Fee Arbitration

CPA Alberta provides a fee arbitration service on a no-charge, voluntary basis, upon written request from both parties. Unlike mediation, the arbitration procedure is formal and, by agreement beforehand, is binding on both parties without appeal. It is designed as a quick and economical way to adjudicate any fee dispute that cannot be settled by negotiation, or by informal mediation.

The Client's Procedures and Responsibilities

The client must request arbitration service in a letter to the Director, Member Engagement and Technical Advisory of CPA Alberta.

The Fee Arbitration Form may be used or a separate letter may be sent, if preferred, but both must be supported by a Letter of Undertaking.

The information required includes the following:

  • A request that CPA Alberta appoint a panel to arbitrate the fee dispute.
  • An outline of the problem, naming the CPA concerned, stating the service rendered, the amount of the fee in dispute, and the reasons for the client's objections.
  • If the client has not paid the disputed fee, a letter of undertaking from the client's lawyer must be attached confirming that an amount equal to the balance of the disputed fee has been deposited with his lawyer, in trust, and will be paid in accordance with the findings of the arbitration panel.
  • An undertaking to make the related documentation available to the panel and to disclose to the panel full particulars in support of the objections.
  • The name(s) of the individual(s) who will accompany or represent the client at any panel hearings. (For example, the client might wish to be accompanied by a Controller or other officer with special knowledge of the matter under review).
  • An undertaking that the client and/or the representative will attend, at their expense, any panel hearings at which their presence is requested, at a time to be arranged.
  • An acknowledgement that legal counsel will not attend panel hearings.
  • An undertaking to abide by the panel's decision, and agreement that the decision shall be final and binding in all respects and shall not be questioned or reviewed in any court.
  • An agreement that the provisions of the Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c. A-43, will not apply to the arbitration.
  • A confirmation that the client is not aware of the matter being before the courts. If the matter is before the courts, however, the following must be provided: a statement signed by the CPA and client whereby the plaintiff agrees to withdraw the court action, the plaintiff and defendant agree to be bound by the panel's decision, and further agree that the decision shall be final and binding in all respects, and shall not be questioned or reviewed in any court.

The Chartered Professional Accountant's Procedures and Responsibilities

The CPA must request the arbitration service in a letter to the Director, Member Engagement and Technical Advisory containing the following:

  • A request that CPA Alberta appoint a panel to arbitrate the fee dispute.
  • An outline of the problem, naming the client, stating the services rendered, the amount of the fee in dispute, and the CPA's representation in support of the fee.
  • If the disputed fee has been paid to the CPA, a letter of undertaking from the CPA's lawyer must be attached confirming that an amount equal to the balance of the disputed fee has been deposited with a lawyer, in trust, and will be paid in accordance with the findings of the arbitration panel.
  • An undertaking to make the related working papers and other documentation available to the panel and to disclose to the panel full particulars in support of the fee.
  • An undertaking to attend, at the CPA's expense, any panel hearings at which his/her presence is requested, at a time to be arranged.
  • Acknowledgement that legal counsel will not attend panel hearings.
  • An undertaking to abide by the panel's decision and agreement that the decision shall be final and binding in all respects and shall not be questioned or reviewed in any court.
  • An agreement that the provisions of the Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c. A-43, will not apply to the arbitration.
  • A confirmation that the CPA is not aware of the matter being before the courts. If the matter is before the courts, however, the following must be provided: a statement signed by the CPA and client whereby the plaintiff agrees to withdraw the court action, the plaintiff and defendant agree to be bound by the panel's decision, and further agree that the decision shall be final and binding in all respects, and shall not be questioned or reviewed in any court.

General Provisions

CPA Alberta will provide the arbitration service, when agreed to by both parties, but will not proceed if the matter is before the courts. If court action is suspended or withdrawn, arbitration may proceed.

CPA Alberta activities in the arbitration are overseen by the Director, Member Engagement and Technical Advisory or designees.

The arbitration panel will consist of one, two, or three persons appointed at the discretion of the Director, Member Engagement and Technical Advisory.

Panel hearings will be private, at the time and place and following the procedures the panel decides. The panel chair will submit to the Director, Member Engagement and Technical Advisory, a written statement of the panel's decision, signed by all panel members. No oral or written reasons for the decision will be given to the disputing parties. The Director, Member Engagement and Technical Advisory will inform the parties concerned, in writing, of the decision.

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