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Friday, December 11, 2015

NJ Director Announces Policy on Counsel Fees

The Hon. Russell Wojtenko, Jr., Chief Judge and Director of the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation, has published, what has become, the annual directive on counsel fees. This year the directive strictly reflects the Statute and reaffirms the doctrine of judicial discretion and recites objective criteria to be utilized. No longer are dollar limitations imposed that trigger an elevated standard.
"Counsel fees are governed solely by N .J.S.A. 34: 15-64, applicable case law and applicable New Jersey Administrative Code provisions.
"Thus, judges of compensation have the discretion to award a reasonable counsel fee not to exceed 20% of the award entered.
"When awarding a counsel fee, judges of compensation must consider all the circumstances of the case and the value of the services performed. Judges, at their discretion, may consider an affidavit of services, testimony and/or other information in order to determine a reasonable counsel fee.