Taking direct instructions
From 1 July 2015 barristers will be able to apply to the New Zealand Law Society for approval to accept instructions directly from clients without an instructing solicitor, so long as that is not precluded by the forum or the type of work. Even with approval that option has conditions attached which apply to each client’s case. Barristers should carefully read the amended rules and decide whether taking direct instructions is an option for them.
New categories where barristers may be able to take direct instructions (if certain conditions are met) include:
(a) representing a person charged with any offence other than in any prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Markets Authority or the Commerce Commission; or
(b) for any person who has been granted or has a pending application for civil or family legal aid under the Legal Services Act 2011 or any re-enactment; or
(c) in a family law matter that is capable or was initially capable of being brought within the jurisdiction of a Family Court other than in respect of any aspect of the matter which involves complex property issues [Irrespective of whether there are complex property issues, implementing the transfer or assignment of any interest in land or other property pursuant to an agreement or Court order must not be carried out by a barrister sole - see Rules 14.2(b)]; or
(d) in an employment law matter that does not involve proceedings in the Employment Court in the first instance, or proceedings in or an appeal to the High Court, Court of Appeal, or Supreme Court; or
(e) in any civil matter (other than a family law or employment law matter as provided for under rules 14.5.2(f) and (g)) which is not a proceeding before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court or a District Court; [The reference to "courts" in rule 14.5.2(h), without limitation does not extend to the Environment Court, the Māori Land Court, the Waitangi Tribunal, Coroners Courts, the Accident Compensation Appeals District Court Registry, and all other specialist courts, tribunals and authorities].
To take direct instructions in relation to the above barristers must:
- Be practising on own account as barrister sole; and
- Have completed the prescribed training requirements (either the online CPD module or the equivalent module in Stepping Up: Foundation for practising on own account); and
- Obtained approval from the New Zealand Law Society (application and the approval process will be available on 1 July).
Last updated on the 30th November 2016