Digest: Cowessess First Nation v Phillips Legal Prof. Corp., 2018 SKCA 101

Date:December 21, 2018

Reported as: 2018 SKCA 101

Docket Number: CACV 3263 , CA18099

Court: Court of Appeal

Date: 2018-12-21


  • Jackson
  • Whitmore
  • Schwann


  • Civil Procedure � Appeal � Abuse of Process
  • Civil Procedure � Appeal � Interlocutory or Final Decision
  • Professions � Lawyers � Assessment of Accounts by Local Registrar
  • Statutes � Interpretation � Legal Profession Act, Section 67(1)(a)(iii)

Digest: An order was made pursuant to s. 67(1)(a)(iii) of The Legal Profession Act, referring a series of lawyer�s bills to the local registrar. The question for the appeal court was whether the order was final or interlocutory. To appeal an interlocutory order, leave would be required pursuant to s. 8 of The Court of Appeal Act, 2000 or the court would have to grant leave nunc pro tunc. The respondents appealed the decision referring the bills for assessment and the costs award to the appeal court without first obtaining leave. The applicant applied to the Court of Appeal for an order quashing the respondents� notice of appeal pursuant to Rule 46.1(1)(a) of The Court of Appeal Rules arguing that the decision was interlocutory or alternatively, that it was vexatious and an abuse of process of the court.
HELD: The application was dismissed. The chambers decision was found to be final and the appeal court would have granted leave nunc pro tunc if it were interlocutory. Further, the appeal was not vexatious or an abuse of the process of the court. The court reviewed case law and determined that it was clear that refusing to refer a lawyer�s bill for assessment was a final order. There was no previous case determining whether granting the order for assessment was final or interlocutory. The court adopted the question in Anstead and asked whether the chambers decision finally disposes of the rights of the parties. The court concluded that the order did dispose of the respondents� right to contest the jurisdiction of the local registrar to assess the bill of fees. The court first looked at the statutory structure; s. 69 of the Act sets out what the local registrar can consider. The local registrar can only assess the costs, not reconsider whether it is in the interests of justice to permit the assessment. There was a right of appeal from the local registrar�s decision, but the right did not extend to the chambers decision. Section 72 of the Act does give the right to appeal a decision of the Court of Queen�s Bench. The appeal court said

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