Funding for legal support is usually not available in the early stages of a coronial process. Legal aid funding is only available if the coroner decides to hold an inquest.
Given the unique circumstances of this case, the Ministry will fund a small panel of lawyers to provide free legal advice and support during the Chief Coroner’s investigation into the masjid attacks. Although the Ministry is paying for these lawyers, they will act independently for you and are bound by the usual lawyer-client confidentiality rules. You can also choose which of the panel lawyers you want to use.
The panel lawyers are there to support the families to participate fully in the coronial process. There are no restrictions on the type of legal services the panel lawyers can provide you as long as it is within the scope of the coronial process. This can include legal advice, assistance and representation. You can find additional examples of the types of services the lawyers can provide in the FAQs.
At this stage, these lawyers have been prioritised for the families of the Shaheed. However, the Ministry recognises that other victims may also need advice and may want access to lawyers. If you are not a family member of the Shaheed, but would like to access this support, please get in touch with the Office of the Chief Coroner by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (09) 916 9151. These requests will be considered on a case by case basis.
Lawyers confirmed to assist
The Ministry has already chosen three lawyers to be on the panel - they are Hanne Janes, Joshua Shaw and Anne Toohey.
Hanne, Joshua and Anne have a lot of experience working in the Coroners Court. They can answer any questions you have about the coronial process and help you take part in the process by providing legal advice, assistance and representation if you need it.
You can find information about Hanne, Joshua and Anne, including how to contact them, on our website at:
Additions to the panel of lawyers
There are a few spaces on the panel for lawyers nominated by the families of the Shaheed. The nomination process closed on Monday 24 May 2021. The Ministry is now working through those nominations to appoint additional lawyers to the panel.
There is no timeframe set for when the new panel lawyers will be announced. Please check back here for updates.
In the meantime, Hanne, Joshua and Anne are available to provide free legal advice and support.
If you'd prefer to use a different lawyer
If your preferred lawyer is not selected for the panel:
- You can choose to use one of the lawyers on the panel; or
- You can still use your preferred lawyer. However, the Ministry will not be able to pay for their service.
Finding out more about the panel of lawyers
The Ministry has prepared answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the panel of lawyers. You can find these FAQs on the Ministry website at:
Translations of these FAQs are also available on our Ministry website at:
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