What are the CPCS billing deadlines for court cost vendors?
Statutory Restriction on the Payment of Late Bills
Chapter 211D §12(B) of the Massachusetts General Laws mandates that vendors must submit bills within 30 days from the last date of service appearing on the bill or the end of the fiscal year (whichever date is earlier) for the bill to be eligible for full payment.
When you submit an electronic bill, Vbill allows you to select whether you have concluded your services on the case or whether your services are on-going. This selection is reviewed and approved by the hiring attorney during the electronic bill review process.
A. Services Concluded Bills – Statutory Billing Deadlines
While it is best practice to submit bills monthly, Section 12(B) requires that bills be submitted electronically in Vbill within 30 days from the completion of services determined by the last date of service appearing on the bill (or within 30 days from the end of the fiscal year whichever date is earlier) for the bill to be eligible for full payment. Bills submitted greater than 30 but less than 60 days after the last date of service on the Vbill (or end of the FY whichever is earlier) will automatically be reduced 10% by statute during billing processing. Bills submitted thereafter cannot be paid pursuant to the statute.
B. Services On-Going Bills – Statutory Billing Deadlines
While it is best practice to submit bills monthly, Section 12(B) requires that bills be submitted electronically in Vbill within 30 days from the end of the fiscal year for all unbilled services on prior year cases to be eligible for full payment.
The Commonwealth’s fiscal year is July 1 through June 30. As such, bills must be received in July. Bills received in August are reduced 10% by statute, while bills received on or after September 1st cannot be paid pursuant to the statute.
I am an expert in forensics and other topics. An attorney representing an indigent client sent me a copy of an allowed motion and asked me to begin work on a case. I have not been vetted by CPCS- should I start the work?
Not yet. You should email email@example.com as soon as possible to begin the application process. Once your application is approved you can begin working on the case.
Does CPCS have a chart of allowable billing rates for experts?
Yes, please see page 28 of the Court Cost Vendor Manual
The allowed motion names a different expert-can I still bill under that motion?
Not yet. Your attorneys needs to have the motion modified so that the name of the expert that is actually providing the services matches the expert names in the allowed motion.
I am working as an expert on a case, but the attorney gave me a copy of an allowed motion with the correct client’s name but a different attorney’s name- can I still bill against it?
If the attorney that you are working for has a notice of assignment of counsel (NAC) number, or if the attorney is a CPCS staff attorney, then you can bill against the motion. However, if the attorney is now privately retained then s/he needs to obtain a new motion that indicates the client is still considered indigent for the services requested.
The motion I was given by the attorney allows funds for a psychiatrist, but I am a chemist, can I still bill against the motion?
No, the expert service allowed in the motion has to match the services rendered and billed.
The allowed motion allows for $500 in services but my services total $600, should I hold off billing until the attorney obtains additional funds?
No because if you wait, you may miss our billing deadline. You should bill for the $600, we will pay $500. Once the attorney obtains additional funds, you should bill for the difference.
I am not an expert but I am currently providing transcription services (sheriff/constable services, publication services) requested by an attorney for an indigent client. I have never worked for the state before, how do I become a state vendor?
Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and specify the type of services that you are providing.
Does CPCS have specific rules and rates for Interpreter services?
The Committee pays for interpreter OUT-OF-COURT services which have been requested and allowed by motion (except as set out below in this section) filed
by the defense attorney on behalf of an indigent client, at the rate of $26 per hour for non-certified interpreters and $40 per hour for certified and qualified
interpreters. A certified interpreter is one trained and certified by the Office of Court
Interpreter Services. A qualified interpreter is one certified by the Office of Court Interpreter Services and who has passed the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Federal Certification Examination or a sign language interpreter as determined by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. No motion for expenses is required for interpreter services under $500. CPCS will compensate interpreters a minimum of two hours of services for each event for which their services are required. For example, if an interpreter is
needed to interview a client at his residence, and the interpreter’s combined travel time and interview time are only one hour, the interpreter will be compensated for a total of two hours of service. If the interpreter’s travel time is one hour and the interview time is one hour, the interpreter will be compensated for one hour of travel and one hour of service, totaling two hours. If the interpreter’s combined travel and interview time is three hours, the interpreter will
be compensated for a combined total of three hours of service. Interpreters will be compensated for their travel time, mileage, and expenses in accordance with the CPCS travel policy for all vendors. To obtain reimbursement in excess of the ordinary rate for interpreter services, if such reimbursement is needed for a language for which interpreter services are
not readily available, attorneys must first obtain prior written authorization from the appropriate Deputy Chief Counsel. After receiving the required written
authorization from the appropriate Deputy Chief Counsel, attorneys must also
obtain a prior allowed motion from the court, pursuant to G.L. c. 261, §§ 27A-D.
