Information for lawyers

Tariff & Billing

The legal aid tariff is a regulation setting out the compensation for lawyers who provide services to low-income clients. It sets hourly rates, and also establishes the maximum number of hours that Legal Aid Ontario pays a lawyer for specific types of proceedings.

The legal aid tariff reflects the fees customarily paid by a client of modest means. These fees apply for all legal aid services, except in exceptional cases.

Legal Aid Ontario also pays lawyers block fees for some of the most common criminal charges.

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.

For your convenience here are links to specific chapters:

Disbursements

The Disbursements Handbook lists all disbursements requiring pre-approval. You will need to attach your invoices for such disbursements when billing. Billing unapproved disbursements may result in the denial of your expenditure for payment.

Tariff Rates

There are four different hourly rates; three depend on a lawyers’ tier level, which is assessed based on certified years of experience. The fourth is for lawyers whose cases qualify for the Complex Case Rate. Lawyers must be on the Complex Case Rate panel in order to receive this rate.

Rate Tier Certificates issued on or after April 1, 2015

Lawyer Rate Tier 1

$109.14

Lawyer Rate Tier 2

$122.78

Lawyer Rate Tier 3

$136.43

Complex Criminal Case Rate

$161.05

Tariff structure for all areas except Northern Ontario

Please note that the tariff hourly rate is based on the issue date of the certificate, while duty counsel rates are based on the service date.

Rate Tier Certificates issued on or after April 1, 2015

Tier 1

$109.14

Tier 2**

$122.78

Tier 3**

$136.43

Law Clerk

$32.37

Student-at-Law

$64.74

Junior Counsel – court

N.A.*

Travel Tier 1

$43.00

Travel Tier 2

$48.38

Travel Tier 3

$53.75

Duty Counsel – Services

$109.14

Duty Counsel – Travel

$43.00


* Effective February 1, 2010 there is no separate rate for Junior Counsel
** Pursuant to regulation 14.1 and 14.2 as well as 24.1 and 24.2 of Tariff Regulation for Criminal and Civil Matters respectively

Tariff structure for Northern areas

The GDR is available only for certain duty counsel and certificate services in one of five designated areas (Cochrane Area 05, Kenora Area 15, Rainy River Area 35, Temiskaming Area 39 and communities served by Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation (NALSC) Area 48). The following chart summarizes the rate increases:

Rate Tier Certificates issued on or after April 1, 2015

Tier 1

$120.05

Tier 2**

$135.06

Tier 3**

$150.06

Law Clerk

$32.37

Student-at-Law

$71.21

Junior Counsel – court

N.A.*

Travel Tier 1

$47.30

Travel Tier 2

$53.21

Travel Tier 3

$59.13

Duty Counsel – Services

$120.05

Duty Counsel – Travel

$47.30

Guaranteed Daily Rate (Certificates & DC)

$1,181.96

Big Case Management (BCM) – Complex Case Rate (CCR)

Hourly rate Certificates issued on or after April 1, 2015
Hourly Rate $161.05

Tariff pre-authorizations

Tariff pre-authorizations are the result of feedback from the private bar during LAO’s province-wide consultations on discretion. They take into account the time that panel criminal and family lawyers actually spend in court. In the past, lawyers routinely requested discretion for these proceedings to compensate for limited tariff hours.

Criminal law: Summary conviction trials

Tariff effective Nov. 26, 2012

First day

Up to 10.5 hours for prep and court attendance time

Subsequent days

Up to four hours for prep for each half or full day, plus court attendance time

Family law: Child protection status reviews (interim society care to extended society care)

Tariff effective Nov. 26, 2012

Increase in status reviews and authorization in interim society care to extended society care matters

12 hours

Lawyers and Legal Aid Ontario

The certificate and duty counsel programs form a public-private partnership, serving low-income individuals throughout Ontario.

The province, through Legal Aid Ontario, provides funding and other support, while private lawyers contribute to legal aid by accepting the legal aid rates and tariff for legal services provided to clients.

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