1 Jul 2011

Legal aid reforms take effect

6:43 am on 1 July 2011

A sweeping overhaul of the legal aid system takes effect on Friday.

In late 2009, a scathing report from Dame Margaret Bazley found some lawyers were overcharging, stretching out cases and asking clients to pay a top-up above their legal aid payment.

Reforms include new competency rules for lawyers and creating a Legal Services Commissioner.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the Legal Services Act 2011 largely solves problems about the quality of lawyers.

However, he says a $402 million legal aid funding gap will remain for the next five years.

Further legal aid reforms, particularly targeting the Family Court, are expected later this year.