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Note the recent decision in Ontario in Welsh vs. Ontario in respect of the request for payment of Class Counsel legal fees; the Court held that the fees must be fair and reasonable taking into consideration risks and results obtained for Class Members.

The Court further held that the fees were not justifiable and therefore ordered their approval subject to an obligation of paying a large portion of the fees by Class Counsel unto a charity. The Court held that this served the best interests of the subject legal proceedings. The Class remedy applied to an action against Ontario in respect of abuse at four Provincial schools, in which Plaintiffs claimed $325 million dollars. The fees sought were $3.75 million dollars, plus tax. This was held to the unreasonable, given that the majority of class members would receive no benefits in respect of the settlement.

The Court actually reduced the fees proportionately to the amount of the settlement funds which reverted to Ontario, plus a donation by Class Counsel to charity.

Class Counsel fees are being more scrutinized throughout Canada, taking into consideration the risks and best interests of justice and the benefits obtained by class members.