November 12, 2021
Legal aid gap filled by defendants
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi says problems with the legal aid system are leading to more people trying to defend themselves in court.
The Law Society says the rates for legal aid work haven’t increased for more than a decade, and the administration around it is complex and time consuming, meaning lawyers increasingly shy away from the work.
“If you are asking the judiciary I think they are concerned, because they are seeing a lack of representation coming through and more self-representation and if you get people coming in to self-represent trying to make the best case when they don’t have an understanding of the justice process then it can make the outcome a lot different for them obviously,” he says.
Minister Faafoi says he asked officials to work with the Law Society to simplify the administration, and the funding issue will have to be dealt with in next year’s Budget.