LAO in brief

Billing update: Submitting accounts when two block fee matters for a client are resolved together

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is updating its billing processes to stop incorrect billing of double-billed block fees.

LAO has determined, through its own audit processes and data collection, that it has been recovering approximately $250,000 annually from lawyers who have double-billed resolution block fees for charges resolved together.

LAO identifies a double billed block fee account as one where:

  • a lawyer has two or more authorized certificates for criminal charges faced by a client and
  • the court disposes of these charges together, as part of a global resolution for that same client, on the same day, in the same courtroom, or in front of the same judge, at approximately the same time.

To prevent this billing error, effective May 8, 2016:

  • if you submit two double-billed block fees for payment through Legal Aid Online at the same time, LAO will pay the higher-resolution block only, plus separate block enhancers, such as a bail hearing and disbursements on both accounts

  • if you bill the same block fee resolution on a new account as you already billed on a previously paid account, LAO will pay for the enhancers and disbursements of the new account only; you will not receive additional payment for the new account .

In the above circumstances, your deposit notices will clearly indicate the reasons for the settlement as a double-billed block fee account and will provide you with the certificate identified as the duplicate.

In the rare situation where your block fee resolution has been incorrectly identified as double billed, please provide Lawyer Services and Payments with a written explanation to support separate payment of the second block resolution

Questions?

Contact LAOs Lawyer Service Centre.