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CJA FAQ: Paralegals & Service Providers

  • Services of an investigator/expert have been retained and fees are more than $900. What should I do?

    All experts require prior approval of the court before the claim may be processed. The attorney is required to file a motion to incur expenses (AUTH) through the eVoucher system. Once approved, a CJA21 must be done, this allows payment for claims of the experts services. The expert provider must include documentation showing the dates of service, hours expended, rate charged and any allowable expenses. Any compensation, excluding expenses and mileage, over $the threshold must go to the circuit for approval.

  • I have an interpreter who has gone to prison with me on more than one occasion. I receive separate invoices from him/her. Can I submit these on separate vouchers or do I have to submit everything together as one claim?

    The interpreter can submit interim bills as long as each interim is $2,500 or more.

  • If an interpreter provides in-court interpreting and provides interpreting services immediately before or after the proceeding to assist a panel attorney in communicating with the client, is it appropriate to bill under the CJA?

    A judicial officer or a clerk could authorize in advance the use of a contract court interpreter for a short CJA attorney-client consultation in the courthouse immediately before and/or after a proceeding.  The services would be included as part of the in-court interpreting payment.  In addition, under the court interpreter’s contract, the contract court interpreter may not bill any other judiciary-funded entity or person (which would include charging for services performed under the CJA), for the time period the interpreter is paid under the contract. [See the Guide, Vol. 5, Section 220.20]

  • If an interpreter is billing under the half- and full-day method and interprets for one or more CJA panel attorneys in connection with more than one CJA representation within the same half-day, how would the interpreter bill for the work?

    The interpreter generally would have the option of either prorating the half-day among the CJA representations, or billing the entire half-day rate to one representation.  The interpreter may not bill the entire half-day on multiple vouchers.  The supporting voucher materials must explain the method of billing and indicate the number of other CJA representations involved.  The CJA representations should be identified by name or case number only if the work was performed for the appointed attorney who will be certifying the voucher.

  • Is there a prescribed rate of pay that must be paid to interpreters obtained by a panel attorney?

    The rates can be found on the Interpreters Rate Chart which is located at

  • What rate are CJA attorneys allowed to charge for paralegal or legal assistant services provided by their in-house employees?

    The Attorney must list the hourly rate in their Motion to Incur Expenses. The Presumptive Hourly Rates can be found at

  • Can court-appointed counsel be reimbursed under the CJA for the services of an “in-house” paralegal or legal assistant? Can court-appointed counsel hire an “outside” paralegal or legal assistant to work on a case?

    An AUTH voucher type along with a Motion to Incur Expenses is required for all expert services.