The Access to Justice Committee monitors proposals that affect access to justice – including, in particular, operation of the legal aid system. Committee members are typically legal aid providers in criminal, civil, family, Waitangi and refugee law.
Formerly the Legal Services Committee, the Access to Justice committee, is a longstanding NZLS committee. In recent years it has focused on primarily issues with the legal aid system. The committee has advocated on behalf of lawyers and their clients for an effective and meaningful legal aid system and to ensure access to justice for New Zealanders.
The committee also monitors other concerns relating to access to justice, including the rise in the number of self-represented litigants in our justice system. The challenges and impacts of that trend are likely to be an area of focus for the committee in future.
Liz Bulger is the committee convenor. Liz’s practice is principally in criminal law but she also undertakes work in the Youth Court, the Coroner’s Court and in other quasi-judicial tribunals. She also undertakes Parole Board assignments and has on several occasions been appointed as counsel to assist the court at Youth Court, District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal levels.
The committee comprises experienced practitioners: