Get legal aid

Criminal legal aid

Family or civil legal aid

Legal aid is considered a loan. You may have to repay some or all of your legal aid, depending on how much you earn, what property you own and whether you receive any money or property as a result of your case.

Legal aid may be available for people who need a lawyer but cannot afford one, and are:

  • charged with a criminal offence
  • involved in a family dispute that goes to court (such as care of children)
  • involved in a civil matter (such as a dispute over money, housing, ACC or a job)
  • a victim of a violent offence wanting to apply for a civil non-contact order.

Criminal legal aid

Find out more about legal aid for a criminal matter:

If you’ve been detained by the Police, you can talk to a lawyer through the PDLA (Police Detention Legal Assistance service). Check to see if you are eligible for legal aid (a loan to pay for your legal costs) and get help filling in a legal aid application. We’ll look at your application within 24 hours after you've sent it. If your application has been approved work with your legal aid lawyer on your case. You must meet any conditions of your legal aid grant, such as making interim repayments. If your application is declined you can ask for the decision to be reviewed.

Family or civil legal aid

Legal aid may be available for some family disputes and problems - as well as for civil disputes.

Check to see if you’re eligible for legal aid (a loan to pay for your legal cost) by Citizens’ Advice Bureau or a Community law centre. Choose a lawyer (go to justice.govt.nz/legal-aid for a list of legal aid lawyers) will helpyou fill in a legal aid application. We’ll look at your application within 5 working days and will send you a letter with the decision.

This page was last updated: