LAO listens to lawyers on changes to block fees pilot
Posted on: Friday, December 10, 2010
Q&A for lawyers on interim billing and transitional certificates announcement
Q. I have had to hold back my accounts because I can’t interim bill them. Can I submit them now?
A. Yes, those certificates can now be billed according to the new rules announced today. Depending on your individual circumstances, those accounts may be interim billed or Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) may issue a new certificate.
Q. My certificate was issued before September 20, 2010 (when the block fee schedule and charge list were amended) but I haven’t billed it yet. How much will LAO pay and what rules apply?
A. It depends on the charge. If the charge:
- was one of the more than 20 charges that were removed from the pilot, the certificate will be paid according to the regular criminal tariff.
- is for assault resist arrest or assault police, LAO will pay $755 for a guilty plea and $1,045 for a stay/withdrawal.
- is for one of the charges remaining on the block fee schedule, LAO will pay $680 for a guilty plea and $945 for a stay/withdrawal.
Q. I tried to bill my pre-September 20 block fee certificate on the portal and it says I will be paid $650/$920, not $680/$945. Why can’t I bill the original, higher amounts?
A. The “top up” is difficult to make through Legal Aid Online. As a result, LAO will instead issue cheques directly to lawyers who are affected. These cheques will be issued on a monthly basis and will be credited to the appropriate certificates and accounts. You will receive the proper compensation.
Q. When can I expect to receive my “top up” cheque from LAO?
A. LAO expects to begin issuing “top up” cheques early in 2011.
Q. I have a certificate which has a block fee as well as a tariff charge. How will this be paid?
A. Payment of a certificate (either block fee or tariff) is determined by the most serious charge on that certificate:
- If a block fee charge is the most serious charge, the account will be paid according to the block fee schedule.
- If a non-block fee charge is the most serious charge the account will be paid according to the regular criminal tariff.
- If a certificate has two or more block fee charges, one block fee will be paid according to the block fee schedule unless the charges are heard separately, in which case two block fees will be paid.
Q. Have you changed the rules for interim billing non-block fee matters?
A. No. You can still interim bill non-block fee criminal certificates according to LAO’s existing rules.