Expert rates increase improves access to justice for legal aid clients
Posted on: Friday, March 25, 2011
Toronto –Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is increasing funding for rates paid to experts who provide evidence on behalf of legal aid clients by $1 million a year. LAO expert hourly rates, which vary by area of expertise, education and experience, will increase by between 33 and 100 per effective 1 April 2011.
Lawyers representing clients with matters covered by LAO’s Big Case Management program will be able to apply for additional funding to top up expert fees that exceed LAO’s approved rates. Top-up funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be requested to retain experts from outside of Ontario or for longer periods of time.
The increase in expert rates formed part of the January 2010 Memorandum of Understanding and are being funded through the $150 million investment in legal aid services, which was announced by the Government of Ontario in 2009.
“By taking the step of increasing funding for expert rates by $1 million dollars annually, Legal Aid Ontario is improving access to high-quality expert testimony for legal aid clients have. Increasing expert rates promotes trial fairness and increases access to justice for low-income Ontarians.”
John McCamus, Chair Legal Aid Ontario
“The CLA welcomes the increased allocation of funding to ensure that properly qualified experts can be retained in criminal and other proceedings. This additional funding will go a long way to ending the disparity of resources that have been available to crown experts as compared todefence experts. Experience has shown that this disparity has contributed to miscarriages of justice.”
Lou Strezos, CLA Secretary and Chair of the CLA LAO Consultation Committee
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