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General Claims Information

The primary source of information on panel attorney compensation claims is the Statewide Compensation Manual first published in 2019. In addition, panel attorneys must adhere to the Judicial Council of California (JCC) and Appellate Indigent Defense Oversight Advisory Committee (AIDOAC) compensation policies on travel, habeas corpus petitions, use of associate counsel, and retaining receipts (see links in the side bar on this page). The guidance and policies contained in the Statewide Manual and the JCC and AIDOAC policies fully apply to First District claims.

For certain topics, however, additional information is provided for Unique First District Claims Polices and Procedures. Be sure to consult those unique policies regarding: use of translators, interpreters, experts and investigators.

Panel attorneys electronically transmit their compensation claims to FDAP through eClaims. FDAP then reviews the claim and makes recommendations for the amount of hours and expenses approved. Claims are then subject to random audit by AIDOAC, which may alter the amount recommended. In unusual cases, the Court itself may make the final decision as to compensation.

Claims are evaluated under the compensation guidelines. The hourly rate for panel attorneys varies depending upon the type of case.

The panel attorney bears the obligation to keep track of hours.The guidelines are neither a floor nor a ceiling on panel attorney compensation in a given case. Attorneys should only claim the amount of time actually spent on a given task. If an attorney claims above the guidelines amount and that amount is justified, full compensation may be awarded, but include an explanation for hours over guidelines is needed.

If you anticipate unusual expenditures for travel or other expenses, you should consult with your FDAP buddy about seeking advance approval from FDAP and/or the court. For example, although the guidelines provide for reimbursement for expenses for expert witnesses, it is a rare case in which such an expenditure is needed. Before hiring either an expert witness or an investigator you must discuss the matter with your consulting FDAP attorney and obtain pre-approval.

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