Information for lawyers
Find manuals, handbooks and other items that may be useful to lawyers who represent legal aid clients.
Here is a list of acronyms and initialisms commonly used at Legal Aid Ontario.
Billing and payments
Quick links for some of the most-accessed billing information:
Annual billing limits: All lawyers have an annual billing limit of 2,350 hours per fiscal year, regardless of tier level.
Better Billing Bulletin: For news and tips check out the B3 newsletter.
Billing deadlines: Find the billing deadlines for current certificates.
Discretion: Read about how to request a discretionary increase and more.
Disbursements: Read the disbursements handbook, find forms and more.
How to bill: Learn the billing basics
Client & Lawyer Rights and Responsibilities
Client & Lawyer Rights and Responsibilities are in place to protect refugee claimants, and to better define their relationship with certificate lawyers. Each refugee client will get this document upon completing a legal aid application.
Complex Case Rate (CCR)
Complex Case Rate (CCR) policy: The Complex Case Rate (CCR) enhances tier fees for complex criminal cases in Ontario. The policy reflects the many priorities that LAO must balance in its funding of complex and expensive criminal cases.
The Forms Library contains all the forms lawyers need, including block fee and other billing forms, disbursement and discretion requests, and panel applications.
Handbooks and manuals
For more information on disbursements, including a list of allowable claims, refer to the Disbursements Handbook.
Duty Counsel Manual
The Duty Counsel Manual is intended for both staff and private bar duty counsel lawyers, to outline the policies and procedures for criminal and civil duty counsel services, billing and reporting. The manual assumes that the lawyer is already on a duty counsel panel.
A practice manual for refugee lawyers representing claimants before the Refugee Protection Division.
Tariff and Billing Handbook
Tariff and Billing Handbook: The handbook is a plain language interpretation of policies, procedures, and regulations for legal aid billing and the tariff. It is intended for lawyers (and their staff) already on a legal aid panel, duty counsel and/or private bar lawyers. Find out more information about registering for panel membership.
Links to specific chapters:
- Reduction of fees otherwise payable
- Hourly rates
- Daily Billing Limit
- Annual Billing Limit
Account Payment Timelines
General Rules and Practices
- Acknowledgement of the certificate
- Direct Deposit
- Who can bill?
- Payment of agents’ accounts
- Receiving money from a client
- Client liens and contribution agreements
- Harmonized sales Tax (HST)
- Calculating net fees and HST on fees
- HST on disbursements
- Restrictions on billing
- Interest on accounts
- Which tariff applies?
- Supporting documentation/detailed accounts
- Supporting documentation/disbursements
Billing Interim, Final or Supplementary Accounts
- Interim accounts
- Final accounts
- Supplementary accounts
- Reporting to your client
- Billing co-accused
- Request for discretion
- Reasons for discretion
Questioning the Settlement of an Account
- Retroactive request for discretionary increase
- Review of final settlement
- Paper account forms
Block Fees - Phase 1 (May 1, 2010 - May 29, 2011)
- What is a block fee?
