New Zealand Law Society - Issue 821

Issue 821

Civil court fee changes commence

Cost recovery for the majority of civil court and tribunal fees regimes will increase to 17% from 14% on 1 July 2013. The change will raise approximately $4.1 million per year, according to the Ministry of Justice. “Access to the courts to resolve civil disputes is an important part of a…

Minister encourages lawyers to utilise AVL technology

Audio visual links (AVL) technology’s widespread use in the courts has, to a degree, been “stymied” but it is available to interested court users, according to Minister for Courts Chester Borrows. The introduction of office-to-court trials in the Family Court was scheduled to be officially rolled out this year. However, the…

Hutt Valley Court receives mixed reviews

Hutt practitioners will have “mixed reviews” of how the closure of the Upper Hutt District Court and the creation of the Hutt Valley District Court impacted on the Lower Hutt Court site. This is according to Mark Wilton, New Zealand Law Society Wellington Branch President, who spoke at the Hutt Valley…

e-Bench delayed

The scheduled roll-out of electronic bench has been delayed. The new technology that allows judges to manage criminal cases via an electronic document system was scheduled to be rolled across District Courts starting in 1 July this year. However “getting computers to talk interagency required a more complex programme” than the Ministry…

Tablets way forward for Environment Court

Tablet computers may hold the key to decreasing the quantity of paper in the Environment Courts. Last year, two divisions of the Environment Court ran pilot trials of iPads to conduct major proposal hearings, where the panel members and the hearing manager were issued with tablets. Tablets are also being trialled…

eDuty will speed up Family Court

An initiative to speed up the time it takes to get urgent Family Court applications in front of judges has been rolled out to Family Courts across the country. Called e-Duty, the initiative links judges around the country so that an e-Duty judge can immediately review and decide on urgent applications…

Court privatisation in the UK

British courts have been accused of literally selling out after The Times published an article accusing the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice of looking to privatise the courts. The Times article (reported to be based on leaked documents) described a system funded by extracting larger fees from wealthy litigants and private…

From the Law Society

Last year’s announcement of court closures came as a surprise to the profession, which felt it had not been consulted about decisions that impacted not only on lawyers’ daily working lives but also access to justice. Many members of the profession provided feedback though the Law Society’s Courthouse Committee and directly…

Top Legal Executive Diploma graduate

Karen O’Reilly of Wellington is the top graduate from the 2012 New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma examinations. Law Society President Chris Moore presented Karen both her diploma and the top graduate certificate during the Wellington Legal Executive Diploma Graduation ceremony on 23 May. Karen’s outstanding performance was also remarkable…

Moving towards CPD

From 1 April 2014 all New Zealand lawyers will be required to complete a minimum annual level of continuing professional development (CPD). Details of the initiative are outlined in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Ongoing Legal Education – Continuing Professional Development) Rules 2013 which await approval from the Minister of…

A strong personal foundation

Building and maintaining a strong personal foundation is a sound antidote for minimising the onset or worsening of many mental health issues. More to the point, it is a wonderful lever for improving mental health or wellbeing. Wellbeing Building better wellbeing involves neither an isolated solution nor a quick fix. Being wealthy, physically…

Names, names and names

Imagination is not something traditionally associated with the naming of a law firm. A string of names has usually been sufficient – and sometimes they can even be the same (see the North Carolina firm of Eggers, Eggers, Eggers & Eggers, www.eggers-law.com). History is, of course, a key driver of the…

Paperless jury trial

The concept of a paperless law office is well established. A simple Google search will reveal several New Zealand firms that have already transitioned to a paperless (or at least less-paper) practice. The idea of going paperless in court however, especially in a jury trial, is not met with the same…

Basic email security for lawyers

When we consider your legal practice as a business, it is worthwhile to consider the various aspects of the “product” sold to your clients. Obviously, the biggest part of the service we provide is our knowledge of case law and the traditions, procedures and customs of the legal system. One…

Law Reform Report

Process gaps and hurried passage criticised A government bill designed to enhance housing affordability contains a number of measures which are unclear and could cause procedural and interpretive problems, the New Zealand Law Society says. The Law Society has also criticised the hurried passage of the legislation, including the very limited…

New obligations affect lawyers

Many law firms and accounting practices are temporarily exempt from new anti-money laundering legislation which comes into force on 30 June 2013, but some may be affected before the exemption expires, possibly as early as 2014. More than $1.5 billion of criminal funds is conservatively estimated to be laundered through New…

Working together to make new criminal procedures a success

The Ministry of Justice is making significant changes to improve the quality and speed of our services to New Zealanders. Justice is critically important and how people experience it, especially through the court system, is equally so. Of course delivering improved court services isn’t just an issue for the ministry. We…

Changes to civil fees

The Government has announced changes to fees for civil court and tribunal services. They were set following a comprehensive review – undertaken by the Ministry of Justice to set civil fees in a principled, consistent and equitable basis – and public consultation. The fees are designed to protect access to…

Under the Spotlight - Residential care subsidy and gifting

Jonathan Scragg and Polly Higbee discuss a recent High Court case concerning historic gifting that may affect eligibility for the residential care subsidy. The High Court recently confirmed that for the purposes of means testing for the Ministry of Social Development’s residential care subsidy, the relevant threshold for gifts made before…

Claims reserving

What does it really mean when an insurer loads a dollar figure against a notification or claim you have recently made? Why do they do it and what are the consequences at renewal? You may have experienced a reserve appearing on your insurer’s claims card and you may not have had…

Law Foundation

Closing dates approaching Closing dates are approaching for applications for most of the Law Foundation’s offering of legal scholarships and awards. The foundation is New Zealand’s major funder of legal scholarships. The awards are structured to provide a variety of support options for post-graduate legal study, to suit practising lawyers and legal…

Lawyers Complaints Service - Barristers who accept 'reverse briefs' must keep to the rules

Where the practice of a “reverse brief” falls down is when neither the barrister nor the solicitor involved fulfils their obligations in terms of the Conduct and Client Care Rules, and the barrister deals directly with the client as if she or he were instructed directly, the Legal Complaints Review…

Lawyers Complaints Service - Lawyer censured for avoiding his child support obligation

A lawyer, A, has been censured and fined $3,000 by a lawyers standards committee after he routed fees away from his practice account to avoid a child support obligation. The decision came after a New Zealand Law Society inspector wrote to the standards committee, originally about apparent irregularities in A’s administration…

People

Queen’s Birthday Honours The following members and former members of the legal profession were honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The late Justice Robert Chambers was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the judiciary (as reported in LawTalk 820, 7 June 2013). Justice…

The bookshelf

Book Of The Month: The Law and Practice of Charities in New Zealand Susan Barker, Michael Gousmett and Ken Lord This new title examines New Zealand charities law and provides guidance to lawyers and accountants who are involved in setting up, administering and acting for charities. It looks at the recent changes…

News points

Considerable concern over billThe New Zealand Law Society has written to Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC to advise that it is considerably concerned with some of the aspects of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) which was passed through Parliament under urgency in one sitting day. Law…
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