New Zealand Law Society - Ministry audit shows legal aid lawyers delivering high quality services

Ministry audit shows legal aid lawyers delivering high quality services

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A Ministry of Justice report says people who receive legal aid are getting high quality service from their lawyers.

Every year, quality and value audits are carried out on legal aid lawyers.

Findings from the latest audit of 76 lawyers have been published in the report High quality legal aid service: Practice themes from 2015-16 audits. It rated 86% of lawyers audited as providing service that was acceptable or above, a score that has been steadily improving from 77% four years ago.

Ministry of Justice National Service Delivery Group Manager Bryre Patchell, says it is great to see the high levels of commitment and service from legal aid lawyers to getting the best outcomes for their clients.

“Legal aid is an important part of New Zealand's justice system.

“It helps people to resolve legal problems that may go to court and makes sure they get excellent legal representation despite not being able to afford a lawyer," he says.

Mr Patchell says the results show lawyers are delivering great service to their legal aid clients, and are taking the time to understand their issues and legal situation.

"The quality and clarity of file documentation and clear, full communication really keeps clients informed every step of the way.  This high quality service from lawyers means the legal aid service can really deliver for New Zealanders," he says.

Of the lawyers audited, 14% were identified as needing to improve in particular areas such as meeting client obligations and record-keeping.

“We will work closely with these lawyers to address aspects of their practice they need to improve and we have set timeframes for this,” says Mr Patchell.