8 May 2017

Concern at family law legal aid shortage

2:17 pm on 8 May 2017

The Ministry of Justice is failing to properly examine why there is a shortage of legal aid lawyers in provincial areas, a family law specialist says.

court

Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

A Fairfax Media report showed Blenheim, Wairarapa and the West Coast have the lowest number of family lawyers doing legal aid work, and said vulnerable people were not receiving justice as a result.

The chair of the Law Society's Family Law Section, Michelle Duggan, said the shortfall was also evident in Hawke's Bay, and the society has raised the matter with the ministry a number of times.

She said there were a number of reasons why it was difficult to keep family legal aid lawyers in any provincial area, including that the work did not pay well and often took priority over other work.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said outside lawyers were sometimes brought into those regions to help.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs