The Rules Committee supports the provision of legal services by legal practitioners under a limited retainer, Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning says.
Justice Venning says the committee considered the issue of unbundling of legal services at its 17 June 2019 meeting. This was particularly in the context of it being one means of promoting access to justice.
"The committee supports the provision of legal services by practitioners under a limited retainer. The committee's view is that the current [High Court] Rules do not prevent practitioners from appearing and acting under such arrangements. The committee will, however, review rule 5.40(1) and consider whether it is necessary to clarify the position of practitioners acting under a limited retainer," he says.
Justice Venning says the committee is also to consider the issue of whether to allow costs to scale for those attendances where a practitioner has been involved on a limited retainer.
"It was agreed that lawyers should not be asked or placed under pressure to assist the Court more widely where they have been involved in providing services under a limited retainer," he says. "Practitioners appearing on a limited retainer should make that clear to the Court."
The Rules Committee has responsibility for procedural rules in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and District Court.
The New Zealand Law Society has a Practice Briefing Guidance to lawyers considering acting under a limited retainer.