New Zealand Law Society - Community law centre funding detail revealed

Community law centre funding detail revealed

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Over the five months from October 2019 to February 2020, community law centres received a total of $5.454 million in funding, equating to $13.09 million annually, information released by Justice Minister Andrew Little shows.

Mr Little has provided details of community law centre funding in response to written parliamentary questions from National MP Mark Mitchell.

Data on funding each month for the five months on a regional basis shows that Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Manawatü-Whanganui regions received most. Over 12 months the monthly funding equates to $13,089,999.36.

Total funding provided to community law centres between 1 October 2019 and 1 March 2019
RegionMonthly fundingTotal% Total
Bay of Plenty$44,000.09$220,000.454.0%
Hawke's Bay$34,478.67$172,393.353.2%
Source of funding

In response to another question from Mr Mitchell, Mr Little said the Ministry of Justice received $2,857,772.08 from the Lawyers and Conveyancers Special Fund between 1 October 2019 and 1 March 2020. This comprised just over half - 52.4% - of total funding received by the community law centres in that period.

Mr Little says the money from the Special Fund is not distributed directly to community law centres.

The Lawyers and Conveyancers Special Fund was established in 1982. It collects interest from banks on solicitors' and licensed conveyancers' nominated trust accounts. The fund is vested in the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa and the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers and is held by them in trust for the purposes specified by Part 9 of  the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006.

The Act allows banks to retain 40% of the interest payable on nominated trust accounts. After deduction of that amount, the banks are required to pay the remainder to the Special Fund Management Committee. This comprises two people appointed by the New Zealand Law Society and one person appointed by the Society of Conveyancers.

The New Zealand Law Society's annual report for the year to 30 June 2019 states that over the 2018/19 year interest received by the Special Fund was $10,935,000, with administration costs of $28,000. This was an increase of 17% on the previous year.

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