Big Case Management

Enhanced Expert Rates

An enhanced rate may be considered appropriate for a Big Case (including Complex Case Rate certificates) where counsel demonstrates that the expert is necessary given the nature of the defence.

Purpose

Beginning April 1, 2011, and implemented over a period of time, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will increase legal aid fees for expert defence witnesses. The increase will take into consideration the current rates paid by Legal Aid Ontario, and the average rates paid by the provincial Crown in similar circumstances.

Criteria

LAO will use the criteria below to determine the market rate for services and the reasonableness of the cost:

  • relevance
  • necessity in assisting the trier of fact
  • the absence of any exclusionary rule
  • a properly qualified expert

In addition LAO will also consider the following:

  • expert's experience and reputation
  • local availability
  • unique area of expertise
  • new/emerging science

Note: Cost will be only one factor LAO will consider when determining whether an expert would be authorized in a particular case.

Disbursements

The approved lump-sum payment for an expert will include all of the expert's services, including preparing the report, consulting with the lawyer and others, and travel time.

Reimbursement for attending court and special disbursements will be in addition to the lump-sum payment. An estimate should be provided at the time the bid is submitted.

Counsels responsibilities

Counsel is responsible to monitor the expert's progress. Counsel is responsible for determining, as soon as possible, whether or not the experts report will support the defence. Reimbursement for the expert will be pro-rated if a block fee has been authorized and the expert cannot support the theory of defence.

If an expert is approved for an enhanced rate, counsel is required to complete the rating sheet upon conclusion of the experts services.

To make an application for an enhanced expert rate, counsel must complete the Enhanced Expert Rate Application which includes providing three quotes and the required supporting documentation for the proposed expert(s). Please fax your application to:

Disbursements Analyst
Fax: 416-204-4710