Legal Aid in New Zealand on Life Support

Access to Justice – Survey report 2021

The largest ever survey of lawyers on ‘access to justice’ in Aotearoa New Zealand shows the legal aid system is on life support. Thousands are struggling to get legal aid, with potential life-changing consequences when they don’t, and Covid-19 has greatly aggravated the problem.

Almost 3,000 lawyers responded to the Access to Justice Survey, which was carried out by Colmar Brunton on behalf of the New Zealand Law Society

Half of the lawyers surveyed rated the legal system as poor or very poor at providing everyone access to justice –

Legal Aid in New Zealand on Life Support 3
Rating of the NZ legal system for providing all people in Aotearoa New Zealand with access to justice

And that’s no surprise given how many people are being turned away because lawyers don’t have capacity to take on more clients.

Legal Aid in New Zealand on Life Support 4
Percentage of all lawyers and legal aid lawyers who have turned away clients in the last 12 months

50% of lawyers (excluding those working in-house) have turned away clients in the last 12 months, whilst 75% of legal aid lawyers have turned away people seeking legal help. Through figures provided in the survey Colmar Brunton conservatively estimates that in the past 12 months over 20,000 people were turned away from legal aid lawyers.

Legal Aid in New Zealand on Life Support 5
Number of clients turned away in the last 12 months

The figures show there simply aren’t enough legal aid lawyers with capacity to help the number of people needing legal help.

Legal aid lawyers are working for free

On average legal aid lawyers were not renumerated for half of the hours they spent on their last legal aid case.

Only 15% of legal aid lawyers were fully renumerated for time spent on their last legal aid case, while one in three were not renumerated for over half of the time they spent on their last legal aid case.

Legal Aid in New Zealand on Life Support 6

 

Legal Aid in New Zealand on Life Support 7

See the full report at the NZLS Site Here

ReFuel with the top law news weekly that's fun to read
Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top