The New Zealand Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from lawyers who want to participate in a regulatory working group on harassment and inappropriate workplace behaviour.
Establishment of the working group was announced earlier this month in response to allegations of unreported sexual harassment in the legal profession. The working group has been established to consider what improvements can be made to enable better reporting of harassment to the Law Society.
Law Society Executive Director Mary Ollivier says expressions of interest are invited to fill two vacant lawyer positions on the five-member working group.
“These are voluntary roles. Preferred applicants are likely to have experience in employment/health and safety, or criminal law (sexual violence cases). Some knowledge of professional regulatory issues would be an advantage,” she says.
Expressions of interest are required by noon on 23 March 2018 and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants should give details of any experience that is relevant to this work and include their CVs.
“The working group will look at whether the existing legislation is appropriate and how to provide better support for those making reports of sensitive issues,” Mrs Ollivier says.
She says the terms of reference for the working group are being finalised.
“In particular, it is intended that the working group will look at:
- whether the framework and processes enable adequate reporting of harassment or inappropriate workplace behaviour within the profession;
- whether the framework and processes provide adequate support for those affected by harassment or inappropriate workplace behaviour; and
- the adequacy of the framework and processes to enable effective action to be taken where such conduct is alleged."
The Law Society also intends to form a group to look more generally at harassment in the legal profession and ways in which this can be addressed.
Calls for expressions of interest to join that group will be made at a later date once the Law Society has met with key interest groups to explore the issue.