New Zealand Law Society - LawTalk issue 917

LawTalk issue 917

LawTalk issue 917

This issue of LawTalk continues the provision of information and discussion on ways in which aspects of the culture of the legal profession can be changed. The Gender Equality Charter has now been launched and information is provided on this great initiative. We also look at developments in the law, aspects of legal practice, the future of law and the exploits of some of the people in our profession.

Embracing Diversity

Humans are diverse and different; a collection of individuals inhabiting the planet and all competing for our share of what’s available. The previous article in this series (LawTalk 916, April 2018, page 29) posited that this statement is true, and also not true. To understand that paradox it is necessary to…

Keeping Track: Some measures at 13 April 2018

New Zealand-based lawyers: 13,258   Women: 6669 (50.3%)   Men: 6589 (49.7%)   Lawyers in multi-lawyer firms: 7770   Partners and directors: 2870   Women partners & directors: 898 (31.3%)   Men partners & directors: 1972 (68.7%)   Employed lawyers: 4900   Women employees: 3003 (61.3%) Male employees: 1897 (38.7%) In-house lawyers: 2954 Women in-house: 1820 (61.6%) Men in-house: 1057 (38.4%) New Zealand Judiciary (permanent): Court Women Men % Women % Men Supreme 3 2 60% 40% Appeal 2 8 20% 80% High (incl Associate) 16 31 34% 66% District 52 107 33% 67% Environment 2 7 22% 78% Māori Land 3 7 30% 70% Employment 2 3 40% 60% Total 80 165 33% 67% *Note that…

The "modular" General Counsel

The role of an in-house counsel is a busy one. On any given day we can find ourselves dispensing legal advice, certifying documents, finding templates, managing contractual obligations, proofreading that really important paper for the Board/Minister, or just providing general reassurance. Think then of the poor General Counsel who supervises…

The role of the Law Society Inspectorate team

The Inspectorate team assists with carrying out the Law Society’s regulatory functions by administering a scheme for the protection of money entrusted to law firms trust accounts known as the financial assurance scheme. A team of 11 staff are involved in this work – the Inspectorate Manager, one administrator and nine…

New Zealand democracy vulnerable to overseas trends, says Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Attacks on democracy around the world make it more important than ever to protect New Zealand’s democracy with a written constitution backed by judicial powers, former Prime Minister and legal academic Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC says. Along with Law Foundation Chair Andrew Butler, Sir Geoffrey has recently published Towards Democratic Renewal…

But who owns that tattoo?

Tattoos are one of the oldest forms of body modification in the world and have a rich history. The earliest example scientists have of a tattooed person is the European Tyrolean Iceman, Ötzi. His frozen, mostly intact, body was found in a partially melted Alpine glacier in 1991. Ötzi is covered in…

Finnigan v New Zealand Rugby Football Union three decades on – preserving the story

Over 30 years have passed since the end of proceedings in Finnigan v New Zealand Rugby Football Union [1985] 2 NZLR 159. The case remains one of the most remarkable in modern New Zealand history: in 2008, a survey of Court of Appeal judges ranked it among New Zealand’s top…

Paradise to the courthouse in just under half an hour

Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf is connected to the mainland by ferries that set off every half hour during working hours. This gives the small group of practitioners based there easy access to the Auckland CBD. According to ferry operator Fullers, Waiheke Island boasts “92 square kilometres of pristine beaches,…

Kiwi lawyer’s exposé of inaction into murder, abuse and exploitation on the high seas

A New Zealand lawyer has completed a PhD on transnational criminal law at Melbourne Law School that reveals the horrors of life in the South-east Asian fishing industry and the lack of political will to change it. Thomas Harré’s focus was on how transnational criminal law relates to the human trafficking…

Update

When the liquidators come calling, are the company’s last financial statements the last word?

When a company is wound up, one of the liquidators’ first tasks is to secure the company’s books and records, including the most recent financial statements if available. If the statements record debts owing by shareholders under their current accounts, then these debts are often subject to recovery action by…

ACC and the Woodhouse Principles: community responsibility

The foundation for the current ACC legislation is found in the recommendations of the 1967 Woodhouse Royal Commission Report “Compensation for Personal Injury in New Zealand” which proposed the abolition of the common law right to sue for damages for personal injury caused by negligence or a breach of statutory…
The vicarious liability of employers – worth another look?

The vicarious liability of employers – worth another look?

