Legal Aid Ontario's Lawyer Services & Payments Department (LSP) is happy to bring you this monthly Better Billing Bulletin. It's meant to provide you and your staff with information regarding tariff and billing practices. We hope you'll find it useful.
Lawyer Service Centre HOTLINE
(416) 979-9934 or 1-866-979-9934
We have set up a HOTLINE through the Lawyer Service Centre. Lawyers can contact the Hotline to inquire as to the status of their account and if experiencing financial hardship due to the delay in payments, request an “expedite” if the account is more than 60 days old.
For an “expedite”, we require a written request briefly outlining your financial hardship and the account you would like expedited. Thank you for your patience.
For more information on payment delays, see Better Billing Bulletin Vol.31 Special Edition.
Please note: when calling from the Greater Toronto Area, you must dial (416)979-9934. The 1-866 number does not accept local calls.
Criminal Tariff - Enhancers
When submitting a criminal account Online, the system will allow you to bill five criminal tariff “enhancers” for work performed for your legally aided client. These “enhancers” include attending and conducting a Bail Hearing, Judicial Pre-trial, or Superior Court Judicial Pretrial, filing a Charter Motion, or arguing a DNA application in court. The selection of each tariff enhancer increases the tariff maximum by 2 hours.
We are currently working on improving the functionality associated with the selection of enhancers to reduce the potential for errors. It’s your responsibility to ensure enhancers are accurately selected; please select the correct enhancer when billing Online.
Should you require assistance in understanding the enhancers and when they should be selected please consult the Tariff and Billing Handbook or contact the Lawyer Service Centre (416) 979-9934 or 1-866-979-9934.
Evidence of inappropriate use of tariff enhancers will result in monetary recoveries or “claw backs”, and other possible sanctions, including a referral to counsel’s panel manager (Area Director) and LAO’s Investigations Department.
Criminal Tariff - Charges Heard Separately
When you represent a client charged with two or more offences, and the charges are disposed of in the same court on the same date, the hourly tariff maximum is for one offence only. When billing Online, please ensure that you select an authorized charge as having proceeded separately only when each authorized charge was completed separately such that a plea, trial or withdrawal took place in a different court or on a different day.
In criminal matters, charges are often ultimately brought together for global resolution. Accordingly counsel may not flag more than one charge as "no plea entered" until separate trial dates have been set on the charges. The appropriate entry when billing an interim account where no trial date has been set on more than one matter is to flag "no plea entered" with respect to one charge only.
We are working on ‘pop up’ messages and other features to reduce the potential for errors in selecting charges heard separately. It’s your responsibility to ensure charges heard separately is accurately selected when billing Online.
Please consult the Tariff and Billing Handbook or contact the Lawyer Service Centre (416) 979-9934 or 1-866-979-9934 should you have questions regarding charges heard separately.
Evidence of inappropriate use of “charges heard separately” will result in monetary recoveries or “claw backs” and other possible sanctions, including a referral to counsel’s panel manager (area director) and LAO’s Investigations Department.
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