At the same time that the appellants retained Stockwoods,
Stockwoods took on two other clients who were advancing very
similar claims against the Government of Canada. Those clients
entered into virtually identical contingency fee agreements with
 The three actions settled in early 2017. The settlement provided that the appellants were to receive a specified amount as
damages and a separate specified amount for their legal costs.
The settlement also included certain non-monetary terms.1
 On March 21, 2017, Stockwoods, on behalf of the appellants,
brought a motion for an order approving the settlement as it
applied to the infant plaintiffs and approving the payments of
legal fees under the terms of the contingency fee agreement. The
approval of the settlement was not opposed. However, in the
notice of motion, Stockwoods indicated that, on the day before
the motion was to be heard, Mr. Almalki had advised Stockwoods
that the appellants intended to contest Stockwoods’s right under
the contingency fee agreement to claim a portion of the amount
paid to the appellants by the Government of Canada for their
 The Solicitors Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.15 (the “Act”) permits
contingency fee agreements to include all or a portion of legal
costs obtained as part of a settlement if two conditions are met.
First, the solicitor and client must jointly apply to a judge for
approval of the payment. Second, the judge must be satisfied that
there are exceptional circumstances justifying the payment. Mr.
Almalki contended that he had not agreed that exceptional
circumstances existed and that he should be allowed to oppose
the payment of the portion of the legal fees claimed by Stockwoods. Stockwoods agreed that this issue should be dealt with
separately from the approval of the settlement.
 The pre-trial conference judge approved the terms of the
settlement. At the request of counsel for the appellants, he
adjourned the issue concerning the contingency fee agreement to
 Stockwoods brought forward a supplementary notice of
motion seeking enforcement of the contingency fee agreement.
That motion came before a different judge (the “motion judge”).
Over the objection of counsel for the appellants, the motion judge
ordered that the matter proceed by way of motion and that
1 The motion record filed in the Superior Court of Justice for approval of the
settlement was ordered sealed by McEwen J. on March 21, 2017. That
order was continued by the order of Hoy A.C.J.O. dated June 20, 2018.