There is a potential problem with the interpretation
adopted by Dambrot J. because, on its face, s. 16(1) could be seen
as applying to all written fee agreements. First, the language of
s. 16(1) would not appear to draw any distinctions regarding the
types of written fee agreements to which it applies. Second, a
broad interpretation of s. 16(1) might find some support in s. 17
that refers simply to “the agreement”. In other words, s. 17
appears to begin from a premise that all written fee agreements
are covered by these sections of the Solicitors Act, but then
carves out the application of s. 17 only to contentious work.
Third, a broad interpretation might also find some support in
s. 23 that says “No action shall be brought upon any such
agreement . . .”, but then, of course, that provision becomes
ambiguous given its reference to “such” agreements.
 If the proper interpretation of s. 16(1) brings all written fee
agreements within its scope, then the outcome will be a complete
breakdown of the only process that would then be available for
the purpose of lawyers collecting accounts, that is, the assessment
process, because of the absolute prohibition against actions under
s. 23. The repercussions, of that interpretation, will affect both
lawyers and clients. Lawyers will be effectively precluded from
collecting accounts, because the demands on the assessment process will cause such a backlog of assessments that the system will
collapse. Clients will equally find that they have no ready process
for challenging the reasonableness of fees charged, which, I would
note, may have already been collected by the lawyer, in whole or
in part, through the application of a retainer.
 The issue then is what is meant by s. 16(1) when it refers
to agreements for the payment of services:
. . . 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.
 This wording is yet another example of the problematic
language contained within the Solicitors Act. For one thing, the
reference to rates greater or lesser than that at which the lawyer
would otherwise be entitled to be remunerated, as the Law
Reform Commission pointed out, has no application in Ontario.
It is based on the English system that set various tariffs for
fees that could be charged by lawyers for certain types of work.
Ontario has never had any such tariffs.
 Another example is the reference to payment by percentage. An agreement for fees, based on a percentage, mirrors a
contingency fee agreement and such agreements, until relatively
recently, were prohibited in Ontario. Nevertheless, the section
has always referred to agreements involving fees calculated by