Legal Aid Alberta, Government of Alberta announce long-awaited tariff review and modernization

New tariff will provide the simplicity needed for a more timely, stronger legal aid system for all Albertans.

Communications and Public Relations
May 05, 2022

In consultation with the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) has been asked to lead the review and update of our tariff, starting immediately – something that has not been done in many years. 

The tariff, also known as the tariff of fees, dictates how lawyers who take legal aid clients should be paid.   

Though the tariff rate will continue to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, an updated tariff framework means modernization and simplicity – not just for staff and lawyers, but for all Albertans who rely on Legal Aid Alberta’s services. 

“We are accountable to Albertans who deserve a modernized legal aid system they can trust. Legal Aid Alberta recognizes that our current tariff is hard to work with and confusing. In its current form, there are many unnecessary administrative burdens, which means skilled lawyers are spending excessive time on paperwork when they could be helping clients,” said Paul Welke, tariff and roster relations lead, Legal Aid Alberta. 

“Discussions about a better tariff have been underway at Legal Aid Alberta for months if not years. By modernizing the tariff, we can remove many of these administrative burdens which, in turn, creates a more sustainable and stronger legal aid system for our clients and all Albertans.” 

Welke, along with a team of Legal Aid Alberta staff and lawyers, will be responsible for providing direction on the model and structure of the new tariff for approval by the Government of Alberta. Welke joined Legal Aid Alberta as a full-time criminal defence lawyer in 2020 after practicing law on the roster.  

Moving forward with the project, Legal Aid Alberta will continue to engage with its community of roster lawyers for input specific to their practice. Legal Aid Alberta’s network of 1,200 dedicated roster lawyers are essential to the effective delivery of legal services to all Albertans. Our lawyers require robust, high-quality systems and processes to represent Albertans effectively. 

“We are hopeful that an easier, straight forward and equitable tariff will attract new interest from private sector lawyers to join our mission to improve legal outcomes for disadvantaged Albertans. We have an opportunity to streamline legal services, grow our reach and impact, and further reduce stress on clients,” said Welke. 

For nearly 50 years, Legal Aid Alberta has supported Albertans during perhaps the most challenging days of their lives. We protect people’s rights, represent the best interests of children and youth, and defend clients at trial. We help families in crisis and disadvantaged citizens of all ages across the province, including rural areas, who have come into conflict with the law, including refugees and people who suffer mental illness or addiction. We are lawyers, call centre staff and administrative professionals working together to provide an essential service to Albertans. 

For more information about Legal Aid Alberta services, visit our website. 

About Legal Aid Alberta

Legal Aid Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal representation and support for Albertans facing legal issues.

LAA provides legal services to clients in support of fairness in Alberta’s justice system – services that help ensure Albertans in all circumstances can understand and defend their legal rights.

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