This practice note explains how participants can apply for legal assistance to engage with the Royal Commission. People and groups can participate in the Royal Commission’s work in a number of ways and, in most cases, a lawyer will not be required. However, some participants will need or want their own lawyer, for instance where evidence may be given in a hearing that directly affects them, or where a participant may want help from a lawyer to complete a written account or submission to the Royal Commission.
If a participant wants a lawyer but is unable to afford to pay a lawyer privately, they can apply to the Inquiry for legal assistance. Legal Assistance is where an independent lawyer from an approved panel is funded by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to provide legal services – legal representation, or legal advice and help, or both. This is similar to legal aid although, unlike legal aid, legal assistance is not a loan and does not need to be repaid.
The practice note sets out the type of legal assistance available from the Royal Commission, who is eligible to receive that assistance, how a participant can apply for legal assistance, and information for lawyers who provide legal assistance services.