Justice Minister Darin King is defending a decision to cut Newfoundland and Labrador's family violence intervention court following criticism from a St. John's lawyer.

The $500,000 program was cut in the last provincial budget.

On Friday, former prosecutor Lynn Moore called the cut a devastating blow in the fight against domestic violence.

King said it was a matter of government deciding where the money would be serving the public better.

"[The decision] was not based on any belief by me or government that it was not effective for the individuals who availed of the service," King said.

"But the reality is that when we deal with budgets we have to look at policing services and all the supports that they provide. We have to look at court services, we look at legal aid, public prosecutions and all probation services, and all of those factor into budgetary decisions."

According to King, there was a full transition program in place for anyone currently utilizing the court system.

King said the program was successful, but the cut was about finding the best way to use available money.

"I think it was very successful for the people that went through the system, there's no question about it. But the decision that we have to make is around the best use of the resources and whether we can have an impact on more people's lives and provide greater supports and services by using that money in another manner," he said.