Policy for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses Incurred by Lawyer Representatives

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I. Background
II. Eligible Lawyer Representatives
III. Reimbursable Travel Expenses

A. Travel in Excess of 24 Hours or When Lodging is Incurred

B. Travel of 24 Hours or Less and No Lodging is Incurred

C. Receipts

D. Standard to Recover Travel Expenses

IV. Non-Reimbursable Expenses
V. Procedure for Obtaining Authority to Incur Travel Expenses
VI. Procedure for Recovering Travel Expenses
VII. Management of Funds


I. Background

The United States District Court for the Central District of California strives to ensure that its lawyer representatives reflect the variety of practices, legal organizations and individuals that appear before all federal courts within the District. The lawyer representatives are recruited from government agencies; non-profit organizations; large, medium, and small firms; and solo practices. The lawyer representatives are invited to attend District and Circuit conferences. However, lawyer representatives are occasionally unable to attend the conferences for financial reasons.

After considering this matter, the Court has determined that it is appropriate to adopt a method by which eligible lawyer representatives may obtain reimbursement for their travel expenses.

II. Eligible Lawyer Representatives

The Court will reimburse District and Circuit conference travel expenses incurred by lawyer representatives from non-profit organizations, small firms and solo practices where the lawyer representative would otherwise be unable to attend without the aid of reimbursement.

III. Reimbursable Travel Expenses

A. Travel in Excess of 24 Hours or When Lodging is Incurred

During overnight authorized travel, reimbursement will be made for actual subsistence expenses. Expenses of subsistence include all reasonable charges for meals (maximum three per day); lodging; registration fees; all fees and tips to waiters, porters, and hotel maids; and transportation between places of lodging and conference business.  However, reimbursement for alcoholic beverages, entertainment expenses such as in-room movies, and any expenses incurred for other persons are specifically excluded.

B. Travel of 24 Hours or Less and No Lodging is Incurred

When the travel period is 24 hours or less and no lodging is incurred, the actual cost of meals taken incidental to the conference will be reimbursed if attendance of the lawyer representative at the meal is necessary to full participation in the business of the conference. Only those travel expenses related to the conference will be reimbursed, such as registration fees, mileage, parking, tolls, etc.

C. Receipts

With the exception of tips and mileage calculations, receipts must be submitted for all travel and subsistence expenses regardless of the amount incurred. Credit card receipts and billings are not acceptable.

D. Standard to Recover Travel Expenses

The Court will reimburse covered travel expenses to the extent they are reasonable, necessary, and otherwise not recoverable as set forth herein. In determining the reasonableness of travel costs, the Court will be guided by the prevailing limitations placed upon travel and subsistence expenses of federal judiciary employees in accordance with existing government travel regulations. The Office of the CJA Supervising Attorney may be contacted for guidance in determining the reasonableness of such costs. The appropriateness of reimbursements will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

IV. Non-Reimburable Expenses

The cost of travel for spouses, other family members, and friends is not allowable. In addition, the following items are not reimbursable as a separate itemized expense:

  • Snacks and alcoholic beverages.
  • Entertainment (e.g., movies).
  • Travel insurance taken while traveling.
  • Parking fines or fees for traffic violations.
  • Automobile rentals.
  • Personal automobile expenses (e.g., Personal Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Coverage).
  • Expenses incurred in traveling by indirect routes for personal reasons.
  • Use of taxis to obtain meals.
  • Expenses submitted without receipts.
  • If a traveler lengthens a trip or incurs any cost for personal reasons, the increased cost caused by such action is not allowable.

V. Procedure for Obtaining Authority to Incur Travel Expenses

Prior to incurring travel expenses for which reimbursement will be sought, the lawyer representative must complete a form titled “Request and Authority to Incur Travel Expenses,” which is attached below, setting forth the reasons establishing eligibility under this policy (which includes submitting a letter from the lawyer representative's employer, if applicable, stating that reimbursement for the conference will not be made), along with a brief description of anticipated expenses including estimated costs of transportation, lodging, registration fees, meals, etc. The CJA Supervising Attorney shall have broad discretion in granting authority to incur travel expenses.

VI. Procedure for Recovering Travel Expenses

A lawyer representative seeking to recover travel expenses must complete a form titled “Request for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses,” which is attached below, setting forth the nature and amount of each expenditure for which reimbursement is sought supported by actual receipts or copies thereof, and present that form, along with a copy of the approved “Request and Authority to Incur Travel Expenses” form, to the CJA Supervising Attorney for approval. The CJA Supervising Attorney shall have broad discretion in approving or disapproving expenses in accordance with this policy.

VII. Management of Funds

The funds for reimbursement are provided by the Central District of California’s Attorney Admissions Fund. Requests for reimbursement approved by the CJA Supervising Attorney shall be forwarded for payment to the Clerk of Court.