The Ministry of Justice recently consulted on a new legal support service, which is being established as part of reforms to the family justice system following the review of the Family Court.
As a result of the consultation a number of changes have been made to the design of this service. The Ministry's response and final decisions are in the consultation response document.
During November, we will be holding seminars for family justice service providers on the family court reforms. We would like to invite all family legal aid lawyers to attend.
The seminars will be held in all main centres around the country and will cover the aim of the new legislation, as well as information about the new out-of-court family services it will introduce.
As part of the Government's family court reforms, a new service is being introduced that will provide up to four hours of free out of court legal support for eligible people involved in care of children and guardianship disputes.
30 September 2013 - The criminal case assignment report for 1 December 2012 to 31 August 2013 can now be found on our website.
20 September 2013 - The legal aid forms have now been undated to reflect changes that are being introduced by the Legal Services Amendment Act on 2 September 2013.
18 September 2013 - Please remember that criminal legal aid parole proceeding applications need to be sent to a designated legal aid office in each region. This includes the former civil proceedings now being administered as criminal legal aid parole proceedings under the Legal Services Amendment Act 2013. These offices are:
|Facility||Local Legal Aid Office|
|Northern Region Correction Facility||Manukau Legal Aid Office|
|Auckland Prison||Manukau Legal Aid Office|
|Mt Eden Corrections Facility||Manukau Legal Aid Office|
|Auckland Region Women's Correction Facility||Manukau Legal Aid Office|
|Spring Hill Corrections Facility||Hamilton Legal Aid Office|
|Waikeria Prison||Hamilton Legal Aid Office|
|Tongariro/Rangipo Prison||Rotorua Legal Aid Office|
|Whanganui Prison||New Plymouth Legal Aid Office|
|Hawkes Bay Prison||Napier Legal Aid Office|
|Manawatu Prison||New Plymouth Legal Aid Office|
|Rimutaka Prison||Wellington Legal Aid Office|
|Arohata Prison||Wellington Legal Aid Office|
|Christchurch Men's Prison||Christchurch Legal Aid Office|
|Rolleston Prison||Christchurch Legal Aid Office|
|Christchurch Women's Prison||Christchurch Legal Aid Office|
|Otago Corrections Facility||Dunedin Legal Aid Office|
|Invercargill Prison||Dunedin Legal Aid Office|
30 August 2013 - The Legal Services Amendment Act 2013 introduces changes to how legal aid is managed. These changes involve the introduction of a user charge on most family and civil cases, changes to the establishment of eligibility, interest applied to outstanding legal aid debt and deduction notices issued on unpaid legal aid debt. Please refer to the grants manual.
30 August 2013 - With the introduction of the Legal Services Amendment Act some parole proceedings previously administered as civil legal aid proceedings are now administered as criminal legal aid proceedings. To make an application for parole proceedings, please use Form 1.
4 July 2013 - It is crucial the information on the application allows the Legal Services Commissioner to make timely and accurate decisions. This becomes even more important with the implementation of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (CPA) and the new standardised timeframes set out in the Criminal Procedure Rules.
3 July 2013 - Further changes have been made to the Criminal Fixed Fee and Complex Cases Guidelines, to align with the Criminal Procedure Act 2011. There are now two sets of guidelines in use.
We have created a Frequently Asked Questions document where we have published responses to commonly received queries regarding the new framework.
21 June 2013 - The Legal Services Commissioner has released new guidelines on how legal aid will be paid to criminal defence lawyers in certain cases.
These new guidelines are interim and will replace the Secretary of Justice's Criminal Fixed Fees and Complex Case Policy and Procedures. They will be in place on Monday (24 June) and also apply to cases that are open on this date.
19 June 2013 - The criminal case assignment report for 1 December 2012 to 31 May 2013 can now be found on our website.
18 June 2013 - Information for duty lawyers, recognising Police and Crown Prosecutions and client contact details
The definitions of summary and indictable offences are abolished on 1 July, and from that date the distinctions that will be important for Legal Aid are Police Prosecutions and Crown Prosecutions.
Where an offence is identifiable as a Police Prosecution the orange form 1(a) should be filled out and where the offence is identifiable as a Crown Prosecution the blue form 1 should be filled out.
