News Item

June 2011

LawCan Fund launched to help restore Canterbury legal services

The Law Foundation has launched a special fund LawCan so lawyers and law firms around the country can support Christchurch people with urgent and ongoing legal needs following the devastating earthquake.

“The Law Foundation will collect, manage and act as a clearing house for donations,” said Warwick Deuchrass, Foundation Chair. “We understand the profession and are ideally placed to administer the fund.

“Lawyers have told us that they want to help in Canterbury’s recovery, and LawCan will enable them to do it. Donors can specify how their donations are to be used legal services for individuals, support for the profession, or both. Every dollar donated will be passed on. The Foundation’s contribution will be to cover LawCan’s administrative and management costs.”

LawCan funds will be allocated through Community Law Canterbury for legal assistance to people who can’t afford a lawyer, and to the Canterbury-Westland branch of the New Zealand Law Society’s Benevolent Fund to help re-establish lawyers and law firms hit hardest by the quake.

Law Foundation Executive Director, Lynda Hagen said, “We are working with Community Law Canterbury and the Law Society to determine criteria for allocation of the funds. Once those are finalised, we will let people know details of how to apply and how the funds will be allocated.”

Paul O’Neill Manager of the Community Law Canterbury was delighted by the Law Foundation’s initiative and said the fund would help people in Canterbury rebuild their lives following the earthquake.

“People hit by the quake may need to deal with insurance companies, building contractors, local authorities, employers and others to get themselves back on their feet. These interactions can involve considerable amounts of money, as well as being legally complex. The LawCan fund will help us reach these people and help them get back on their feet.”

Allister Davis, President of the New Zealand Law Society’s Canterbury-Westland branch, said “The legal profession has itself been hit by the quake with many lawyers struggling to re-establish their practices. We are grateful to the Law Foundation for this initiative to channel the profession’s generosity into Christchurch.”

New Zealand Law Society President Jonathan Temm said the LawCan fund has been set up at the instigation of the Law Foundation as a mechanism for the many lawyers around the country who wanted to do something tangible to help the recovery.

“LawCan responds to the heightened need for legal services in Canterbury and the pressures this will place on clients and the profession alike. We welcome this excellent initiative,” he said.

Law firms, lawyers, law staff or any member of the public can contribute to the fund through the the link on the home page of the Law Foundation website or send cheques to LawCan Fund, NZ Law Foundation, PO Box 5056, Wellington 6145.

For further information, contact:

Warwick Deuchrass, Chair, NZ Law Foundation, 03-4773973
Lynda Hagen, Executive Director, New Zealand Law Foundation, 04-499 1038
Allister Davis, Canterbury-Westland branch of New Zealand Law Society 027 227 5333
Paul O’Neill, Community Law Canterbury 03 3666870 or 0273122238