Reviews & Assessments
Role of a Review Officer
Review Officers determine the reasonableness of lawyers’ bills. They have authority to reduce or disallow bills that they find to be unreasonable. Their decisions can be entered as enforceable judgments of the Court of King’s Bench. A Client can request a review to determine if they have been overcharged by a lawyer (or former lawyer) or to obtain explanations for billings that the client does not understand and the lawyer cannot explain to the client’s satisfaction. Lawyers may also request reviews. They do so because the review process provides them with a more efficient alternative to suing a client for unpaid bills. Regardless of who requests a review, the Review Officer will hear from both sides, review the lawyer’s bills, decide on the reasonableness of the bills and determine how much, if any, is payable by either side to the other. This page contains links to Review Office publications that explain the review process and provide guidance on the procedures for requesting a review and for dealing with other issues related to reviews. In addition, it contains links to the court forms that must be completed and filed for these procedures.
Review Officers are also Assessment Officers. Assessment Officers have jurisdiction to assess court costs that a party may claim under the Alberta Rules of Court or by virtue of an award of costs made by the Court of King’s Bench or the Court of Appeal of Alberta. An assessment ensures that the costs claimed are permitted under the applicable rule or court award and that the amounts are correct (where specified in the rule or award) or are reasonable (where the amounts are not specified). At the end of an assessment, the Assessment Officer certifies the total payable to the party entitled to costs. This page contains links to court forms for assessments and a link to a now out-dated but still useful Costs Manual. It is expected that this manual will eventually be replaced by more user-friendly and up-to-date publications.
Booking a Review or Assessment
Parties that require either an appointment for REVIEW OF RETAINER AGREEMENT / LAWYER’S CHARGES (Form 42) or ASSESSMENT OF COSTS (Form 45) must complete the online request form, found here: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/court-operations-schedules/scheduling/review-and-assessment-booking-request-form
Failure to complete this form may result in a delayed response.
Once the completed form is submitted, the party making the request will receive a selection of available dates and times, and must confirm which option they select with the RAA scheduler via email prior to filing the application. Please allow up to 48 hours for a confirmation response.
Should you wish to cancel, rebook or adjourn a review or assessment, email RAA.QB@albertacourts.ca, providing the style of cause for your matter (e.g. Donald Sims v. Wonder Law Office) and date currently set for your hearing.
Emails sent to the Calgary or Edmonton Review Office for bookings, cancelations or adjournments will not be answered by the Review Office. However, if you wish to cancel or adjourn a review or assessment within 24 hours of the start time for it, please cc the applicable Review Office in your email to RAA.QB@albertacourts.ca.
Contact and Communications Information for Reviews and Assessments
In the interest of providing more consistent and streamlined services province-wide, all initial communications with the Edmonton or Calgary Review Office must be by email. If your email message requires a quick response, please provide your telephone number and the reason why a quick response is required. Where possible, and in appropriate circumstances, the Review Office will contact you by telephone.
The email address for the Calgary Review Office is: ReviewOffice.QBCalgary@albertacourts.ca
The email address for the Edmonton Review Office is: ReviewOffice.Edmonton@albertacourts.ca
You may contact a Review Office to:
Advise that you will be unable to attend a review or assessment hearing on time, or at all.
Request instructions on how to attend a hearing by telephone or webcam.
Advise that you are having difficulty calling or logging-in to a Review Office virtual hearing room.
Provide additional documents for a review or assessment.
You may also email a Review Office to request procedural advice for a review or assessment. However, before you do this, you should read the applicable publications that are posted on our webpage. These publications contain detailed procedural advice and will most likely provide you with the advice that you require. A request for advice that can be easily found in our publications will be given a low response-priority.
Finally, please be advised that a Review Office cannot give you legal advice or advice concerning the facts of your case. For this reason, your email to a Review Office should not include a rendition or summary of the complaints that you intend to raise in a review or assessment, nor should it solicit an opinion about the strengths or weaknesses of your case. If you require legal advice about your case, then you should seek the required advice from a lawyer.