COMMUNITY LAW BACKS DAMNING REPORT ON JUSTICE SYSTEM

Community Law is backing the call for widespread changes to New Zealand’s Justice system, following the release of yesterday’s report from the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory group.
“The system is broken – it fails both victims and offenders. The net result is that it fails New Zealand society,” says Community Law Centres o Aotearoa co-Chair, Jason Pou.
“Every day Community Law Centres work to address the problems people have in accessing justice, but the demand outstrips the resources we have to help.”
A recent report estimates that 170,000 of the lowest income people need legal support, but just 50,000 can be seen by Community Law with its current resources.
Community Law has a proposal in front of Government for Kaupapa Maori services to improve access to their free legal service for Maori.
“We know we can reduce the number of Maori ending up in our criminal justice system if we can get early legal advice and support to them before they get into trouble,” says CLCA Chief Executive, Sue Moroney. “Early intervention is key – too many lives are being unnecessarily wrecked without it.
“We look forward to seeing the solutions being proposed by the advisory group and urge the Government to act with urgency to deliver the transformative change that is needed.”

ENDS
Media contacts:
Sue Moroney, CEO Community Law Centres o Aotearoa Ph 027 422 7831, sue@clca.co.nz
Jason Pou, co-Chair Community Law Centres o Aotearoa ph 021 243 2175

Background
Twenty-four Community Law Centres work out of over 140 locations across New Zealand to provide free legal help and advice to those who are unable to pay for a private lawyer or who do not have access to legal aid. This advice covers all aspects of New Zealand’s legal system, including family law, employment issues, housing problems, consumer advice and criminal law. As well as around 170 staff, Community Law’s services are boosted by over 1,200 volunteer lawyers who run clinics and deliver free advice and assistance.

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