Summary of the April 2015 LSS Tariffs changes

The following is a summary of the changes. For full details, please refer to the applicable tariff.

LSS Tariffs — All

  • Migration of existing referrals — All pre-existing open referrals replaced by new contracts in LSS Online.

     

    Important: Any bills submitted to LSS through Lawyer e-services have been processed. However, not all of your billing history is captured in your tariff items on your LSS Online migrated contract. Before submitting any invoices, review your previous billing history (go to the Invoices page and click “Pre 2015” to access PDFs of your Lawyer e-services billings). If you have any questions, please contact lawyer.support@lss.bc.ca.

  • Effective date of LSS Tariffs — The contract issue date is the new effective date. All new and migrated contracts are billable under the April 2015 LSS Tariffs.
  • Timekeeping
    • Added new requirement for lawyers to attach timesheets specifying date(s) and time spent on each task when billing on family, CFCSA, immigration, or appeal contracts.
    • Clarified that LSS may request additional information about the case or services rendered when considering requests for extra fees, additional preparation, or Extended Services (meeting the standards for recordkeeping set out in paragraphs 32 and 35 of the General Terms and Conditions — see below).
  • Authorization requests — Lawyers need to request authorization via LSS Online to do the following:
    • Obtain prior authorization for a legal fee or disbursement, where required by the tariff.
    • Bill more than the maximum stated in the LSS Tariffs.
    • Bill more than the LSS Online billing maximum (tariffs items that do not have a maximum amount payable or maximum billable hours published in the LSS Tariffs have an LSS Online billing maximum based on reasonableness thresholds determined from time to time by LSS). See also paragraph 21 added to the General Terms and Conditions.
    • Bill a tariff item that does not appear on a contract in LSS Online.
  • Terminology changes — Made changes to reflect revisions to definitions/terms in the General Terms and Conditions (see below).

General Terms and Conditions

  • Reorganization — Changed order of some paragraphs.
  • Definitions — Added some new and revised definitions, including:
    • Alternative service provider — replaces counsel agent
    • Attendance — added attendance by teleconference
    • Invoice — replaces account and submittal
    • Interview date — replaces date of interview/assignment
    • Issuing office — replaces referring office
    • Representation and duty counsel contracts — replaces referral
    • Tariff lawyer — replaces referral lawyer
  • Authorization for services (paragraph 18(1)) — Deleted this paragraph. Lawyers’ contracts in LSS Online have a service start date that is 10 days prior to the contract issue date. Lawyers have to request authorization via LSS Online to change the service start date to bill for a bail hearing, or any other legal service, occurring prior to the service start date stated on a contract.
  • Post-payment reviews (paragraph 31) — Clarified when LSS can extend the post-payment review period beyond two years.
  • Record keeping and repayment (paragraphs 32 – 35)
    • Clarified what LSS considers sufficient timekeeping records.
    • Clarified that the five-year retention period runs from the date of payment of the final invoice.
  • Private billing (paragraph 53) — Lawyers must seek prior written authorization via LSS Online to bill a client privately.

Disbursements Tariff

  • Medical records, reports, and testimony — Changed no prior authorization limit for medical records and reports to one per contract.
  • Medical records, reports, and testimony — BCMA Scale A rates — Updated BCMA Scale A rates. The new rates are effective as of April 1, 2015. However, since these rates changed during the process of launching LSS Online, the new rates do not yet appear in LSS Online. LSS will update the system with the new Scale A rates approximately one week following the launch of LSS Online, and will send out a Notice to Counsel to advise you when this is done. In the meantime, please defer billing LSS until the new rates are posted in LSS Online, or contact Lawyer Services if you need to bill on an urgent basis.
  • Gladue reports
    • Clarified when the eight-week timeline for preparing a report begins.
    • Updated authorization considerations.
  • Psychologists and psychiatrists — Clarified guidelines for when LSS will authorize psychological/psychiatric assessments.

  • TranscriptsExaminations for discovery and applications to set aside ex parte orders
    • Changed authorization requirements – Prior authorization required for all transcripts for examinations for discovery and applications to set aside ex parte orders.
    • Changed billing procedures – The court reporter or designated transcription company will bill lawyers directly and lawyers will claim the costs as a disbursement.
    • Lawyers must attach the court reporter’s bill when invoicing via LSS Online.
  • Transcripts — Appeals and judicial reviews — Updated to reflect modified authorization procedures arising from launch of LSS Online.
  • Forms removed — Civil Transcript Order Form and Request for Authorization of Transcripts (note: the Request for Authorization of Transcripts form will continue to be used in CCM cases and will be available in the CCM portal).

