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Archive: Case management and tariff pre-authorization consultations (October/November 2012)

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)s case management and tariff pre-authorization consultations. If you cannot find your question on this page, please submit in the form below.

We will regularly add new questions and answers as we consult with stakeholders.


Case management


Q: What is case management?

Q: What is case management?

A: LAOs case management programs allows lawyers, in collaboration with a LAO case manager, to set budgets in costly, complex cases likely to exceed $8,000. Creating a budget ensures more cost certainty for lawyers. A budget also helps ensure counsel has the resources necessary to deliver quality services and LAO has greater control over the costs of complex proceedings.

LAO is creating a family case management program to support lawyers in the management of complex areas of law, beginning with CSFA Crown wardship. LAO is also establishing a mid-level case management program to support criminal lawyers in the management of some complex criminal cases that fall below the Big Case Management threshold (non-homicide $20,000, homicide $30,000).



Q: Why did LAO initiate these programs?

Q: Why did LAO initiate these programs?

A: LAO decided to initiate the case management programs in response to the feedback received from the bar during province-wide discretion consultations in May 2012.

Ontarios lawyers and legal associations expressed their concerns about predictability and cost certainty in complex, costly matters, the impact of the clarified discretion guidelines which focus on exceptional circumstances only the adequacy of the tariff, billing and payment processes and the timeliness of payments.

The case management programs address these concerns, as it provides criminal and family panel lawyers with the support of a case manager and a budget.



Q: What are the benefits of case management?

Q: What are the benefits of case management?

A: Case management will help LAO meet its mandate to ensure cost-effective, efficient, high-quality legal services, comply with the requirements of the Legal Aid Services Act regarding discretionary payments, gain greater certainty and control over case costs, and simplify billing and payment processes.

It also will create cost certainty and predictability for lawyers, and ensure that lawyers working on complex cases receive the resources they need to provide quality service.



Q: What is LAO hoping to gain through its consultations on case management?

Q: What is LAO hoping to gain through its consultations on case management?

A: LAO hopes to gain feedback from the bar on case management eligibility criteria, what leads to a matter being eligible for mid-level case management, proposed case management charges, the case management process, budget-setting and proposed implementation timelines.



Q: What eligibility criteria does LAO propose for case management?

Q: What eligibility criteria does LAO propose for case management?

A: Eligibility criteria to mid-level case management or criminal matters, proposed by LAO are:

  • the case is likely to exceed $8,000 AND is less than $30,000 (the threshold for Big Case Management homicide) or less than $20,000 (the threshold for Big Case Management non-homicide)
  • the service provider has or is likely to use the maximum hours available on the tariff authorization
  • the case contains at least one of the identified case management charges
  • a preliminary hearing or trial date has been set
  • counsel agrees to the case management terms and conditions

Eligibility criteria to case management for family law matters proposed by LAO are the case is likely to exceed $8,000

  • the case is a Child and Family Service Act Crown (CFSA) wardship matter (LAO will consider adding other matters)
  • a settlement conference has been held
  • counsel agrees to the case management terms and conditions


Q: What charges does LAO propose for inclusion in the mid-level case management program for criminal cases?

Q: What charges does LAO propose for inclusion in the mid-level case management program for criminal cases?

A: LAO proposes the following charges as a start.

For centralized (Big Case Management unit) case management:

  • Homicides
    • CRIM326: Murder
    • CRIM317: Manslaughter
    • CRIM170: Dangerous driving causing death
    • CRIM268: Impaired driving causing death
    • CRIM112: Conspiracy to commit murder
    • CRIM165: Criminal negligence causing death
    • CRIM585: Manslaughter (firearm)
    • CRIM584: Criminal negligence causing death
    • CRIM159: Counselling to commit murder
  • Indictable 2 appeals

For district case management:

  • Non-homicide extremely serious criminal matters (ESM)
    • CRIM584: Criminal negligence causing death (firearm)
    • CRIM593: Extortion (rirearm).
    • CRIM586: Attempt murder (firearm)
    • CRIM587: Causing bodily harm with intent (firearm)
    • CRIM588: Sexual assault (firearm)
    • CRIM589: Aggravated sexual assault (firearm)
    • CRIM590: Kidnapping (firearm)
    • CRIM591: Hostage-taking (firearm)
    • CRIM592: Robbery (firearm)
  • Non-ESM: Sexual assault includes attempts, sexual interference, etc.


Q: What process does LAO propose for the case management program?

Q: What process does LAO propose for the case management program?

A: LAO proposes the following process:

  • the direction this case may be case managed will appear on a certificate which covers a charge eligible for case management and for family cases, for Crown Wardship under CFSA.
  • where costs are likely to exceed $8,000, counsel will complete a case management assessment form and forward it to LAO
  • a LAO case manager will review the assessment form, contact counsel to discuss the case and set the budget if indicated
  • case management authorizations (blocks of hours) will be added to the certificate
  • once counsel completes the work, he or she will submit the account for payment
  • LAO will pay within 21-25 days if the account is within budget and does not breach any billing rules (e.g., is not late-billed)


Q: How does LAO propose to set out the budget for cases under this program?

