AN INCREASING number of people in NSW are being shut out of the justice system because they are refused legal aid and are too poor to pay for a lawyer.

New figures obtained by the Herald reveal there has been a 41 per cent rise in the number of people refused help from Legal Aid NSW because they earn more than the income test threshold of $318 a week.

Most people who apply for legal help - 85 per cent - are on Centrelink benefits.

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An internal report by Legal Aid prepared for the Attorney-General, Greg Smith, says