A new service to match lawyers wanting to do pro bono work with people needing legal services was officially launched at Parliament earlier this week. Te Ara Ture, who will operate the new online tool, has been developed by Community Law Centres o Aotearoa.
Officially launching the service, Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi said this was an important step to creating a justice system that was more effective and more equitable.
When fully live, Te Ara Ture will allow lawyers to register their interest in specific areas of the law, for different types of legal work and for cases that match the amount of time they have available to dedicate to pro bono work.
“Te Ara Ture means the path or bridge to law,” says Te Ara Ture Director Darryn Aitchison.
“It is the pathway to legal help that so many people in desperate situations need but have never known how to access. But it is also the pathway for lawyers seeking to provide that help to reach those people. This tool removes many of the barriers currently in place for those wanting to do pro bono work. It will make it far easier and more efficient for lawyers to connect with those who will benefit the most from their expertise.”
The project to develop Te Ara Ture has been supported by many, including the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa. President, Tiana Epati acknowledges the increasing support being put behind improving access to justice.
“Over the last few years, I have seen a real effort by the different parts of our justice system to work together to make a difference in this area. Right now, we are seeing significant change aimed at transforming the way we think about justice, and our justice system.”
As well as being used by individual lawyers, Te Ara Ture can also be used by law firms. Speaking at the launch DLA Piper Partner Iain Thain talked about the push from younger lawyers wanting to do pro bono and wanting to work for a firm committed to supporting them to do so.
Paul Radich QC spoke on behalf of the New Zealand Bar Association. “We’ve had the will for a long time but not the way. We are all excited to start using this tool.”
After a short deployment phase, Te Ara Ture will be available to all lawyers to start using from 1 July 2021. To register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.tearature.co.nz from 1 June after it launches.