Misidentification of the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal by the media is remarked on in the Tribunal's latest annual report.
In its report for the year to 30 June 2017, Tribunal Chair Judge Dale Clarkson says the Tribunal is becoming more widely known as an independent statutory tribunal as it becomes involved in more professional disciplinary cases and applications.
"We note, however, that the news media, and even members of the legal profession can refer to the Tribunal as the 'Law Society Disciplinary Tribunal', or similar, which tends to confuse the independent nature and role of the Tribunal," she says.
"There could perhaps be greater recognition by the media that we operate as a separate judicial body outside the regulatory organisations we oversee. That separation enhances public confidence in the disciplinary regime applicable to lawyers and conveyancers."
In the year to 30 June 2017 there were 34 new cases filed in the Tribunal, with 21 cases on hand at the start of the year on 1 July 2016. The new cases comprised 32 charges and 2 appeals against refusal to issue practising certificates.
During the report year 25 cases were disposed, leaving 30 cases on hand at 30 June 2017.
Over the year to 30 June 2017 the Tribunal issued 39 decisions.
Orders made in year to 30 June by Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal
|Type of order||2017||2016||2015|
|Struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors||4||1||12|
|Suspended from practice||10||6||14|
|Interim suspension from practice||2||0||0|
|Pay fine to New Zealand Law Society||6||10||3|
|Pay/contribute to NZ Law Society costs||21||24||35|
|Not able to practise on own account||1||0||3|
|Restriction on employment||1||1||2|
|Undergo training or education||1||0||4|
|Pay costs to LCRO||0||1||0|
|Reduce fees and/or refund monies||0||1||3|
During the year six appeals were filed in the High Court. The Tribunal says these appeals are awaiting determination. At the end of the previous year (to 30 June 2016), four appeals were awaiting determination and these were determined in the latest year, with one partially allowed, partially dismissed, one struck out, one allowed, and one dismissed in respect of liability (penalty orders amended).