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Falls in family and criminal legal aid providers

25 August 2016

A 25% decrease in the number of lawyers providing family legal aid services and a 12% decrease in criminal legal aid providers over the last five years is shown in information released by Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges.

Mr Bridges has released the information in response to a series of parliamentary written questions from Green Party MP David Clendon.

He was asked to give the total number of solicitors providing legal aid services in a number of areas of law between 1 July 2011 and 1 July 2016.

Mr Bridges' response says the question has been interpreted to be for each financial year.

Barristers and solicitors providing legal aid services, year to 30 June
Services20162015201420132012Change
Criminal810819812827919-11.9%
Family7497818358821004-25.4%
Civil199203289343433-54.0%
Refugee and protected
persons
2223252825-12.0%
Mental health144141155157157-8.3% 


The information was also requested on a regional basis. The following summary shows the change for each region between 2012 and 2016, and the proportion of total lawyers in each region who were providing legal aid in the year to 30 June 2016.

Barristers and solicitors providing Criminal legal aid services, year to 30 June
Region20162015201420132012Change% Total 2016
Auckland252253240240263-4.2%31.1%
Bay of Plenty74727471722.8%9.1%
Canterbury90879095118-23.7%11.1%
Gisborne232224222015.0%2.8%
Hawke's Bay2224242329-24.1%2.7%
Manawatu/Whanganui3438373642-19.0%4.2%
Marlborough886811-27.3%1.0%
Nelson20201917195.3%2.5%
Northland3436414245-24.4%4.2%
Otago4041404256-28.6%4.9%
Southland1819171919-5.3%2.2%
Taranaki2019182022-9.1%2.5%
Tasman00000N/A0.0%
Waikato6769757376-11.8%8.3%
Wellington103107104111119-13.4%12.7%
West Coast5434425.0%0.6%
Not specified00044-100.0%0.0%
TOTAL810819812827919-11.9%100.0%

Barristers and solicitors providing Family legal aid services, year to 30 June
Region20162015201420132012Change% Total 2016
Auckland176194206213246-28.5%23.5%
Bay of Plenty8381827687-4.6%11.1%
Canterbury9193100103136-33.1%12.1%
Gisborne15151717147.1%2.0%
Hawke's Bay3439353943-20.9%4.5%
Manawatu/Whanganui4436415153-17.0%5.9%
Marlborough5681014-64.3%0.7%
Nelson28292727280.0%3.7%
Northland2727333541-34.1%3.6%
Otago3949586073-46.6%5.2%
Southland2121262825-16.0%2.8%
Taranaki2525292938-34.2%3.3%
Tasman111110.0%0.1%
Waikato7167737386-17.4%9.5%
Wellington849294115112-25.0%11.2%
West Coast56556-16.7%0.7%
Not specified00001-100.0%0.0%
TOTAL7497818358821004-25.4%100.0%

Barristers and solicitors providing Civil legal aid services, year to 30 June
Region20162015201420132012Change% Total 2016
Auckland524974101118-55.9%26.1%
Bay of Plenty1922263347-59.6%9.5%
Canterbury2018273241-51.2%10.1%
Gisborne24757-71.4%1.0%
Hawke's Bay810121423-65.2%4.0%
Manawatu/Whanganui68131924-75.0%3.0%
Marlborough11113-66.7%0.5%
Nelson65688-25.0%3.0%
Northland79131319-63.2%3.5%
Otago1111172225-56.0%5.5%
Southland659913-53.8%3.0%
Taranaki9791013-30.8%4.5%
Tasman00000N/A0.0%
Waikato1415242427-48.1%7.0%
Wellington3737505262-40.3%18.6%
West Coast12102-50.0%0.5%
Not specified00001-100.0%0.0%
TOTAL199203289343433-54.0%100.0%


Major changes were made to the legal aid system in 2011, with a tightening of eligibility criteria, the introduction of fixed fees and a rotational assignment system.

Last updated on the 25th August 2016