Hiring a lawyer

Hiring a lawyer and/or expert

Hiring a lawyer and/or experts to ensure your concerns are heard and you have meaningful participation in a hearing

Meaningful public participation through a fair, open and transparent process is important and necessary if the AUC is to reach sound and principled decisions. Some individuals prefer to represent themselves at AUC hearings which is common and an accepted practice. However, to ensure Albertans have the ability to adequately present their views to the Commission before a decision is made, the AUC has a cost recovery process for parties in a proceeding to hire lawyers and/or experts to assist them

For more information on recovery of costs, please visit funding for participants.

Why hire a lawyer or expert?

Full participation in AUC proceedings requires time, and expertise on the issues raised by an application and the application process. Retaining a lawyer who has familiarity with AUC’s process and the applicable legislation pertaining to an application can assist you in presenting your case in a more effective way. A lawyer may assist you by conducting legal research, writing your submissions to the Commission, helping you identify the need to retain an expert, and preparing and asking questions on the evidence presented by opposing parties. Participants who share common interests should consider forming a group and retaining one lawyer to represent the interests of the group.

If your submissions to the Commission relate to subject matter that is technical in nature, you may consider retaining an expert (someone with specialized knowledge and experience or training on a specific subject) to assist in the presentation of your case before the Commission. The expert can provide written evidence that may support and strengthen your position. For example, if one of your concerns is the noise a proposed project may produce, you could hire a noise expert to assess the noise potential of the proposed project and to review the noise related documents included in the application. The expert prepares a report on his or her findings and that report is filed with the Commission as part of your submissions. Other parties to the proceeding may have questions of the evidence provided by your expert and, therefore, your expert must be prepared to answer questions from other parties in writing and/or orally at an oral hearing. 

Where to find a lawyer

The AUC does not assist parties in finding, choosing or retaining a lawyer. The Law Society of Alberta provides lawyer referral services to the public and can assist you in finding a lawyer that practices in the area of regulatory law. For more information, please click here: https://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/public/lawyer-referral/

You can also find helpful information, including names of lawyers that have appeared before the Commission, by reviewing previously issued facility project decisions, which are categorized by application type and then by issues considered.

Recovery of lawyer and expert costs

Before you hire a lawyer or expert, the Commission encourages you to communicate to the lawyer/expert the scale of costs the AUC uses to determine cost awards in Rule 009 and Rule 022, and to know the fees that you will be charged which may be higher than those set out in the scale of costs. Please note that a lawyer or expert may charge you the difference between its invoiced costs and those awarded by the Commission.

The AUC will award costs based on the number of years of experience according the scale of costs which sets out the types of costs which eligible parties may seek recovery (i.e. legal fees and personal disbursements associated with attending an oral hearing). When considering a claim for costs in a proceeding, the Commission considers, among other things, whether the costs claimed are reasonable and directly and necessarily related to the proceeding, and whether the costs claimant made efforts to cooperate with other parties in the proceeding to reduce the duplication of evidence, or attempted to combine submissions with another party who shared a similar interest.

The Commission strongly recommends that you cooperate with other interveners who share interests similar to your own. Parties with similar interests should consider sharing a lawyer and/or expert witnesses to support their position.

For more information on recovery of costs, please visit funding for participants.   

 

Access all regulatory documents

Anyone can access applications and proceeding information through the eFiling System.

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