New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

Legal aid gross payments up 13.5%

31 October 2019 - By Geoff Adlam

Gross legal aid payments to providers were up 13.5% in the year to 30 June 2019 from the previous year, information released by the Ministry of Justice shows.

The gross payments of $179,707,442.95 were well up on the $158,318,520.26 paid in the 2017/18 year and the highest since major changes were made to legal aid entitlements in 2011.

Legal aid providers received an average gross payment of $144,112 and the median payment was $99,449.

The ministry says payments to firms are for legal services provided by approved providers under the legal aid schemes and may not have been made directly to any individual named in the report. The payments include the fees of approved providers, including those claimed on behalf of other approved providers, and disbursements for general office costs, travel costs, and special disbursements, which include fees for agents, expert witnesses, forensic tests, interpreters and special reports, such as medical or valuation reports.

Gross legal aid payments, year to 30 June
YearPaymentsProvidersAverageMedian
2011 $              154,090,071.28 1488 $        103,555.16  $      62,257.61
2012 $              148,306,784.40 1465 $        101,233.30  $      64,152.27
2013 $              130,258,884.90 1311 $          99,358.42  $      63,132.73
2014 $              124,580,223.80 1240 $        100,467.92  $      63,064.61
2015 $              130,215,953.30 1224 $        106,385.58  $      68,147.22
2016 $              134,759,778.10 1210 $        111,371.72  $      73,528.42
2017 $              143,379,904.64 1193 $        120,184.33  $      83,152.80
2018 $              158,318,520.26 1205 $        131,384.66  $      90,497.00
2019 $              179,707,442.95 1247 $        144,111.82  $      99,448.59
Size of payments

In the year to 30 June 2019, 49.8% of providers received gross payments of over $100,000. This was up from 42.4% of providers who received gross payments over that level in the year to 30 June 2017. In the latest year almost a quarter - 21.6% - of providers received gross payments of under $30,000.

Gross legal aid payments by size of annual payment, year 30 June
Size of payment201920182017
$1 million-plus876
$500,000-$999,000413025
$200,000-$499,000221183140
$100,000-$199,000351328335
$50,000-$99,000258277276
$30,000-$49,00099105120
$10,000-$29,000134170146
$0-$9,999135105145
Total124712051193
Payments by location

There was a wide variance in average and median gross payments to providers around the country. The average gross payment per providers in Kaikohe, Gisborne, Whanganui, Whakatane, Lower Hutt and Tokoroa were highest in the latest year, while Te Puke, Kaitaia, Havelock North, Levin and Oamaru had the lowest gross payments per provider.

