B3: Better Billing Bulletin

Vol. 6
May. 2008

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. Volume 6 focuses on Post-Payment Examination.

B3 Random Post-Payment Examinations (PPE)

When you receive notification that your account has been randomly selected for examination, we would appreciate the following:

  • Type or print clearly account details,
  • Indicate time of day (start and end time) for all services 0.50 hrs. or more
  • List all services in chronological order, starting with the earliest date
  • Ensure your account details show the "Crown's election", "Outcome", and dates of plea/trial/withdrawal
  • Ensure your start date is your first billing date and your end date is the last billing date on the particular account. First and last dates on your account details must match portal entries
  • Ensure enhancements include matters such as bail, judicial pre-trial, charter motion, DNA application only. Each claim is entitled to one enhancement per trial
  • Please do not bill court time for attendances on set dates, adjournments, bail, judicial pre-trial, pre-trial with crown or when matters set for trial do not proceed. Court time is billable for Type II Indictable matters
  • Please separate your court attendance time from preparation time by entering your court attendance time on your summary online account under 'Hours in Court'

B3 Disbursement invoices

For examinations, in addition to account details, we require copies of disbursement invoices. Generally invoices for photocopies or faxes are not required; however, we may request invoices when claims show a fixed or above average number of photocopies/faxes consistently billed. If you are unable to provide one or more invoices, please indicate the reason. LAO reimburses the costs of long distance and collect calls from incarcerated clients. Your detailed account must clearly indicate the dates, type (ie. collect or long distance) and the duration of each call. Generally, you will not be expected to provide invoices for long distance and/or collect calls for less than $100.00. However, if your account details fail to provide a clear description of calls claimed, you may be requested to provide invoices for all telephone calls claimed against a certificate.

B3 Late submission of requested account details

At present, we send you two notification letters requesting account details. Please contact us if the 45-day notification period is insufficient due to extraordinary circumstances, rather than use the appeals process to submit the requested dockets. Failure to contact us for an extension will result in your randomly selected account receiving a "Failed", and recovery of funds previously paid on this account.

LSP is now asking that you always attach your account details when you submit your account Online. This simple step will save you time when your account is selected for examination.

B3 Five-day final documentation request period

We will notify you when documentation is missing and give you five days from date of notification to provide it. If you are unable to meet this timeline, please contact us. if we don't hear from you, we will be obliged to fail your account and recover fees and/or disbursements paid on the basis of unsubstantiated claims.

B3 Targeted Post-Payment Examination

In addition to random post-payment examinations, PPE launched its Targeted Examinations Programme on April 1st, 2008. PPE will carry out target examinations of a specific lawyer's accounts where there is reason to believe she/he may be billing inappropriately. In some instances, inappropriate billing may simply be the result of lack of knowledge of the tariff or of our Online billing system. In other cases, the matter may be more serious. Discretionary adjusters, disbursement co-ordinators, Lawyer Service and Payments' staff lawyers and managers will forward information regarding concerns to PPE for scrutiny and targeted examination if required. Inappropriate billing patterns identified during a random post-payment examination review may also result in a targeted examination. If there are any allegations of fraud or improper use of public funds during a target examination, the matter will be referred to the Investigations Department.
For additional information on target examinations please follow this link.

If you would like assistance with submission of your account details or have questions please contact Tina Perera, Manager of the Post-Payment Examination at (416) 979-2352 x 6367 or by email at pererat@lao.on.ca

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 (416) 979-9934 or 1-866-979-9934