Skip to main content

First legal aid outcome of Budget 2022 — increase in hourly rates (new Westlaw (New Zealand))

/
Content updates

As noted in Legal Services on new Westlaw (New Zealand), the Legal Services Commissioner has outlined the first legal aid outcome of Budget 2022 that will take effect — an increase in legal aid hourly rates from 1 July 2022.

A letter from the Commissioner dated 26 May 2022 (attached to the Ministry of Justice [MOJ] news item “Outcome of Budget 2022 for Legal Aid” <www.justice.govt.nz>) includes the following information:

Increasing the hourly rates of legal aid lawyers

The funding will provide a one-off 12 per cent increase to the hourly rates for legal aid lawyers. This 12 per cent increase will be available for grants made after 1 July 2022, and for work completed after this date on existing grants. The new hourly rates for family, civil, and criminal legal aid can be found in the attached appendix.

This is exciting and a huge step in the right direction for the legal aid scheme, one I hope will incentivise experienced legal aid lawyers to continue providing the service and also encourage new lawyers to come on board.

I acknowledge that this investment will not fund any changes to the fixed fee schedules. A key focus of this investment was on addressing the hourly rates which have not been increased in over 10 years. Significant changes have been made to the fixed fee schedules between 2014-2018 with the last revision in 2016-2018 for criminal fixed fees.”

The appendix to the letter indicates that the hourly rate increases will be as follows:

Hourly rates for criminal legal aid from 1 July 2022 (excluding GST)

Criminal Proceedings
Provider Approval Level (PAL)1

Experience
Level 12

Experience
Level 23

Experience
Level 34

Other

PAL 1

$103
(up from $92)

$108
(up from $96)

$119
(up from $106)

PAL 2

$108
(up from $96)

$134
(up from $120)

$139
(up from $124)

PAL 3

$130
(up from $116)

$139
(up from $124)

$150
(up from $134)

PAL 4

$146
(up from $130)

$161
(up from $144)

$178
(up from $159)

Court of Appeal / Supreme Court

$146
(up from $130)

$161
(up from $144)

$178
(up from $159)

Supervised providers5

$103
(up from $92)

1 See Legal Services (Quality Assurance) Regulations 2011, schedule cls 1–5.
2 Experience Level 1 = an approved lead provider with up to 4 years of litigation experience.
3 Experience Level 2 = an approved lead provider with 4–9 years of litigation experience.
4 Experience Level 3 = an approved lead provider with more than 9 years of litigation experience.
5 Supervised providers = approved to provide legal aid services under the supervision of a lead provider.

Hourly rates for civil/family legal aid from 1 July 2022 (excluding GST)

Proceedings/Forum Category (FC)

Experience
Level 1

Experience
Level 2

Experience
Level 3

Other

FC 1 (Other tribunal / judicial authority)

$103
(up from $92)

$130
(up from $116)

$139
(up from $124)

FC 2 (Family Court, District Court, etc)

$119
(up from $106)

$134
(up from $120)

$150
(up from $134)

FC 3 (High Court)

$134
(up from $120)

$150
(up from $134)

$167
(up from $149)

FC 4 (Court of Appeal / Supreme Court)

$146
(up from $130)

$161
(up from $144)

$178
(up from $159)

Supervised providers

$103
(up from $92)

 

Regarding the distinction between “hourly rates” and “fixed fee schedules”, (generally speaking) hourly rates apply in complex/high-cost cases, while fixed fee schedules (where available) cover standard/low-cost cases. See further MOJ “Proceeding steps & fixed fee schedules” <www.justice.govt.nz> and MOJ “Provider rates & special rates” <www.justice.govt.nz>.

This first legal aid outcome of Budget 2022 is noted in Legal Services at [LA3.02(3)] on new Westlaw (New Zealand).

Related Support Articles

Speak to a consultant

Can't find an answer to your question?
Contact our support team.

Request training

Contact our team to arrange training.

Tell us what you think

We'd love to hear what you think
of our products and support.