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More Budget funding for community law centres

More Budget funding for community law centres

The Government will continue to fund community law centres because of their important role in providing access to justice, Justice Minister Simon Power says.

The centres’ main source of funding, from interest earned on money held in solicitors’ trust accounts on behalf of clients, has suffered as a result of the slowing housing market and lower interest rates.

Budget 2009 provided $7.2 million in operating funding for 2009/10 to top up community law centre funding.

Budget 2010 will provide a further $5.9 million in operating funding over the next two years to top up the funding to the same level as last year.

“The Government is committed to ensuring everyone, not just a privileged few, can afford access to justice,” Mr Power says.

“Community law centres provide an extremely valuable service, ensuring all New Zealanders can access legal services, which are even more vital in tough economic times.

“The Government remains committed to ensuring the long-term viability of community law centres.”

Last month, the Government announced a comprehensive package of changes to the legal aid system. This included the Legal Services Agency working with community law centres to develop consistent standards for the centres up and down New Zealand.

ENDS


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