure of the value of any such assets and may, in My sole discretion, decline to be retained in accordance with the Fee Schedule where I determine that the applicant has valuable assets which may be liquidated or utilized as security to pay standard fees for service.
If I learn that an applicant deliberately or inadvertently misstated their net family income, I may:
a) require the client to execute an amended retainer agreement requiring the payment of increased fees for all future services related to the same matter; or
b) seek to terminate My services to the client, subject to My professional ethical obligations.
I acknowledge that the JusticeNet Program recommends the use of a standard retainer agreement for all clients accepted under the Program which requires the honest disclosure of both My standard and reduced rates for the specified services as well as the applied percentage reduction.
Any retainer agreements completed as part of a matter accepted under the Program are considered confidential and part of the solicitor-client relationship if I am a lawyer or a binding fee agreement if I am a paralegal or a mediator. No completed copies of any such agreements are to be forwarded to the JusticeNet Program for review or storage.
Although My standard billing rates may increase from time to time in accordance with the terms of My own standard retainer agreement, it is expected that the same fee or percentage reduction specified by the Fee Schedule will apply for the duration of any matter for which My services are retained by a qualified client under the Program.
If, after a matter has been accepted, the required scope of services is expanded outside the terms of the original retainer agreement, including any reduced fee agreement, I am not obliged to perform such additional services in accordance with the Fee Schedule.
I understand that my participation in the Justice Program is restricted and exclusive to my own professional practice and cannot be shared with, delegated or transfered to any colleague or other professional within or outside of my firm or professional practice. Moreover, although I may draw upon the services of legal assistants, articling students, (or students in training) or apprentices to assist in the performance of My services to clients accepted under the Program, I will be the professional primarily responsible for handling such matters and reporting to the client. In this regard, I will further ensure that such clients are served in a manner consistent with the care provided to My other clients accepted outside the Program.
By registering with the JusticeNet Program, I declare that I am currently licensed to practice within the area of my jurisdiction by my professional governing body(s), and that I am not currently the subject of any professional disciplinary action. Moreover I declare that I will undertake to notify JusticeNet if I become disqualified to practice for any reason and that I will cease to provide any services under the Program in the event of my professional disqualification or any disciplinary actions. I understand that I must maintain liability insurance for my practice.
I agree that JusticeNet may, in its sole discretion, suspend or delete My profile from the Directory at any time without reason, notice, cost or liability. My sole remedy will be to seek payment of the pro rata portion of My annual registration fee.
I agree to indemnify, defend and hold JusticeNet, its officers, directors, employees, agents, licensors and suppliers harmless from and against all claims, losses, expenses, damages and costs, including reasonable legal fees, resulting from any violation of this Agreement by Me.
Remedies for Violations
JusticeNet reserves the right to seek all remedies available at law and in equity for any violation of this agreement.
This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement with respect to My participation in the JusticeNet Program. If any provision of this Agreement is unlawful, void or unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from the remaining provisions and shall not affect their validity and enforceability.
I agree that JusticeNet may change the terms of this Agreement and My participation in the Program from time to time without notice, and that it shall be My responsibility to periodically review these terms for any changes. I understand and agree that My continued participation in the JusticeNet Program will constitute My consent to such amendments.
Version date: July 6, 2012