27 May 2013

Legal aid case heading to Supreme Court

9:27 pm on 27 May 2013

The Government is going to the Supreme Court to try to overturn a ruling that some of its legal aid changes are illegal.

Justice Minister Judith Collins.

Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

Criminal defence lawyers have been fighting a fixed fees' regime, which means they get paid a set fee based on the seriousness of their client's charges rather than being paid for the amount of work they do on the case.

Last week, the Court of Appeal found that the implementation of the fixed fees policy is unlawful and unreasonably restrictive on the Legal Services Commissioner who grants legal aid.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the Government has on Monday asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the decision.

Ms Collins says the fixed fees scheme would continue for now because it would be utterly impractical to revert to the old scheme.

Labour's justice spokesperson Andrew Little says Ms Collins is wasting time by trying to get the ruling overturned and she should just get on and fix the problem.