What's new for legal aid lawyers

Where to send family applications

15/04/2019 – From 6 May 2019, the Wellington office will be administering family legal aid applications for proceedings in the Family Courts at:

Dannevirke, Gisborne, Hamilton, Hastings, Huntly, Morrinsville, Napier, Taumarunui, Te Awamutu, Te Kuiti, Thames, Waipukurau and Wairoa.

From that date, please send legal aid applications for those locations to WGNFamilylegalaid@justice.govt.nz or SX10146 Wellington, if sending by post. This change is to align the geographical boundaries of our administration of family and criminal legal aid and to improve the efficiency of our processing. Thank you for your cooperation.

Printing disclosure in criminal cases

15/04/2019 - Disbursements for printing disclosure in criminal cases are pre-approved up to a maximum of $500 (or 5,000 pages at $0.10 per page). If the actual costs of printing disclosure are higher than the pre-approved maximum, re-imbursement may be claimed by seeking prior approval on an amendment to grant form.

Unfortunately, the new Amendment to Grant Form 51 indicates pre-approval is up to 500 pages. We apologise for this error. We are currently reviewing the invoice forms and will correct this amendment to grant form when improvements to the invoice forms are released.

Duty Lawyer travel

15/04/2019 - You may remember that in July last year we amended the travel policy to allow non-local travel (defined as a return trip of over 50km or more than one hour) to be claimed where the duty lawyer is on the duty lawyer roster for a court.

We would like to take the opportunity to remind lawyers that non-local travel for the duty lawyer service is defined as travel involving a return trip from the provider’s normal place of work to the travel destination where:

  • the return distance is greater than 50 kilometres OR
  • the return travel time is greater than one hour.

If you think you may not have claimed for travel where the above has applied or you have a query regarding whether or not you can claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us on the following dutylawyer@justice.govt.nz

Amendment to Grant and High Cost case policy

28/03/2019 - We are pleased to announce that we have finalised the new amendment to grant forms and high cost case policy.

The new policy takes effect from 1 April 2019, and the new forms should also be used from this date.

If you wish to read the new policy, please refer to the grants handbook.

The electronic Word template package (version 16) has been updated with the new forms and will be available to download from Monday morning at the page Download Word template packages.

The new forms will also be available in editable PDF on the Ministry's website at the page PDF Legal aid forms.

We would like to thank everyone who engaged with the review, and who has provided feedback throughout this process.

Advertisement for position as Northland Deputy District Inspector of Mental Health

21/03/2019 - The Ministry of Health is seeking suitably qualified barristers and solicitors within the Northland Area for the role of Deputy District Inspector.

District inspectors (and deputy district inspectors) are lawyers appointed by the Minister of Health under section 94 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 (the Act). District inspectors are appointed to ensure that the provisions of the Act are upheld. They assist in investigating complaints, ensuring that patients under the Act are cared for in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Act and principles of natural justice, and monitor the mental health services providing compulsory assessment and treatment.

Time commitment should be no more than 30 percent of practice. This role is specifically for a deputy district inspector, where appointment will run until 30 June 2020, when the next round of district inspector appointments will be held. The successful candidate will likely be appointed for the next term as a District Inspector. For more information about the role and how to apply, please visit the Law Society website(external link).

Amendment to Grant Forms & High Cost Criminal Cases

07/03/2019 – We are pleased to advise that we have finalised the new criminal and civil/family amendment to grant forms, and changes to the high cost cases policies.

Thank you to everyone who engaged with these reviews. Your contributions helped us to determine the best way to ensure that our amendment to grant forms and the high cost criminal case policies are fit for purpose and work well for you and our customers.

The submissions and decisions document linked below gives a summary of your feedback and provides context around why we have made the changes.

Amendment to grant forms and High Cost Case policy - submissions and decisions [PDF, 715 KB]

The new forms and the key changes to high cost cases policies are included.

Amendment to grant forms and high cost cases policy

08/02/2019 - We recently sought your feedback on proposed changes to the amendment to grant forms and the high cost cases policy. We have proposed simplifying and consolidating 11 amendment to grant forms into 3 forms; 1 for criminal, 1 for family and civil law types and 1 for the special area of Waitangi Tribunal grants. Changes proposed to the high cost cases policy will streamline our management of these most expensive and complex criminal cases, upskill our people and also make it easier for you to meet our information needs.

We are reviewing your feedback and hope to publish the final decisions and training document via a YouTube presentation within the next month, with a view to implementing the new forms and the revised policy from 1 April 2019. Thank you to everyone who gave feedback on these proposals.

How do you submit your legal aid invoices?

17/01/2019 - As you are aware, over the last 12 months we have been undertaking a review of all of our forms in order to make it easier for you to engage with us and for us to process your requests quickly. Our next piece of work will be focussing on invoices.

To help inform this work we would like to better understand how legal aid providers invoice. Please take a minute to complete this 4 question survey in the link below. The survey will be available until 1 February 2019.

Legal aid invoicing survey (external link)(external link)

Review of high cost case policy and amendment to grant forms

10/01/2019 – This is a reminder about our review of the current high cost case policy and amendment to grant forms. Within this review, the Ministry is proposing to combine the current eleven forms into three to mirror the application forms (Criminal, Civil/Family and Waitangi). The Waitangi amendment to grant form will stay the same.

We would welcome your feedback as it will help ensure the new forms are fit-for-purpose and meet the needs of our customers and providers. The consultation page is located at the link below and is open until 18 January 2019.

Legal Aid High Cost Case policy & Amendment to Grant form changes survey (external link)(external link)

If you have any questions during the consultation, please feel free to contact Robert Ives, Service Delivery Manager at Robert.Ives@justice.govt.nz

Looking for old what's new items? What's new for legal aid lawyers articles from 2018 can now be found on the 2018 archive page.

This page was last updated: