Frequently Asked Questions

What is LawSpot?

LawSpot is a free online legal Q&A service. Our purpose is to make the law more accessible to all New Zealanders. We do this by getting you, the user, to post up your question about New Zealand law on our website. A lawyer volunteer will then answer your question, free of charge, and LawSpot publishes the answer in a publicly accessible Q&A database.

For Users

Do I have to provide my name before I can ask a question?

No. When you register to ask a question, we only ask you for your email address and the region you live in.

Why do I have to register to ask a question?

We require your email address so that we can notify you when your question has been answered. We need to know which region you live in so that we can connect you to community legal services convenient to you. Your details will never be published online or shared with our lawyer volunteers - your identity will be protected at all times.

Who answers the questions?

Every LawSpot answer comes from a qualified lawyer. Beside your answer you can see the name of the partner firm, lawyer, or Community Law Centre who approved the answer.

How long does it take to receive an answer?

We currently have more questions being asked than volunteers to answer them. We'll try to the answer to you within a week, but many questions take longer. Please bear with us while our hard-working team endeavours to answer your question.

Is my question confidential?

LawSpot’s Terms of Use make clear that when you submit a question you agree to the question being published online and cannot claim confidentiality over its contents. The LawSpot team will remove any identifying information that you may have included in your question, so no one will be able to guess who submitted it. For more information, please review our Privacy Policy.

What happens once I submit my question?

Once you submit your question, your question is screened by one of LawSpot’s administrators for appropriateness. This just means that we will remove any offensive information, any information that reveals identifying information about you and we will also categorise each question. Be aware that your question may be modified slightly before it is put into a pool of questions that our lawyer volunteers may choose to answer.

Only LawSpot administrators will be able to view the question directly as submitted by the user online. This is to ensure user anonymity to protect against the risk that lawyer volunteers could be conflicted out of answering some users' questions. At no point will a lawyer volunteer have access to identifying details about a user such as their email address. Lawyer volunteers will only be able to view a question once it has been vetted and anonymised by LawSpot administrators and categorised into the applicable area of law.

Can I edit a question once it is submitted?

No. You will need to re-submit a new question if you want to change a question you have already submitted.

Can I comment on answers provided?

Nope, sorry. LawSpot users can only post legal questions online - not general comments. If the answer given didn't quite address what you were asking, try re-submitting your question using different phrasing. Or if your question is too complex, we may recommend that you visit the community law centre closest to you, or consult your own lawyer.

What if the lawyer gets it wrong?

Every LawSpot answer comes from a qualified lawyer. Beside your answer you can see the name of the partner firm, lawyer, or Community Law Centre who approved the answer. An Important Notice is included as part of every answer published on LawSpot (so that you don’t forget that there are limitations to the answers provided). This notice makes clear that the use of LawSpot is no substitute for personal legal advice specific to your particular circumstances, and that no liability whatsoever is accepted by the authors or publishers of the answer, for loss, damage or inconvenience arising in any way from the use of this site. However, you have the right to make a complaint about LawSpot or one of its volunteers. Please see our Terms of Use for details of how to make a complaint.

For Lawyers and Other Supporters

Do I have to be a lawyer to volunteer to answer questions?

Yes – you must hold a current practising certificate in order to volunteer to answer questions for LawSpot. If you’re a lawyer interesting in volunteering to answer questions, sign up here.

How do I sign-up to answer questions?

Woohoo! We love it when peeps want to help! Just sign up here.

Can I become a lawyer on LawSpot if I’m not in Wellington?

LawSpot is currently being piloted in the Wellington region. This means that for the moment only lawyers based in Wellington can volunteer to answer questions. But if you’re not based in Wellington and really want to help, please email us at volunteer@lawspot.org.nz.

How do I become a supporting partner of LawSpot?

Easy. Just see our Partner with Us page.