Human Rights Commission Act, 2000

Legal and other assistance.

10.—(1) This section applies to—

(a) legal proceedings involving law or practice relating to the protection of human rights which a person has instituted or wishes to institute, and

(b) legal proceedings in the course of which a person relies or wishes to rely on such law or practice.

(2) A person (in this section referred to as “the applicant”) may apply under subsection (3) to the Commission for assistance of the kind referred to in subsection (5) in relation to legal proceedings to which this section applies.

(3) If an application is made under subsection (2) to the Commission, then, unless in the opinion of the Commission—

(a) the assistance sought could be obtained by the applicant—

(i) under the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995 ,

(ii) under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act, 1962 , or

(iii) by any other means, whether or not provided for by or under any enactment,


(b) powers to award redress or grant relief in relation to the matter to which the proceedings relate stand vested in any tribunal or other person and the matter could, in the opinion of the Commission, be more effectively or conveniently dealt with by that tribunal or other person,

the Commission may decide to grant to the applicant such assistance of the kind referred to in subsection (5) as is appropriate on any of the grounds referred to in subsection (4).

(4) Each of the following is a ground referred to in subsection (3), namely—

(a) the matter to which the legal proceedings concerned relate (“the matter concerned”) raises a question of principle,

(b) it would be unreasonable to expect the person to deal with the matter concerned without assistance of the kind referred to in subsection (5) because of its complexity or for any other reason,

(c) there are other special circumstances which make it appropriate for the Commission to grant such assistance.

(5) The assistance referred to in the preceding provisions of this section is—

(a) the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal advice to the applicant,

(b) the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal representation to the applicant,

(c) the provision of such other assistance to the applicant as the Commission deems appropriate in the circumstances.

(6) Any arrangements made by the Commission under this section for the provision of legal advice or representation to the applicant may include provision for the recovery of expenses incurred by or on behalf of the Commission in that behalf from the applicant in specified circumstances.