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The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is a helpful organisation in New Zealand that provides legal and commercial assistance to individuals, businesses and other organisations. They are particularly focused on education and advice around legal rights and accessing services. They also offer some advice to small businesses and can be a helpful resource for founders looking to start their enterprise. This article sets out what CAB is, how it can support small businesses, and how you can access its help. 

What is the Citizens Advice Bureau?

CAB is a public service that provides free and independent legal information and advice. They advise on legal rights and how to access different legal services. A large number of volunteers throughout New Zealand run it, and there is a large number (80) of physical locations. Their services can be accessed online or over the phone. However, you can also visit them at one of their physical locations with no need to make an appointment.

CAB assists with an extensive range of legal problems. For example, they can help with:

  • consumer law;
  • income support;
  • housing disputes; and
  • law enforcement.

They can also assist with other non-legal issues, providing budgeting and financial advice. CAB also have an important role in collating the legal questions and support sought by New Zealanders. They use this information to make submissions to new government bills and proposed legislation around the needs of different groups. 

How Can the Citizens Advice Bureau Support Businesses?

CAB can provide businesses (particularly small businesses) with useful advice and support surrounding basic legal and commercial matters. It is free to access the Citizens Advice Bureau’s information. Therefore, it is an excellent place to first turn to when you are curious about a legal or commercial issue as a small business. While the organisation has a primary focus on legal rights, the information is also relevant to businesses. For instance, they can provide help with:

  • preparing your small business for an emergency or workplace health crisis. This may include what a contingency plan might look like, what emergency supplies you need, and the steps you need to take to comply with health and safety laws;
  • how to protect your business’ intellectual property, including distinguishing between the different types of intellectual property protections and what they might mean for your business; and
  • how to respond when a client or customer you have invoiced has not paid the bill and is not responding to you, including your legal rights and what laws apply to the situation. 

There are many other diverse matters that they can help with. Therefore, it is often a good resource to check first when looking for advice on a particular issue or when a new problem crops up for your business.

How to Access the Citizens Advice Bureau

There are a range of different ways to access the CAB. Sometimes, it may be enough to visit their website and get the help you need from their database of information and advice. However, you may want to have a more substantive conversation or may want the opportunity to ask questions. 

If you want to talk to the CAB, your options include:

  • visiting your local branch
  • calling your local branch on the phone at 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222);
  • emailing the CAB with specific questions; or
  • talking with the CAB through their website.

Key Takeaways

The CAB is a public service that offers legal advice, information and other support to individuals and organisations. Though they are not primarily targeting businesses in their advice, they offer specific help for small businesses and the legal and commercial issues that small businesses regularly encounter. As their advice is free, accessible and pragmatic, this is often a great first port of call when seeking advice about a particular legal issue for your small business. There are many ways of getting in touch with them, including over the phone and finding a local branch. 

If you would like more information about the CAB, contact LegalVision’s corporate lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Citizens Advice Bureau?

The Citizens Advice Bureau is a public service that provides free and independent legal information and advice about legal rights and how to access different legal services.

Can the Citizens Advice Bureau assist businesses?

Yes, the Citizens Advice Bureau has a range of advice for different issues facing small businesses and their legal rights and obligations.

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