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Announcing the Launch of Targeted Examination, Post-Payment Examination

Posted on: Friday, March 7 /2008

The Post-Payment Examination (PPE) Unit, Lawyer Services & Payments Department, will be turning three this April 1st, 2008. With this achievement, we are expanding our operations to include more intensive scrutiny of lawyer billings to coincide with the organization's mandate of becoming more accountable and transparent. To-date, PPE has conducted 11,160 examinations of randomly selected accounts, of which over $400,000 have been recovered as a result of failure to provide dockets and of other non-compliance to tariff. In moving into the next phase of operations at PPE, LAO is launching a Targeted Examination.

In the current Random Examination process, a computer software randomly selects accounts irrespective of the amount billed. Thus, the greater number of accounts a lawyer has submitted, the greater the possibility that his/her account(s) will be selected the following month.

The Targeted Examination is distinct from the Random Examination in that it is not a random process but rather is based on information received by PPE pertaining to a specific lawyer's billing practices. These could include instances whereby the lawyer's account is reviewed during a discretionary and/or disbursement request, an appeal, or by referral. Inappropriate billing patterns that were identified during a post-payment examination review could also be a reason to follow-up with a targeted examination. In each case, PPE has received some type of information to warrant further scrutiny.

The first step in this process will be to notify the lawyer that his/her accounts will be examined. The lawyer will also receive notification to this effect, along with a list of requested accounts. We plan to provide a thirty-day notice for the receipt of this documentation; in extraordinary circumstances, an extended period will be allowed. Upon completion of the examination, we will notify the lawyer of the results including any recoveries that may be deemed necessary. Similarly, a copy of this result will be mailed to the Area Director. Like the random examination process, there will be an opportunity for the lawyer to appeal the result within thirty days of the date of the outcome letter.

It may be that the results demonstrate a lack of understanding about the tariff or about billing on-line. The targeted examination may, on the other hand, indicate more serious billing offences. Lawyers whose accounts indicate improper billing patterns may be referred to the Investigations Department for further review.

This is the first of several notifications that will be circulated among internal and external stakeholders; part of our communication plan will also to update the website. It is hoped that we will be able to launch this programme in April 2008. In the interim, if you have any questions, or would like clarification on this, or any other PPE-related matter, kindly reach me at (416) 979-2352 ext. 6367 or by email at pererat@lao.on.ca.

With Kind Regards,
Tina Perera
Manager
Post-Payment Examination & Financial Compliance
Lawyer Services & Payments Department







For more information:

For more information please contact
Tina Perera
Manager
Post-Payment Examination & Financial Compliance
Lawyer Services & Payments Department
416 979-2352 x6369
pererat@lao.on.ca