Waitaki Herald : October 8th 2014
Wednesday October 8, 2014 HERALD Legal aid WAITAKI TIM TO VISIT Page 4 Shop owners’ rough road headache Fee changes a concern By EMMA BAILEY firstname.lastname@example.org Fixed fees are leading Oamaru lawyers to reconsider legal aid. Legal aid is government funding to pay for legal help for people who can’t afford a lawyer. The fixed-fee model for criminal legal aid cases was introduced in March 2012. Previously, lawyers were paid on an hourly rate basis for most legal aid work. Emma Middlemass from Dean and Associates said her firm no longer did legal aid work. ‘‘We haven’t since the start of the year. It was becoming quite a rigmarole because of the restrictions. ‘‘What you had to go through even to apply to be a legal aid lawyer was a process in itself. ‘‘With the fixed fee structure you ended up doing a lot more work than you were being paid for.’’ Michael De Buyzer of Berry and Co still did legal aid work but may reconsider continuing. ‘‘It fluctuates, I am doing marginally less because the police are arresting less people and the family court system has changed with more of an emphasis on dispute resolution before a matter goes to court. ‘‘The fixed fee structure has been calculated and assessed by people who don’t understand what is required to run a file. ‘‘It is very easy to exceed the fixed fee and very difficult to get an extension fee, which makes it hard to do the job. ‘‘It is becoming difficult to do the job because of the constraints placed upon us. ‘‘I could imagine lawyers redirecting their work because they can’t do the job justice. It is most unsatisfactory and there is the issue clients could suffer. ‘‘We (his firm) do legal aid because we see it as an obligation to our society but if it gets much worse we might have to reconsider it.’’ Philip Hope of Hope and Associ- ates Legal only does legal aid for family court matters. ‘‘The structure around legal aid is making it more difficult. I still do family legal aid work out of a sense of service of families and court. ‘‘I have been doing legal aid work for 30 years and have noticed the tightening up of legal aid. ‘‘The criteria is absolutely fine, I think in the past there have been a number of cases up and down the country that were perpetuated because of legal aid funding. ‘‘The pendulum has probably come back too far. What we may see now is that cases that could have been sorted out by the family court system will not be dealt with, leading to dysfunctionality in the family.’’ Ngaire Alexander of Alexander Law still does family and criminal legal aid. ‘‘There has been a fight to get better pay and rates. ‘‘I wouldn’t want to rely on legal aid solely.’’ $7889 89 GREAT VALUE Cabot’s Aquadeck Fast drying and low odour. Advanced protection against water and mould. Traditional. Water clean up. 5 litre. 122620 TIME TO TREAT THE DECK $139 Decking Oil Applicator Cabot’s Long nap applicator for quick, even coating of exterior timber decking. Pure lambswool. 180293 $2498 GREAT VALUE GREAT VALUE each Wattyl Forestwood Deck & Furniture Oil Stains Natural, teak or kwila. Turps clean up. 10 litre. 360398 OAMARU Cnr Cross & Severn Streets Cnr Cross & Severn Streets, Oamaru , Oamaru Phone 03 434 9860 Phone 03 434 9860 Roadworks: Historic Harbour St is being resurfaced. Greg Waite stands outside his shop. Like other shop owners he is philosophical about the disturbance. See story page 3. Photo:EMMABAILEY/FAIRFAXNZ Available from Wednesday October 8th till Tuesday 14th October 2014. While stocks last.
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