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Community Law Manual 2016-17

The Community Law Manual 2016-17 is a trail-blazing resource that helps Kiwis (and their advocates) help themselves.

The Manual contains over 800 pages of easy-to-read legal info, on just about every area of community and personal life. Re-released every year in July, the Manual provides comprehensive answers to common legal questions.

New in the Community Law Manual 2016–2017 (released in July)

  • New chapter: “Common crimes” (We’ve added a new chapter which explains about some common crimes, such as shoplifting, graffiti, assault, drugs offences and pāua poaching, and sets out examples of how sentencing might work in these cases).
  • New chapter: “A death in the family” (We’ve added a new chapter to help families and whānau when one of their loved ones has died. It explains the kinds of things they’ll need to do – from making sure all the paperwork for the burial or cremation is completed, to later steps like dealing with the deceased’s will and property).
  • New Māori language translation: “Te reo Māori” (We’ve translated Chapter 1 into te reo Māori. This chapter sets out your rights to use te reo Māori, particularly in the courtrooms of Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Major updates to the “Employment”, “Credit and Debt”, “Parents, guardians and caregivers”, “Dealing with Child, Youth and Family” and “Accident Compensation” chapters.

By buying a copy of the Community Law Manual, you are directly contributing to a fairer, more accessible justice system, and to better results for people with less. (You are of course also getting a hard copy of the Community Law Manual, a good-looking and very useful book to have at hand when you, your family, or people you work with need some help. And you are improving the chances that we can continue to make this information available, next year and beyond.)

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Community Law Manual cover. Images of people from the community. Text reads: Community Law Manual: A practical guide to everyday New Zealand law. Edition 2016-2017

Lag Law: Your rights inside prison and on release

Lag Law answers heaps of common questions you might have if you’re going to prison, you’re in prison, or you’re getting out of prison.

It talks about your rights in prison, and sets out the laws and rules that affect you when you’re put in prison. Lag Law is for:

  • people in prison
  • your whānau and wider community
  • prison staff
  • your lawyer or advocate
  • organisations who work with people inside prison or who are being released from prison

What they say about Lag Law

“The book is brilliant for me in terms of what our clients’ rights are and it benefits our reintegration planning. We have given a copy to each of the Community Navigators in the regions – they are thrilled with it and find it so informative in ‘normal’ words.” Ariane, prison reintegration worker

Where else can I get help?

Your local Community Law Centre is always a good first place to start. Community Law Centre lawyers and advocates visit most prisons in New Zealand, and your family or friends outside prison can also get help from the local centre on your behalf.

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Your Pregnancy Rights: Legal options after a positive pregnancy test

Although there are no laws which say when someone can and can’t become pregnant, there will be times throughout a woman’s pregnancy when she will have to make ‘legal decisions’.

This booklet contains answers to legal questions that might come up if you are pregnant. It is written mainly for young women, but also answers questions faced by young men when they find out that their partner, or their ex-partner, is pregnant. Lots of the information will be useful to people of any age.

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Problems at School: A guide for parents and caregivers

Problems at School is an established source of practical and reliable information about legal issues in New Zealand’s schools.

The aim of this book is to strengthen the partnership between home and school, by providing parents with knowledge about their options within the school disciplinary process.

Previously called Schools and the Right to Discipline, the book focuses on the limits on a school’s power to discipline or punish students. But it also has legal information about other key issues facing students at school, including rights to education; enrolments/zoning; fees; uniforms; truancy; bullying; students with disabilities; criminal matters at school; stand- downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions; privacy; and making complaints.

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Rape Survivors’ Legal Guide: Navigating the legal system after rape

This guide provides rape survivors with information about their legal options.

It explains the different stages of the legal process, from a decision to report the crime to the police, to the trial and sentence of the offender. It also outlines other steps which may be taken instead of, or in addition to, reporting the crime to the police, such as applying for a protection order, getting financial assistance, and accessing counselling or sexual health services. This guide has been thoroughly revised and updated, in consultation with specialist support agencies such as the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, Wellington Sexual Abuse Help Foundation, Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Assault Assessment and Treatment Service (Tū Pakari Ora), National Network of Stopping Violence Services, and the Police, among others.

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Managing a Community Venue

This booklet is a must-have resource for those involved in local community centres, sports clubs or other community venues.

Updated in 2016 “Managing a Community Venue” provides information on a variety of topics within which community organisations must operate. Although it has been written for Wellington’s community centres, it contains useful and practical information for community organisations throughout New Zealand.

Content includes:

  • Treaty of Waitangi principles and their implementation
  • Health and Safety law
  • Legal structures (incorporated, unincorporated and charitable trusts)
  • Governance and good practice obligations
  • Advice on how to deal with the media
  • Useful technological platforms (electronic databases and social media)
  • Employment
  • Appendices containing a number of helpful documents and templates


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Mental Health and the Law

People who experience mental illness often feel disempowered and disenfranchised by the legal processes that surround mental illness.

Mental Health & the Law provides clear and easy to understand information about the laws that can affect someone who experiences mental illness. Topics covered include:

• Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992
• Discrimination
• Protecting your privacy
• Rights when receiving health services
• Custody and care and protection issues
• Employment
• Accommodation
• and more

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Planning Your Future: The role of enduring powers of attorney

This booklet provides information on how you may arrange to have your affairs managed if you lose your mental capacity.

You can do this by organising an enduring power of attorney for your personal care and welfare and for you property. The booklet also describes what happens if you don’t have an enduring power of attorney and lose mental capacity. It’s aimed at the general public, has a question and answer format and is useful for planning your future.

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