Disclosure of Contracts for Legal Services

On March 23, 2004, the Government announced a new policy on the mandatory publication of contracts over $10,000. At the time, certain types of contracts were excluded from the proactive disclosure requirements, chief among these being contracts for legal services. TBS has revised the Treasury Board Guidelines on the Proactive Disclosure of Contracts to remove the exemption for contracts for legal services. Under the current guidelines, the only contracts exempted from proactive disclosure obligations are those where disclosure of information would compromise criminal investigations, national security, negotiations or public safety.

This Website provides information on legal agents appointed by the Minister of Justice and the related contracts for legal services issued by the Department of Justice. The general policy of the Department is that legal services within the department's statutory mandate should be handled by departmental counsel. The Department recognizes, however, that there are instances when such services may or should be outsourced to legal agents. The Department of Justice's Policy on Contracting for Legal Services and Legal Agent Appointments sets out the principles which guide the appointment of legal agents.

Every three months we will be reporting new legal agent appointments made by the Minister of Justice in the quarter being reported. By June 30th, following the last quarterly report for each fiscal year, a report will include the total annual expenditures by firm, based on amounts taxed[1] by the Department, where the aggregate value of amounts taxed exceeds $10,000.00 in the fiscal year being reported[2]. This approach balances the need for transparency and disclosure of contract information with the recognition that aspects of contracts for legal services are protected by solicitor-client privilege and litigation privilege. The overall disclosure is presented fairly, in all material respects and in accordance with TBS Guidelines on the Proactive Disclosure of Contracts.

View Disclosure of Contracts Reports

  • [1] The annual expenditures being reported represent the amount of legal agent accounts that are taxed by the Department of Justice as opposed to amounts actually paid by client departments. This results from the respective mandates of the Department of Justice and the other departments. While the Minister is responsible for appointing legal agents, payment of legal agent accounts is the responsibility of the department or agency that requires the services. The Department of Justice's responsibility in the payment process involves taxing agent accounts before sending them to client departments for payment. In taxing a legal agent account, the Department of Justice examines the account to ensure that it is accurate and complete and that charges are reasonable and in accordance with the services rendered and the mandate and terms and conditions of the appointment, before sending the taxed account to the client department. In some cases, the Department of Justice may be the client and as such is responsible both for taxing the account and for paying the legal agent.

    Departments generally pay the taxed accounts as is. On occasion, the addition of applicable taxes or the correction of minor miscalculations on the original taxed account may result in a slight difference between the taxed amount and the amount actually paid.

  • [2] Expenditures outlined in this report represent work performed in the fiscal year being reported.
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