Parties who lose cases often blame their lawyers. “If my lawyer had done a decent job, I would have won.”
My observations over 25 years lead me to conclude that the majority of these claims are unfair. Frequently the client uses the lawyer as a scapegoat so the client can avoid any responsibility for the loss.
However, there are exceptions. Sometimes, it is the lawyer’s fault. Sometimes, the client has every reason to be angry at the lawyer.
It may be a cautionary tale for owners: just because you are disputing the validity of a lien or common expense arrears does not mean that you can cease payment altogether of your current common expenses. It is also an important procedural note for condominium boards and management: make sure your owners understand how the process works once the arrears reach the lien stage.
Section 84(3) of the Condominium Act states that an owner is not exempt from the obligation to contribute to the common expenses even if the owner is making a claim against the corporation. The Court of Appeal in Carleton Condominium Corp. 396 v. Burdet confirmed this proposition.