Nagel v. Stevenson, (1979) 1 Sask.R. 221 (CA)

Judge:Culliton, C.J.S., Brownridge and Hall, JJ.A.
Court:Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan
Case Date:December 10, 1979
Jurisdiction:Saskatchewan
Citations:(1979), 1 Sask.R. 221 (CA)
 
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Nagel v. Stevenson (1979), 1 Sask.R. 221 (CA)

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Nagel v. Stevenson

(No. 6839)

Indexed As: Nagel v. Stevenson

Saskatchewan Court of Appeal

Culliton, C.J.S., Brownridge and Hall, JJ.A.

December 10, 1979.

Summary:

This case arose out of the employment of a lawyer and the payment of a retainer fee of $2,000.00 plus the payment of a $3,000.00 advance on fees to be charged. The client signed a letter agreement which set out the nature of the $2,000.00 retainer and the basis on which the client would be charged for services rendered - see paragraph 4. After the client terminated the lawyer's services, the lawyer submitted a detailed account for $5,294.00 - see paragraph 6. The client objected to the account rendered and the lawyer's bill was taxed by the local registrar and the amount of the lawyer's charges, including the retainer fee was determined at $4,701.93. The client applied to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench for a review of the taxation.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench affirmed the taxation and stated that the taxation was reasonable and also stated that the letter agreement between the client and the lawyer was fair and reasonable. The client appealed to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held that the retainer was valid and that the court should not question the propriety of the amount of the retainer - see paragraph 18.

Brownridge, J.A., dissenting, in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, would have declared that the $2,000.00 retainer fee was not reasonable in the circumstances. Brownridge, J.A., stated that a reasonable retainer fee in the circumstances would not exceed $150.00 - see paragraphs 60 to 65.

Barristers and Solicitors - Topic 3167

Compensation - Agreements, the retainer - The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal stated that the retainer is a preliminary fee or gift which does not diminish the fees properly chargeable and taxable against a client - The Court of Appeal stated that a promise to pay a retainer is not enforceable - See paragraph 16.

Barristers and Solicitors - Topic 3167

Compensation - Agreements, the retainer - Duty to client on accepting a retainer - The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal stated that before accepting a retainer the lawyer must fully explain to the client the nature of a retainer, and particularly its characteristic as a gift - See paragraph 17.

Barristers and Solicitors - Topic 3171

Compensation - Agreements, the retainer - Elements of a valid retainer - The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal stated that where a lawyer fully explains the nature of a retainer to the client and its characteristic as a gift, then the retainer is valid and a court should not question the propriety of the amount of the retainer - See paragraph 18 - The Court of Appeal stated that there is no requirement that a person paying a retainer receive independent legal advice - See paragraph 23.

Cases Noticed:

Speers v. Hagemeister et al. (1975), 52 D.L.R.(3d) 109, refd to. [paras. 15, 48].

Re Solicitor (1910), 22 O.L.R. 30, folld. [paras. 16, 62].

Re Solicitor Ex. P. Day and Henwood (1908), 8 W.L.R. 536, refd to. [paras. 17, 46].

Re Solicitor (1912), 4 D.L.R. 217, refd to. [paras. 17, 46].

Re Solicitor, 1977-78, 4 C.P.R. 275, refd to. [para. 17].

Prudential Trust Company Limited v. Forseth, [1960] S.C.R. 210, refd to. [para. 22].

Re Malone, Q.C. (1960), 34 W.W.R. 699, refd to. [para. 34].

Re Solicitor (1910), 21 O.L.R. 255, refd to. [para. 44].

William N. McKay v. J. Cameron Clow et al., [1941] S.C.R. 643, refd to. [para. 52].

Re Solicitors (1955-56), 17 W.W.R. 97, refd to. [para. 53].

Monteith v. Calladine (1964), 49 W.W.R. 641, refd to. [para. 54].

Kong et al. v. Fan, [1974] 3 W.W.R. 730, refd to. [para. 54].

Allcard v. Skinner (1887), 36 Ch. D. 145, refd to. [para. 55].

Robb v. McLaughlin, [1977] 2 All Canada Weekly Summaries, 1030, refd to. [para. 62].

Statutes Noticed:

Law Society of Saskatchewan, Professional Conduct Rulings, Item 17 [para. 57].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Halsbury's Laws of England (3rd Ed.), vol. 36, p. 59 [para. 41].

Halsbury's Laws of England (4th Ed.), vol. 3, para. 1147 [paras. 42, 58].

American Jurisprudence (2nd Ed.), vol. 7, p. 208 [para. 43]; 210 [para. 64].

Counsel:

W.A. Selnes, for the appellant, Nagel;

S.E. Halyk, Q.C., for the respondent, Stevenson.

This appeal was heard by CULLITON, C.J.S., BROWNRIDGE and HALL, JJ.A., of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

The judgment of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal was delivered at Regina, Saskatchewan, on December 10, 1979, and the following opinions were filed:

CULLITON, C.J.S. - see paragraphs 1 to 25;

BROWNRIDGE, J.A., dissenting - see paragraphs 26 to 66.

HALL, J.A. concurred with CULLITON, C.J.S.

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