New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers’ special fund pays out $14 million to Community Law Centres

Lawyers’ special fund pays out $14 million to Community Law Centres

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Justice Minister Andrew Little has revealed that the Lawyers and Conveyancers Special Fund provided the 24 nation's Community Law Centres (CLCs) with $14.44 million between 1 November 2017 and 28 February 2019.

Mr Little was responding to a written question from the National Party’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell asking for a breakdown of the figures.

The minister also revealed the CLCs received a total, from all sources, of $17.1 million over the same period in response to another question from Mr Mitchell.

Established in 1982, the fund collects interest from banks on solicitors’ and licensed conveyancers’ nominated trust accounts. The fund is vested in the New Zealand Law Society and the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers jointly and is held by them in trust for the purposes specified in the Act.

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, which comprises two people appointed by the Law Society and one person appointed by the Society of Conveyancers, with one of the Law Society appointees to be chairperson.

The NZLS’ annual report for 2018 (p44) reveals that the amount paid out by the special fund has varied over the last five calendar years, from $5.4 million to $9.3 million.