INDEPENDENT NEWS

Chinese to learn about access to justice in New Zealand

Published: Wed 14 Oct 2015 01:01 PM
Chinese to learn about access to justice in New Zealand
Legal officials from Shanghai will visit New Zealand next week to learn about New Zealand’s Community Law movement.
A delegation led by Deputy Director-General of Shanghai’s Municipal Bureau of Justice Ms Chen Chunlan will meet with Community Law Centre O Aotearoa Chief Executive Elizabeth Tennet to discuss the community law system and visit the Wellington Community Law Centre.
Ms Tennet said the Chinese wanted to learn how New Zealand provides access to justice to all citizens and recognised Community Law as delivering best practice internationally.
“It is an honour to host this visit and to be able to share how Community Law effectively delivers legal information, advice, assistance, representation and education to New Zealanders who cannot afford a lawyer,” she said.
“We look forward to discussing that access to justice is an important tenet for a society to maintain harmony, fairness and integration of all its citizens into the values of that society.”
Twenty-four Community Law Centres work out of over 140 locations across New Zealand to support 250,000 New Zealanders each year. 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.
The work of Community Law touches up to 20 percent of New Zealand households including the most vulnerable members of society. In doing so, it delivers real value in terms of economic benefit to New Zealand, said Ms Tennet.
“Community Law supports individuals and families to resolve their problems early, thereby reducing family stress, violence and other social costs.
“By addressing – and stopping – legal problems from escalating, Community Law helps to free up the legal system from costly interventions or court costs further down the track. This saves government substantial funds and has flow-on benefits for government agencies and the wider community.”
ENDS

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