6—Insertion of section 20A
After section 20 insert:
20A—Right of appearance for nominated representative of families
(1) This section applies to proceedings before the Coroner's Court relating to the death or disappearance of a person.
(2) Without limiting any other provision of this Act, the nominated representative of the family of a person to whom proceedings to which this section applies is entitled to appear in those proceedings and may examine and cross-examine any witness testifying in the proceedings.
(3) The reasonable legal costs of the nominated representative may be the subject of an application for legal assistance under the Legal Services Commission Act 1977
which is to be determined in accordance with that Act.
(4) For the purposes of this section, a reference to the "nominated representative of a family will be taken to be a reference to a legal practitioner—
(a) engaged by or on behalf of the family to represent them in particular proceedings; and
(b) nominated, in accordance with any rules of the Court, by the family as their nominated representative.
(5) In this section—
"Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person" means a person who—
(a) is a descendant of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia or the Torres Strait Islands; and
(b) regards themself as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or, if they are a child, is regarded as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander by at least 1 of their parents;
"adult" means a person of or over the age of 18;
"domestic partner" means a person who is a domestic partner within the meaning of the Family Relationships Act 1975
, whether declared as such under that Act or not;
"family", in relation to a person, means—
(a) the person's senior next of kin; and
(b) in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, includes any person held to be related to the person according to Aboriginal kinship rules, or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules, as the case may require;
"parent" of a child includes a guardian of the child;
"senior next of kin" for a deceased person or person who has disappeared means—
(a) the spouse or domestic partner of the person (and if the person had more than 1 spouse or domestic partner, the person's most recent spouse or domestic partner);
(b) if the person did not have a spouse or domestic partner or if they are not available—any adult child of the person;
(c) if the person did not have a spouse, domestic partner or adult child or if they are not available—a parent of the person;
(d) if the person did not have a spouse, domestic partner, adult child or living parent or if they are not available—any adult brother or sister of the person;
(e) if the person did not have a spouse, domestic partner, adult child, living parent or adult brother or sister or if they are not available—
(i) any person who is named as an executor in the person's will; or
(ii) any person who was the person's legal personal representative immediately before the person's death or disappearance;
"spouse"—a person is the spouse of another if they are legally married.