Responding to the “horrific” attacks on the Christchurch Muslim community, Canterbury-based lawyers have called for legal practitioners to offer pro bono services to families affected, with a list of law firms and lawyers to be provided to those families for help in a wide range of legal areas such as conveyancing, wills and estates, tenancy, banking, family, ACC, employment and power of attorney.
“The families are going to progressively need help in a lot of areas. There could be immigration issues, childcare issues, employment issues, and tenancy and property issues too,” said Canterbury-Westland Branch vice president Ferne Bradley, who is also a partner at Malley & Co.
“It is not going to be easy for these people and they’ll need ongoing legal support.”
The NZ Law Society noted in a statement that a number of lawyers from Christchurch and other parts of the country have already been in contact to offer pro bono assistance.
“Working through complex legal issues is what lawyers do best and we have a tremendous range of expertise to draw from throughout the region and New Zealand,” Ms Bradley said.
Mark Williams, the convenor of the Law Society’s Immigration and Refugee Committee – as well as his firm, Lane Neave – is among those appealing to lawyers and firms to answer the call to action.
“The least we can do is gift our expertise to our fellow Cantabrians who at this time are in most need of support. We’re here to assist these families on the ground, face to face,” he posited.
Community Law Canterbury chief executive Paul O’Neill added, “The legal community responded to the call during the earthquakes and they’re doing it again. It’s timely support, we’re deeply grateful for it and the Canterbury community will need this pro bono assistance for some time as families of victims slowly come to terms with new realities they will likely face.”