Legal Aid is government funding to pay for legal help for people who cannot afford a lawyer. It is available for people facing criminal charges, and those with a civil legal problem or family dispute (including family matters) that may go to court, as well as for the Waitangi Tribunal.
Find out more about legal aid
Legal aid for people involved in family disputes
- Legal aid is government funding to pay for a lawyer for people who cannot afford one, and need one in the interests of justice. Legal aid may be available for people involved in family disputes. Legal aid is not available for dissolution of marriage proceedings.
- People who get legal aid may have to pay a user charge and repay part or all of their legal aid costs. In this sense it is a bit like a loan.
Before you apply for legal aid
- It may be possible to resolve your family legal problems without going to court, either by talking directly to the other person involved or with the help of a counselor or mediator.
- When parents are separating, lengthy court disputes can be harmful for their children, so it’s worth considering alternatives.
- To get advice on other options, see Where to get legal help
Can I get family legal aid?
Getting a family legal aid lawyer
- Whether you can get legal aid will mainly depend on any arrears from a previous legal aid debt, your income and assets, the type of legal dispute you’re involved in, and the merits of your case.
- Find out more about eligibility for legal aid
Applying for family legal aid
What to expect from your legal aid lawyer
- Your legal aid lawyer will not charge you for legal aid work completed with the exception of paying a user charge in certain cases. Your lawyer must meet certain standards for their conduct and their work. These standards are set by the Ministry and by the New Zealand Law Society.
- Find out more about what to expect from your legal aid lawyer
Legal aid user charge
Repaying legal aid
Making a complaint or asking for a review