You do not need to have a lawyer to participate in the Inquiry. For example, you do not need a lawyer if you would like to participate in a private session with a Commissioner to share experiences of abuse in care. Some people may also feel confident in writing a submission to the Inquiry without a lawyer.

But some people may need a lawyer to help them participate in the Inquiry. Examples include where a survivor or group of survivors may want legal help to provide information before or during a public hearing, or a survivor who is attending a private session may want legal help to prepare a written submission before the session, or a person is requested by the Royal Commission to give an interview and/or to be a witness at a hearing and wants legal help.

If you think you need a lawyer to participate in aspects of the Inquiry you can apply for legal assistance. Applications need to meet criteria set out in the Inquiries Act 2013, which include the likelihood of hardship if legal assistance is not granted, and considerations of the nature and significance of the contribution the person or group will likely make to the Inquiry.

The Inquiry will soon publish a panel of approved lawyers who are available to provide legal assistance, as well as a practice note that sets out the criteria, how to apply, the type of legal assistance that will be available, and an application form.

The Royal Commission is currently waiting for approval for legal assistance funding.  

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss eligibility for, or access to, legal assistance please contact us or email: counselassist@abuseincare.org.nz.

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