New Zealand Law Society - Legal aid lawyers to work under new contract and practice standards

Legal aid lawyers to work under new contract and practice standards

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Legal aid lawyers will work under a new contract and practice standards from December 2016.

The Ministry of Justice says this follows consultation with legal aid providers and the law profession.

National Service Delivery Group Manager Bryre Patchell says the new contract is more streamlined and clarifies providers' existing rights and obligations.

"It might look different, but nothing of substance has changed.

"We have added a few minor obligations that reflect good professional practice, but they won't be onerous for providers.

"For example, the contract includes steps a provider and their firm must take before releasing the proceeds of proceedings to legal aid clients," he says.

Mr Patchell says the ministry welcomed and received feedback on the draft contract from the New Zealand Law Society and a number of other providers.

"There was general support for the new obligations and some suggested amendments to make compliance more practicable," he says.

"We've taken the feedback into account and as a result the final documents are more effective, transparent and robust."

The contract will be sent out to legal aid providers in mid-October and needs to be signed and returned before the current contract expires on 30 November.

More information about the consultation summary report, and final contract and practice standards is available on the Ministry website.

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