Eyes on LAO
"Three Month Rule" changes to "Six Month Rule"
Posted on: Friday, May 16 /08
Legal Aid Ontario has expanded the "three month rule" for amending criminal certificates to six months.
Until recently, Legal Aid's policy for criminal certificates was to issue a new certificate for any charges laid after three months of the certificate issue date, rather than amending the existing certificate. Effective immediately, Legal Aid's policy has changed to allow six months for any amendments to a certificate, provided the certificate has not been final billed.
Most often, any new charges laid within six months are "administration of justice" charges. These are typically related to failure to comply, breach of bail conditions and similar matters. The "six month rule" should allow for most administration of justice charges to be dealt with on one certificate.
The new "six month rule" improves client service. Unless their financial circumstances change, clients no longer need to come in to a Legal Aid Office to apply for a new certificate for any additional charges laid after three months. The new rule also improves administrative efficiency, as amending an existing certificate requires less administrative work for staff than issuing a new certificate.