New Zealand Law Society - Law Reform Committee

Law Reform Committee

The Law Reform Committee oversees all of the Law Society’s law reform work. The LRC reviews bills before Parliament, as well as government and Law Commission law reform proposals.

Committee members draft the Law Society’s submissions on bills and discussion papers, with assistance from NZLS specialist committees and the Family Law and Property Law Sections.

About Us

The Law Society is an important participant in New Zealand law reform, and has a reputation for making a careful and impartial contribution to law reform, the administration of justice and the rule of law.

The Law Reform Committee supports the Law Society in fulfilling its statutory function under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, to assist and promote law reform “for the purpose of upholding the rule of law and facilitating the administration of justice in New Zealand”.

The LRC coordinates and oversees all NZLS submissions, based on input from NZLS specialist committees and Sections, as well as interested members and branch committees.

Our People

The LRC comprises members with a passion for law reform:

  • Nick Whittington
  • Jane Standage
  • Katherine Anderson
  • David Cochrane
  • Matthew Harris
  • Alastair Logan
  • Jonathan Orpin-Dowell
  • Jack Wass
  • Esther Watt
  • Baden Vertongen
  • Nadine Hopkins
  • David Neild
  • Elizabeth Fellows
  • David Ure
  • Annie Cao
  • Rob Kirkness

The convenors of the NZLS specialist committees and chairs of the Property Law and Family Law Sections also sit on the LRC.

The LRC convenor is Tim Stephens. Tim is a barrister at Stout Street Chambers in Wellington, practising in the areas of commercial, regulatory and public law. He been in practice since 1995, including time at a leading litigation firm in London, was a partner at Simpson Grierson 2006 to 2016, and joined the independent bar in 2017.

Recent Work

The past 18 months have been exceptionally busy for NZLS law reform. The LRC played a central role in finalising NZLS submissions on a diverse range of reform proposals, such as submissions on:

  • the Law Commission’s reviews of Relationship Property, the 2nd review of the Evidence Act, and the use of DNA in criminal investigations;
  • major reforms of the Family Court;
  • the Courts Matters, and Tribunals Powers & Procedures Legislation bills;
  • the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill;
  • the Trusts Bill;
  • the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill (‘waka jumping’);
  • the Election Access Fund Bill;
  • the Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill;
  • the Building Amendment Bill;
  • the Corrections Amendment Bill;
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill; and
  • the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill.

Get Involved

Appointments are made to this committee biennially. Membership of this committee allows you to play an important role in law reform and is an excellent basis for professional development as well as collegiality and networking.

Applications will be called for in mid-2021, for the next 2-year term starting September 2021.

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