LAO Newsroom

LAO to Launch Complex Case Rate – April 1, 2011

Posted on: Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has established a Complex Case Rate (CCR) policy in consultation with the Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA). The new policy is scheduled to take effect 1 April 2011 (start of new fiscal year). The CCR policy offers qualified panel lawyers an enhanced rate of compensation for work on complex criminal cases, helping to retain high-quality representation for clients and improving access to justice.

The current CCR rate is $124.82, an increase of close to $28.00 per hour compared to this time last year. Prior to February 2010, the highest rate paid to lawyers working on complex cases was $96.95/hr. The new rate will increase annually for the next 4 years to $161.05, an increase of more than 25 per cent. 

To qualify for the CCR, both the lawyer and the case must meet specific eligibility requirements.  The rate covers first degree murder, second degree murder and other cases as evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on the criteria set out in the policy. To receive the CCR rate lawyers must apply and be accepted to a newly-established CCR panel.

As an interim measure, lawyers who would like to have cases on certificates issued after February 1, 2010 considered for compensation at the Complex Rate must be on the Extremely Serious Matters (ESM) panel and submit a CCR application form.

For more information please contact LAO at 416-979-2352 ext.6459 and/or

LAO’s CCR policy encourages Ontario’s leading criminal lawyers to accept legal aid certificates in complex and other criminal cases and improves client service by meeting high standards of professional judgment, quality, accountability, and efficiency.

The CCR was a part of the January 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between LAO, the CLA and the Ministry of Attorney General. To develop the policy LAO initiated a series of consultations with the CLA during the past several months. By working together with the CLA, LAO was able to develop an innovative policy that benefits lawyers and clients while supporting justice system efficiencies.


I am pleased with the level of commitment that both the CLA and LAO have demonstrated throughout the CCR consultation process. The CCR policy is one example of how our new relationship with the CLA can work toward ensuring better access to justice in Ontario. LAO looks forward to further consultation with the CLA on matters of shared importance in order to continue to improve the legal aid system in Ontario.”

- John McCamus
Chair, Legal Aid Ontario

LAO’s Complex Case Rate policy is available on the LAO website. 


CCR Rate Schedule
Prior to the introduction of CCR, the highest available rate for lawyers working on complex cases was $96.95/hr


Feb 1, 2010
(Year 1)

Apr 1, 2010
(Year 2)

Apr 1, 2011
(Year 3)

Apr 1, 2012
(Year 4)

Apr 1 , 2013
(Year 5)

Apr 1, 2014
(Year 6)

Apr 1,
(Year 7)

Enhanced Rate for Complex Cases









Questions - For questions or further information, please contact:
Kristian Justesen
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Phone: 416-979-2352, ext. 4782