Legal Aid FAQ

If the information you're looking for isn't on this page, or if you have any other questions, please contact the Coronial Services by emailing coronial.response@justice.govt.nz or phoning 0800 88 88 20.

On this page, you'll find answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the transition from Ministry of Justice funded lawyers to legal aid.

What is legal aid?

Legal aid is government funding to pay for legal assistance and representation, usually for people who cannot afford a lawyer. Legal aid is provided under the Legal Services Act 2011. The lawyer still works for you, but the government pays for them.

Legal aid is independent of the Ministry of Justice. You can choose any legal aid lawyer to represent you, and not just those lawyers who previously received Ministry funding.  

Who is eligible to get legal aid?

All interested parties to the inquiry except organisations are eligible to apply for legal aid during the inquiry.

Are organisations who are interested parties able to get legal aid?

No.

Under the Legal Services Act 2011, legal aid is only available to individual people.

Is legal aid free?

Legal aid is free for the families of the Shaheed, bullet injured victims or witnesses present at the masjidain.

Other individual interested parties may need to pay some of the legal aid back. This will depend on your financial circumstances.    

Why is legal representation for the coronial investigation now being funded by legal aid?

Under the Legal Services Act 2011, legal aid was not available until hearings for this inquiry began.

Can I use my current Ministry funded lawyer and will this still be free?

Yes.

Do I need to do anything if I want to continue using my Ministry funded lawyer?

No.

Your lawyer will contact you and check if you want them to continue representing you through legal aid. If you agree they will contact Legal Aid Services to organise this. You may need to supply them with some additional information such as your contact details. 

What if I want to change lawyers?

You will need to find and contact the lawyer you wish to represent you and speak to them about applying for legal aid for this case. You may want to check that the lawyer is an approved legal aid lawyer.

Where can I find a legal aid approved lawyer?

You can find a legal aid approved lawyer in your area using the tool below:

https://www2.justice.govt.nz/find-a-legal-aid-lawyer/(external link)

A list of all Christchurch lawyers who are currently approved can be found here(external link).

Can I use a lawyer who is not an approved legal aid lawyer?

Yes.

However, that lawyer will need to go through the legal aid approval process before they can apply for legal aid on your behalf.  Otherwise, you may need to pay the lawyer yourself.

If you choose not to use a legal aid approved lawyer, you can find a lawyer in your area by using the New Zealand Law Society’s website, https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/get-legal-help/(external link).

How do I get legal aid?

Your lawyer can help with applying for legal aid.

Do I need a lawyer? 

You may not need a lawyer for this inquiry, but it will help if you have one. A lawyer can make sure you are represented in the inquiry and can help you through each stage of the process.

How do I know if I have got Legal Aid?

You will receive a letter from Legal Aid Services.  This letter will give you further information.

 

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