Newly released figures show that taxpayers are forking out millions in tax dollars to ensure fair trials, safe convictions and a credible system of civil and criminal justice.
That includes spending on things like criminal legal aid to ensure people have a fair defence, interpreters so that witnesses and parties understand what is going on, expert witness fees and even the cost of prosecutors. It also includes judges’ salaries and pensions are set at a level that ensures a high calibre of judicial applicants and supports judicial independence by ensuring they are free from compromising influences. On the list too were s 27 reports for those facing sentences and legal aid for Treaty of Waitangi proceedings.
Nothing in the figures suggested that debate about the calibration of the spending was off limits, with experts quick to point out that there was plenty of room for legitimate debate about many topics including the overall price of legal services and the equality of arms between the Crown and criminal defendants in terms of funding. In addition, the figures suggested that plenty of aspects of the justice system were in fact not funded enough, rather than funded too much. However the figures did confirm that merely saying an aspect of the justice system costs X millions of dollars and expecting that to be taken as a legitimate criticism without a homeopathic hint of context cannot be viewed seriously.
The Ministry of Justice confirmed the figures released today saying “A meaningful justice system that ensures people are treated as fairly as possible comes with costs that we meet because we live in a society,” before adding “for fuck’s sake”.