With just days to go before the end of the practising year, 93% of New Zealand's lawyers have completed the requirements to renew their practising certificates for the 2018/19 year.
Lawyers who wish to practise from 1 July 2018 must renew their practising certificate before midnight on Saturday, 30 June.
New Zealand Law Society Registry Manager Christine Schofield says lawyers who will not be renewing their practising certificate should notify the Registry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Law Society staff in our branches are now trying to personally contact all lawyers who hold a current practising certificate but who have not so far renewed," she says.
"The names of those lawyers who do not renew within the required time will be removed from the Register of Lawyers on 1 July 2018. A fresh application for a practising certificate will need to be made from that date if a lawyer wishes to renew."
Ms Schofield says lawyers are welcome to call the Registry on 0800 22 30 30 and staff will be happy to answer any concerns or to walk them through the process.
This year is the second year that the Law Society has issued electronic practising certificates. Once they have completed the renewal process, lawyers are able to download their electronic practising certificate. Ms Schofield says there is no requirement to print the certificate.
As part of the renewal process, each year every lawyer must make a declaration which relates to their fitness to practise.
"I undertake to comply with the fundamental obligations of lawyers as set out in section 4, Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006.
"During the period since my admission or receipt of my last practising certificate (whichever is more recent), no matter has arisen that does or might affect my fitness to be issued with a practising certificate. (NB: This includes such matters as bankruptcy, and any convictions.)
"I have complied with or am complying with any applicable orders of a Standards Committee, the Legal Complaints Review Officer and the Disciplinary Tribunal.
"I understand that, for the purposes of considering this application, the Law Society may request further information and make whatever enquiries it considers are relevant in determining whether there are any grounds for declining to issue the practising certificate.
"I understand that I must disclose to the Law Society, as soon as practicable, information about any matter that might affect my continuing eligibility for a practising certificate."
Practising fees and levies
The regulation of the legal profession is funded by practising fees and levies on lawyers who are issued a practising certificate by the New Zealand Law Society. The fees and levies are approved annually by the Minister of Justice.
The practising fee for the year to 30 June 2019 is $1,040. This is down from the $1,140 fee for the year to 30 June 2018. Lawyers are also required to pay a $130 levy for operation of the Legal Complaints Review Office (up from $125 in 2017/18) and a $22 levy for operation of the New Zealand Council of Legal Education (no change).
Lawyers who practise on their own account (partners and directors of firms and sole practitioners) are required to pay a $380 fee for the New Zealand Law Society's Inspectorate (no change from 2017/18).
Lawyers practising on their own account who operate a trust account must also pay a contribution of $320 to the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund (no change).