Accounts & billing

Audit and Compliance Unit (ACU)

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is mandated to provide legal aid services to low-income individuals while being accountable for the expenditure of public funds.

ACU supports LAO's mandate through the identification of billing errors that may have resulted in overpaid funds. ACU forms part of LAO's Audit and Compliance Services Branch and is independent of other departments. Ontario Regulation 106/99 of the Legal Aid Services Act 1998 (LASA) gives LAO the authority to examine accounts in detail and recover funds where appropriate.

What we do

We audit lawyer billings to ensure compliance with LAO's Tariff and Billing and Disbursements Handbooks. ACU provides support to ensure the necessary controls and processes are in place to reduce the risk of billing errors and achieves its mandate by conducting random and target audits. When errors or patterns are identified, ACU makes recommendations to LAO for billing process improvements and topic-specific communication and training for LAO panel members.

When an error is found, ACU will provide information to help lawyers submit future bills accurately. If an error results in an overpayment, lawyers will be required to repay funds.