6 Jan 2013

Slight increase in legal aid practitioner numbers

5:02 pm on 6 January 2013

Despite predictions that lawyers would be driven from legal aid practice by a fixed fees regime, official figures indicate very little change.

Data released to Radio New Zealand shows that last March, when fixed fees were introduced for legal aid work, there were just under 2000 approved practitioners.

The latest Ministry of Justice figures indicate that number has remained largely unchanged.

The number of lawyers approved for civil work increased by nine, and for family court work by 45, but those in criminal cases dropped by 10 and in Waitangi Tribunal and other Maori court work by seven.

The ministry says it keeps in regular touch with lawyers to make sure the system is working and it still receives applications from lawyers wanting to be part of legal aid.