New Zealand Law Society - Recommendations from the New Zealand Law Society Culture Review and resignation

Recommendations from the New Zealand Law Society Culture Review and resignation

The Board of the New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has received the Culture Review report (the Report) from Mike Heron KC, says Vice President David Campbell.

In July 2022 Mike Heron KC was commissioned to conduct a Culture Review (the Review) for the Law Society against a backdrop of a breakdown in the relationship between the President and the then Chief Executive of the Law Society.

Mr Heron KC has completed the Review in a timely manner and provided his Report to the Board with his findings and recommendations.

"Mr Heron KC reported that on balance, considering all the statements and submissions received, the President behaved in a manner which some employees experienced as aggressive and irrational. While Mr Heron found that the President was genuinely well motivated and did not intend the consequences that occurred, the behaviour was inappropriate and described as unreasonable for a person in the position of President."

Mr Heron KC recommended:

i. a delegated authority policy which describes the delegations from the Board to the CEO (referred to in the Board Charter) be created and implemented

ii. a job description for the President be endorsed by the Board and Council.

"The Board accepts the Report and will be working with the executive leadership team to act on the recommendations made by Mr Heron KC, as an additional part of the wider transformation work plan that is already underway," says Mr Campbell.

The Acting Executive Director has also received the resignation of Jacque Lethbridge as President effective immediately.

"A new president will be appointed by the Council shortly," says Mr Campbell.

When a vacancy in the office of the presidency arises, the Law Society’s Constitution gives the power to the Law Society Council to appoint a president to serve for the remainder of the current term of office. This current term is due to expire in April 2023."

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