New Zealand Law Society - Independent Review – Consultation open on the future regulation of lawyers and legal services

Independent Review – Consultation open on the future regulation of lawyers and legal services

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa welcomes the release of the Independent Review Panel’s Discussion Document (Discussion Document).

The Independent Review of the statutory framework for legal services in Aotearoa New Zealand (the Review) was commissioned in 2021 by the Law Society Board to examine the regulation and representation of legal services in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the structure and functions of the Law Society. The Terms of Reference for the Review can be read here.

The Discussion Document is an important step in the legal profession’s work towards ensuring the Law Society is a fit-for-the-future body, ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the 2020s and beyond.

The three-member Independent Review Panel (the Panel) – Professor Ron Paterson (Chair), Jane Meares and Professor Jacinta Ruru – have held a number of initial conversations with stakeholders throughout the profession and will now engage more broadly to ensure the full voice of the profession is reflected in any recommendations. 

Consultation for this once-in-a-generation Review is open now – Have your say

The Law Society’s goal is to support the law profession and the wider community in being able to engage in the Review. To that end, we ask that members of the profession use the opportunity relevant to them to engage in the Review and that you encourage your friends and colleagues.

The Discussion Document can be read here

The consultation period is open until Friday, 12 August 2022.
Both the public and legal profession can contribute by:

Upcoming opportunities to engage with the Panel

The Panel will be conducting three interactive, one-hour webinars on the key issues that will shape how lawyers are regulated and represented in the future. This is an important opportunity to hear from the Panel and to put your questions and ideas directly to them.

The sessions will be facilitated by Whaimutu Dewes, who chaired the Independent Review Steering Group which developed the Terms of Reference for the Review.

You can register for one of the sessions by using the links below:
11 July 2022 | 1-2pm | Register here
14 July 2022 | 1-2pm | Register here
20 July 2022 | 5-6pm | Register here

The Panel will also be holding a series of in-person events around the country during the consultation period. Further communication on these events will be shared as they are confirmed. The Law Society will separately be coordinating as many opportunities as possible for branches, sections and other groups within the profession to be able to understand and make submissions to the Review. 

What is being considered?

The issues for feedback are wide-ranging and provide both practitioners and the public the chance to give meaningful responses to pressing challenges. 

The issues for feedback are wide-ranging and provide both practitioners and the public the chance to give meaningful responses to pressing challenges.

 
The Panel will be asking a number of key questions, including:

  • What should be the focus and scope of regulation of the legal profession? 
  • How best to promote a positive and diverse culture within the legal profession?
  • Is the current model for regulating conduct and handling complaints fit for purpose?
  • Should there be an independent regulator?
  • What are the optimal institutional arrangements for modern regulatory and representative bodies?
  • Is there a need to revisit some core provisions of the Act, including the purpose statement, how Te Tiriti o Waitangi should be incorporated into the Act, and whether legislation should specify the objectives of the regulator? 

The feedback the Panel receives will help guide decision-making on the future of the Law Society and ensure that the structures, processes, powers and obligations are those that best serve the law profession and Aotearoa New Zealand.  

FAQs

Will my submission be made public?

Answers to the survey on the discussion document are anonymous.

What happens after consultation closes?

Following the consultation period closing, the Panel will review the feedback from stakeholders. It then aims to deliver its report to the Law Society Board by the end of 2022.

Following receipt of its report and recommendations, the Law Society Board will consider the report and how to address the recommendations in the first half of 2023.

Any Questions?

For the Panel Email - secretariat@legalframeworkreview.org.nz

For the Law Society Email - independentreview@lawsociety.org.nz

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