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89% of legal aid applications granted

27 September 2016

Information released by Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges shows that about 89% of applications for legal aid in the year to 30 June 2016 resulted in legal aid being granted.

Responding to written parliamentary questions from Green Party MP David Clendon, Mr Bridges' data showed that legal aid applications related to mental health issues were most likely to be granted, at 99.6%. Civil (63.6%) and Supreme Court (54.8%) legal aid applications were least likely to be granted.

The information shows a decline in legal aid applications in the five years to 30 June 2016, with a drop of 3.8%. This was largely driven by a 21.3% fall in applications for family legal aid and a 56.0% drop in civil legal aid applications. Applications for criminal legal aid rose by 2.9% over the period.

Applications for legal aid, year to 30 June
Area of law20162015201420132012
Māori Land Court11656
Māori Appellate Court01002
Refugee and protected
Mental Health6,1335,6265,7255,4865,226
Court of Appeal414421439515461
Supreme Court7356514144

Over the five years to 30 June 2016, the total of legal aid applications which were granted fell by 2.2%. While there was a rise of 5.6% in criminal legal aid applications granted, grants of family legal aid fell by 21.6% and grants of civil legal aid fell by 39.0%.

Applications for legal aid granted, year to 30 June
Area of law20162015201420132012
Māori Land Court10432
Māori Appellate Court01010
Refugee and protected
Mental Health6,1065,6135,6825,5255,180
Court of Appeal301274371324309
Supreme Court4021242322

 The proportion of legal aid applications which were granted rose slightly over the five years to 30 June 2016, with a slight dip in the proportion of family legal aid applications granted, and a rise in the proportion of criminal legal aid applications granted.

Proportion of legal aid applications which were granted, year to 30 June
Area of law20162015201420132012
Māori Land Court100.0%0.0%66.7%60.0%33.3%
Māori Appellate CourtN/A100.0%N/AN/A0.0%
Refugee and protected
Mental Health99.6%99.8%99.2%100.7%99.1%
Court of Appeal72.7%65.1%84.5%62.9%67.0%
Supreme Court54.8%37.5%47.1%56.1%50.0%

Notes from Mr Bridges state that the data is drawn from the Legal Aid Services database, and this is subject to change as new data is continually recorded and/or recoded. Where a legal aid case changes - for example, where a case moves from being heard in the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court - the case will count once in each count.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019