The Heads of Bench and the President of the New Zealand Law Society have agreed on an informal process for dealing with concerns raised by members of the profession about conduct in court by judges.
The process applies where a practitioner does not want to invoke the formal complaints process available under the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004 but is concerned about a pattern of behaviour thought to be inappropriate.
How it works is that a concern about the behaviour of a Judge may be brought to the attention of the practitioner’s local NZLS Branch President, Section Chair or the Branch President in the area where the conduct occurred, or to the President of the Criminal Bar Association, or to the President or local President of the New Zealand Bar Association.
The local President is to consider the information available, taking into account any similar reported behaviour, in deciding whether to pass the information on to the President of the New Zealand Law Society. The local President should encourage allegations of serious misconduct to be referred to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner. Concerns not warranting referral or where the matter is not serious and the practitioner does not wish to make a formal complaint, can be referred to the President of the New Zealand Law Society on a strictly confidential basis.
If you have any questions in relation the use of the protocol, local presidents are encouraged to contact the Executive Director’s department firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021 0495 736.