5 Jul 2020

Andrew Little committed to Family Court improvement

9:05 pm on 5 July 2020

Justice Minister Andrew Little is committed to reviewing the legal aid threshold in the Family Court if re-elected.

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Justice Minister Andrew Little. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

New laws - including a reform that reinstates legal aid in Care of Children disputes - came into force in the Family Court this month.

They go some way towards reversing the controversial 2014 family justice reforms but advocates say the legal aid threshold remains far too low.

Little conceded change was desperately needed but said he had to work within budget constraints.

"I am very aware that the threshold levels are set very low. That ends up disqualifying a lot more people who ought to have access to legal aid.

"So I'm very keen to see that change and improve but I've got to work within the budget system that we've got to do that."

Little said the threshold had been reviewed - without change - but he would commit to reviewing it afresh if re-elected come 19 September.

"I will remain an advocate for considerable improvement in that area because it is desperately needed."

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