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A letter to (and one from) the Commission

On 15 July 2019, the Royal Commission Forum sent a letter to the Commission outlining some points that we thought important to its ongoing work. This letter expressed the thoughts of some members after the Royal Commission’s first procedural hearing,


That letter can be viewed here.


To summarise, the letter asked the Commission to:

  • recognise the importance of the Survivor Advisory Group and the private sessions

  • avoid too much ‘legalism’ and respect the rights of survivors to their personal information

  • facilitate access to legal counsel and to ensure that Commission events are held in welcoming and friendly environments (not courtrooms!).

  • clear up whether and how governments officials will be investigated for post-1999 actions.

On 16 August, we received a reply from the Chair of the Commission, Sir Anand Satyanand.


That letter can be viewed here.


Because the letter is rather long, it is it best to summarise again. The Commission:


  • responds positively to our concerns over the role of the Survivor Advisory Group and the private sessions.

  • expresses a determination to ‘strike the right balance’ between legal proceedings and more informal activities. Survivors can get a transcript and/or record their private sessions.

  • provides more information about access to legal counsel and affirms the importance of accessibility. The letter commits the Commission to constructing a ‘purpose-built’ public hearing space in Auckland.

  • gives more information about post-1999 investigations.

The Royal Commission Forum is very pleased that the Commission has responded to our concerns. Many of the points the Commission makes in response to our letter are sensible and represent good outcomes.


It is great to see that the Commission is listening to feedback, for that will be very important to its success.

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