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Family Matter Starts

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Resolution has written to Lord Bach, the legal aid minister, for an urgent meeting to discuss LSC policy over granting new matter starts to firms who have fulfilled their contract quota.

Karen McKay, the organisation’s Chief Executive, says that family lawyers are currently turning clients away because of the change in policy, painting a bleak picture of the impact that this will have on legal aid provision:

“The current contracts have nearly five months to run and if firms cannot take on new cases in that time many of them will go out of business. Legal aid firms operate on very slim margins and such sudden changes to the flow of funds and work threaten the existence of these practices……”

….. We understand that the LSC now plan to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’. Some firms with unused quotas face ‘handing them back’ so that they can be reassigned to other firms. No business or industry can afford to have its business model altered in this peremptory and haphazard fashion….”

The very basis of funding continues to be challenged not because of political will, but money. There has been a great increase in the number of child care cases all over the country in the wake of recent tragedies and there simply is not enough money to go around. The New Zealand legal aid board has all but imploded and unless there is some clear leadership about the future of public funding in this country we may well follow.

The Gazette

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 30, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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