Internationally and nationally Community Law Centres (CLC) continue to provide a crucial role in civil society by ensuring marginalised and disadvantaged members of society are able to access justice.
Up until recently, CLC’s in Aotearoa were independently funded, however the impact of the recession would see a substantial decrease in the ‘special fund’, requiring the government to formulate a financial rescue package to ensure the survival of CLC’s in New Zealand. However, this intervention would prove to be bitter sweet. On one hand, it ensured the survival of CLC’s and guaranteed access to justice for the marginalised and socially excluded, and on the other, created an unpredictable and challenging funding environment for community law centres nationally.
Last year, the Ministry of Justice indicated that they intend to put legal services out to tender and consequently, reduce the number of contracts from 26, to 10 nationally. In order to respond to these changes, CLC’s are being asked to consider regional/sub regional law centres. Of course, this tender process poses various threats to WCLS who provides legal services to individuals with insufficient means in Waitakere, North Shore and Rodney districts.
Whilst we are unsure what the future may hold for our law centre, the staff and board are committed to ensuring that the people and communities we serve continue to receive quality legal services.
But, we need your help! If you believe that our law centre plays a important role in our community, then please send us a letter of support, so the Ministry of Justice knows that the Waitakere Community Law Service should stay!
Please send your letters of support to Paula Bold-Wilson here
Paula Bold-Wilson — Manager
This news update is from the winter edition of our newsletter, which is now available here. We also talk about the Ambassadors of Court initiative in Waitakere, give you statistics of our client base and the latest in education and reform opportunities on the North Shore and Te Atatu. Do have a read!