The Crown Law Office enjoyed another successful year in 2016/17, Solicitor-General Una Jagose QC says.
In an overview in the Crown Law Annual Report for the year to 30 June 2017, Ms Jagose says Crown Law set goals four years ago which focused on sustaining high-quality delivery of its legal services to the Crown.
"We have achieved these goals through the collaborative effort and hard work of every individual in the Office, aided by our strong relationships with our colleagues in other agencies," she says.
During 2016/17 Crown Law recalibrated, refocused, and set a new ambitious "excellence horizon" for the Office and the cohort of lawyers across government, Ms Jagose says.
"We have asked ourselves, 'What is the Crown Law that New Zealand needs?' Our answer to this question forms the Office's newly sharpened strategy for 2017/18 onwards. We aim to deliver three outcomes: demonstrably better government decisions; strengthened influence of the rule of law; and improved criminal justice."
High level numbers
The report includes a number of "at a glance" statistics. During the year to 30 June 2017, 63% of appeals brought by the Crown were concluded in favour of the Crown, while 23% of appeals brought by the defendant concluded in favour of the defendant.
There were 4960 prosecutions completed by the Crown Solicitor Network and 101 new claims for the Waitangi Tribunal.
Of written advice and opinions prepared by Crown Law, 72% were peer reviewed.
There were 203,014 hours of service provided by the Crown Solicitor Network.
Crown Solicitor Network
The report includes a high-level statement on the quality of the Crown Solicitor Network. It says the high-level statement is based on finding and verifying emerging and actual issues to identify areas of increased risk, accountability and potential for improvement.
For 2016/17 the Deputy Solicitor-General (Criminal Group) with the Public Prosecutions Unit determined that there are no serious issues, the report says.
"Our current view is that the Network as a whole is operating sustainably and the conduct of Crown Solicitors (and their employees representing them) is consistent with expectations and standards applicable to them as Crown Solicitors and lawyers."
Gender pay gap
The report states that Crown Law has good representation of women in all levels of the organisation, but there is a gender pay gap.
"At 30 June 2017, our gender pay gap was 30%. That gap is determined by adding all of the salaries and comparing the men's total against the women's total."
It says the primary driver of the gender pay gap is the dual workforce: legal and administrative.
"Administration roles are generally lower paid than legal roles and are predominately undertaken by women. Our legal roles are undertaken by a reasonable mix of men and women," the report states.
"When we compare the pay of men and women undertaking the same roles, the gender pay gap is significantly reduced. Overall we are committed to improving our gender pay gap and making sure we remove any gender bias from appointments, performance, promotion and remuneration decisions. This year we developed an action plan to support this goal and will work to execute this work over the next 12 months."