Do you need to pay back your legal aid?

Legal aid is government funding to pay for a lawyer for people who cannot afford one, and need one in the interests of justice. People who get legal aid may have to repay part or all of their legal aid costs. Interest will be charged 6 months after your case has been finalised at the rate of 5% per year. This interest rate is the same as the Government's capital charge rate which is set by Treasury's public sector discount rate.

Do I need to make repayments?

Legal aid is considered a loan. You may have to repay some or all of your legal aid, depending on how much you earn, what property you own and whether you receive any money or property as a result of your case.

The information you give on your application form is used to work out whether you have to repay anything. You will be told the maximum amount you have to repay in the first letter you get from us after we assess your application.

The letter from your grants officer will tell you if you need to start repayments now, and how to pay.

If you are not sure, contact Legal Aid Debt on 0800 600 090 or read more about how to pay a legal aid debt

Problems making repayments?

Contact Legal Aid Debt on 0800 600 090 as soon as possible. It is important to let them know what your situation is. If you do not keep up with the arranged repayment plan, a deduction notice may be imposed on your debt or the debt can be forwarded onto a debt collection agency.

Your repayment plan may be changed or put on hold. In some cases, some or all of your legal aid debt can be written off (cancelled) if you cannot repay it.

You can also ask for your legal aid to be stopped, but you may still have to repay some or all of the aid spent so far.

Overpayment of legal aid debt

If you have overpaid your legal aid debt, we can refund the extra money by direct credit or it can be refunded back to source of payment. If there is another legal aid debt file, the overpayment will be transferred to that debt. If the payment is by automatic payment, we will request that the payment reference is changed to the other debt file.

The refunds take up to 21 days to process.

Usually, we will contact you if you have overpaid. If you know that you have overpaid and we have not contacted you yet, please contact us:

Contact us
Post: SX11295 Wellington
Phone: 0800 600 090, option 1

Charges over property

If you own a house, car or other valuable property, you may have to authorise a charge on the property as security for the debt.

The charge means that if you sell the property, you must repay your debt out of the money you get from the sale.

You may still be required to make regular payments, even if your debt is secured.

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