JIS News

The Legal Aid Council has commenced the 2006-07 financial year free of a significant portion of its outstanding payments to lawyers contracted under the Legal Aid Scheme. This came as a result of a $19 million payment made in March, bringing total payments for fiscal 2005-06 to over $52 million. The latest round of payments was disbursed among some 85 attorneys-at-law.
“The relatively small amount of debt which we now carry is only for a few person with large claims,” Mr. Glen Cruickshank, Executive Director of the Council noted. “And, even as we have managed to meet our payment obligations, we are encouraging the lawyers to continue to provide the best service to their clients.”
There is no difference in the quality of the representation made in Court between a lawyer who is privately retained and one giving his her service under the Scheme, according the Council’s Executive Director; and this, he added, speaks to the quality of the lawyers who have offered their expertise and experience under the Legal Aid Scheme. In fact, the lawyers in the scheme are drawn from the Private Bar.
“They are truly among the best legal practitioners in the country and they have consistently taken pride in their work,” Mr. Cruickshank asserted.
He reiterated that the Government through the Legal Aid Council, has a responsibility to assist persons who appear before the court and who cannot afford the fee charged by privately lawyers. This legal representation, he continued, must be of the highest calibre and the Council remains committed to this objective.