A national cooperative of law firms has been launched to assist people to access legal aid lawyers and support the law firms who provide legal aid.
Legal Aid Providers Aotearoa (LAPA) has approached 136 law firms around New Zealand who provide legal aid to join the cooperative. LAPA is holding a summit in July for the law firms invited to join the new cooperative. Law firms who join LAPA will sign a charter and be listed on the LAPA website.
The NZ Law Society reported that LAPA Acting Secretary Jarrod Coburn said "LAPA will be a valuable resource for people who need access to justice, with an 0800 number and website designed to assist in finding a legal aid lawyer quickly."
The idea for LAPA came from Christchurch family lawyer Erin Ebborn, of Ebborn Law. Ms Ebborn said "Up until now it has been very difficult for the public to identify and locate lawyers committed to delivering legal aid. So the major beneficiaries of this cooperative will be social services and other organisations who work with people on low incomes, and the likes of women's refuges who regularly seek urgent legal intervention for their clients."
See the LAPA website for more information: www.legalaid.org.nz.
Shortage of lawyers providing family law legal aid
Stuff recently reported that the number of lawyers providing family legal aid work has reduced by almost half in the past nine years. It said Ministry of Justice figures, released under the Official Information Act, show the number of "family lead providers" for legal aid fell from 1850 in June 2007 to 942 in June 2016. Lawyers spoke about the impacts on people unable to access representation.
In 2016, Radio New Zealand reported a 25% decrease in lawyers doing family legal aid work nationally over the last five years. Some regions were reported to be experiencing even more significant shortages.
Previous NZFVC stories
Six Legal aid offices to be closed (September 2016)
Access to lawyers and family court reforms (March 2016)
Submitted on Mon, 2017-05-15 13:00