Block fees scenarios

These are common criminal block fee billing scenarios and actions to ensure the account is billed properly. Just click on the links to see the whole scenario and what LAO and panel lawyers can do.

Always remember that charges heard separately cannot be billed on a block fee eligible certificate even if the matter is set down for trial and is billed hourly. A new certificate is required for the second set of charges if they are proceeding separately.

New charges added to current certificate

A client contacts Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to advise that a new charge related to the initial incident is to be added to their existing certificate. LAO confirmed that the block fee certificate has not yet been final billed. The client confirms that all of the charges are being resolved at the same time.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
Legal Aid Ontario will amend the certificate to add the new charge. The lawyer will be notified of this change through Legal Aid Online.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
The lawyer will submit a standard block fee account for this case.

Additional charges resolved separately

A lawyer submits a request to add additional charges form through Legal Aid Online and indicates that the charges are being resolved separately. LAO confirms that the block fee certificate is active and has not been final billed.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
As the charges are being resolved separately, Legal Aid Ontario will issue a new certificate. The lawyer will be notified of this change through Legal Aid Online.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
The lawyer will submit a separate account for each certificate.

Unsure if additional charges are to be resolved separately

A lawyer submits a request to add additional charges form through Legal Aid Online but indicates that they are unsure if the charges will be resolved together. LAO confirms that the block fee certificate is active and has not been final billed.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
As the lawyer is unsure if the charges will be resolved together, Legal Aid Ontario will issue a new certificate. The lawyer will be notified of this change through Legal Aid Online.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
If the charges are resolved separately, the lawyer will submit a separate account for each certificate. If the charges are resolved together, the lawyer can bill for any standard and/or authorized blocks on each certificate provided the services related to those blocks are heard separately. The lawyer will only receive one resolution block for the certificate that gives rise to the higher resolution block fee. The lawyer bills the second certificate as Resolved on Other Certificate which does not generate an additional payment.

Charges now being resolved separately, billing not submitted yet

A client advises Legal Aid Ontario that they have charges on two separate arrest records, and that these charges are being resolved together. A lawyer has acknowledged the certificate, but no account has been submitted at this stage of the proceedings. The lawyer later advises LAO that the charges are now being resolved separately.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
If no account has been submitted, Legal Aid Ontario will remove one set of charges and issue a new certificate for those charges.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
The lawyer will submit a separate account for each certificate.

Change of solicitor

A client has a legal aid certificate for an assault charge (block fee eligible) as well as an authorized block fee for a Gladue submission. While the clients lawyer has already performed a bail hearing, the client requires a change of solicitor because their lawyer is leaving private practice.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
Legal Aid Ontario will follow the Change of Solicitor process.
How will this be billed by the original lawyer and the newly retained lawyer?
  • Original lawyer: Bill the not resolved matter by the hourly tariff.
  • New lawyer: Bill the resolution block and all other applicable blocks for work rendered on the new certificate.

Billing separate bail hearings, when charges are resolved together

A client has separate certificates for two block fee eligible matters: One for assault, and one for break and entering a non-dwelling. While a separate bail hearing occurred for each matter, the charges were resolved together and the account is now ready to be submitted.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
Legal Aid Ontario will follow standard block fee billing procedures.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
The lawyer should bill based on the higher paying block fee matter. As two separate bail hearings occurred for each matter, each bail hearing may be billed separately on each certificate.

Adding an excluded block fee charge onto a certificate

A lawyer has requested that the related charge of arson (on the same information / indictment) be added to a block fee eligible certificate. The lawyer confirms that all charges are being resolved together.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
Due to the addition of an excluded charge, all billings will be completed by the hourly tariff.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
The lawyer will bill based on the hourly tariff.

Block fee matter now proceeding to trial; interim billing already submitted

A lawyer has a block fee eligible certificate and interim billed for a judicial pre-trial before the matter was set for trial. The matter later proceeds to a contested trial.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
Legal Aid Ontario will pay block fees on the interim billing and will pay the remainder of the account through the hourly tariff. Standard hourly tariff billing procedures will apply.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
All future billing will be completed by the hourly tariff. As interim billing has already been provided under the block fee, these services must not be billed under the hourly tariff account. The lawyer must ensure they follow all standard procedures with hourly tariff billing, including attaching necessary dockets.

Including request for excluded disbursement after final billing submitted

A lawyer has submitted their final account on a block fee eligible certificate. The lawyer then contacts Legal Aid Ontario and advises that they have overlooked a request for an excluded disbursement prior to submitting the account.

What will Legal Aid Ontario do?
Legal Aid Ontario will follow standard block fee billing procedures.
How will this be billed by the lawyer?
The lawyer can submit a supplementary account for the excluded disbursement.