Legal Aid Tariff Changes – December 1998

What’s New at Legal Aid Plan

December 15, 1998 – The government and the Law Society have approved a revised package of tariff and certificate enhancements. These changes will allow lawyers to be paid for more time on each certificate to ensure that they can provide better service.

Please see further information and instructions below on the implementation of the following improvements:

  • Increases to tariff maximums for criminal, family and other civil law matters, including child protection matters and civil and criminal appeals.
  • New tariff maximums for bail hearings, judicial pre-trials and Charter motions in criminal cases.
  • Elimination of the five per cent statutory deduction for all certificates issued on or after April 1, 1996 and for all duty counsel services paid on or after April 1, 1996.
  • Creation of one $40 duty counsel appearance fee per court, per day for every appearance on or after April 1, 1998. This will be paid on top of the regular hourly rate ($57.00/hour) and applies to any duty counsel appearance including the Advice Lawyer, court, jails, hospitals and all other special duty counsel assignments. The fee is available for family violence advice and for special duty counsel authorizations but excludes telephone advice in the lawyer’s office.

Lawyers can receive two appearance fees in one day, if they have more than one appearance in different locations. This does not include changing from criminal to youth or family court in the same day and location.

  • Creation of a flat half-hour administrative fee to be paid to lawyers for each certificate issued and acknowledged on or after April 1, 1998. The fee is based on the experience level of the lawyer and will equal $33.50 for Tier 1 level lawyers, $37.69 for Tier 2 level lawyers and $41.88 for Tier 3 level lawyers. Only one administrative fee is available per certificate.

Billing your accounts – new tariff

  • New and increased tariff items – starting December 14, 1998, begin billing using the higher tariff maximums and continue to include any new tariff items on your accounts. You do not need to ask for the certificate to be amended to be eligible for new tariff maximums.
  • Legal accounts will start paying accounts on hand at the higher tariff maximums on December 14, 1998. Final accounts processed before December 14, 1998 will be reviewed to determine if additional payment is required now that the 1998 tariff has been approved. You do not need to resubmit your accounts.
  • The Legal Accounts Department will review interim accounts paid prior to December 14, 1998 when the next interim account or final account is received.
  • Do not resubmit any accounts that you have previously submitted. If you have included on your accounts all the time you spent on a case and any new tariff items, you will automatically receive retroactive payments due to you. These payments for final accounts already paid, will be made by March 31, 1999. You do not need to do anything extra to receive these payments.
  • If you have already sent a final account for services on a certificate issued after April 1, 1998, but did not bill for new tariff items or for all the time you spent on a case, you may send in a supplementary account. The deadline for submitting supplementary accounts for new and increased tariff items is March 31, 1999. Legal Aid will not pay accounts for previously unbilled 1998 tariff items submitted after March 31, 1999 due to legal aid’s transition to a new government agency. There will be no exceptions made for any reason.
  • Retroactive payment cheques should be sent out by March 31, 1999. We will keep you up to date on our progress.

Five per cent statutory deduction

  • Legal accounts will stop taking the statutory deduction off accounts on January 4, 1999. Lawyers should stop deducting the five per cent statutory deduction on accounts.
  • All accounts processed before January 4, 1999 will receive retroactive payments. Retroactive payments will be paid automatically to the lawyer who actually performed the work, rather than to the lawyer who acknowledged the certificate. Do not resubmit your accounts.
  • Retroactive payments will be made in a lump sum that covers all fees paid on certificates issued from April 1, 1996 to January 4, 1999 and for duty counsel fees paid after April 1, 1996. You should receive retroactive payments beginning in late January or early February 1999.
  • The Plan is not able to accept directions or authorizations to make these one-time retroactive payments to any other person.

Administrative fee, duty counsel appearance fee

  • Do not bill the half-hour administrative fee or the $40.00 duty counsel appearance fee on your accounts. This fee will be implemented by March 31, 1999 and we will send you information on how these fees will be processed and paid.
  • Duty counsel appearance fee – payment will be made automatically to the lawyer who performed the work. Lawyers should not bill the appearance fee on their accounts until you receive further instructions. Implementation and retroactive payments will be made by March 31, 1999. On the duty counsel account form, lawyers must include as part of the location, the specific courthouse or institution. The city and street address are not sufficient.
  • Administrative fee – payment will be made automatically to the lawyer who acknowledges the certificate. Certificates must be acknowledged with the area office within 90 days for this fee to be paid. Lawyers should not bill the administrative fee on their accounts. Implementation and retroactive payments will be made by March 31, 1999.

Fact sheets with the full list of tariff improvements are available now from your local legal aid office. A revised guide to the tariffs will be available in area offices in the next few weeks. The tariff manual itself is also being revised but will not be available until next year some time.

If you need more information, please call the tariff hotline at 416-204-4735 or toll-free at 1-888-432-4845.