Judicial Pre-Trial pilot process
Friday, June 24, 2016
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is working with the Ontario Court of Justice, criminal defence bar and the Ministry of the Attorney General on a pilot project to fund matters in participating Ontario Court of Justice locations where a trial is set and a second judicial pre-trial (JPT) or substantially similar event has been scheduled.
This pilot will run until March 31, 2018 and will take place at 15 locations across the province:
- College Park
- Durham (Oshawa)
- Halton (Milton)
- North York
- Old City Hall
- Thunder Bay
The pilot project does not apply to focus hearings or preliminary inquiries. Eligible matters may receive an authorization for an additional tariff maximum of two hours.
What matters are eligible?
To be eligible for the second JPT authorization, lawyers must have a legal aid certificate with a matter set for trial in one of the 15 participating Ontario Court of Justice locations. Additionally, the following criteria must be met:
- The second JPT or substantially similar second event is set on or after April 1, 2016;
- Parties in attendance have authority and preparedness to make the key decisions on a file;
- A meaningful review of the file occurs;
- Charter applications are identified/confirmed etc.;
- Positions on possible resolution, where appropriate, have been communicated;
- Time estimates are reviewed and confirmed;
- Witness availability and attendance confirmed;
- Legal issues identified and any admissions agreed upon.
In assessing whether counsel has been required to attend a second JPT or a “substantially similar event,” LAO will rely on the definition of JPT in chapter three of the LAO Tariff and Billing Handbook and the related criteria identified above.
How will lawyers obtain coverage?
As of June 26, 2016, lawyers will be able to submit requests through Legal Aid Online for a new authorization for the second JPT held in the Ontario Court of Justice.
Qualifying requests will have the authorization automatically added to the certificate. Lawyers will be required to answer a few validating questions to confirm eligibility. If a matter is ineligible for the authorization, the lawyer will receive an error message and will not be able to submit the request.
Only matters that meet the pilot parameters are eligible
Lawyers must obtain the request at least one day in advance of billing for the second JPT in order for the authorization to populate to the account
If the second JPT has already been held, lawyers should delay starting the account for the services until after June 26, 2016 and after obtaining the authorization
If a lawyer with an eligible matter has already submitted an account without the second JPT authorization they should send a notice through Legal Aid Online confirming when the matter was set down for trial, the court location and the date of the hearing. If it is confirmed that the services fall within the pilot initiative, Lawyer Services & Payments will arrange for the authorization to be added and process payment accordingly
Communications are being sent to the criminal panel in participating pilot areas to ensure their awareness of the initiative
If you have any questions, please contact the lawyer service centre at 1-866-979-9934.