Baywide Community Law Service have been offering

free legal advice

in the Bay of Plenty since July 2005, and now has fully staffed offices in Tauranga and Whakatane.

We are funded to assist people who are on low incomes


If you do not meet our eligibility criteria, please understand that we may not be able to assist you because we have to prioritise our limited resources to those who are on very low incomes. We exist to give free legal advice to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

While we would love to be able to give free legal advice to all our clients, we have no choice but to focus our resources on helping the most vulnerable people.


Eligibility criteria for our free legal advice


We can generally only provide free legal advice to clients on very low incomes, as summarised below. We can make exceptions for exceptional, life-changing cases. We can also make exceptions where people have a legitimate reason for high living costs, such as people with disabilities.

However, in most cases, we can give free legal advice only to people who earn less than the following incomes each year:

Single Client 2 in Household 3 in Household 4 in Household 5 in Household 6+ in Household
$30,600 $43,700 $59,000 $66,000 $73,000 $80,600 for 6 (then $6,700 per person)

If you qualify for legal aid we can refer you to legal aid providers.

Eligibility criteria for our legal representation


We can only represent clients facing exceptional, life-changing situations. While we can sometimes do more than just give advice, we can only do this if we have enough resources. Examples include when a person is experiencing:

  • loss of income
  • loss of housing
  • harm in the home or community
  • a serious social justice issue

We assess each situation case by case, based on the individual circumstances and the resources we have available. If you are eligible for legal aid or do not meet our eligibility criteria for legal advice, as summarised above, it is almost certain that we will not be able to assist you.

As a general rule, we also cannot assist employers in their disputes with employees or landlords in disputes with their tenants.

Baywide gives free legal help to clients on a wide range of issues including:

  • Employee work related issues
  • Family Court and care of children
  • Domestic violence
  • Education and/or disciplinary matters
  • Consumer issues
  • Maori Land issues
  • Criminal and traffic offending
  • Assisting with limited licence applications
  • Tenancy or Disputes Tribunal processes
  • Motor vehicle issues
  • Certifying of documents, affidavits, Declarations
  • Immigration
  • Information about Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOA) and Wills (does not include drafting or disputing these)

Baywide is not able to assist in legal issues concerning:

  • Relationship Property documentation
  • Business and Commercial Law transactions
  • Drafting Trusts and Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Taxation Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Employer work related issues
  • Buying and selling of property
  • Clients who have already instructed their own Barrister or Solicitor