Most legal are aid bids granted, MP declares

by Sol Dolor03 Oct 2016
Most requests for legal aid are granted, information released by Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges shows.
 
The information, a response to written parliamentary questions from Green Party MP David Clendon, show that about 89% of applications for legal aid the 12 months leading to 30 June 2016 resulted in granting of legal aid.
 
The most likely applications to be granted are related to mental health issues, at 99.6%, the information bared. Civil issues have a 63.6% granting rate and Supreme Court legal aid requests are granted at a 54.8% rate.
 
According to data published on the New Zealand Law Society website, there’s a “decline in legal aid applications in the five years to 30 June 2016, with a drop of 3.8%.”
 
The decline was largely driven by a 21.3% fall in applications for family legal aid and 56.0% drop in civil legal aid applications, the announcement read.
 
Nonetheless, applications for criminal legal aid increased 2.9% over the 5-year period.
 
On a year-over-year basis, however, there was an increase of legal aid applications in the 12 months leading to 30 June 2016 compared to the previous year. For the most recent period, there were a total of 90,742 applications compared to 85,097 in the 12 months up to 30 June 2015.
 
Recently, flaws in Family Court reforms were highlighted, with problems said to be created by the move in 2014 for the Court to handle mostly only serious matters.
 
Fewer lawyers are also said to be willing to do legal aid work, according to the New Zealand Law Society.
 
According to the announcement, the total legal aid applications granted fell by 2.2% over the five years to 30 June 2016.
 
While there was a rise of 5.6% in criminal legal aid applications granted, grants of family legal aid fell by 21.6% and grants of civil legal aid fell by 39.0%, it said.
 
Meanwhile, the proportion of legal aid requests which were granted experienced a nominal increase over the five years to 30 June 2016. It also experienced a slight drop in the proportion of family legal aid applications granted and a rise in the proportion of criminal legal aid applications granted.
 
The full set of data can be viewed here.