New Zealand Law Society - Change to legal aid witness cost policy

Change to legal aid witness cost policy

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

Witness costs for legal aid matters will no-longer be pre-approved from 22 July 2019, the Ministry of Justice says.

It says there is no statutory requirement for them to be paid by legal aid.

The ministry says previously witness fees and costs were a pre-approved disbursement. The amounts payable were governed by the Witnesses and Interpreters Fees Regulations 1974.

Following a review, the ministry has revised its legal aid policy.

"The pre-approved disbursement will not appear in grants schedules for applications received from [22 July 2019]. It will continue to appear in the grants schedules where the application was received before 22 July 2019 but will not be available to claim," it says. 

"The invoice forms will be updated at the time of the next release of the WORD templates.

"If you are submitting an amendment to grant to cover witness costs, please ensure it identifies the exceptional circumstances that require them to be paid by legal aid. Expert witness travel is not affected. It continues to require prior approval."