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Legal aid

If you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, you can apply for legal aid.

Legal aid is government funding to pay for legal help if you cannot afford a lawyer. You may have to pay back some or all of the legal aid you get. There are different types available.

Legal aid for criminal offences

Legal aid for family or civil disputes

Who can get legal aid

To decide whether you can afford a lawyer, Legal Aid Services will consider:

  • how much you earn before tax
  • the value of your assets, such as house and car
  • how many financially dependent children you have.

If you have a partner, their finances will also be considered.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, they’ll also look at whether you’re:

  • charged with an offence that could be punished with a prison term of six months or more
  • appealing your conviction or sentence
  • appearing before the parole board.

Contact Legal Aid

How to apply

For family or civil disputes, your lawyer will help you apply.

For criminal legal aid, you need to fill in an application form. You can get the application form (and free help to complete it) from:

Other free legal help

Community law centres

Community law centres offer free legal information and advice to people who cannot afford to see a lawyer privately.

Find a Community Law Centre

Citizens Advice Bureau

Free advice about just about anything — in your local area and in your own language.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Auckland Disability Law

Auckland Disability Law helps Aucklanders who have disability-specific legal questions.

Auckland Disability Law

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