Community Law Otago strives to provide legal support in a variety of ways to reach across the Otago community. A mix of media and volunteer clinics, staff travel and outreach clinics, and a 0800 number assists in maximising coverage.
Clinics are operated at the premises of Community Law Otago 6 times a week during the university year, in a mix of lunch time and evening drop in times to accommodate client’s other commitments and travel arrangements.
Over the summer holidays, clinics operate 3 or 4 times a week, depending on the number of volunteers available.
These clinics are staffed by rostered volunteers comprising any one of our 60 volunteer lawyers and 7 of our 100 selected law students. The lawyer guides the student through the interviewing process, the legal research, formulating a client option plan, clarifying and rehearsing the advice to be given to the client.
Outreach clinics are operated by appropriately qualified staff, in cooperation with local community service providers who provide the premises, the advertising and the local knowledge.
The North Otago clinics operate once every 3 weeks, on a Tuesday morning, through the Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s legal advice roster – well positioned in Community House in the main street on Oamaru.
The Central Otago clinics operate in 4 centres throughout the region.
Community Law Otago is committed to working with Maori community and Maori service providers by:
• Supporting and facilitating appropriate solutions to individual and group legal needs.
• Building and maintaining strong relationships with tangata whenua, whānau, hapū and iwi.
• Building and maintaining strong relationships with marae, whānau ora providers, kaupapa Māori social service providers and mainstream organisations.
• Researching systemic issues in our region and advocating for law reform where appropriate.
• Employing a ‘go to’ person to facilitate quickly obtained, reliable and accurate legal advice and assistance from Community Law Otago to Maori community.CLO has a responsibility for developing and delivering legal education to Māori. This responsibility includes:
• Planning, developing and delivering our legal education programme.
• Developing innovative and effective education resources.
We are also have developed a “Quick Access Service” for front line workers in local community social service organisations, and we are developing a “Legal Health Check” for social workers to use in intake interviews with clients that ‘red flag’ legal issues that may need legal assistance and support before they escalate.