Following engagement with the profession, the Law Society has provided feedback on the Ministry of Justice proposal to introduce identification cards for lawyers to be expedited through security when entering courthouses.
We received more than 30 pieces of feedback in response to our LawPoints news item in December inviting feedback. The responses have been summarised in a letter responding to the Ministry of Justice.
While there was general support for ID cards some respondents felt there wasn’t much need for an ID card in smaller regional centres. Others said they would feel uncomfortable proceeding through security ahead of other court users, whilst some respondents said lawyers should be able to circumvent security altogether on the basis that they are trusted Officers of the Court.
Feedback confirmed that there have been delays in accessing court buildings caused by new security protocols, however the protocols can vary according to region. Lawyers raised other issues relating to existing swipe cards, privacy and COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Our focus throughout our discussions with the Ministry of Justice and going forward is on ensuring lawyers do not experience significant delays when entering courthouses that could prevent them from carrying out their work, while at the same time making sure they, and other courts users, are safe.
We will continue to advocate for the profession and engage with the Ministry on the issue of lawyer ID cards, accessibility and court security.