B3: Better Billing Bulletin

Vol. 41 - August 2012



Legal Aid Ontario's Lawyer Services & Payments Department (LSP) is happy to bring you this edition of the 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.


1. UPDATES: Block Fee Accounts


Gladue and bail review wordings

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has modified the wording for Gladue and bail review authorizations so the instructions on how to bill under these services are clearer. The new wording is as follows:


Code

New wording

CRIM600 Gladue

Additional 5 hours tariff, or the Gladue block, to prepare/make submissions on Gladue principles for Aboriginal client at bail hearing or sentencing

CA007 Bail review

To represent client re: bail review (initial) or bail de novo. Bail Review block or tariff maximum of 5 hours to conduct and complete bail review.

CA009 Bail review (second)

To represent client re: bail review (second) or bail de novo. Bail Review block or tariff maximum of 5 hours to conduct and complete bail review.

CA011 Bail review (third)

To represent client re: bail review (third) or bail de novo. Bail review block or tariff maximum of 5 hours to conduct and complete bail review.


Extradition hearings

Extradition hearings are exempt from the Block Fee Phase II pilot and should be billed hourly according to the regular tariff. If you have an extradition certificate that does not authorize Block Fee Phase II excluded criminal charges, please contact the district office or the Lawyer Services & Payments department for permission to bill your account hourly according to the regular tariff.


District area director exemptions

District area directors may exempt block fee matters in exceptional circumstances as outlined in the Tariff and Billing Handbook.

Requests for exemption:

  • must be made as soon as you become aware of the need for an exemption
  • must be submitted prior to submitting an account

Please note that the decision of the district area director is final.

The Tariff and Billing Handbook has been updated to reflect the changes to the charge list and the exclusion for extradition hearings.


2. REMINDER: CFSA certificates and authorizations


Please make sure you have requested and obtained all available authorizations from the district office prior to submitting an account and asking for discretion.

  • Certificates for Crown wardship (CFSA04) or Society wardship (CFSA03), should include authorizations for subsequent pre-trial conferences, case conferences and settlement conferences (FA021) as well as authorization for motions for temporary care and custody (FA047).
  • An additional FA047 may be approved by the district office upon receipt of a request from counsel.

3. Interpreter invoices


Interpreters are required to itemize their accounts, including the name of the interpreter, business address, the dates and time of day for all services, and a brief description of the services provided. If billing through Legal Aid Online, retain copies of all invoices submitted by the interpreter. You are responsible for ensuring that your interpreters bill accurately.


4. Electronic document submission


A new section added to Legal Aid Online in April now permits you to forward messages electronically through the web-based billing tools and receive faster resolutions to certificate-related enquiries.

Once submitted, each document is recorded in the messaging system section of Legal Aid Online so you have confirmation that Legal Aid Ontario has received it. Documents are then sent directly to a staff member, who can process the request sooner and pay your accounts quicker.

If you are forwarding documents by iFax, please note that iFax forms have digital recognition coding specific to the certificate at the top of the page. Each fax transmission to LAO must include a cover page to ensure that documents are appropriately directed. Please use the print icon to print the iFax cover sheet before forwarding your documentation.

Job Aid: Submitting and receiving documents electronically, and iFax modification



5. REMINDER: Requesting Disbursement Authorizations


Requests for disbursements that require pre-approval are to be sent to Lawyer Services & Payments, not the district office. Disbursement requests should be sent to LSP electronically using the document type Disbursement Request for Authorization. This will ensure the request is directed to the appropriate person for consideration.


6. Billing Limits (Hard cap)


LAO introduced a new hard cap report this past May on Legal Aid Online so you can monitor the status of your accounts against the annual billing limit You will now also receive notices electronically through Legal Aid Online when you reach 50,75, 90 and 100 per cent of the billing limit.

More information is available on the LAO website at www.legalaid.on.ca/en/info/annual_billinglimits.asp


7. Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT)


LSP has updated the standard messages it uses in its EFT notices to provide more clarity as to how accounts are settled and paid. Please visit the Information for lawyers section of LAOs website for a full list of EFT messages.



Please let us know if you have questions or if there are topics you'd like to see us cover by contacting the Lawyer Service Centre at 1-866-979-9934 or pl-lsc@lao.on.ca