Disbursement Coverage

Pro bono cases administered through the Roster Program and involving poverty law issues can qualify for disbursement coverage paid by APB. Roster lawyers who provide pro bono litigation services on such cases may bill us for the cost of disbursements incurred up to $2500 (or beyond in special circumstances).

Coverage Amounts

Upon signing an APB Service Agreement or equivalent retainer agreement to provide particular pro bono litigation services to an individual client, a Roster Lawyer may request up to a maximum of $300 to cover initial disbursements necessary to commence or advance the client’s case.  APB will dispense up to $300 to the Roster Lawyer on a pre-authorized basis, such that the Roster Lawyer need not itemize the particular disbursements.  If the case is settled, abandoned or otherwise closed prior to filing court or tribunal documents, APB reserves the right to request an itemized description of disbursements from the Roster Lawyer and to recover any and all unused amounts from the $300 paid out.

Subsequent to the initial disbursement coverage of up to $300, Roster Lawyers may request further disbursement coverage of up to $2200 ($2500 including the initial $300) by submitting the Disbursements Billing Form to APB along with receipts for all itemized disbursements.  APB authorizes disbursements according to the criteria set out below.  APB also maintains the discretion to provide disbursement coverage in excess of $2500 to single cases showing exceptional merit or substantial impact on social justice issues.  APB reserves the right to recover disbursement amounts paid out in cases where costs are awarded to the pro bono client.


Criteria for Authorization

APB authorizes those disbursements it considers necessary and reasonable.

A disbursement is considered necessary if it is likely to significantly advance the client’s case or if, without it, the client’s case will be significantly disadvantaged.  Reasonable refers to the amount of the disbursement, and a reasonable disbursement may depend on the circumstances of a particular case.  Additional considerations include:

  • What is the likelihood that the expenditure will result in a tangible benefit to the client?
  • Is the cost of the disbursement reconcilable with the order or quantum sought by litigation?
  • Would a client of limited means incur the disbursement?
  • Is the disbursement consistent with others allowed by APB?
  • Does the cost of the disbursement reflect market rates?


Covered Disbursements

APB will typically authorize the following disbursements (where necessary and reasonable):

  • Courier services
  • Court or tribunal transcripts
  • Custody and access reports
  • Filing/Hearing fees
  • Hospital records
  • Medical records and reports
  • Service of court documents
  • Title searches for property and assets


APB may authorize the following disbursements in exceptional circumstances:

  • Interpretation and translation for language
  • Mediation
  • Psychologist and psychiatrist assessments
  • Travel costs for lawyers
  • Travel costs or videoconferencing for witnesses