If you’ve received a bill from your notary and you think it’s too high, you can use the fee mediation service provided by the Chambre des notaires du Québec to settle the dispute. The service is free of charge and designed to help you and your notary reach an agreement.
Important: Before submitting an application for mediation, you should contact your notary to ask for an explanation of the fees and try to come to an arrangement.
Conditions for applying for mediation
When submitting an application for fee mediation, you must:
To apply for conciliation of an account for fees, you must:
- Submit the application within 45 days (calendar days and not business days) of the date of receiving the account for fees (bill), or within 45 days of the date you learned of the fees being deducted or withdrawn from the funds the notary is holding for or has received on behalf of the client.
- Acknowledge that you owe the notary fees in some amount for services rendered.
- Print out the form and have it signed by everyone whose name appears on the account for fees.
- Include all relevant documents mentioned on the form, including the account for fees (bill).
- Send your form and the required exhibits by mail to the address below, or by email to [email protected].
Chambre des notaires du Québec
Conciliator of Accounts for Fees
101-2045 Stanley St.
Montréal, QC H3A 2V4
Your application will not be considered if:
- You are asking for the bill to be cancelled.
- You believe that you do not owe the notary any fees.
- The bill was not issued to you by a notary who is a member of the Chambre des notaires (Quebec chamber of notaries);
- The individuals whose names are on the bill or their representatives have not all signed the mediation form.
For more information on the eligibility of an application for mediation, call
514-879-1793 / 1-800-263-1793, ext. *5977.
Mediation is a no-charge informal process in which the mediator attempts to get the client and the notary to agree on the fee amount by helping them find a mutually satisfactory solution. Each party should keep an open mind to facilitate the process. Even though the notary is required to participate in the process under the Code of Ethics of Notaries, the mediator may not require a party to accept an offer or reduce the amount of an invoice. Either party is free to accept or refuse the other party’s demands and offers. The mediator does not render decisions like an arbitrator or a judge would do.
Fee mediation is part of the commitment of legislators and courts to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution. Every professional association whose members charge fees to clients must have such a process in place.
Reasons for applying for mediation
- The bill is not consistent with the estimate provided by the notary, regardless of whether the notary charges an hourly or flat rate or a percentage.
- The bill is not detailed.
- The amount charged is not proportional to the services provided.
Keep in mind that, if you decide to terminate the services of your notary, the notary is entitled to get paid for his or her time and the work performed on your behalf.
Disbursements (amounts paid to third parties by the notary as part of the contract) may not be included in the application for mediation as they are not fees.
What’s more, mediators do not have any authority to deal with cases involving allegations of professional misconduct against a notary. If that is your case, the appropriate recourse is to submit a request for an inquiry to the Investigations and Litigation Department.
When you file an application for mediation, you will receive an acknowledgment of receipt and a file number that you must use in all subsequent communications with the mediator. Your application and supporting documents will be sent to the notary in question.
After reviewing the file, the mediator will first determine whether the application meets the eligibility requirements in the Regulation respecting the conciliation and arbitration procedure for the accounts of notaries, and makes sure that you acknowledge owing fees to the notary and that you are not asking for a full cancellation of the bill. The mediator may ask you or the notary to provide additional documents or information.
If your application does not meet the above eligibility requirements, the mediator will notify you and the file will be closed. However, you may pursue other legal remedies and may be encouraged to contact a legal advisor in private practice.
If your application meets the eligibility requirements, the mediator will let you know. The mediator will also ask the notary for relevant explanations and clarifications or even supporting documents.
At the mediator’s discretion, correspondence sent by one party will generally be forwarded to the other party for comments. The mediator’s goal is to bring the two parties together to help them reach an amicable resolution. The mediator will urge both you and your notary to keep an open mind in the process. He or she will ask your notary to make offers, and encourage you to make concessions.
Once an agreement has been reached, the mediator will confirm it in writing and send it to the parties.
If the mediator determines that no resolution is possible, he or she will provide each party with the following documents: the arbitration application form, the Regulation respecting the conciliation and arbitration procedure for the accounts of notaries, and a document that provides information on the arbitration process and hearings held in person and/or by videoconference. You and your notary will also receive a mediation report that sets out the procedure you must follow and the deadlines for pursuing other legal remedies, including arbitration. This remedy is only available to you as a client.
In the event the mediation process did not lead to a resolution, you may file an application for arbitration within 30 calendar days (not business days) of receiving the mediator’s report.
If you want to move to arbitration, you must pay the $100 application fee. Your application will be assigned a new file number and you and your notary must provide the arbitration board secretary with the documents you intend to submit as evidence before the board.
Cases referred to the arbitration board are heard by a panel made up of one or three arbitrators, depending on the amount in dispute. The arbitrators are notaries appointed by the board of directors. Remember that both you and your notary must be present on the day of the hearing.
The arbitration board renders a decision on the bill at issue and on the reimbursement of the arbitration application fee and arbitration expenses. Arbitration expenses range from $200 (plus taxes) to 15% of the amount in dispute (the amount you and your notary do not agree on) (plus taxes).
The decision of the arbitration board is final and without appeal. Both you and your notary must abide by it.