Block fees: Getting paid
Please note that LAO only pays a block fee if a lawyer conducts and completes a block fee activity or proceeding. For example, LAO will not pay a block fee if a lawyer only prepares for a JPT. To be billable, the JPT must be conducted and completed. This is why lawyers are required to provide resolution and/or hearing dates when submitting block fee accounts online. Details as to when blocks are billable are on pages 2-56 to 2-58 of LAO’s Tariff and Billing Handbook.
The two exceptions to this general rule are for the Gladue block and the mental health block. These blocks have special billing rules to account for the unique circumstances of Aboriginal clients and clients with serious mental health issues. The Gladue block, for example, may be billed for the preparation of Gladue submissions when the matter is withdrawn or stayed. Gladue submissions are therefore not required.
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:
|CRIM600 Gladue||Additional five 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 five 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 five 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 five hours to conduct and complete bail review.|
As with the other block fees, the Charter Motion block is only payable if and when a Charter motion is conducted and completed prior to the matter being set down for trial. This should only occur in very rare circumstances. Coverage for the charter block ended Dec. 4, 2021.
As with the Charter Motion block, LAO will be monitoring the Gladue and mental health block fees closely. As a result, lawyers should take care to docket Gladue and mental health—related work in detail. This will help LAO assess the operation and impact of the Gladue and mental health block fees.
Lawyers do not have to submit dockets online when billing block fee accounts. Nevertheless, lawyers are under a duty to maintain dockets necessarily required by:
- the lawyer’s duty to their client
- the Law Society of Upper Canada
- the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 and the Rules thereto; and
- LAO’s policies and procedures.
LAO may ask lawyers to provide detailed dockets and supporting invoices for disbursements in the event of an audit or for investigative purposes.
If a block fee matter is set down for trial and thus payable by the hourly tariff, lawyers must attach dockets with their accounts in accordance with LAO’s usual rules for tariff accounts.