being provided and also, presumably, the number of written fee
agreements being entered into.
 What then is the proper interpretation of these various
provisions of the Solicitors Act The question was addressed in
yet another decision of this court that has tried to wrestle with
this issue, namely, Cozzi v. Heerdegen,  O.J. No. 2510,
2016 ONSC 3082 (Div. Ct.). In that case, Dambrot J. considered
some of the history of these provisions from the Solicitors Act.
He was faced with the same argument regarding the effect of
s. 17, and its apparent blanket prohibition against the recovery
of fees under any written fee agreement, without approval of an
assessment officer. Dambrot J. considered the meaning and
effect of s. 17, along with the other related provisions in the
Solicitors Act. He rejected the interpretation of s. 17 that would
lead to a blanket prohibition on the recovery of fees. In doing so,
he said, at para. 16:
I remain of the view that an agreement within the meaning of s. 16(1) of
the Act is a fee agreement that is out of the ordinary, such as contingency fee
arrangements. At any rate, a simple retainer agreement in writing setting
out a solicitor’s hourly rate does not fall within s. 16(1). If a simple written
retainer agreement setting out an hourly rate does not fall within s. 16(1),
then it escapes the prohibition against action in s. 23 of the Solicitors Act.
 In order to fully understand Dambrot J.’s analysis,
I should set out the contents of s. 16(1) of the Solicitors Act. It
16(1) Subject to sections 17 to 33, a solicitor may make an agreement in
writing with his or her client respecting the amount and manner of payment
for the whole or a part of any past or future services in respect of business
done or to be done by the solicitor, either by a gross sum or by commission or
percentage, or by salary or otherwise, and either at the same rate or at a
greater or less rate than that at which he or she would otherwise be entitled
to be remunerated.
 Section 16(1) is the section that triggers the application
of the balance of the provisions that are in issue, that is, ss. 17
to 33. However, unlike s. 17, s. 16(1) does not distinguish
between contentious and non-contentious work. That said, if,
as Dambrot J. found, only certain types of written fee agreements fall within the scope of s. 16(1), then two results occur.
One is that the prohibition against commencing an action to
recover fees set out in s. 23 would only apply to written fee
agreements that fall within the scope of s. 16(1). The other is
that the requirement, under s. 17, for an assessment officer to
review a written fee agreement, respecting contentious work,
before any receipt of fees, would also only apply to that subset
of written fee agreements.