– Wellington – A number of law firms in the [ Manawatu a… – Wellington – A number of law firms in the [ Manawatu and Taranaki ] regions have landed significant payments from the legal aid system, notwithstanding claims that funding of legal aid is insufficient and people are being left unrepresented in Court.

The top earner in the region was Till Henderson with legal aid earnings of $491,000 for the 12 months until June 2006. They were followed by Govett Quilliam with $382,000.

The figures were obtained by legal news website, under the Offical Information Act, which show payments made to over 1400 New Zealand lawyers and law firms. The top 50 claimants together shared over $20 million in legal aid payments for the year. (See full list:

Top of the heap in terms of legal aid earnings was Kensington Swan, Wellington, which took $2.268,000 for the 12 months.

Among the top group was Solicitor General, David Collins QC, at Number 18 on the list of lawyers who shared most from the largesse of the Country’s legal aid payments where he took home almost $400,000 for the 12 months’ period.

Two lawyers, one in sole practitioner in Wellington and one barrister in Auckland earned almost $1 million each in legal aid takings. Wellington’s Sonja Cooper took home over $950,000 beating Auckland barrister Charles Hirschfeld by $14,000. Hirschfeld handles Maori and fisheries work.

The top 10 firms, and their legal aid earnings, from the Manawatu / Taranaki region were:

Manawatu / Taranaki

1. Till Henderson 491,000
2. Govett Quilliam 382,000
3. Peter Brosnahan, Barrister 325,000
4. Armstrong Barton 313,000
5. Roger Crowley 261,000
6. Fergus Steedman 226,000
7. Nicholsons 195,000
8. John Rowan, QC 194,000
9. Duncan Harvey 170,000
10. Opie & Dron 167,000

The full list is available for free download from the website: log in to

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