Court of Appeal Considers Interpretation of Legal Services

This week the Court of Appeal heard an appeal by the Legal Services Commissioner in the case of Legal Services Commissioner v Fawcett.  The New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture was an intervenor before the High Court and appeared again before the Court of Appeal.

The case concerns the question of whether time spent corresponding with the Legal Services Commissioner is capable of being a legal service funded under the scope of the Act. The High Court found that it was, as the correspondence in this case had “involved work that was significant, complex, and time-consuming.” The Court said that the definition of legal services included taking steps that were preliminary or incidental to a proceeding.

Felix Geiringer presented the submissions for the Bar Association. This is a significant issue for members who work in this area. A New Zealand Law Society survey found that approximately half of the work undertaken on Legal Aid files is not renumerated.

The case was reported in the Post. Read the article

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