The Ministry of Justice has announced that it plans to extend the current legal aid provider contract for services to 30 June 2020.
The current contract is due to expire on 30 November 2019.
The ministry says it is currently running a project which aims to improve the experience lawyers have with its approval and contracting processes for legal aid services.
"The changes associated with the project are expected to be implemented by April 2020. As a result, we will be extending the current contract to 30 June 2020 pending the outcome of that work."
The ministry says it is also making some changes to the contract by updating the requirements in relation to record-keeping, and amending the Secretary of Justice's power to unilaterally vary the contract to extend the term of the contract.
Documents are being sent to all legal aid providers. The ministry says that "to keep the administrative burden to a minimum", providers will be deemed to have accepted the variation unless they advise email@example.com by Monday, 2 December 2019. It says no signature will be required.