Section 27 Information For Lawyers

Over the last few years, we have worked hard to establish strong relationships with counsel to ensure they receive cultural reports for their clients that meet a high standard.  We deliver our services nationwide, with the majority of our work being in Auckland and Hamilton.  We also have key clients in Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Whanganui, Nelson, and Northland.  The following are some answers to questions that we think would be useful for lawyers.


Do I have to get a written cultural report for my client?

No, you don't. You could enrol a member of your client's whānau to do an oral s 27 submission. However, you will often find that whānau are not willing to step into that space and would prefer to have their voice heard through a written cultural report.

Do you do reports for all cultures?

We have spread ourselves across cultures, but this is not ideal. Ideally, a defendant will have their cultural report written by someone who is the same ethnicity or has been immersed in their culture enough to understand cultural nuance. We have built some collaborative relationships with report writers from other ethnic backgrounds who are only too happy to assist.

What information do you need from counsel?

Generally, we just ask for the summary of facts and criminal history of the offender, their location (in custody or bail address), contact phone numbers (if on bail and for family members) and the sentencing date, time, and Court.

Do you engage with my client's whānau?

Absolutely. This serves to corroborate and validate information and can give a fuller picture of a defendant's narrative. The defendant's voice is paramount (after all, they are the best narrators of their life). Family input may be a substitute if your client is reluctant to engage with a cultural report writer.

How do I get an estimate for Legal Aid?

You can click on the button below or email us directly. We have a very efficient system and can quickly provide you with an estimate. We have a standard rate that applies for Legal Aid work.

Can I get a report for my client if I am a PDS lawyer?

The short answer is yes, you can.  This is however subject to funding that needs to be approved by the Public Defender.

Can my client choose their own report writer?

Absolutely.  Your client may have a specific cultural report writer they would like to work with, however, it is necessary that you assess whether it's important to get a cultural report based on what you know about their background factors. 

Can I choose my client's cultural report writer?

In the majority of cases, counsel have established relationships with cultural report writers and will usually make arrangements on behalf of their client.  However, should your client prefer to use another report writer, they can instruct you otherwise.

When do I pay for the cultural report?

Once we have completed the report and emailed it to you, we send an invoice straight away.  With Legal Aid, we understand you will invoice when the matter is sentenced. If this is going to be longer than six weeks, we would appreciate if you submitted an invoice for our work in advance of your sentencing invoice.  For private briefs, payments will be by prior arrangement.

What if Legal Aid decline to approve funding for a cultural report?

This does happen from time to time, but usually it is because Legal Aid require more information about your client's situation when applying for the disbursement.  Legal Aid require you to establish why a cultural report is necessary for sentencing, and this may include demonstrating that the offending is likely to have been caused by background factors. We may be able to help if your ATG is declined, so send us an email. 


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