What is the best way of seeking an "ex gratia" or goodwill payment from a government department I believe acted wrongly?

Question Details: A government department acted in such a way that I can no longer obtain any legal remedy. They have clearly made serious mistakes that undermined my case.

What is the best way of going about obtaining an ex gratia payment? I have been told by the Ombudsmen's office that they are usually only $5000 at the most, but I have lost significantly more than that figure because of their actions and I want to maximise any payout.

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

The best way to seek an 'ex-gratia' payment is to write a letter of complaint to the relevant Government Department. This letter should detail your account of what has happened, the losses that you have incurred, and what you think would be a reasonable remedy. It will help your case if you can clearly justify why you should receive an ex-gratia payment.

It is difficult to provide any detailed guidance on seeking an ex-gratia payment. Each Government Department has discretion whether or not to make an ex-gratia payment. There are no set procedures imposed on Government as to when and how to make an ex-gratia payment. Each Government Department will have their own internal processes when deciding whether to offer a payment. Ex-gratias aren't usually a set amount, rather they will vary depending on the severity of your case. The only publically available guidance we could find was this Cabinet Minute stating that relevant Ministers must approve ex-gratia payments over $30,000, and Cabinet must approve those over $75,000 (www.dpmc.govt.nz paragraph 55).

Answered 20 Dec 2012. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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