Maia Bent, president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, speaks on rising legal fees

Maia Bent, president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association, practices personal injury law in London, Ont. She said it’s not clear why legal fees change; many factors come into play, from inflation to office overhead. In her practice, she’s noticed that it’s costing more to hire medical and engineering experts to give opinions on aspects of her cases, spending that gets passed on to clients in the form of higher fees.

But regardless, she said, self-representation is an increasing problem in the legal system. “It’s unfortunate when people have to represent themselves,” she said, adding that schemes such as “contingency billing,” which involves withholding legal charges unless the lawyer wins the case, can help low-income people get legal representation. But that means the lawyer assumes the risk of losing the case and getting paid nothing.

“People who are shut out of the legal system because they can’t afford lawyers could enter into these arrangements,” Bent said.

To read the full article in theStar.com, please click here.

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