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Attorney General Announces Tariff Increase for Legal Aid Lawyers

Background Information

Posted on: July 18 /07

Improving Access to Justice: 5% Increase to the Legal Aid Tariff

$19.57 million allocated for the increase

An increase in the legal aid tariff is about ensuring that when low-income Ontarians qualify for legal aid services, they are able to find a competent, qualified lawyer to take on their case. This in turn means that legal needs are addressed more comprehensively, and at an earlier stage, before problems become more complex.

The five percent tariff increase makes legal aid work more financially feasible for lawyers and helps ensure that there are qualified legal aid lawyers available to help low-income people who require legal assistance.

Legal Aid Ontario Certificate Program

One of the ways that Legal Aid Ontario provides services to low-income Ontarians is through the legal aid certificate system. Individuals who meet LAO's financial eligibility criteria apply to LAO for a legal aid certificate, which the individual then presents to a private bar lawyer. If that lawyer takes the client's case, LAO will pay the lawyer an hourly rate based upon the legal aid tariff.

Level New Rate Old Rate
Tier 1 (less than 4 years experience) $77.56 $73.87
Tier 2 (4 to 9 years experience) $87.26 $83.10
Tier 3 (10 or more years experience) $96.95 $92.34
Lawyers in remote northern areas will continue to receive 10% Northern Incentive Fee.

Duty Counsel
Clients may seek the assistance of duty counsel working in courtrooms throughout the province. Many duty counsel are private bar lawyers who do legal aid work at the tariff rate on a per diem basis.

Articling Students
$780,000 to increase the rate

Increasing the articling student rate paid to lawyers and firms that hire articling students will improve the financial capacity of lawyers who provide legal services, many of whom are sole practitioners or from small firms, to retain articling students. This encourages a new generation of lawyers to join firms or establish practices that include a legal aid component.

Law Society of Upper Canada's Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Task Force Report

  • 37% of sole practitioners and small firms do legal aid work
  • Sole practitioners and small firms are older, with an average age of 49 years

For more information contact:

Kristian Justesen
Manager of Communications and Public Affairs
Legal Aid Ontario
416 979-2352 ext 4782

For more info

MAG News Release: McGuinty Government Increases Legal Aid Tariff Rate
(read more)