Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Legal aid increase inadequate

Media release – for immediate use 22 May 2008

Legal aid increase inadequate

“The 10% increase in rates for lawyers working on legal aid cases announced in the Budget is far from adequate and very disappointing, but at least it is a start in addressing a major problem,” the President of the New Zealand Law Society, John Marshall QC, said today (22 May).

“Lawyers have been dropping out of doing legal aid work because there had been no increase in rates for 12 years. People eligible for legal aid are finding it harder and harder to get a lawyer and this increase is not going to be sufficient to change that trend,” he said.

“The New Zealand Law Society has been making a strong case for an increase in rates for at least four years but the Government said it would wait for a review under legislation that came into force on 1 March last year.

“That independent review panel recommended an increase in hourly rates of 15.9%. This was supported by the Legal Services Agency and by Parliament’s Justice and Electoral Committee so it is of real concern that the Government has chosen not to follow that recommendation,” John Marshall said.

“Our members saw that as a bare minimum and they are telling us very firmly that, after 12 years of nothing, this increase just isn’t enough.

“With the CPI having increased around 30% in that time and staff salaries about 60%, law firms have been finding it increasingly uneconomic to do legal aid work. The resulting shortage of legal aid lawyers is affecting the rights of ordinary people to get proper advice, representation and access to the courts.

“The situation is worst in provincial areas, small towns and the poorer parts of our cities. It is particularly bad in family law cases. Too often women who need domestic violence protection orders can’t find a legal aid lawyer to help them.

“There is a serious issue of access to justice for the disadvantaged in our society and we will continue to press the Government to address this,” Mr Marshall said.

“On a positive note, the Minister of Justice has said that she considers this increase a very important first step. We welcome her advice to us that a review of legal aid funding, being undertaken this year to feed into the 2009 Budget round, will include further consideration of the remuneration rates,” he said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>



Mental Health Foundation: 'Positive First Steps'

“The heavy reliance on pilots and targeted approaches in the package announced today makes it plain that additional funding will be needed so that activities that work can be made available throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Robinson. More>>


'Gift' To NZ: Synod Considers Third Christchurch Cathedral Option

Members of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch will consider three, not two, options regarding the future of the ChristChurch Cathedral... The new option is for the Synod to gift the Cathedral building to the Government for the people of New Zealand. More>>


PM's Presser: Labour's Water Policy 'Reckless', Says English

The Labour Party has "bumbled into" its policy to charge for water in a "reckless" way that would put a Labour-led government on a collision course with both Maori and other water users, Prime Minister Bill English said at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference.. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election