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Community Law Manual 2018-19


The Community Law Manual 2018-19 is a trail-blazing resource that helps New Zealanders (and their advocates) help themselves.

The Manual contains over 900 pages of easy-to-read legal info, on just about every area of community and personal life. Re-released every year in July, the Manual provides comprehensive answers to common legal questions.

New in the Community Law Manual 2018–2019 (released in July)
  • We’re including a new chapter on “Disability rights”. This includes all the topics in the old “Health and disability” chapter, but the new chapter is much broader and also more practical and useful. It covers things like supported decision-making, discrimination in employment, and access to special education services.
  • We’ve expanded our “Neighbourhood life” chapter to include some other aspects of living in the community, including laws around begging, busking and sleeping rough.
  • Our “Driving and traffic” chapter also now explains the laws about dodging bus and train fares (“fare evasion”).
  • The “Domestic violence” chapter has been rewritten to make it more accessible and relevant to people experiencing DV – there’s also a new section on preparing to leave a relationship and new content added to the “other resources” section at the end of the chapter.
We’ve updated the Community Law Manual to include the various specific law changes that happen every year
  • “Dealing with Work and Income” covers the Ardern government’s Families Package passed in December 2017, including the new Best Start and Winter Energy payments
  • We’ve updated the “Employment conditions and protections” chapter to include the new parental leave entitlements, which increased from 18 to 22 weeks on 1 July 2018
  • We’ve explained a change in ACC policy about whether you’re covered if you break a tooth on a small stone or other foreign object that’s gotten into your food (the bad news is you’re not covered anymore).
  • Plus we’ve split up the “Immigration and refugees” chapter into two chapters: “Immigration” and “Refugees”, and updated the entire chapter for changes to policy over the last year as well as adding brand new content.

To order, email us at

By buying a copy of the Community Law Manual, you are directly contributing to a fairer, more accessible justice system, and to better results for people with less. (You are of course also getting a hard copy of the Community Law Manual, a good-looking and very useful book to have at hand when you, your family, or people you work with need some help. And you are improving the chances that we can continue to make this information available, next year and beyond.)

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Problems at School: A Practical Guide to Your Rights and Obligations

Problems at School: A Practical Guide to Your Rights and Obligations

Problems at School is the brand new, updated version of Schools and the Right to Discipline, our established source of practical and reliable information about legal issues in New Zealand’s schools.

The book provides students, parents and advocates with knowledge about their options when facing any problems they might have at school, such as suspensions, stand-downs, truancy, bullying, fees and special education needs.

The latest edition features completely updated information, and new sections on many issues such as:

  • School zones and enrolment schemes
  • Cyberbullying
  • Trespassing
  • School searches and confiscating items
  • The New Zealand Curriculum, including information about sexuality education, religious education, and te reo Māori in schools
  • Issues facing transgender students
  • Health and safety issues, including administering and storing medication, food allergies, and education outside the classroom


  • $30.00 for government and commercial agencies
  • $15.00 for non-profits and community groups (email: to order)
  • Free for students and parents (email: to order)
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Lag Law: Your rights inside prison and on release

Lag Law answers heaps of common questions you might have if you’re going to prison, you’re in prison, or you’re getting out of prison.

It talks about your rights in prison, and sets out the laws and rules that affect you when you’re put in prison. Lag Law is for:

  • people in prison
  • your whānau and wider community
  • prison staff
  • your lawyer or advocate
  • organisations who work with people inside prison or who are being released from prison

What they say about Lag Law

“The book is brilliant for me in terms of what our clients’ rights are and it benefits our reintegration planning. We have given a copy to each of the Community Navigators in the regions – they are thrilled with it and find it so informative in ‘normal’ words.” Ariane, prison reintegration worker

Where else can I get help?

Your local Community Law Centre is always a good first place to start. Community Law Centre lawyers and advocates visit most prisons in New Zealand, and your family or friends outside prison can also get help from the local centre on your behalf.

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Rape Survivors’ Legal Guide: Navigating the legal system after rape

This guide provides rape survivors with information about their legal options.

It explains the different stages of the legal process, from a decision to report the crime to the police, to the trial and sentence of the offender. It also outlines other steps which may be taken instead of, or in addition to, reporting the crime to the police, such as applying for a protection order, getting financial assistance, and accessing counselling or sexual health services. This guide has been thoroughly revised and updated, in consultation with specialist support agencies such as the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, Wellington Sexual Abuse Help Foundation, Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Assault Assessment and Treatment Service (Tū Pakari Ora), National Network of Stopping Violence Services, and the Police, among others.

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Your Pregnancy Rights: Legal options after a positive pregnancy test

Although there are no laws which say when someone can and can’t become pregnant, there will be times throughout a woman’s pregnancy when she will have to make ‘legal decisions’.

This booklet contains answers to legal questions that might come up if you are pregnant. It is written mainly for young women, but also answers questions faced by young men when they find out that their partner, or their ex-partner, is pregnant. Lots of the information will be useful to people of any age.

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Your Pregnancy Rights cover - Legal options after a positive pregnancy test

Mental Health and the Law

People who experience mental illness often feel disempowered and disenfranchised by the legal processes that surround mental illness.

Mental Health & the Law provides clear and easy to understand information about the laws that can affect someone who experiences mental illness. Topics covered include:

• Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992
• Discrimination
• Protecting your privacy
• Rights when receiving health services
• Custody and care and protection issues
• Employment
• Accommodation
• and more

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Planning Your Future: The role of enduring powers of attorney

This booklet provides information on how you may arrange to have your affairs managed if you lose your mental capacity.

You can do this by organising an enduring power of attorney for your personal care and welfare and for you property. The booklet also describes what happens if you don’t have an enduring power of attorney and lose mental capacity. It’s aimed at the general public, has a question and answer format and is useful for planning your future.

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Managing a Community Venue

This booklet is a must-have resource for those involved in local community centres, sports clubs or other community venues.

Updated in 2016 “Managing a Community Venue” provides information on a variety of topics within which community organisations must operate. Although it has been written for Wellington’s community centres, it contains useful and practical information for community organisations throughout New Zealand.

Content includes:

  • Treaty of Waitangi principles and their implementation
  • Health and Safety law
  • Legal structures (incorporated, unincorporated and charitable trusts)
  • Governance and good practice obligations
  • Advice on how to deal with the media
  • Useful technological platforms (electronic databases and social media)
  • Employment
  • Appendices containing a number of helpful documents and templates


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