Given the recent media attention on the conduct of employees in New Zealand workplaces, it is worthwhile to have a fresh look at the law on the vicarious liability of employers for the actions of their employees. It has long been the case that, at common law, an employer is vicariously…

Franchise Agreements and penalty clauses

Franchise agreements typically contain detailed termination clauses that enable a franchisor to terminate the franchise, either for a breach or upon the occurrence of a range of other events. Those events may include such things as bankruptcy, liquidation, or other serious events that will not, in their own right, be…

Initial interest confusion in internet search results allowable

The New Zealand Court of Appeal appears to have allowed initial interest confusion to occur in search engine results in National Mini Storage Ltd v National Storage Ltd [2018] NZCA 45 (12 March 2018). The factsIn 2016 National Mini Storage, an Auckland-only storage company, sought an injunction to stop National Storage,…

Questions over ‘manaakitanga’ in the Hauraki Gulf

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki v Minister of ConservationThe motu (islands) of Rangitoto and Motutapu sit in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Highly popular destinations for visitors and locals, the islands are iconic parts of the city’s landscape. They are also historically and spiritually important to…

Changing our Culture

Fonterra legal team action on bullying and harassment

Andrew Cordner is Director of Legal at Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, the New Zealand company with the biggest profit. LawTalk posed several questions to him about the workplace environment for its legal team. Does Fonterra have a policy and process in place which addresses any form of harassment and bullying in…

Anti-harassment policies

I read with interest your recent articles regarding bullying in the profession and was interested to see the responses from the larger firms. I work in one of the large firms, and one that has been quoted in LawTalk as having had anti-harassment policies for many years. Yet, during the…
A law student perspective: how the future should look

A law student perspective: how the future should look

“A lot of law firms want to put our names on them as a student, but we also need to feel that we can put our names on them as a firm.” 2018 has so far seen the legal profession saturated in allegations of sexual harassment, assault and bullying occurring in…
Gender Equality Charter launched

Gender Equality Charter launched

The New Zealand Law Society’s voluntary Gender Equality Charter was successfully released to the legal profession on 12 April in the Grand Hall of Parliament. Many of New Zealand’s most prominent women lawyers were at the function, including Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, Solicitor-General Una Jagose QC, and former Governor-General Dame…

Bullying from the bench

It’s nothing new. Some judges have reputations for behaviour which varies from stern to rude and offensive and which falls below the normal courtesy expected in any professional interaction. Bullying judges are identified and discussed whenever lawyers get together. It’s been a hidden problem, however. Fear of consequences and an enduring…

Practice

Future of Law

Lawyers Complaints Service

Timothy Slack struck off the roll

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that Timothy Upton Slack be struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors. He admitted a charge that, having been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment, that conviction reflected on his fitness to practice, and/or tended to bring the legal…

Diane Faye Low censured and fined

Orewa lawyer Diane Faye Low has been censured and fined $8,000 by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal. She has also been ordered to pay total costs of $12,856, to engage and pay for a consultant lawyer for two years to undertake a monthly review of her trust account…

Bohsoon (Brent) Kahn fined for unsatisfactory conduct

Auckland lawyer Bohsoon Kang has been fined $5,000 by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal after a finding of unsatisfactory conduct. Mr Kang has also been ordered to pay the New Zealand Law Society’s total costs of $16,299 and to undertake a Trust Account Supervisor Refresher Course as soon…

Lawyers responsible for partnership obligations

All lawyers must take personal responsibility to ensure professional obligations are adhered to, the Legal Complaints Review Officer (LCRO) said when confirming a lawyers standards committee decision. The committee fined all three partners of a law firm (firm A) $3,500 each for failing to comply with an LCRO order. In February 2013…

Failed to honour agreement

Boon Gunn Hong has been censured and fined $7,500 for unsatisfactory conduct by a lawyers standards committee. Mr Hong was acting for a client who had separated from his wife. A dispute arose about the meaning of a Family Court decision and the effect that would have on distribution of the residue…

Fined for threatening for improper purpose

A lawyer who made a threat for an improper purpose was guilty of unsatisfactory conduct, despite maintaining that he had done nothing wrong. The Legal Complaints Review Officer (LCRO) made this finding in LCRO 8/2014  (16 October 2017)  and fined the lawyer, Harmon, $1,000. This reversed a decision of a lawyers standards committee…
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