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Abuse in Care Royal Commission seeking lawyers for approved Panel

28 August 2019

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions is seeking expressions of interest from lawyers who want to be considered for inclusion on an approved Panel of lawyers to provide legal assistance under section 18 of the Inquiries Act 2013.

The Abuse in Care Inquiry will investigate the abuse and neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults who were in the care of state and faith-based institutions in New Zealand between 1950 and 1999. It may also hear the experiences before and after these dates.

Section 18 allows funding to granted to provide legal assistance to people who wish to appear or are required to appear before the inquiry, or who have an interest in the inquiry.

Information provided by the Inquiry says legal assistance is intended for people or groups who have an interest in or who are to appear before the Inquiry, including those designated as core participants under the Inquiries Act, to have legal representation, advice and help to prepare.

"Legal assistance can be available taking into account the likelihood of hardship to the person/group without it, the nature and significance of the person or group's contribution to the Inquiry, and whether granting legal assistance is required to enable the Commission to fulfil its purpose or is in the public interest. The activities covered by legal assistance may include preparation of witness statements, submissions and procedural applications, and representation at public hearings.

"The Abuse in Care Inquiry’s Legal Assistance Panel will comprise lawyers located throughout New Zealand, and applicants for legal assistance will be able to nominate a lawyer from the Panel.

"Panel members will be paid on the basis of set hourly rates depending upon years of litigation experience and maximum fees for the work required and approved. It is intended that the Panel will include senior (at least nine complete years of litigation experience) and intermediate lawyers (between four and nine complete years of litigation experience), as well as some junior lawyers (between two and four complete years of litigation experience)."

Required experience and attributes

The Inquiry says it is now seeking expressions of interest 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.
How to register an expression of interest

Expressions of interest setting out how the criteria are met along with a curriculum vitae should be sent to:  legalassistance@abuseincare.org.nz by 13 September 2019.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019