Accessing Legal Services: The Price of Litigation Services
The price of legal services is often charged by the hour (the billable hour), usually at a rate of hundreds of dollars per hour. An agreement to pay these hourly rates might also come with little clarity over how many hours will be needed and therefore how much the final bill will be. This puts legal services out of the reach of many New Zealanders, and even those who might be able to pay for some services will be unsure how to budget for them. So why are legal services charged in this way? Are all legal services billed by the hour? Where does this money go? Are lawyers earning more than other professionals? How accurate is the stereotype of the wealthy, European car-driving, designer suit-wearing lawyer? This paper explores these issues to provide an outline of how the legal services market currently operates in New Zealand. The paper is a first step in exploring how we might be able to create change in the legal services market so that dispute resolution services more affordable and accessible.
Contributor: University of Otago Legal Issues Centre; ; ;
Research Type: Working Paper