Criminal Tariff

  • Adding charges — Lawyers must request authorization via LSS Online to add charges to a contract.
  • Bail matters in Supreme Court — Divided tariff item into two sub-items: one for bail items requiring prior authorization and one for bail items not requiring prior authorization.
  • Travel — Clarified that lawyers may bill travel for one visit per contract to interview a client in custody without prior authorization.
  • Visiting clients in custody — Clarified billing limits are per facility.
  • List of Offences — Break and enter — Created new offence code for break and enter at the indictable level.
  • Forms removedCriminal Code section 278 Victim Representation Billing Form (lawyers will bill via LSS Online) and Authorization for Additional Charges.

Immigration Tariff

  • The same tariff applies to claims commenced by a BOC or a PIF.
  • General preparation — refugee claims — Clarified that general preparation includes assisting clients with additional CIC or CBSA forms.
  • Opinion regarding the merits of an appeal — Moved item to the simplified Appeals and Judicial Review Tariff.
  • Travel — Clarified that lawyers may bill travel for one visit per contract to interview a client in custody without prior authorization.
  • Visiting clients in custody — Clarified billing limits are per facility.

Duty Counsel Tariff (includes Circuit Counsel)

  • Simplified format — Updated appearance of guide for consistency with other tariffs.
  • New approach to scheduling and issuing contracts
    • Duty counsel schedules continue to be made by local offices and sent to you directly.
    • Duty counsel contracts are issued by the Vancouver Regional Centre and accessed via LSS Online.
    • Duty counsel contracts show the total hours authorized for the period of the contract.
    • Duty counsel schedules show (i) the exact dates of duty counsel shifts and (ii) daily maximums.
    • Daily maximums will be enforced on LSS Online invoices.
  • Family Duty Counsel — Changed requirements for Provincial Court Family Duty Counsel. Duty counsel are required to remain at the courthouse for the entire minimum authorized time as set out in their duty counsel schedule to ensure services are available to drop-in clients.
  • Worksheets — Updated, optional use, Duty Counsel Worksheets are available in LSS Online. Duty counsel will be required to provide a record of their time when making extra fee requests.

Appeals and Judicial Reviews Tariff

The new simplified Appeals and Judicial Reviews Tariff was designed to maintain current appeal expenditures. The LSS Appeals Section continues its long-standing approach to merit screening and case management of appeals, and all tariff items continue to require prior authorization.

The following are the key features of the simplified tariff:

  • General Information
    • Added general merit assessment guidelines for all appeals.
    • Added general authorization guidelines for additional preparation hours for new counsel, transcript reading, and/or appeal complexity.
    • Eliminated requirement that lawyers must prepare a separate letter to certify that they performed transcript reading (this will be captured in your timekeeping records).
  • Billing Items — All
    • Reduced number of tariff items.
    • Consolidated separate preparation items into one block of preparation hours for most types of appeals, but did not change the total number of preparation hours that LSS will authorize for appeal services in most cases.
    • Consolidated separate attendance items into one attendance item for each area of law.
    • Consolidated common billing rules for preparation and attendance for all areas of law, and added a list of billable preparation services.
  • Family and CFCSA Appeals — Preparation for family/CFCSA appeal – Consolidated three preparation items into one item.
  • Immigration Appeals — Submissions to CIC/CBSA – Increased maximum hours authorized from five to nine hours.
  • Prison Law (Administrative) Appeals — Added new area of law (many cases previously authorized as criminal appeals using the tariff item “Extraordinary remedies, prerogative writs, and judicial review applications” will be authorized under this item).
  • Other items
    • Appeal opinion — The LSS Appeals Section can issue an “appeal opinion contract” authorizing lawyers to prepare a substantive opinion on the merits of an appeal. Lawyers may bill up to two hours via LSS Online under that contract.
    • Appeal opinion (Family/CFCSA) — Decreased maximum hours authorized for a Family/CFCSA appeal opinion from five to two hours for consistency across all areas of law.
    • Travel —Revised cautions to match other simplified tariffs.
    • Visiting clients in custody — This item applies to all areas of law in the Appeals and Judicial Reviews Tariff, is billable once per contract, and is billable in addition to travel and preparation.
  • Eliminated tariff items — Eliminated “Applications under Rule 13(3) of the Criminal Appeal Rules” (criminal) due to infrequent use and “Preparation for a judicial review in the Federal Court or BC Supreme Court or an appeal in the Federal Court of Appeal – Preparing for an opinion letter and notice of application for leave” (immigration) due to duplication.
  • Quick Reference — Added quick reference guides by area of law, appeal type, and court level.
  • Forms — Minor revisions to Appeal Opinion Questionnaires.

For more information, please see the new Appeals and Judicial Reviews Tariff chapter of LSS Tariffs.