New Zealand Law Society - Crown Law Office focusing on core Crown work

Crown Law Office focusing on core Crown work

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Crown Law’s strategy to refocus on core Crown work is paying off, Solicitor General Una Jagose QC says.

In Crown Law’s annual report for 2015/2016, which was recently tabled in Parliament, Ms Jagose says that three years ago Crown Law laid out a strategy that included a new structure, a move to the Justice Centre, and establishing a presence in Auckland.

“This year we are seeing the benefits of those changes. Our role as the Crown’s trusted legal advisor has been advanced, and our clients continue to value our service highly. This facilitates the delivery of efficient, effective and sustainable services, including managing Crown legal risk,” Ms Jagose saus.

Networks and funding

In April 2016, Cabinet approved the permanent establishment of the Government Legal Network. The network is a collaboration of more than 800 lawyers who work in government departments. Its main aim is to provide high-quality legal advice, services and value to the Crown. New Crown funding of $885,000 for the network was approved in the 2016 Budget.

“Through our system leadership we have forged strong networks with the government legal sector. Through these networks we deliver to the Government the full coordinated value from its in-house legal resource. This helps it to manage risk, take opportunities and govern according to law,” Ms Jagose says.

The Crown Solicitor Network also received new funding in the last Budget. “This means CSN is better funded to deliver high quality prosecution services and to meet future demands.”

Performance review

Later this year Crown Law will be undergoing a Performance Improvement Framework review, which will provide a basis for “refocusing its vision and future direction”.

Big cases

The District Court dismissal of an application for a stay of execution of the extradition of Kim Dotcom, and preparation for the High Court appeal of that dismissal, is cited by Ms Jagose as one of Crown Law’s “significant cases and matters of interest” during the year.

Responding to the Kiwifruit Claim in which about 200 growers and post-harvest operators alleged that the negligence of border control allowed pathogenic bacterium (Psa-V) into New Zealand, was another highlight, Ms Jagose says.

2015/2016 by the numbers

  • 5,849 Crown prosecutions and appeals
  • 108 judicial reviews
  • 48 claims before the Waitangi Tribunal
  • 88% of appeals brought by the Crown concluded in favour of the Crown
  • 25% of appeals brought by accused/defendant concluded in favour of the accused/defendant
  • 195,707 hours of service provided in Crown prosecutions and appeals.
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