Well this was as surprising as the news that Ricky Martin is gay.
But legal aid lawyers will not be singing Living la Vida Loca at the news. The public defender offices will be expanded to Hamilton and Wellington, and legal aid lawyers will need to re apply every 3 years. I see an opportunity for Legal Educators to put in a plug for compulsory continuing legal education. This may just move some legal aid lawyers to the public sector instead of private practice. The announcement also sees further growth in Tribunals with the Legal Aid Tribunal to replace the Legal Aid Review Panel. We have now created a whole new level of Tribunals below the District Court, elevating its status and allowing for the potential to act more often as an appeal court, not something we think of as happening in the District Court.