The Auckland District Law Society said some Auckland firms now refused to do legal aid. Low pay rates and difficulties with dealing with the Legal Services Agency were two of the main worries.
“It’s the administration and the stupid bureaucracy of things. It’s completely frustrating and petty,” the society’s legal aid committee convenor, Colleen Newton, said in the latest issue of Law News.
She said people wanting legal aid had to complete an eight-page form and produce supporting information including copies of proceedings, and their income details for the last 12 months.
Earlier this year the New Zealand Law Society said competent lawyers were turning away legal aid cases because they could not afford to do the work.
Auckland society president Gary Gotlieb said he continued to do legal aid because of his conscience and not for money.
“Would you do it for half to a third of what you normally get paid? And you have to argue for the hours you get paid,” he said in the magazine.
AdvertisementAdvertisementHe called the legal aid rates paid to lawyers “lousy”.