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Law Society to watch judicial review proceedings closely

MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate use, 28 February 2012

Law Society to watch judicial review proceedings closely

The New Zealand Law Society understood the serious concerns which had driven the Criminal Bar Association to seek judicial review of the introduction of fixed fees for criminal legal aid, it said today. Law Society President Jonathan Temm said the Law Society would watch the judicial review proceedings closely.

Mr Temm said the Law Society had repeatedly told the Government that the proposed fixed fee regime for criminal legal aid would have a serious impact on access to justice.

“The Law Society appreciates the economic difficulties the Government is facing but these fixed fees may mean that legal aid providers cannot afford to deliver quality services.”

Mr Temm said the Law Society placed great importance on continued discussion to resolve the issues around provision of legal aid. “We urge the Ministry of Justice to take a hard look at the implications of what it is doing.”

As well as criminal legal aid, the Government is currently consulting on fixed fees for family and accident compensation legal aid work. The Law Society is preparing comments on fixed fees in these areas. Family and ACC legal aid providers have told the Law Society that the fixed fees proposed are unworkable and they cannot deliver a competent service and cover the cost of running a legal practice on the rates put forward in the consultation document.

ENDS


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