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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 11: Compensation rates; limitation on annual billable hours payable; limitation on new appointments

  Section 11. (a) The rates of compensation payable to all counsel, who are appointed or assigned to represent indigents within the private counsel division of the committee in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of section 6, shall, subject to appropriation, be as follows: for homicide cases the rate of compensation shall be $100 per hour; for superior court non-homicide cases, including sexually dangerous person cases, the rate of compensation shall be $68 per hour; for district court cases and children in need of services cases the rate of compensation shall be $53 per hour; for children and family law cases and care and protection cases the rate of compensation shall be $55 per hour; for sex offender registry cases and mental health cases the rate of compensation shall be $53 per hour. These rates of compensation shall be reviewed periodically at public hearings held by the committee at appropriate locations throughout the state, and notice shall be given to all state, county and local bar associations and other interested groups, of such hearings by letter and publication in advance of such hearings. This periodic review shall take place not less than once every 3 years.

  (b) The committee shall set an annual cap on billable hours not in excess of 1,650 hours. Counsel appointed or assigned to represent indigents within the private counsel division shall not be paid for any time billed in excess of the annual limit of billable hours. It shall be the responsibility of private counsel to manage their billable hours.

[ Subsection (c) effective until December 11, 2020. For text effective December 11, 2020, see below.]

  (c) Any counsel who is appointed or assigned to represent indigents within the private counsel division, except any counsel appointed or assigned to represent indigents within the private counsel division in a homicide case, shall be prohibited from accepting any new appointment or assignment to represent indigents after that counsel has billed 1,350 billable hours during any fiscal year.

[ Subsection (c) as amended by 2020, 227, Sec. 53 effective December 11, 2020. For text effective until December 11, 2020, see above.]

  (c) Notwithstanding the billable hour limitation in subsection (b), the chief counsel of the committee may waive the annual cap on billable hours for private counsel appointed or assigned to indigent cases if the chief counsel finds that: (i) there is limited availability of qualified counsel in that practice area; (ii) there is limited availability of qualified counsel in a geographic area; or (iii) increasing the limit would improve efficiency and quality of service; provided, however, that counsel appointed or assigned to such cases within the private counsel division shall not be paid for any time billed in excess of 2,000 billable hours. It shall be the responsibility of private counsel to manage their billable hours.

[ Subsection (d) effective until December 11 2020. Deleted by 2020, 227, Sec. 53.]

  (d) Notwithstanding the billable hour limitations in subsections (b) and (c), the chief counsel may waive the annual cap on billable hours for private counsel appointed or assigned to the children and family law cases and the care and protection cases if the chief counsel finds that: (i) there is limited availability of qualified counsel in that practice area; (ii) shifting the services to private counsel would result in cost efficiencies; or (iii) shifting the service to private counsel would improve the quality of service; provided, however, that counsel appointed or assigned to such cases within the private counsel division shall not be paid for any time billed in excess of 1,800 billable hours. It shall be the responsibility of private counsel to manage their billable hours.