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Minister must open eyes over legal aid

Kate Wilkinson MP
National Party Associate Justice Spokeswoman

7 December 2006

Minister must open eyes over legal aid

National Party Associate Justice Spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson is calling again for the Justice Minister to front up to the crisis in legal aid after latest figures show a huge decrease in the number of legal aid applications in the Blenheim region.

She is releasing figures that show the number of applications in 2005/06 almost halved compared to the previous year, from 153 to 86, and is down a massive 138 since Labour came to power in 2001/02.

“These figures are staggering, and indicate a very serious drop in family legal aid applications in the area.

“For months, Mark Burton has been denying there is any problem with lawyers shunning legal aid work, but these figures prove he is wrong.

“As long as he continues with his head-in-the-sand approach, there are going to be people who suffer – like the woman who dropped her protection order because she could not find a lawyer to fight her husband’s bid to defend it, and was abused again.

“Women’s Refuges have been saying for many months that more and more women are giving up on protection orders because they can’t find a lawyer and can’t face the prospect of representing themselves in court.

“These stories make a mockery of any claim that Labour makes about taking a tough line on domestic violence.

“Surely Mark Burton must see it this time – these figures don’t lie.”

ENDS

PQ15458(2006) - Legal Aid Funding From Family Legal Aid Lawyers In The Blenheim Region

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Month / 2001/02 / 2002/03 / 2003/04 / 2004/05 / 2005/06
July / 23 / 26 / 15 / 13 / 11
August / 24 / 24 / 14 / 14 / 4
September / 14 / 14 / 10 / 9 / 15
October / 20 / 24 / 4 / 9 / 12
November / 21 / 12 / 14 / 17 / 9
December / 14 / 17 / 9 / 15 / 4
January / 8 / 7 / 11 / 5 / 5
February / 19 / 9 / 6 / 18 / 6
March / 32 / 9 / 13 / 15 / 5
April / 21 / 14 / 12 / 11 / 8
May / 18 / 21 / 15 / 9 / 4
June / 10 / 18 / 14 / 18 / 3
Total / 224 / 195 / 137 / 153 / 86

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