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Instructions for Referral Fee Checklist

Important Notes:

This Checklist provides lawyers and paralegals with a framework for complying with the referral fee requirements. It applies to referrals made on or after April 28, 2017 and to referrals made before or on April 27, 2017 where there was no enforceable agreement for the payment of a referral fee as of that date.
This Checklist does not apply to the payment of a referral fee pursuant to an enforceable agreement to pay and receive a referral fee that was entered into before or on April 27, 2017. For information about the requirements that apply in such cases, lawyers and paralegals should consult Rule 3.6-6.1(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (“Rules”) and Rule 5.01(17) of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct (“Paralegal Rules”).  Lawyers and paralegals should also review Rule 3.6-6.1(2) of the Rules and Rule 5.01(16) of the Paralegal Rules, as applicable, and Section 19.1 of By-Law 9. These requirements apply to all referral fees payable or paid on or after April 28, 2017.
On February 28, 2019 Convocation approved new rules relating to civil society organizations (CSOs). As a result of these amendments, lawyers and paralegals providing legal services to clients through CSOs (e.g., charities or not-for-profit organizations) are prohibited from accepting or paying a referral fee. For more information, please see Rule 3.6-6.1(f) of the Rules, Rule 5.01(15)(f) of the Paralegal Rules, and Section 51 of By-Law 7.

Before using the Checklist

The requirements for referral fees are contained in Section 3.6 of the Rules, Rule 5.01 of the Paralegal Rules, Guideline 13: Fees of the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines, Section 51 of By-Law 7, and Section 19.1 of By-Law 9.  Lawyers and paralegals should refer to these requirements to determine the full extent of their obligations. Lawyers and paralegals may also wish to review the Frequently Asked Questions about Referral Fees.

How to use the Checklist

  • Fill in the information about the parties to the referral.
  • Follow the requirements set out in each section during the prescribed timeframe, confirming completion of each step on the Checklist, the date upon which the requirements in each section are completed, and the lawyer or paralegal who completed the requirements.  
  • Consider making notes at the end of the Checklist. You may wish to include notes about matters such as
    • how you concluded payment or receipt of a referral fee was permissible,
    • how the referral fee will be calculated,
    • who provided particular information to the client and how,
    • the date upon which the referral was made,
    • when the Referral Agreement was signed, or
    • the steps taken to meet the record keeping obligations.
  • Retain the Checklist as part of the paper or electronic client file when a referral fee is paid or received.

Resource:            Referral Fee Checklist 

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