New Zealand Law Society - Disciplinary Tribunal notes media confusion

Disciplinary Tribunal notes media confusion

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The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal says its independent nature and role can be confused when the news media refers to it as the "Law Society Disciplinary Tribunal" or similar.

The Annual Report of the Tribunal for the year to 30 June 2017 has been tabled in Parliament.

"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," it says.

The Tribunal says 23 new cases were filed with it during the year to 30 June 2016. During the year it disposed of 28 cases, leaving 21 cases on hand at 30 June 2016.

It says it has been able to maintain disposal rates ahead of new filing rates for the past two years.

Cases filed and cases disposed in Tribunal

Year to 30 June New Disposed
2016 23 28
2015 36 56
2014 51 35
2013 39 33
2012 30 26
2011 19 20
2010 28 23

The Tribunal issued 42 decisions over the 2015/16 year.

Penalty orders made by Tribunal, year to 30 June 2016

Type of Order Number
Struck off the roll 1
Suspension from practice 6
Censure 18
Pay fine 10
Pay compensation 4
Pay costs to New Zealand Law Society 24
Pay costs to Legal Complaints Review Officer 1
Reduce fees and/or refund monies 1
Restriction on employment 1
Supervision/mentoring/advice to be taken 3

The Tribunal says it made section 257 orders over the year for the New Zealand Law Society to reimburse the Crown for hearing costs in the sum of $153,283.