If a complainant or a lawyer disagrees with the decision of a Lawyers Standards Committee, they may ask the Legal Complaints Review Officer (LCRO) at the Ministry of Justice to review that decision.
The LCRO is someone who is not a practising lawyer and who has been appointed by the Minister of Justice to provide an independent review of Standards Committee decisions. The Ministry of Justice administers the LCRO service.
The LCRO can make any order that a Lawyers Standards Committee can make, including confirming or changing the Standards Committee’s decision. The LCRO can also refer a matter to the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal or back to the Standards Committee.
Further information on the Legal Complaints Review Officer can be found on the Ministry of Justice’s website.
Decisions made by the Legal Complaints Review Officer are available.
A Lawyers Standards Committee may decide to refer a serious complaint against a lawyer to the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal. The Legal Complaints Review Officer may also refer complaints to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal is administered by the Tribunals Division of the Ministry of Justice. It hears and determines charges against the legal and conveyancing profession.
The Tribunal consists of a chairperson or deputy chairperson, practitioners and lay members. There are 15 lay members who, along with the chairperson and deputy chairperson, are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, 15 lawyer members appointed by the New Zealand Law Society and up to 5 conveyancing members appointed by the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers.
If the Tribunal finds a lawyer guilty of unsatisfactory conduct or misconduct, it can make any order that a Lawyers Standards Committee can make, plus certain additional orders. These can include removing the lawyer’s name from the Roll of Barristers and Solicitors (striking off), which means the lawyer can no longer practise law; or suspending the lawyer for up to three years.
Further information on the Tribunal can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
Decisions of the Tribunal are available.