New Zealand Law Society - New online facility for lawyers to submit confidential reports

New online facility for lawyers to submit confidential reports

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The New Zealand Law Society has launched a new online facility for lawyers to submit confidential reports of harassment and other unacceptable behaviour.

This builds on an existing obligation to report such matters where lawyers are required to submit a confidential report to the Law Society if they have reasonable grounds to suspect another lawyer has been guilty of misconduct. 

Lawyers can also provide a report if they suspect another lawyer has engaged in unsatisfactory conduct. These obligations are established by rules 2.8 and 2.9 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008.  

“As a lawyer, you are not required to make a definitive decision on whether the conduct in question is misconduct or unsatisfactory conduct.  Rather, you should ask yourself ‘how would a reasonable lawyer knowing all relevant facts, view the conduct'," says General Manager, Regulatory, Neil Mallon.

He says guidance on making this decision can be obtained from Law Society regulatory staff or a member of the National Friends Panel.

“The online reporting facility will allow lawyers to obtain information and guidance to assist in determining whether they should submit a report.  It will allow them to submit a report online.  This can be submitted anonymously.  

"Guidance and information on what will happen with the report, including any potential investigation of the conduct, will be available through the online facility.  It will also provide links and information on how to obtain support if you have witnessed or have been affected by unacceptable conduct, including sexual harassment,” Mr Mallon says.

The facility is in addition to the ‘Law Care’ 0800 phone line which is for people in the legal community to discuss sensitive matters such as workplace harassment and be advised on options and support they can access.

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