The Justice Minister has revealed that the total number of applications for legal aid services is more than 7,000 per month.
Andrew Little says, in response to a written question by National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell, that there were 7,576 applications to the end of July 2019, and 7,155 to 31 August. The highest number were in Auckland (1719 at 31 August) followed by Wellington (697), and Bay of Plenty (692).
In a supplementary question asked by Mr Mitchell, Mr Little provided a table showing that 470 applications were declined to end of July and 383 to the end of August.
The two questions were part of several fired off by Mr Mitchell recently.
Among the responses, Mr Little noted that:
- There were 2,285 legal aid providers as at 1 September nationwide, the bulk of those (7130) in Auckland;
- The average number of cases an individual solicitor providing legal aid services had was 38.18 as at 31 August – with the highest figures being for the West Coast (58.86), and Gisborne (47.52);
- The total percentage of legal aid recipients set a prepayment requirement is 32%;
- The amount of legal aid debt accrued, and outstanding, at 1 September was $146.77 million.