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High Court decision on fixed fees acknowledged

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice
4 September 2012 Media Statement
High Court decision on fixed fees acknowledged

Justice Minister Judith Collins today acknowledged a High Court decision dismissing an application for judicial review into a new system for how criminal legal aid work is paid.

The Criminal Bar Association sought a judicial review of the criminal fixed fees system in February this year. The application was heard in May, and a judgment was released on Friday by Justice Simon France.

Ms Collins said she expected the decision would clear the way for the Ministry of Justice and the legal profession to work together to implement changes to the legal aid system.

“The Ministry is committed to collaborating with the legal profession to make the new system work.

“This includes reviewing whether the fixed fees schedules have been set at an appropriate and achievable level – a process the Ministry has already started.

“A Ministry survey has been sent to legal aid lawyers asking for feedback on the new system by 10 September. I encourage lawyers to participate,” Ms Collins said.

The new fixed fees system replaces hourly rates for criminal legal aid work and is expected to account for about 95 per cent of criminal legal aid cases (all but complex and high cost cases). It is one part of the Government’s legal aid reforms.

The reforms are designed to control rising costs in response to spending on legal aid growing from $111 million in 2006/07 to $172 million in 2009/10. The reforms will ensure legal aid is available in future for those who need it most.


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