The Abuse in Care Inquiry is seeking expressions of interest from lawyers across New Zealand wishing to be considered for inclusion on a Panel of lawyers.

The Legal Assistance Panel will provide legal representation, advice and help to people or groups participating in the Inquiry - including those designated as core participants.

The availability of legal assistance will be determined by the nature and significance of a person or group's contribution to the Inquiry and/or by any hardship faced by the person/group.

Expressions of interest are sought from lawyers at all levels with the following experience and attributes:

  • Litigation experience, including ideally inquisitorial experience
  • Experience in criminal, family, or health and disability law would be an advantage
  • The ability to take instructions and prepare witness statements from people from a wide range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds
  • A commitment to the kaupapa of the Inquiry including an awareness of social justice issues, particularly those faced by survivors of abuse, their whanau and communities
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to the diversity of New Zealand society including of tikanga Māori and Te Reo Māori

Expressions of interest setting out how the above criteria are met along with a curriculum vitae should be sent to: by 13 September 2019. ​A selection process will then occur. 

Importantly, this Legal Assistance Panel is dependent on funding being approved by Cabinet which the Inquiry is currently seeking under Section 18 of the Inquiries Act 2013. The Inquiry expects to receive Cabinet's decision by mid-October 2019.

The Inquiry’s first public hearing in Auckland in October/November hearing is not expected to require any party to have legal assistance, however, the Commission will make it available if it should be required.

Lawyers are advised they should not start providing “Legal Assistance” services as covered by the expression of interest, until formal inclusion onto the Panel has been confirmed and written acceptance of the terms and conditions has been returned to the Inquiry. Fees for any work prior to that will not be recoverable.