Advice for Legally Aided Clients

Your case has been assigned to either Tony Balme or Taryn Bayley of Tony Balme Law.  We are pleased to be able to act on your behalf.  We are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best possible legal advice and representation.

Our contact details are:

Tony Balme Law
First Floor
Realty House
60 Durham Street
Tauranga

PO Box 13079
Tauranga 3141

Telephone:    07         5776050
Freephone:    0800     577605

Email:            admin@balmelaw.co.nz

Your Contact Details:

Please advise us immediately if your contact details change so that we can update your file.  Should we need to contact you at short notice, it is important that we have your current contact details at hand.

Here at Tony Balme Law, the confidentiality of your case is paramount.  Please let us know of any persons/family/whanau members that we can leave messages with and a preferred address for posting.  We will not discuss your case with any person/family/whanau members without your express consent.

Bail

If you are on bail and require changes to your bail conditions then you need to contact us as soon as possible.  We will prepare any necessary paperwork to file with the Court.  Your bail conditions remain in place until you have signed a new bail bond at the Court.

Police Disclosure

You are entitled to view all disclosure from the New Zealand Police and/or the Crown (or the relevant prosecuting agency). 

As the disclosure is received we will advise you, and copy that material for you, subject to the Ministry of Justice being prepared to reimburse us.

Evidence

It will assist us if you can write out a detailed account of what happened.  The sooner this is done the better.

We require the contact details of any witnesses that you intend to call at a very early stage.  Please discuss this issue with us if you are unsure. 

Plea Bargaining and Credit for Guilty Pleas

Often the prosecuting agency (usually the Police or the Crown) will be open to negotiating the charges and summary of facts.  It you are pleading guilty to any, or all of the charges that you face, then you are entitled to credit for a guilty plea.  This varies according to the circumstances. 

It means that you may receive a lesser sentence than that which you would have received if you choose to defend the matter.  Generally speaking, a guilty plea at the first reasonable opportunity results in a 25% reduction in sentence.  Thereafter the deduction reduces with time.

What we will do for you

As your lawyers we will:

  • Act competently, efficiently, and in accordance with your agreed instructions
  • Give you the opportunity to discuss your goals and how we can best achieve them
  • Provide you with information and advice that you can understand
  • Treat you with respect, fairness, and impartiality
  • Keep you updated as to the work done and how your case is developing
  • Treat any information about you that is received while acting for you with the utmost confidentiality.
Your Legal Costs

Legal aid is governed by the Legal Services Act 2011 and the associated regulations.  Legal aid is administered through the Ministry of Justice by the Legal Services Commissioner.

We will submit invoices in relation to your grant of legal aid to the Legal Services Commissioner and provide you with copies.  The Legal Services Commissioner will write to you about any conditions or repayment obligations that you may have in relation to the grant of legal aid and your rights as an applicant or recipient of legal aid.  You should be aware at this time that legal aid is not always free.  You should read these letters carefully and keep them for later reference.

You must let the Legal Services Commissioner know if there is any change in your and your partner's contact details, employment status, family circumstances or financial details.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest can occur when the interests of one client requires their lawyer to act in a way that conflicts with the interests of another client.  We can determine whether there is a conflict of interest and deal with it.  If there is a conflict of interest, we will let you know about it and refer to the guidelines set out in the New Zealand Law Society Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

Your information

We will destroy any documents and files for your case (other than any documents held in safe custody) seven years after the termination of our legal services. 

Termination of our services

If you are unhappy with our services, you can ask that we stop acting for you at any time and we will terminate our services in accordance with New Zealand Law Society Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.  Please note that you may have to repay your legal aid for our services up to the date that we stopped acting for you.

Complaints

Tony Balme Law takes complaints about our services very seriously and has processes in place to ensure that any complaints received are dealt with promptly and fairly. 

If you have a complaint about our work, please contact us to talk about your concerns, so that we can try to resolve that concern for you.

If you do not wish to meet with us, or your concern is not able to be resolved, then you can talk to an independent person, John Holmes, Barrister of Tauranga, Telephone: (07) 579 4492, who can assist to resolve your complaint.

You also have the option of laying a complaint with the Ministry of Justice Legal Aid Services. 

You can contact the Ministry at legalaidcomplaints@justice.govt.nz or Legal Aid Complaints Provider and Community Services, SX10125, Wellington 6011 or by telephoning (04) 495 6574. 

The New Zealand Law Society operates a lawyers complaint service and you can contact them on 0800 261 801.