Most cases will be Police Prosecutions, just as most cases are now summary offences. Crown Prosecutions can be identified from the Police Charging Document by Criminal Procedure Offence category where this is category 4. These are always jury trials and also always heard in the High Court, and
Maximum penalty, as all offences under the Crimes Act facing a maximum penalty of more than ten years are Crown offences and listed in the Crown Prosecution regulations 2012.
A number of offences, however, are listed in the Crown Prosecution regulations and face penalties of 10 years or less. They will not be identifiable by Offence Category or maximum penalty. They are identifiable by Act and Section number and comprise most of the offences that are currently purely indictable.
When dealing with an application related to one of these offences, the blue form 1 should be filled out.
The Criminal Procedure Act, as you will be aware, makes a number of other changes including putting the onus to elect jury trial on the defendant so that more cases are likely to become Crown Prosecutions after second appearance than they do now. It will be impossible to second-guess these, so unless the offence is clearly identifiable as a Crown Prosecution the orange form 1(a) should be filled out.
The Criminal Procedure Act introduces new 10 and 15 working day timeframes from the provision of initial disclosure to second appearance and plea. The accuracy of the information in the application form is critical to Legal Aid in supporting providers to meet these new timeframes, and particularly contact details. In relation to contact details, relatives details can be included, assuming they are happy to be contacted, in the absence of details of the applicant themselves. Any and all contact details are better than none.
3 April 2013 – The Ministry has published its response to the Criminal Procedure Act consultation on changes to the criminal fixed fee schedules. These changes will come into force on 1 July.
Under what is published here providers will be paid new fees to undertake the additional work required by the Act, for example the filling out and filing of the Case Management Memorandum. Other changes support the smooth operation of the Act and address specific concerns stakeholders have raised about the schedules.
In response to feedback we have raised the fee for filling out and filing the Case Management Memorandum in Police Prosecutions from $50 to $75. We will also pay hearing time in addition to the fee for pre-trial admissibility hearings in Police Prosecution. A second fee for opposed bail applications and opposed bail variations will now also be able to be claimed, with the ability to seek amendment if this fee is shown to be completely inadequate.
A separate preliminary evaluation of criminal fixed fees has been undertaken, to which we are currently preparing a response. What is published here does not affect any decisions that may be made as a result of that evaluation.
14 March 2013 - Printing and binding expenses are now covered by the pre-approved Office Disbursement for criminal fixed fee cases along with photocopying. An application for an amendment will be considered if the provider can demonstrate that the fixed fee is inadequate to cover the costs, such as if additional photocopying and/or printing is necessary.
For complex and other non-fixed fee criminal cases, as well as all family and civil cases, Office Disbursements are pre-approved up to $100. An amendment should be made for additional photocopying, printing and binding when costs are likely to exceed $100 (excl. GST).
For additional information see the Disbursements Policy.
12 March 2013 - In December 2011 the Ministry of Justice announced the temporary closure of six court buildings for earthquake strengthening. Providers based in Upper Hutt and Feilding were allowed reimbursement for travel and parking to attend courts in Lower Hutt and Palmerston North respectively.
Permanent closure of these courts is effective from 1 March 2013 for the Feilding court and 22 March 2013 for the Upper Hutt court. Claims for travel and parking costs to attend these Courts will be accepted up to and including 31 March 2013 for Feilding and Upper Hutt based providers. Claims for travel and parking past after this date will not be accepted. Travel from Feilding to the Palmerston North court and from Upper Hutt to the Hutt Court will be considered local travel after 31 March 2013.
We will automatically update Feilding and Upper Hutt based providers’ preferred Courts on the criminal case assignments lists to Palmerston North and Hutt Courts respectively.
|Who is the legal aid applicant?||Whose resources should be used?||Who should sign the application?|
|No existing PPPR Act orders or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA)||Person of full age and mental capacity legal aid applicant||Legal aid applicant||Legal aid applicant|
|Where there is an existing order under PPPR Act appointing legal aid applicant as 'representative'||Other party||Subject person's||Court appointed representative|
|Where there is an existing order under PPPR Act appointing a representative but another or third party seeks legal aid||Other party||Other party||Other party|
|Where there is an existing EPOA and the attorney (representative) seeks orders under PPPR Act||Attorney (representative)||Subject person's||Attorney (representative)|
|Where there is an existing EPOA and another or third party seeks legal aid||Other party||Other party||Other party|