Relatives of Jacintha Saldanha fear that they won't discover the full circumstances surrounding her death without lawyers present to challenge hospital chiefs, The Independent reports.
Saldanha was found dead by colleagues after answering a joke call from two Australian DJs while the Duchess of Cambridge was staying at the King Edward VII Hospital.
"The family is of the view they are being deprived their only opportunity to be assisted in a one-day or half-day hearing - the only hearing into what was a very tragic case," their lawyer John Cooper, QC, who has been working pro bono, said.
"The Saldanha family believe the case will require some pressing questions of the hospital which the Coroner cannot ask.
"The family will be facing well-equipped parties. It is argued that families don't need legal representation in Coroner's courts because they are not adversarial, but that ignores the fact that other parties are represented because they can afford it.
"The family believe there are questions to be asked about the hospital protocols that led to Mrs Saldanha being put in that job on that night."
Saldanha, who was 46, left husband Benedict Barboza, 49, son Junal, 17, and daughter Lisha, 14.
Legal aid for inquests is only granted in special circumstances, such as if there is a wider public interest or if a relative is called to give evidence.
The inquest is being heard by Dr Fiona Wilcox and was adjourned until March 26.