Client’s Right to Terminate Services

A client may terminate the solicitor-client relationship at any time and for any reason and you must respect your client’s right to terminate the relationship.

Ideally, your retainer agreement will require your client to provide notice to you in writing to ensure that termination of the relationship is clear. However, there will be circumstances in which notification in writing is not possible (e.g. your client is in custody and unable to notify you in writing) or simply doesn’t take place. In such cases, your best course of action is to write to your client confirming your understanding that they have terminated your services. Doing so serves to avoid misunderstanding and to protect you if your client alleges that you failed to take steps on their matter. You can refer to Non-Engagement Letters, in Module 7 – Retainers, for more guidance in crafting such a letter.

As the solicitor-client relationship is contractual, your entitlement to fees will be determined by the terms of your retainer agreement. In the case of a contingency fee agreement this may mean that the payment of your fees must wait until the conclusion of the litigation. For example, see Re Legal Profession Act, 1990 and Merchant Law Group, 2001 SKQB 311 and Law Society of Saskatchewan Ethics Ruling 2016 SKLSPC 5.