Not delaying an Accident Compensation appeal in the District Court when one party has not had their legal aid application determined is inconsistent with the principles of access to justice, the New Zealand Law Society says.
The Law Society has released its comments on the Draft Guidelines to Practice and Procedure for Accident Compensation Appeals in the District Court.
It notes that section 2.2 of the draft guidelines say "a hearing will not be delayed solely on the ground that a legal aid application has not been determined".
"The availability of legal aid funding is often an issue in ACC proceedings, and it would be appropriate for the delays that can be involved to be recognised by the court," the Law Society says.
Recommending that section 2.2 be amended, the Law Society says that if that is not done, it should be made clear whether or not legal aid delays will ever be accepted as a legitimate reason for filing submissions late.
"That may be what 'solely' indicates, but more clarity would be helpful," it says.