21 Jul 2012

Ministry rejects lawyer's pay rate claim

7:43 am on 21 July 2012

The Ministry of Justice has dismissed a claim by the Maori Council's barrister that he's not receiving enough legal aid fees.

The complaint was made during the council's water rights claim before the Waitangi Tribunal on Thursday.

On Thursday, the council's lead lawyer Felix Geiringer told the Waitangi Tribunal that the Ministry of Justice was backtracking on its agreement to pay him the full lawyer's hourly rate.

In a statement, the ministry said that to date more than $850,000 had been approved for the hearing.

The ministry said that a lead lawyer receives between $120 to $149 an hour, not including GST.

It said to ensure legal aid payments are made correctly, lawyers are required to file accurate documents.

The ministry said the Maori Council lawyers have failed to complete and accurately file paperwork, which it said has caused delays in some legal aid payments being made. Mr Geiringer rejects this.