Statement from Royal Commission

The Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy has restated its Inquiry process following concerns expressed by the Pike River Contractors and Suppliers Group.

The Royal Commission is conducting an Inquiry.  Its processes are different to those used in a conventional court case.  The Commission seeks evidence in relation to each phase of its work.

Anyone with relevant knowledge or information relating to the tragedy may file evidence or a submission with the Commission.

The Commission has already received numerous contributions from individuals, companies and Government departments in relation to the first phase of its work, contextual issues, which are the subject of a public hearing starting on Monday 11 July 2011.

Much of this evidence has been provided without legal assistance.

Only some of the evidence filed with the Commission will require further scrutiny at a public hearing.  The Commission decides which evidence needs to be further examined at a hearing.  This is likely to be when the evidence is disputed by others, or if it calls for further explanation or added detail is required.

If a person is required to appear as a witness at a public hearing, there may be a need for legal assistance.  If a witness does not have a lawyer of their own, Counsel Assisting the Commission can provide assistance.  The Commission has also engaged an investigator who, where required, will help anyone in preparing evidence for filing with the Commission.

By these means anyone who has a contribution to make to the Inquiry can do so.