Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)’s block fee program pays panel criminal lawyers fixed fees or rates (rather than hourly tariff payments) for providing services that lead to guilty plea or stay/withdrawal outcomes on a number of common criminal charges.
- Benefits for lawyers: not having to submit dockets, less administrative red tape, more financial certainty
- Benefits for clients: faster resolution of appropriate cases, less time spent at court appearances
- Benefits for the criminal justice system: more efficient use of judicial resources, fewer court appearances
If a block fee-eligible matter is set down for trial, LAO pays the account according to the hours allocated by the regular criminal tariff and the lawyer’s tier rate.