We find meaningful work for pro bono lawyers. We use our connections with the community to reach people in need, and select cases with merit. This is designed to maximise the impact of pro bono on people and communities.
We match cases to your capacity, expertise and interests. You will only be offered opportunities that fit your preferences. You decide what you will and will not do.
We use an online portal to make our referrals. Its super easy use!
The portal lets you:
You can register with us if you are one of the following:
You can also register on behalf of one of these if you have authority to do so.
In-house lawyers and employed lawyers cannot take direct referrals from Te Ara Ture.
We sometimes have other ways you can get involved. Register your interest and we will let you know when opportunities come up.
There are lots of reasons to do pro bono work. We encourage pro bono because we know it improves access to justice. Solving legal problems improves lives, strengthens communities, and reduces the social costs to society.
Other important and valid reasons for doing pro bono include:
Whatever your reasons and motivations for doing pro bono work, we respect those and want to work with you. By joining our network you’ll be part of a growing community of lawyers and firms doing great things!
Te Ara Ture is a national pro bono referral service. We refer worthy and meaningful pro bono opportunities through our online portal to our network of wonderful lawyers and firms.
Most referrals will be individuals seeking legal services of some sort. The types of services needed will include merits assessments, advice, one-off advocacy or appearances, and help with dispute resolution. We can also refer not-for-profits who have legal problems, and other types of work, such as CPD opportunities and opportunities to develop resources (for the likes of community law centres or members of the public).
Te Ara Ture is a service of last resort. It is for people who want legal help but cannot get it through private lawyers or other free services. Te Ara Ture works with people who have a legal problem, are not eligible for legal aid (or cannot find a legal aid lawyer), are genuinely unable pay for the help they need, and where legal help is likely to lead to a positive outcome.
Yes. Everyone has to pass a financial and legal merits eligibility assessment before being accepted into the service. Generally, financially eligible people must be in the bottom ½ of income earners and have little disposable income. Matters will have legal merit if they are genuine legal problems which are capable of being remedied and have a reasonable chance of a successful outcome. Generally, matters where the legal position is clear, where it is unlikely the legal position can be improved or where the client has already received detailed legal advice will not qualify for a referral.
No. It is in your sole discretion whether you accept a referral. Te Ara Ture does not guarantee to clients that any referrals will be placed with a lawyer. Of course, we’d love you to accept referrals and encourage people to allocate a certain amount of their annual budget to pro bono legal work.
Yes, there are eligibility requirements. The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act places restrictions on who can do pro bono work and how it can be structured. Te Ara Ture is working on ways for everyone to become involved. But for now, there are some limits on who we can work with. See the Rules and Regulations FAQs to see your options.
At this stage, only lawyers practicing on their own account or firms can accept legal work through Te Ara Ture. Employees of those organisations can also do work through Te Ara Ture, provided the employer registers for referrals. We are developing options for everyone to get involved but this will take us a little longer.
The following is general information only and is not a substitution for advice. You may have other obligations that we do not discuss below, such as obligations to your employer. For clarity about your situation, talk to the Law Society or seek legal advice.
You can already do pro bono legal work through a community law centre or CAB. If you want to find out more about those options visit their websites. Te Ara Ture is also developing options for doing law related legal activities outside of the definition of legal work. This includes developing law related information and resources for the public, law reform work (such as research and submission writing), and law related education. Many of these activities help to build capability within the community and community organisations, such as community law centres. If you want to know more about these opportunities when they become available you can register you interest on our contact page.
Te Ara Ture uses a secure online portal to match legal matters with pro bono providers such as you. The portal is award winning software developed by Justice Connect in Australia. It is used in Australia by over 170 firms and is being rolled out in multiple jurisdictions around the world. Te Ara Ture hosts and operates a standalone version of the software. You can read more about the global project here: https://probonoportal.org
The portal is our main way of sending pro bono work to our network and communicating with pro bono providers. It is used to:
Signing up with Te Ara Ture is easy. It only takes about 5 minutes. You can do it all at this link. When you sign up you will need to agree to the terms and conditions, and select your casework preferences. Once we have processed your registration we will send you the login details for the portal.
You need to tell us the areas of law you want to practice in, the types of services you want to provide (eg. court work, advice) and whether you are happy to work remotely (eg. via video, phone, email). We ask if you’re happy to work remotely because some parts of New Zealand have few lawyers relative to the legal need. Working remotely can be via video, phone or email.
Te Ara Ture will post referral opportunities in the portal, using non-identifying information. You’ll receive a weekly notification of opportunities that match your preferences. If you are interested in an opportunity, then you can submit an expression of interest. Te Ara Ture will then release the client’s identity information to you so you can conduct conflict check. If there is no conflict, then substantive information about the matter, such as client matter documentation, is provided to you for further assessment. If you accept the opportunity, then the matter is allocated to you. The scope of work is confirmed with you and then you can transfer it to your Terms of Engagement. Te Ara Ture will then introduce you to the client.
The scope of work under your referral will be undertaken for free for individuals. You can charge up to 50% of your standard hourly rate for incorporated entities. For internal disbursements (such as phone calls, photocopying) you agree to waive the first $200.00 or, in your absolute discretion, waive all internal disbursements. You can charge for all internal disbursement if the matter is complex or costly. External disbursements, such as filing fees and witness fees, can be passed on to the client.
If you do legal work that is beyond the scope of the referral, you can charge that to the client, at your usual rates and in the usual manner, provided that you do not charge for work that fits within the referral and you notify the client before such costs are incurred.
If the client has costs ordered against them, or agrees to pay costs, then the client is solely responsible for those costs. If the client has costs ordered in their favour, or the other party agrees to pay costs, you can recover costs. In litigation matters, you may enter into a costs agreement with the client that allows you, under certain conditions, to recover some costs from the proceedings. The costs agreement must be entered at the outset, and recovery could only occur when:
You don’t need insurance to do pro bono legal work – but it’s clearly a good idea. We are not aware of any insurance policies that exclude pro bono legal work from cover. However, you should check with your insurance provider to see whether pro bono legal work is covered.
The termination of all prior lawyer/client relationships is a pre-requisite before making an application to Te Ara Ture.
Yes. Te Ara Ture needs to collect, analyse and report on information created by users of its service. This allows us to improve things and access ongoing funding. Te Ara Ture will use that information in a way that is deidentified and protects your commercial interests. The clients have authorised this disclosure through its agreements with Te Ara Ture. It is also important to note that you, in your absolute discretion, may not provide certain information if you reasonably believe that the disclosure to Te Ara Ture will harm your client’s legal position, is contrary to a legal obligation owed by your client, will void legal privilege, will violate the terms of a settlement agreement, or is contrary to your obligation to protect your client’s interests.