Legal support FAQs

If the information you're looking for isn't on this page, or if you have any other questions, please contact the Office of the Chief Coroner 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 panel of lawyers for the masjid attacks coronial process.

These FAQs cover:

For language translations of these FAQs, please go to our language and translation support page.

These FAQs have been updated 12 August 2021.

About the funded lawyers

What are the funded lawyers for?

The funded lawyers can provide legal advice, support, and representation to families of the Shaheed during the early stages of the Chief Coroner’s investigation.

How are these lawyers funded?

Joshua, Hanne, Anne, Aarif, Nigel and Kathryn are funded directly by the Ministry of Justice. This funding is separate from legal aid, which is provided under the Legal Services Act 2011. Legal aid funding is only available if the Chief Coroner decides to hold an inquest.

Can victims of the masjid attacks apply for legal aid now?

Legal aid is not available at this stage of the coronial process. This is because legal aid funding is only available if the Chief Coroner decides to hold an inquest.

If the Chief Coroner decides to hold an inquest, families and other interested parties will be formally notified, after which they can apply for legal aid if they want to.

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Who is eligible to use the funded lawyers

Can I access the lawyers if I am a victim of gunshot wounds or present during the attacks, but am not a family member of the Shaheed?

At this stage, the funded lawyers have been prioritised for the families of the Shaheed.

We recognise that other victims may want access to one of the lawyers. If you are not a family member of the Shaheed and would like access to this support, please email coronial.response@justice.govt.nz or call (09) 916 9151.

Can organisations access the funded lawyers?

No, organisations won’t have access to the funded lawyers – they’ll need to arrange and fund their own lawyers.

Can different people from the same family access different funded lawyers?

We recommend that one person from each family is a main contact for the funded lawyer. You may already have a family representative who can do this for you.

We understand there might be situations where there is more than one family representative and in cases where their interests are not aligned, they may require different arrangements. We can work with the families of the Shaheed in these situations to help meet their needs. Please get in touch with the Office of the Chief Coroner by emailing coronial.response@justice.govt.nz or calling (09) 916 9151.

We do ask that you tell your chosen lawyer if this is the situation in your family. It is helpful for them to know if your family is being supported by more than one lawyer.

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Choosing a lawyer

Do I need to use a lawyer at all?

It is your choice whether to use a lawyer. If you choose not to use a lawyer, you can engage in the process yourself or represent yourself in an inquest hearing if one is ordered.

Do I have to use one of the lawyers from the list?

No, you don’t have to use one of the lawyers from the funded list.

These lawyers are fully funded by the Ministry of Justice, which means they are free of charge for you to use if you are eligible for the support. Please be aware that if you decide to use a lawyer who isn’t on this list, the Ministry won’t be able to fund this for you.

Can I change my lawyer later if I want to?

Yes. We do ask that you tell your lawyer about your decision to change so they can offer their services to another family who may need them.

Does my lawyer have to be in the same town/city as me? What if they aren’t?

No, your lawyer doesn’t have to be in the same town/city as you. The Ministry of Justice will pay for your lawyer to travel to meet you in person if they are a funded lawyer.

A lot of the time you may only need to use the phone, video calls or emails when talking to your lawyer. If your lawyer does need to travel to meet you face to face, you don’t need to organise this – your lawyer will make the arrangements.

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Using the funded lawyers

Do I need to pay if I need an interpreter when I meet with my funded lawyer?

No. Please let your lawyer know you need language support before you meet them so this can be arranged for you.

Is there a limit to the number of families of the Shaheed that any one funded lawyer can support?

No. However, lawyers may make this decision on their own depending on their workload and conflicts of interest between their current clients’ and your case.

If you’re worried about how much time a funded lawyer will have available to you, you might like to contact them to talk about it before you make your choice.

We recommend you always contact your lawyer as soon as you can. Letting them know you’d like to talk helps them to plan so they have plenty of time available to support you.

Is there a limit to how much time I can spend with my funded lawyer?

No. However, if you think you may need a lot of time with your lawyer, we recommend that you contact them as soon as you can. This will help them to plan and make plenty of time available to support you.

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How the lawyers can help you

What legal support can the funded lawyer give me?

There are no restrictions on the type of legal services the funded lawyers can provide as long as it's within the scope of the coronial process. The funded lawyer can:

  • give you information and advice, including legal advice, about the current stages of the coronial process
  • write on your behalf to the Chief Coroner
  • get relevant case information from the Coroner or other agency on your behalf
  • act as your lawyer or represent you if needed
  • ensure issues you're concerned about are provided to the Chief Coroner for consideration (if these are within the Chief Coroner's jurisdiction).

Is there anything the funded lawyers can’t help me with?

The funded lawyers can’t give you support with anything that’s not relevant to the coronial process. For example, they can’t give you advice on:

  • immigration issues
  • any issues regarding the sentencing of the offender.

Can my funded lawyer help me at any stage in the process?

Your funded lawyer is available to you while the Chief Coroner decides on the next steps in the coronial process. There’s no timeframe for when this decision will be made.

If the Chief Coroner decides to hold an inquest, you'll be given information about how to access legal support through the inquest stage of the coronial process.

Do I need to use a lawyer at all?

It is your choice whether to use a lawyer. If you choose not to use a lawyer, you can engage in the process yourself or represent yourself in an inquest hearing if one is ordered.

Who can I contact to get more information about this process?

If you’d like more information about how the funded lawyers will work before you decide on a lawyer, please email the Office of the Chief Coroner at coronial.response@justice.govt.nz or call (09) 916 9151.

If you’ve already chosen a funded lawyer and you have a question about working with them, you can contact the lawyer directly. You'll find their contact details on our website at People supporting the coronial process.

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