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Reminder: Client coverage, eligibility and settlements

Let us know if you have concerns about a client’s eligibility for legal aid, or continuing eligibility, if their financial situation changes.
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Client coverage and eligibility

To stay up to date about rules around client coverage and eligibility, we encourage you to review the applicable section in the LABC Tariffs’ General Terms and Conditions, numbered 13-17, which includes the following information:

Tariff lawyers must immediately notify the issuing office if they learn that a client has:

  1. Improved their financial situation (The client is now employed, received a settlement for this matter or another, or the client received a gift or inheritance);
  2. Failed to disclose assets or income to LABC;
  3. Unreasonably prolonged a case; or
  4. Refused to give the tariff lawyer reasonable instructions.

LABC may terminate a representation contract at any time if a client no longer meets LABC criteria for coverage and eligibility. Clients have to repay LABC any funds expended on their case(s) while they were not eligible.

Settlements

According to the LABC Settlements and Judgments policy, tariff lawyers must immediately notify LABC if they learn that a client will be receiving a settlement or awarded a judgment, and must:

  1. Provide the Audit and Investigation Department with the client’s current contact information and the amount of the expected settlement or judgement; and
  2. Confirm with LABC the repayment funds owed and obtain LABC authorization before releasing any portion of the settlement or judgement from their trust account.

If a tariff lawyer believes that a client referred by LABC will receive a settlement that will not be processed through the tariff lawyer’s trust account, the lawyer must immediately notify the Financial Review & Collections Coordinator at helpdesk.sj@legalaid.bc.ca.

Reminding clients of their obligation to repay LABC helps them plan for their settlement appropriately.

Note: You can find financial information your client provided to LABC in the Lawyer Portal by following these instructions:

  • Go to the client’s contract in the Lawyer Portal.
  • Click on the client’s name.
  • Click on Financial Summary and Assets to view information.