A good idea from New York – young lawyers should earn their ticket by working for free for a while

May 7, 2012

Alf has been minded of our hefty legal-aid bill in recent times.

And its drain on the public purse.

His hackles were raised by news that the legal aid bill for David Bain’s retrial was $3.33m, the highest amount in legal history.

New Zealand’s legal history, presumably.

The Ministry of Justice said that the final figure for Bain’s defence was $3.33 million.

Of that amount, $2.33 million went towards the retrial costs and almost $1 million was paid for expenses in the retrial like research, investigators and forensics.

Lawyer’s fees throughout the High Court, Court of Appeal and retrial process amounted to $1.77 million of the total bill.

Bain’s lawyer, Michael Reed QC, told Radio NZ most of the costs of the retrial were to pay for overseas experts.

Bain is not receiving legal aid in his bid for compensation.

Then came a report saying New Zealand had spent a billion dollars on legal aid since 2000.

The five most expensive criminal legal aid grants were made in cases either discharged, or where the defendant was found to be innocent.

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$1m civil action in spy base case – that’s the way to uphold law and order

October 7, 2010

Watching the Waihopai Three struggling to find $1 million should make the smile disappear.

Greenie griper Keith Locke is off beam with many things. But he is further off beam than usual when he grumps that any damages suit taken by the Government Communications Security Bureau against the Waihopai Three protesters “will be a waste of taxpayer money”.

Nah.

It won’t be a waste if the court finds against teacher Adrian Leason, Dominican friar Peter Murnane, and farmer Sam Land and orders them to cough up to pay for the damage they did to public property at Waihopai.

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So what’s to be done to judge in bias case?

November 30, 2009

There’s the whiff of something distinctly rotten wafting from our justice system.

Justice Minister Simon Power has hastened to attend to the source of some of the pong. But not all of it.

He is to ask Cabinet to agree to sweeping changes to our legal aid service

after revelations hundreds of crooked lawyers are ripping off taxpayers.

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