The group dubbed the 'Nauru 19' is seeking state help to cover the costs of their Australian lawyers.
The group is facing charges over an anti government protest three years ago this week and has applied for a court order to make the Republic of Nauru pay the cost of their defence.
In a drawn out legal process, the accused have been relying on their team of lawyers providing services, including flying back and forth to Australia, at no charge, but this has now become untenable.
The accused also say their own finances have been affected by a government 'black list' that prevents them from obtaining employment on the island.
Nauru's director of public prosecutions maintained the state's opposition to the court application.