Gross legal aid payments by location, year to 30 June 2019 (minimum of 3 providers per location)
Location Total ProvidersAverage Median 
Kaikohe $             2,321,283.84 7 $          331,611.98  $             301,764.04
Gisborne $             3,439,854.31 12 $          286,654.53  $             160,620.13
Whanganui $             3,916,097.92 14 $          279,721.28  $             220,003.02
Whakatane $             1,941,205.15 7 $          277,315.02  $             158,423.16
Lower Hutt $             4,620,316.38 17 $          271,783.32  $             211,709.01
Tokoroa $                 716,121.87 3 $          238,707.29  $             302,113.06
Hastings $             3,096,855.56 13 $          238,219.66  $             198,233.26
Palmerston Nth $             4,590,206.75 21 $          218,581.27  $             168,735.72
Rotorua $             8,325,381.06 39 $          213,471.31  $             111,454.42
Paraparaumu $                 728,145.42 4 $          182,036.36  $             135,458.57
Otaki $                 531,275.68 3 $          177,091.89  $             115,739.37
Wellington $           13,861,747.48 79 $          175,465.16  $             102,535.31
Morrinsville $                 526,174.53 3 $          175,391.51  $             160,831.23
Pukekohe $                 842,229.83 5 $          168,445.97  $             120,924.60
Whangarei $             5,711,911.22 34 $          167,997.39  $             148,165.94
Napier $             3,002,447.76 18 $          166,802.65  $             146,600.32
Hamilton $           11,928,135.86 75 $          159,041.81  $             120,238.94
Upper Hutt $             1,238,527.42 8 $          154,815.93  $             148,707.62
Invercargill $             3,089,116.84 20 $          154,455.84  $                95,424.89
Rangiora $                 880,108.55 6 $          146,684.76  $             153,790.91
Greymouth $             1,005,520.54 7 $          143,645.79  $             103,481.03
New Plymouth $             3,341,808.75 24 $          139,242.03  $             122,278.29
Carterton $                 417,465.03 3 $          139,155.01  $             115,405.56
Porirua $             1,792,556.46 13 $          137,888.96  $                95,305.51
Tauranga $             6,409,899.80 47 $          136,380.85  $                82,602.82
Christchurch $           14,610,395.00 110 $          132,821.77  $                95,136.17
Auckland $           57,149,834.20 433 $          132,152.53  $                93,763.00
Timaru $             1,042,319.24 8 $          130,289.91  $             101,845.35
Nelson $             3,390,279.04 27 $          125,565.89  $                75,849.62
Queenstown $                 618,529.59 5 $          123,705.92  $             168,083.15
Ashburton $                 475,597.68 4 $          118,899.42  $             119,702.71
Blenheim $                 984,832.48 9 $          109,425.83  $                53,628.00
Kerikeri $             1,030,977.35 11 $            93,725.21  $                87,416.26
Taupo $             1,009,620.24 11 $            91,783.66  $                69,314.43
Dunedin $             3,925,875.22 43 $            91,299.42  $                80,215.80
Orewa $                 312,478.07 4 $            78,119.52  $                37,268.12
Masterton $                 588,709.17 8 $            73,588.65  $                60,254.79
Greytown $                 208,258.04 3 $            69,419.35  $                57,089.00
Oamaru $                 337,579.86 6 $            56,263.31  $                62,104.37
Levin $                 278,047.50 5 $            55,609.50  $                39,986.91
Havelock North $                 212,562.90 4 $            53,140.73  $                32,410.89
Kaitaia $                 342,974.45 7 $            48,996.35  $                58,071.90
Te Puke $                   73,145.57 3 $            24,381.86  $                26,515.06
     
All Others $             4,841,033.34 64 $            75,641.15  $                57,455.20
     
Total $        179,707,442.95 1247 $          144,111.82  $            99,448.59
Highest gross payment per provider and proportion over $100,000, year to 30 June 2019
Location Highest  $100,000+ Proportion 100,000+
Ashburton $                 202,273.26 250.0%
Auckland $             1,955,474.31 20647.6%
Blenheim $                 232,621.48 444.4%
Carterton $                 232,062.85 266.7%
Christchurch $             1,240,545.41 5348.2%
Dunedin $                 508,464.42 1432.6%
Gisborne $             1,513,625.77 975.0%
Greymouth $                 333,657.07 571.4%
Greytown $                 135,639.83 133.3%
Hamilton $                 577,456.97 4762.7%
Hastings $                 611,080.69 1076.9%
Havelock North $                 139,909.17 125.0%
Invercargill $                 721,416.84 945.0%
Kaikohe $                 840,935.75 685.7%
Kaitaia $                 107,658.77 114.3%
Kerikeri $                 201,283.69 436.4%
Levin $                 123,333.77 120.0%
Lower Hutt $                 930,222.38 1270.6%
Masterton $                 163,673.43 225.0%
Morrinsville $                 257,972.98 3100.0%
Napier $                 409,512.78 1372.2%
Nelson $                 849,181.94 1140.7%
New Plymouth $                 391,357.33 1458.3%
Oamaru $                   76,894.30 00.0%
Orewa $                 235,521.84 125.0%
Otaki $                 409,649.31 266.7%
Palmerston Nth $                 793,030.66 1571.4%
Paraparaumu $                 383,313.13 250.0%
Porirua $                 472,283.52 646.2%
Pukekohe $                 423,452.70 480.0%
Queenstown $                 218,510.04 360.0%
Rangiora $                 230,661.95 583.3%
Rotorua $             1,726,794.06 2256.4%
Taupo $                 261,259.94 327.3%
Tauranga $                 732,891.97 1940.4%
Te Puke $                   42,067.67 00.0%
Timaru $                 271,431.27 450.0%
Tokoroa $                 400,938.33 266.7%
Upper Hutt $                 301,840.05 562.5%
Wellington $             1,753,738.82 4151.9%
Whakatane $                 886,702.91 571.4%
Whanganui $                 964,346.72 1178.6%
Whangarei $                 512,624.17 2264.7%
    
All Others $                 360,318.73 1929.7%
    
Total $             1,787,171.78 62149.8%

Last updated on the 31st October 2019