New Zealand Law Society - Updated guidance released on reporting requirements: “Now is a good time to check that you are complying”.

Updated guidance released on reporting requirements: “Now is a good time to check that you are complying”.

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has released final guidance on the reporting requirements under the Conduct and Client Care Rules. Change to the rules came into force on 1 July 2021. The rules clarify the standards of behaviour expected of lawyers, with an emphasis on tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination within the legal profession.

Through this release, the Law Society is reminding lawyers it is a good time to check their obligations and make sure that they are complying.

“Do you know if you are complying? Now is a really good time to check,” says General Manager Professional Standards, Katie Rusbatch.

“Earlier in the year we consulted with the legal profession about our draft guidance. We’re now releasing final guidance to reflect that feedback. We hope the final guidance will increase understanding of the behaviour that is expected of the legal profession, and provide useful advice to lawyers about how to comply with the rules.

Included in the guidance is clarification of:

  • advice about settlement under section 149 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. A lawyer must use their best endeavours to make a report to the Law Society before they enter into a settlement under section 149. To avoid a breach of good faith requirements, the possibility of making a report should be included in the settlement.
  • the obligations of in-house lawyers. In-house lawyers are not required to have a designated lawyer (as the health and safety obligations may be held by a manager who is not a lawyer, and is not regulated by the Law Society). In house lawyers still have the requirement that when acting in a professional capacity, they must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the rules. And under rule 2.8 in-house lawyers are required to make a report to the Law Society if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that another lawyer may have engaged in misconduct.

The Law Society has also released a series of fact sheets and a video resource to help the legal profession to understand and comply with their obligations under the rules.

“Every lawyer in New Zealand needs to be aware of the rules. Everyone has an individual part to play in securing the well-being of our legal community and continuing to build the trust and confidence the public has in the profession,” Ms Rusbatch said.

Further information:

Read: Guidance on Professional Standards and reporting obligations

Resources on workplace conduct: Rules and maintaining professional standards

Fact sheets: downloadable and printable