All interpreter bills, except for sign language services (see below), must be submitted via our online billing system- Vbill. New vendors and any Vbill questions can be submitted to: email@example.com.
Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
CPCS will pay interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing in accordance with
the rate structure established by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH). See the MCDHH website for rates paid to interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing: http://www.mass.gov/MCDHH/. Work done at the request of MCDHH should be billed to MCDHH. They then submit a request for reimbursement to us.
What does CPCS pay for a service or summons?
Requests for Service and Summons made by the defense attorney on behalf of his or her indigent client will be paid at the rate allowed under G.L. c.262, §8. A complete itemization of dates, rates, mileage, party served, proof of indigence and party requesting the service must be submitted electronically using Vbill.
Note to attorneys: please be advised that we will reimburse you for costs incurred regarding services and summons up to the amount allowed by G.L. c.262, §8 only. Please notify your vendor as to the correct billing rate prior to contracting services.
For information on billing please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
When does CPCS submit vendor bills to the Comptroller’s Office for payment?
Vendor bills are submitted weekly, usually on Wednesday, unless Wednesday happens to be a holiday. Then they are paid on the next business day.
The Committee pays for transcriptions, which have been requested and allowed
by motion, filed by the defense attorney on behalf of his/her indigent
client, or which have been requested by the court as a direct result of the
defense attorney’s motion to appeal, at the following rates:
Transcripts from notes are paid at the rate of $3.00 per page for an
originally produced (first time produced) page and if the party requesting
the transcript is indigent, all paper copies, if requested by counsel, shall
be paid at an amount not to exceed 10 cents per page. In addition, an
electronic reproduction of the transcript must be made available upon
request at a total fee not to exceed $5.00. Notwithstanding this maximum
fee, certain court rules require production of the electronic reproduction
at no cost. CPCS will not pay any fee for electronic media in those cases.
In addition, because CPCS cannot pay for any copies not specifically
requested by Counsel please inquire of Counsel if he or she requires paper
Postage, handling, bindings and travel expenses are not reimbursed.
Please note: transcripts for direct appeals, regardless of cost, paid at the
standard rate, and other transcripts under $1,000, paid at the standard
rate, are considered ordinary costs of litigation (See Section A (3) (b) and
(c) of this chapter), and therefore no motion for funds or prior
authorization are necessary for such transcripts.
Requests for compensation of services should be submitted to the Committee
for Public Counsel Services, Accounts Payable Unit, by the
vendor on a payment voucher form which includes the date(s) of the
original hearing(s), the date the transcript was delivered, the total number
of pages produced, a copy of the allowed G.L. c. 261, ?? 27A-G motion OR the
court order to produce the transcript, and proof of indigence within 30 days
of completion of services.
Court Reporter Attendance:
The Committee will pay for the attendance of a Court Reporter, which has
been requested and allowed by motion filed by the defense attorney on behalf
of his or her indigent client, at the rate of $185.60 per day.
The Committee will pay for Public Notices which have been requested by the defense attorney on behalf of his or her indigent client.
Requests for compensation of services should be submitted to:
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Accounts Payable Unit
75 Federal St. 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
by the vendor on a Payment Voucher Form.
A copy of the actual notice or an invoice (showing the name of the newspaper, number of lines, days printed, and rates) and proof of client indigence must be included with the request for payment.
Where can I see the payments that the OSC issued?
You can find this information on the State Comptrollers website, Vendor Web:
In order to login to the site, you will need your state vendor code and the last four numbers of your tax identification number.There is a lapse of at least 3 business days between when we submit bills for payment and when they appear on the Comptroller’s website. You can also access a copy of your 1099 (also issued by OSC) for the last two calendar years.