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LAO announces phase 2 criminal block fee pilot rates

Posted on: Monday, May 16, 2011


Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is expanding the criminal block fee pilot that simplifies and streamlines billing and payments for lawyers who represent legal aid clients.

The expanded phase 2 of the block fee pilot takes effect on May 30, 2011 and follows extensive consultation with the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. The second phase of the pilot includes a broader range of block fee eligible charges and fixed rates for guilty pleas, withdrawals, bail hearings, pre-trial hearings and other types of proceedings.

A compendium of rules to guide lawyers through the billing process is now available on LAO’s website, and a schedule of the new block fee rates is available below.


What are block fees?


Block fees are fixed rates paid to lawyers for their work on specific activities or stages of an eligible criminal case. The block fee pilot program works in conjunction with the existing hourly tariff: routine criminal certificates are paid by block fees and more serious and complicated matters by the hourly tariff. Trials and matters set for trial are excluded from the block fee program, and will be paid under the hourly tariff.


Support for lawyers


To help lawyers and other stakeholders understand changes to the block fee program, LAO has developed a series of online tutorials and a Q&A. LAO’s Lawyer Service Centre (416-979-9934 or 1-866-979-9934) has expanded its hours to support lawyers through the transition to the second phase of the block fee pilot.


Quotes


“The introduction of block fees will simplify and streamline how lawyers’ accounts are settled by making it faster and easier for lawyers to bill for common criminal matters. LAO is committed to working with the Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA) and other stakeholders to ensure that block fees promote high-quality client services, efficiency in the legal aid system, and improve access to justice for low-income Ontarians.”
John McCamus, Chair, Legal Aid Ontario

“The hybrid model is a first step forward for block fees. Hopefully, this new block fee system will afford low income Ontarians the same access to justice as other Ontario litigants. The CLA will continue to press for a better legal aid system through its ongoing consultations with LAO and will continue to advance the recommendations of recent government reports on what must be done to achieve such a system.”
Lou Strezos, Criminal Lawyers’ Association Secretary, and Chair of CLA LAO Consultation Committee


Block Fee pilot phase 2 schedule


Block Fee Tariff

 

Summary I

Summary II

Indictable

Excluded Charges and Proceedings

Fee type

Block Fee

Block Fee

Block Fee

Paid by Hourly Tariff

Resolution fee

Guily Plea

$615

$707

$1,161

 

Withdrawal

$794

$913

$1,254

Pre-trial proceeding fee

Bail Hearing

$250

$250

$250

 

Judicial pre-trial

$250

$250

$250

 

Charter Motion

$250

$250

$250

 

Bail Review

$375

$375

$375

Vulnerable client fee

Mental Health

$375

$375

$375

 

Gladue

$375

$375

$375

Trials, Matters Set Down for Trial

Paid By Hourly Tariff

Non-resolved matters

Paid By Hourly Tariff


For more information:

Lawyer contact:

Lawyer Service Centre
416-979-9934 or 1-866-979-9934

Media contact:

Kristian Justesen
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
416-979-2352 Ext. 4782
justesk@lao.on.ca




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