NZ Law Society
Added: Feb 17, 2012
Changes to family legal aid proposed in a bill before Parliament will have a major impact on access to justice, the New Zealand Law Society says.
Presenting a submission on the Legal Assistance (Sustainability) Amendment Bill, Caroline Hannan of the Law Society’s Family Law Section said the bill proposed a user charge of $100 for anyone accessing family legal aid.
“This is an enormous sum for the people who fit the criteria to be eligible for legal aid. This is taking money away from them that should be used for looking after their families,” she said.
Ms Hannan says there is a wrongful presumption behind the Bill that anyone applying for family legal aid was automatically making an application to the Family Courts. However, that is not so as family lawyers effectively provide a triage system which saw people pointed in the right direction for assistance such as counselling or social welfare support, and not just to the court.
The information in this article was current at 27 Mar 2012