21 Feb 2011

More legal aid reforms set to be announced

6:22 pm on 21 February 2011

Justice Minister Simon Power has revealed further legal aid reforms are close to being announced.

Mr Power addressed a forum on crime in Wellington on Monday where he outlined some of his plans for the year ahead.

The minister began overhauling the legal aid system in the wake of a report in late 2009 that found some lawyers overcharging, stretching out cases and conning clients to pay a top-up above their legal aid payment.

The Legal Services Bill, which recently passed its second reading in Parliament, is aimed at cleaning up the situation.

However, Mr Power says he has further reforms in mind and will soon announce changes to meet an expected $402 million legal aid funding gap predicted for the next five years.

The minister's office is refusing to elaborate further, but says the changes will be made public within weeks.