Q: How does LAO propose to set out the budget for cases under this program?

A: LAO proposes to set the budget based on existing tariff authorizations plus:

  • for eligible criminal cases: 10, 25, 50, 75, 100 or 150 additional case management hours added to the certificate
  • for eligible family law cases: 5, 10, 15 or 20 additional case management hours added to the certificate

Lawyers will determine an interim or final budget in consultation with an LAO case manager. If the budget is final, it can only be amended in exceptional circumstances and will rarely be amended retroactively. Counsel must request an increase to a budget before spending the money.

No discretion is available on case-managed files.



Q: For criminal matters, what factors does LAO propose to consider in deciding on the amount of case management hours to include in a budget?

Q: For criminal matters, what factors does LAO propose to consider in deciding on the amount of case management hours to include in a budget?

A: LAO proposes to consider:

  • the length of the proceeding
  • the charge(s) and the preparation hours provided under the tariff
  • the merits of the proposed pre-trial motions
  • novel legal issues e.g., constitutional challenges to legislation, expansion of common law defences
  • the nature of forensic and expert evidence e.g., novel forensic evidence that may be challenged at trial by either defence or the Crown
  • clients with special needs e.g., mental health issues, serious non-criminal law consequences if convicted
  • disclosure e.g., complexity, volume, etc.
  • crown litigation strategy e.g., prosecution acting unreasonably
  • extended sentencing hearing e.g., matter resolved but detailed Gardiner hearing required
  • the historical billing pattern of the service provider e.g., regularly exceeds the tariff and requests discretion


Q: For eligible family law matters, how does LAO propose to set the budget?

Q: For eligible family law matters, how does LAO propose to set the budget?

A: The budget will consist of tariff and case management blocks of hours. Below are charts which summarize the proposed family tariff in CFSA Crown wardship matters and proposed guidelines for case management blocks of hours. Such certainty will help case managers set budgets and meet counsel expectations.


Child and Family Service Act Crown wardship tariff

Type of case

Description

Base time (hours)

Court day increase

Hours in court

CFSA04 CFSA base 22 n/a n/a
FA021 All subsequent pre-trials 0 2 hours daily Time spent
FAO44 Status review (other) 6 n/a n/a
FAO## Status review (Society-Crown) 6 n/a n/a
FAO45 Trial authorized 18 4 hours daily Time spent
FAO48 Motion for summary judgement 8 n/a Time spent


Child and Family Service Act Crown wardship case management authorizations for pre-trial preparation

Description

Hours

Disclosure exceeds the norm; tariff allocation is inadequate 5 to 10
Procedural pre-trial motion (initiating or responding): complex, e.g., added party, reserve band involved 5, including court time
Substantive pre-trial motion (initiating or responding): complex, e.g. increasing access 5, plus court time


Child and Family Service Act Crown wardship case management authorizations for trial preparation

Description

Hours

Complex medical evidence, experts 10 to15
Parenting capacity assessment 10
Trial by affidavit 10



Q: When will these changes come into effect?

Q: When will these changes come into effect?

A: LAO proposes to make these changes effective on certificates issued on or after the implementation date.



Tariff pre-authorization pilot


Q: What are tariff pre-authorizations?

Q: What are tariff pre-authorizations?

A: They are pre-authorizations of tariffs that will increase the number of hours for particular proceedings. LAO plans to pilot tariff pre-authorizations as described in the charts below, and will review other areas in criminal and family and child protection matters where increases to authorizations may be required.


Criminal law proposed pilot to increase hours for summary conviction trials

 

What the tariff currently allows

Proposed hours

First day

Up to 10.5 hours for prep and court attendance time

Up to 10.5 hours for prep and court attendance time

Subsequent days

Up to five hours for each half or full day, including prep and court attendance time

Up to four hours for prep for each half or full day, plus court attendance time



Family law proposed pilot to increase hours in status reviews and society to Crown wardship matters

 

What the tariff currently allows

Proposed hours

Increase in status reviews and authorization in society to Crown wardship matters

Six hours

12 hours



Q: What are the benefits of tariff pre-authorizations?

Q: What are the benefits of tariff pre-authorizations?

A: Tariff pre-authorizations take into account the time that lawyers actually spend in court for these particular proceedings, creating cost certainty and predictability. In the past, lawyers routinely requested discretion for these proceedings to compensate for limited tariff hours.



Q: When will these changes come into effect?

Q: When will these changes come into effect?

A: LAO will announce an implementation date for these changes. The changes will be effective on certificates issued on or after the implementation date.



Have a question about case management or the tariff?


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