New Zealand Law Society - Survey needs to be catalyst for change, says NZBA

Survey needs to be catalyst for change, says NZBA

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A survey of lawyers finding high levels of sexual harassment and bullying in the legal profession needs to be a catalyst for change, New Zealand Bar Association President Clive Elliot QC says.

The New Zealand Law Society's Colmar Brunton survey of over 3,500 lawyers shows that nearly one-third of female lawyers had been sexually harassed at some point in their careers, and more than half of all lawyers say they have been bullied.

Mr Elliott says the survey findings are disturbing as are other recent revelations about sexual harassment.

"The survey has unveiled for all to see, what obviously many in our profession knew already. Clearly what has been shown is intolerable and there is no option other than this, and other recent events, being a catalyst for real change in the legal profession," he says.

Mr Elliott urges New Zealand Bar Association members, and all in the legal profession, not to tolerate, and to take action, against any behaviour that may lead to instances of bullying or sexual harassment.

"This includes those working in the legal profession who are not lawyers, and who in many cases have less power to speak out about what is happening to them.

"We need to be committed and motivated individually to different standards of behaviour. This needs to be reinforced collectively."