2015 archive

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Criminal case assignment report

21 December 2015 – The criminal case assignment report for 1 December 2014 to 30 November 2015 is now available.

Read the criminal case assignment report [PDF, 619 KB]

Find out more about criminal case assignments

Legal aid payments to firms

21 October 2015 – All legal aid payments made to firms during the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 has been published.

View legal aid payments to firms – 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 [PDF, 593 KB]

The payments to firms are for legal aid services provided by listed providers under the legal aid schemes. The payments include the fees of listed providers, including those claimed on behalf of other listed providers, and disbursements for general office costs, travel costs, and special disbursements, which include fees for agents, expert witnesses, forensic tests, interpreters and special reports, such as medical or valuation reports.

Information about hourly rates and the fixed fees in criminal, family and ACC cases

Legal aid forms – download new installer package

6 October 2015 – A new installer package for legal aid forms is now available

Download version 9.0 of the installer package

The following tax invoice forms have been updated:

Form 26 - Criminal legal aid -Tax invoice - schedules H & I [PDF, 421 KB]

Form 26 Criminal Legal Aid Fixed Fees H–I  [PDF, 421 KB]

Form 27 Criminal Legal Aid Fixed Fees J [PDF, 367 KB]

Form 33 Family Legal Aid Fixed Fee: Domestic Violence [PDF, 540 KB]

Form 42 Victims Orders against Violent Offenders [PDF, 414 KB]

Form 44 Employment Relations Authority- Fixed Fees [PDF, 373 KB]

Form 46 Public Protection Orders [PDF, 385 KB]

Final Re-approval policy

30 April 2015 - The finalised Re-approval policy for Legal Aid Providers is now published on the Ministry of Justice website following consultation with the legal professional bodies.

A formal submission from the New Zealand Law Society assisted in finalising the re-approval policy. We amended the draft policy in response to the New Zealand Law Society submission that any relevant legal work, not just legal aid cases, must be taken into account when testing whether a lawyer continues to meet the experience and competency requirements for approval.

The new re-approval policy, which is now Chapter 4 in Part 1 of the Provider Manual , focuses on the ability of the Secretary for Justice to waive certain information requirements on a case-by-case basis, so long as there is no cause for concern about a provider’s performance since their most recent approval.

Under the new policy, we will send providers a reminder that their approval about to expire together with a re-approval form.

There are two possible tracks for an applicant for re-approval:

Where there are no concerns or need for further information indicated. The majority of providers fall under this streamlined track.

Where further information is required and/or there is cause for concern.

Before we send the reminder we will check available records for: a current practising certificate, sufficient legal aid cases, any substantiated complaints and/or adverse audit results.

If there is no cause for concern or need for additional information we will waive certain information requirements thus placing the provider on the streamlined track. The re-approval form will seek only confirmation the provider is a fit and proper person. For supervised providers we will seek confirmation of current supervision arrangements.

Where further information is required or there is cause for concern, for example where providers have not been active in legal aid or there is a history of substantiated complaints, we will seek further information to ascertain whether/how the provider may meet the statutory approval criteria.

Consultation on proposed changes to Parts 3 and 4 of the Provider Manual – Auditing and Complaints

30 April 2015 - Legal Aid Provider Services are currently seeking comment from the legal profession on proposed changes to Part 3 of the Legal Aid Provider Manual – Auditing and Monitoring (the Audit Policy), the Terms of Reference for Quality and Value Audits (Terms of Reference), and Part 4 of the Provider Manual – Complaints Management (the Complaints Policy). The consultation document and proposed policies have been sent to the New Zealand Law Society, the New Zealand Bar Association, the Auckland District Law Society Inc., and the Criminal Bar Association for comment.

Overall, the proposed changes to the policies are designed to improve their transparency and improve administration of legal aid provider auditing and complaints management processes. We are also proposing some minor technical changes. The current policies and Audit Terms of Reference were introduced in 2011 after the Legal Services Act 2011 was enacted. They provide the operational policy basis for our annual Quality and Value Audit programme and Special Audits, and our complaints management process. The Policies have not been reviewed since 2011.

The consultation period is between 28 April 2015 and 29 May 2015

Comment on the proposed policy is due with our Legal Aid Provider Services team at legalaidprovider@justice.govt.nz by 29 May 2015.

Criminal case assignment report

9 April 2015 – The criminal case assignment report for 1 December to 28 February 2015 is now available.

Specialist reports activity in the Family Fixed Fee Schedules

9 March 2015 - The specialist reports activity in the Care of Children/Guardianship and, Child and Young Persons fixed fees schedules have been corrected.

The corrections are:

the word 'special' is a typo and has been corrected to read as 'specialist' in the task section

the s59 report has been removed from the tasks section of the Care of Children/Guardianship fee schedule as it no longer exists

there is clarity that the specialist report mirrors the Family Court definition of specialist report

the wording of 'report from Counsel for Child' has been changed back to 'Lawyer for Child Report' as this is the actual title of that report. Prior to the Care of Children/Guardianship fee schedule changes in March 2014, the report was listed as Counsel for Child Report (listed as a title) and should have remained that way.

Consultation on proposed Re-approval Policy for legal aid providers

2 March 2015 - We are consulting with lawyers on a proposed re-approval policy for existing Legal Aid providers between 26 February and 27 March 2015. The legal professional bodies have published our consultation document and proposed policy in their e-newsletters, inviting comment from lawyers.

The proposed policy contains information about a streamlined re-approval process for existing providers with expiring approvals. We anticipate that the new policy will enable us to handle the anticipated rise in numbers of expiring approvals in the coming years while ensuring we continue to deliver high-quality legal aid services to clients and the Crown.

Comment on the proposed policy is due with our Legal Aid Provider Services team at legalaidprovider@justice.govt.nz by 27 March 2015.

Vulnerable Children legislation and related changes to legal aid

25 February 2015 - The Vulnerable Children legislation received Royal Assent on 1 July 2014 and puts in place a number of reforms which are further outlined in the Children’s Action Plan to provide a framework for protecting and improving the wellbeing of vulnerable New Zealand children.

An overview of all the changes coming into force can be found in the Legislation section of the Children’s Action Plan website, and more information will be made available over the coming months.

The Legal Services Commissioner consulted on the related new legal aid activities and changes to fee schedules between 21 November to 19 December and feedback was received from the New Zealand Law Society.

The new approved fixed fee schedules and disbursement list is expected to come into effect later this year once the commencement dates are confirmed through the regulations.

Updated word template installer

20 February 2015 – An updated word template installer package is available. It includes invoices and amendment to grant application forms for Public Protection orders, Victims Orders against Violent Offenders and fixed fee Employment proceedings.

Updated Legal Aid Disbursement Policy Civil

22 January 2015 – An updated disbursements policy for Civil cases will apply from 1 March 2015.

This policy updates the existing disbursements policy dated 30 December 2014, to include disbursements to support the new employment fixed fees and the introduction of the Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) legislation (PPOs).