B3: Better billing bulletin vol. 49

Published: December 1, 2015

This issue of the Better Billing Bulletin covers some of the new services available to lawyers, tips on how to bill faster and services that are available to lawyers to
assist with certificate matters.

Transcription services

As outlined in O. Reg. 94/14, ordering parties are charged $4.30 per page for the first certified copy of the transcript. Copies of court transcripts required for the
Court of Appeal for Ontario or the Divisional Court are available through the Queen’s Printer at no cost to the ACT or the ordering party.

When placing your order, make sure you specify that the copies are to be arranged through the Queen’s Printer for no additional cost. Deposits and/or payment of the
regulated fees are arranged between you as the ordering party, and the transcriptionist you choose.

LAO will approve and reimburse the cost of transcripts based on the principles outlined in the Court transcript standards and procedures manual. If there is a dispute
regarding the amount charged or the number of copies billed, the ordering party should resolve the matter with the transcriptionist directly.

More information about the changes made last year to transcription services can be found on our website and in volume 46 of the B3.

Refugee Transcript Pilot Project

As of November 1, 2015, the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will be conducting a transcript pilot project. The six
month pilot project will evaluate whether or not efficiencies can be achieved in the processing of appeals by the RAD that would merit the provision of Refugee
Protection Division (RPD) hearing transcripts by the IRB to counsel or self-represented appellants on a permanent basis. For more information go to: http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/NewsNouv/NewNou/Pages/tpp.aspx

Lawyers are asked to take advantage of this service instead of requesting a transcript disbursement from LAO whenever possible.

Submitting account details

When entering hour or block details on Legal Aid Online, it’s very important that you ensure the solicitor number
entered is accurate. An incorrectly entered number could affect solicitor hardcap and may result in a payment delay.

Click here to download image.

Expanded services now available

On June 8, 2015, we announced a multi-year expansion of legal aid services for
low-income Ontarians
. As part of this initiative, we’re addressing systemic bail issues by expanding access and making certificates available to financially
eligible people in criminal, family, mental health, refugee, domestic violence and First Nations, Métis and Inuit cases. Expanded services for test cases and court
challenges have also been made available.

Further information about these services for each legal matter can be found in the PDF documents below:

Attending refugee hearings

LAO has recently implemented new refugee panel standards. Lawyers are reminded that all lawyers attending refugee hearings, including agents, must be approved to be on
the new Refugee Panel. If you use an agent who is not on the refugee panel, the services may not be paid by Legal Aid Ontario.

Requesting Brydges Hotline lawyer reports

If your client was arrested and would like to access the notes taken by the Brydges duty counsel lawyer your client spoke to while in custody, you must put the request
in writing, on firm letterhead, and fax it to 1-888-963-1035.

Be sure to include in your request:

  • your return fax number
  • the client’s name
  • confirmation that you represent the client
  • a signed authorization from the client, directing release of the notes to you
  • the LAO certificate number (there is no charge to receive the report for a Legal Aid Ontario client) OR acknowledgement of a $40 (+HST) fee for the report (if you
    are representing a non-LAO client)

Country Research

Country research is an important element in quality refugee representation as noted in our new refugee and immigration panel standards best practices guide. Hours
billed under the tariff for research however must reflect the actual research hours incurred.

When working on country condition research, be sure to keep detailed dockets of the work done. Country condition research should be docketed separately from other case
preparation. You should be readily able to produce country research notes and products (indices, country packages) to us for review if requested.

Lawyers who specialize in claims from the same country with similar facts and/or risk profiles are expected to derive some efficiencies, including a reduced need for
country conditions research and lower average case costs. Lawyers specializing in claims from the same country with similar facts and/or risk profiles whose billing
practices do not conform to this expectation will be subject to audit.