26 Jan 2011

Legal aid clients battle for right to choose lawyer

8:13 am on 26 January 2011

Changes to the legal aid system that prevent people from choosing their own lawyer are being challenged in the High Court.

From 29 November 2010, the Legal Services Agency, which administers legal aid, changed how it allocates lawyers so that people facing up to 10 years in jail could no longer pick their own counsel.

Three legal aid clients are to challenge the ruling in the High Court in Auckland next month.

One of their lawyers, Brian Henry, says he has taken the case pro-bono because he believes the new system is inherently wrong.

One of the plaintiffs, Rebecca Clark says she should be able to choose a lawyer she's dealt with before and feels comfortable with.