Legal Aid FAQs

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On this page, you'll find answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about legal aid.

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

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?


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 deceased, 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.    

Where can I find a legal aid approved lawyer?

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


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, 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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