The Court of Appeal has resolved to encourage greater participation of junior counsel in advocacy before it.
In a practice note, Court President Justice Stephen Kós has announced that the resolution supports the Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy developed by the New Zealand Law Society and New Zealand Bar Association.
"It reflects an appreciation that junior counsel will have made substantial contribution to the written argument, and will best develop as advocates by advancing part of the oral argument," the practice note says.
Accordingly, the Court
- encourages oral argument by junior counsel – unless the brevity of the appeal or nature of the argument does not justify both counsel addressing the Court, or junior counsel waives that opportunity;
- does not require adherence to the previous practice that each counsel is heard only once in the principal argument – meaning that junior counsel may now take an intermediate point in that argument; and
- will not normally hear two counsel in reply for one party – except by leave in very complex appeals
“This is a wonderful initiative from the Court of Appeal,” says Chair of the New Zealand Law Society Women’s Advisory Panel, Chris Moore.
“One of the difficulties for junior litigators is the lack of opportunity to appear in our appellate courts, so the encouragement from the Court of Appeal to hear oral argument by junior counsel is applauded.”
A statement from the New Zealand Bar Association says it welcomes the initiative.
“The Gender Equity Committee congratulates the Court on adopting this excellent initiative, which complements the New Zealand Law Society and New Zealand Bar Association’s joint Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy.”