- Charge(s) covered under a block fee
- Phase 1 eligbile charges
- Coverage under the block fee certificate
- Billing block fee accounts
- Block Fee Rates
Block Fees - Transitional Rules (from Phase 1 to Phase 2)
- Transitional Certificates
Block Fees - Phase 2
- Summary I (list of charges)
- Summary II (list of charges)
- Indictable charges (list of chrages)
- Excluded charges (list of charges)
- Obtaining authorization for the ancillary proceeding and vulnerable client blocks
- Block fee rates
- Determining the tariff maximum
- Table A: Summary conviction offences or Crown election offences where the matter proceeds summarily (except sexual assault)
- Table B: Indictable Type I offences, Crown election offences where the matter proceeds by indictment, and all charges of sexual assault regardless of Crown election
- Table C: Indictable Type II
- Table D: Provincial offences and federal summary conviction
- Table E: Summary conviction appeals (in the Superior Court of Justice)
- Table F: Appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal
- Table G: Appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada
- Table H: Maximum Hours Table – Other Matters
- Bail Hearings
- Bail reviews and youth bail de novo applications
- Charter applications
- Contempt of court
- Court day
- Dangerous and long-term offender applications
- Discretionary Increased
- DNA genetic databank applications
- Fifteen-year reviews of parole eligibility
- Fitness hearings
- Incomplete matter
- Judicial pre-trials
- Junior counsel
- Legal advice in domestic criminal matters
- Multiple Charges
- Ontario Review Board hearings
- Opinion certificates
- Parole hearings and penitentiary discipline hearings
- Plea to lesser included offence
- Waiting time
- Withdrawal without Crown election
Big Case Management
List of Offences
- Junior counsel
- Nature of Court Attendances
- Waiting time
Family Law Tariff
- Subsequent pretrial conferences, settlement conferences, case conferences
- Table A: Family Law
- Uncontested divorce
- Contested divorce
- Child Protection Tariff (CFSA)
- Table B: Child Protection
- Table C: Civil Litigation
- Table D: Trials, References and Hearings
- Table E: Appeals
- Table F: Immigration and Refugee Law
- Table G: Administrative Boards of Tribunals
- Table H: Other Civil Matters
- Group and Test Case Certificates
- Hourly rates
- Special northern travel incentives
- Criminal matters
- Civil matters (including Family and CFSA)
- Other modes of transportation
- Toll roads - Highway 407
Travel for Others
- General principals
- Costs against institutional parties
- Costs and Family Responsibility Office (FRO)
- Assessment of costs
- Costs and support orders
- Costs recovered
- Steps to take after costs awarded
- Writs of Execution or Notices of Garnishment
- Waiver of costs
- Costs for services performed while the client was not legally aided
- Costs awarded against a legally aided client
Settlement and Judgments
- General principles
- Amounts recovered
- Settlement/judgment amounts uncollected
- Settlement/judgment before administrative tribunals
- Waiver of LAO’s charge against money or other property
- General principles
- Estimated amounts
- Fixed amounts
- Monthly contribution agreement
- Legal aid liens and other forms of security
- Estimated total fees
- Change in client’s financial circumstances
Negotiating a Settlement
- Waiver of costs to facilitate settlement
- Waiver of LAO’s charge on recovery to facilitate settlement
- Settlements involving the transfer or sale of property with a lien
Did you know… Additional hours for SVO hearings are available for responding to applications for a serious violent offence determination under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
Did you know… Tips for lawyers representing clients before the Consent and Capacity Board are available on our website.
Did you know… Legal Aid Ontario provides information for lawyers representing clients in proceedings under the Child and Family Services Act.
Did you know… Practical tips for representing minors and persons with mental health disorders or disability before the Immigration Review Board (IRB) are also available.
Interpreter services are free for legal aid clients experiencing domestic violence.
Resource lists for lawyers:
- Agencies that provide free interpretation services under the Ministry of Citizenships Domestic Violence Interpreters Program
- Cultural and community agencies that may provide free interpretation for members of their community
A test case is a legal proceeding that is representative of a larger number of existing or potential actions. Test cases are brought on behalf of one or more litigants to "test" relevant law, legislation or practices for the benefit of a larger group.
Find out more about Group and Test Case Certificates.
Possible test cases
Group Applications and Test Cases Committee: 2014 Meeting schedule
The meetings are generally scheduled for the third Thursday of every month.
The following are the tentative dates for the upcoming Group Applications and Test Cases meetings.
- January 16, 2014
- February 20, 2014
- March 20, 2014
- April 17, 2014
- May 15, 2014
- June 19, 2014
- July 17, 2014
- August 21, 2014
- September 18, 2014
- October 16, 2014
- November 20, 2014
Note: Applicants are required to submit their material at least nine days before the meeting date (5:00 p.m. Tuesday).
Training seminars on DVD for Legal Aid Ontario panel members are available at a nominal cost through LAO LAW. Once logged in, choose "Learning Opportunities" from the menu.