Fair Compensation or Unjustified Temptation to Compromise?: an Empirical Review of Requests for Honorarium Awards in Canadian Class Actions

AuthorMarie Ong
PositionRecent graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia
Fair Compensation or Unjustif‌ied Temptation to
Compromise?: An Empirical Review of Requests for
Honorarium Awards in Canadian Class Actions
Marie Ong
AbstrAct: Every class action requires at least one representative plaintif‌f
to bring the action, perform certain litigation duties, and represent the
interests of the class members. If an action results in a successful outcome
for the class, courts may award the representative plaintif‌f an honorarium
as recognition for their contributions. The practice of approving honor-
ariums raises signif‌icant policy issues, however. On one hand, judges have
justif‌ied honorariums payments as appropriate compensation for a repre-
sentative plaintif‌f’s service on behalf of others. On the other hand, judges
are wary of encouraging the hiring of professional plaintif‌fs and cautious
of creating a perceived or real conf‌lict of interest between representative
plaintif‌fs and the absent class members.
In this paper, a comprehensive analysis of the role of representa-
tive plaintif‌fs is undertaken to explain the divergent and unpredictable
approaches to honorarium requests taken by courts across Canada’s class
actions landscape. Based on an empirical review of 116 published deci-
sions from 2010 to March 2021, this paper argues that there should be a
less restrictive and more uniform approach to awarding honorariums in
accordance with principles of fairness and the critical purpose of enhan-
cing access to justice.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT