Information for lawyers


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:

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.

Complex Case Rate Policy


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


access: defence is a system that allows counsel to book teleconferences with in-custody clients. Read more or download a copy of the procedural manual.

Disbursements Handbook

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:

Hourly Tariff and Block Fee Billing Chapter only | List of chapter contents

Hourly Tariff and Block Fee Billing Chapter only | « List of chapter contents

The Certificate

  • 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?

Billing Procedures

  • Supporting documentation/detailed accounts
  • Supporting documentation/disbursements

Billing Deadlines
Billing Interim, Final or Supplementary Accounts

  • Interim accounts
  • Final accounts
  • Supplementary accounts
  • Reporting to your client
  • Billing co-accused

Discretionary Increases

  • 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
  • Disbursements
  • Billing block fee accounts
  • Block Fee Rates

Block Fees - Transitional Rules (from Phase 1 to Phase 2)

  • Transitional Certificates
  • Disbursements

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
  • Disbursements
  • Amendments
  • Billing
  • Block fee rates

Criminal Chapter only | List of chapter contents

Criminal Chapter only | « List of chapter contents

Tariff Maximums

  • 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

Additional Information

  • Adjournments
  • Appeals
  • Bail Hearings
  • Bail reviews and youth bail de novo applications
  • Charter applications
  • Co-accused
  • Co-counsel
  • Contempt of court
  • Correspondence
  • Court day
  • Dangerous and long-term offender applications
  • Discretionary Increased
  • DNA genetic databank applications
  • Extradition
  • Fifteen-year reviews of parole eligibility
  • Fitness hearings
  • Immigration/Deportation
  • Incomplete matter
  • Judicial pre-trials
  • Junior counsel
  • Legal advice in domestic criminal matters
  • Motions
  • Multiple Charges
  • Ontario Review Board hearings
  • Opinion certificates
  • Parole hearings and penitentiary discipline hearings
  • Plea to lesser included offence
  • Pre-trials
  • Waiting time
  • Withdrawal without Crown election

Big Case Management

List of Offences

Civil Chapter only | List of chapter contents

Civil Chapter only | « List of chapter contents

Tariff Maximums

General Notes

  • Adjournments
  • Correspondence
  • 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

Travel Chapter only | List of chapter contents

Travel Chapter only | « List of chapter contents


  • Hourly rates
  • Special northern travel incentives
  • Criminal matters
  • Civil matters (including Family and CFSA)

Travel disbursements

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Mileage
  • Other modes of transportation
  • Parking
  • Toll roads - Highway 407

Travel for Others

  • Experts
  • Investigators
  • Witness

Costs & Contributions Chapter only | List of chapter contents

Costs & Contributions Chapter only | « List of chapter contents



  • 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

Contribution agreements

  • 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

Helpful tips

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

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

Test Cases

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.

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