28 June 2016 - This is a reminder that the Legal Services Commissioner has revised the fee schedules for criminal legal aid.
New criminal fixed fee schedules for A-F (external link) are being introduced on Monday, 4 July 2016.
All new grants of legal aid received by Legal Aid Services on or after 4 July 2016 will attract the new fee schedules. Existing grants under the 1 July 2013 fee schedules can move to the 4 July 2016 schedules if and when an amendment to grant is approved for any activity.
A short presentation has been prepared with practical advice on working with the first set of changes resulting from the criminal fixed fee review. We encourage you to watch the presentation which is available on YouTube (external link) .
27 June 2016 - a new form and disbursement are being implemented for providers who need to engage an expert or expert witness. The form will enable Legal Aid Services staff to make timely decisions on requests and provide better access to information where a legal aid provider requests an expert or expert witness disbursement. Both the new form and disbursement will apply to all jurisdictions.
A new form has been created to capture all the information Legal Aid Services needs to know in order to consider and/or approve a request for an expert or expert witness. This form is intended to prevent requests for further information which can result in delays in decision-making. Form 50:
A new disbursement is now available to legal aid providers for use of an Expert Consultancy Service to locate a suitable expert or expert witness for a legal aid case. Providers may engage with an Expert Consultancy Service and on receipt of the information and contact details of a suitable expert, seek the disbursement from Legal Aid Services to cover the cost of the service. However, providers can still choose to locate a suitably qualified expert themselves, without the assistance of a consultancy service. The following disbursements are pre-approved where an Expert Consultancy Service is used to locate a suitable expert for a legal aid case. Scenarios not covered by these two disbursements will be managed by amendment to grant.
a. $250 - NZ based expert(s)
b. $500 - Only overseas experts available due to uncommonly used skills or expertise required
You can find more information about this disbursement and what constitutes an Expert Consultancy Service on page 96 of the Legal Aid Services Grants Handbook:
9 June 2016 – On 8 June 2016 Legal Aid Services published the Legal Aid Lawyer Induction Guide [PDF, 662 KB]. The guide provides new legal aid lawyers with useful information for navigating legal aid processes and procedures. It will also be useful for existing providers seeking a refresh on legal aid. Most of the content is sourced from the Grants Handbook. Prior to finalising the guide, we consulted with legal aid providers and the New Zealand Law Society to ensure it meets the needs of new legal aid lawyers and is fit for purpose.
2 May 2016 – We are seeking comment from the legal profession on the proposed addition and changes to the Legal Aid Provider Manual to incorporate Part 1a – Temporary Approval Operational Policy and Part 1b – Limited Approval Operational Policy.
On 1 November 2015, the Legal Services (Quality Assurance) Amendment Regulations 2015 were enacted. The Regulations allow the Secretary for Justice to approve lawyers who do not normally do legal aid work (or who are approved to do a different type of legal aid work) on a one-off or limited basis.
Details of our proposed operational policy changes are outlined in a consultation paper.
Please email your feedback to Legal Aid Provider Services at email@example.com by 15 June 2016.
30 March 2016 – As a result of feedback received during the criminal fixed fee review, we have made changes to the criminal high cost case (HCC) policy and case plans. The changes are:
From 1 April 2016 all new cases entering into the HCC framework should use the updated case plans. It is not mandatory to transition existing cases on to these forms.
8 March 2016 – A new installer package for Legal Aid forms is now available for downloading (version 9.1). The following tax invoice forms have been updated to use the correct forum category (FC) rates:
No other changes have been made.