(1) (See fn. 1.) Petitioner, Workmen's Compensation Appeals Board, seeks prohibition to prevent respondent, Small Claims Court, San Leandro-Hayward Judicial District, from proceeding to trial on two small claims actions on the ground that the subject matter of the actions is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the board.1
The board has supplemented the record originally presented to us by providing copies of the claims filed in the small claims court and of its order approving compromise and release in the matter of Clifford Shans v. Early-Winston-Drake and National Surety Corporation of California, case No. 69 OAK 30031, filed January 31, 1973. An examination of the record, as supplemented by the board, discloses that the matter arose when respondent, Dr. Milton Righetti, dissatisfied with a $250 award for his services as a medical witness for respondent, Clifford Shans, in a workmen's compensation proceeding, filed an action in respondent, small claims court, against respondent, Homer Sidlow, one of several attorneys who had represented the claimant and with whom he had consultations, seeking an additional $350 for "consultation and hearing-appearance service." Respondent Sidlow countered by claiming respondent Righetti was indebted to him in the sum of $400 for "loss of Workmen's Compensation award for attorney fees."2
Respondent Sidlow also filed a separate action in respondent small claims court against respondent Shans, his former client in the workmen's compensation proceeding, seeking to recover $350 (in the event respondent Righetti should recover against him) by virtue of the fact that respondent Shans had executed a "save harmless" agreement that he would pay any fees owed to the doctor.
(2a) We need not discuss the merits of the claims of respondents Righetti or Sidlow, for it is clear that both parties are pressing their claims in the wrong forum. (3) "A court has no jurisdiction to hear or determine a case where the type of proceeding or the amount in controversy is beyond the jurisdiction defined for that particular court by statute or constitutional provision" (Abelleira v. District Court of Appeal (1941) 17 Cal.2d 280, 288 [109 P.2d 942, 132 A.L.R. 715]; italics added).3
(2b) The California Constitution (art. XX, § 21) envisions a "complete system of workmen's compensation," a purpose which the Legislature has sought to implement by appropriate legislation (Lab. Code, § 3201). The Legislature, by statute, has vested the Workmen's Compensation Appeals Board with exclusive jurisdiction to fix the fees of medical witnesses and of attorneys representing the claimants in matters before the board (Lab. Code, §§ 4600, 5300, 5304, 5955).
Medical witnesses may file lien claims with the board, pursuant to Labor Code section 4903, subdivision (b), for the reasonable value of their services.4 Attorneys may file lien claims, pursuant to the provisions of Labor Code section 4903, subdivision (a), for the reasonable value of legal services rendered to the claimant and for reasonable disbursements in connection therewith.5
(4) Labor Code section 4906 provides that "No charge, claim, or agreement for legal services or disbursements mentioned in subdivision (a) of Section 4903, or for the expense mentioned in subdivision (b) of Section 4903, is enforceable, valid, or binding in excess of a reasonable amount. The appeals board may determine what constitutes such reasonable amount." The purpose of section 4906 is to protect claimants before the board from the exaction of excessive fees. It constitutes professional misconduct for an attorney to secure or attempt to secure fees in excess of those allowed by the board (Coviello v. State Bar, 41 Cal.2d 273, 276 [259 P.2d 7]; see also Koker v. Elk Brass Mfg. Co. (1971) (appeals board en banc opinion) 36 Cal. Comp. Cases 292, 294).6
A lien claimant who deems himself aggrieved by the board's award is not without a remedy. By statute, he may petition the board for reconsideration (Lab. Code, § 5900) and thereafter may seek review (Lab. Code, § 5950). Respondents Righetti and Sidlow may not circumvent the remedy provided by statute by filing actions in the small claims court.
(2c) Because the subject matter of the actions filed in respondent small claims court is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Workmen's Compensation Appeals Board, respondent small claims court has no jurisdiction to hear or determine the claims.
Let a writ of prohibition issue commanding respondent small claims court to dismiss the actions in small claims cases Nos. 343233-8 and 343323-4, and to cease and desist from any further proceedings in these matters.
Kane, J., and Rouse, J., concurred.