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Greater access to justice in Waitemata

MEDIA RELEASE - for immediate release 10 September 2014

Greater Access to Justice in Waitemata

After 9 years of providing free legal services to low socio-economic families, the Waitakere Community Law Service has changed its name to reflect the vast geographical area it serves. Hayley Miller, Chairperson of community law centre says “It made sense for us to change our name to the Waitematā Community Law Centre as we have been providing legal services to people on the North Shore, and Rodney areas as well as in Waitakere for a few years now.

In 2010, community law centres nationally were at risk, with the possibility of some centres being closed, or merged with other law centres. Although this was a difficult time, the Manager Paula Bold-Wilson, said “sometimes good things come out of crisis, and while there was a lot of uncertainty during that time, we were determined to build on our strong foundation and take it to another level”.

“We expanded our hours in Henderson from 9.30 am to 4.30, Monday to Friday, we extended our 0800 line to ensure that those who are unable to come to Henderson could speak to a lawyer. This has proven to be invaluable for our North Shore and Rodney clients.“

The Waitematā Community Law Centre has a team of experienced lawyers who provide free legal services to over 3500people per year. We have six outreach clinics in communities with high need, including two on the North Shore situated in Northcote and Birkenhead, and the other four in Ranui, Massey, Glen Eden, and Te Whanau o Waipareria.

“We wanted to make sure that if people couldn’t come to us, we would go to them” said Paula.

In addition, the law centre has delivered over 100 legal education workshops in the past year, and established a Kaupapa Maori team who provide culturally appropriate legal services to Maori. Community law were also the lead agency who initiated the community hui to ban synthetic cannabis out West.

The increase in client numbers and staff, has resulted in the recent renovations undertaken by the law centre on Trading Place in Henderson. “We are extremely grateful to The Community Trust Foundation for providing us with the financial support to expand our building. We now have a mediation room, an extra clinic room, a large legal education space, a meeting room and a large reception area” said Paula.

“The new renovations will be opened by Dame June Mariu, in honour of her commitment and work in the justice sector. We are excited about our future, and will continue to strive to ensure those who have insufficient means are able to access quality legal services in Waitematā” said Hayley.

ABOUT THE WAITEMATĀ COMMUNITY LAW CENTRE

The Waitematā Community Law Centre (WCLC) is a community law centre as defined by the Legal Services Act 2000. The service was established in 2005 to enhance the lives of those most in need and who lives are impacted by unresolved legal issues in the Waitakere, North Shore and Rodney communities. Our communities of interest cover a geographical area of approximately 481,653 residents.

WCLC focuses its legal services towards promoting community well-being and increasing community capacity to address legal and other social problems. In order to achieve this, we prioritise marginalised group by focusing on addressing the unmet legal needs of those most disadvantaged in our community.

ENDS

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