New practising fees and levies approved
The Minister of Justice has approved the practising fees and levies for the year 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 as set by the New Zealand Law Society Council.
The New Zealand Law Society has worked hard to keep the fees as low as it possibly can while fulfilling the important function of regulating the legal profession in New Zealand.
The Society has achieved this in a number of ways.
A big contributor is the very large number of lawyers throughout the country who have voluntarily contributed in different ways such as serving on committees covering discipline, law reform, governance and other regulatory inputs. The incredible amount of time and expertise that lawyers are prepared to give back to the profession may not be widely known.
I can only describe this voluntary contribution as absolutely sterling. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks – and I am sure I speak for the profession as a whole here – to all of the many lawyers who have contributed to the carrying out of the Law Society’s roles. The contribution of these volunteers significantly assists in keeping practising fees to a minimum.
In addition, the Law Society’s staff continue to operate efficiently and effectively, keeping a close eye on providing the highest quality of service with the lowest cost to the profession.
The good news this year is that there is only a very small percentage increase in the total practising fees and levies. The Law Society has held the actual practising fee increase to just $10. It will rise from $1,182 to $1,192 (GST exclusive), which is less than the rate of inflation.
This fee covers expenditure on regulatory functions. These include the library services, maintaining the Register of Lawyers, a complaints and discipline service and the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal costs.
The other increase is in the levy to fund the independent Legal Complaints Review Officer. It will rise by $40, from $75 to $115 (GST exclusive). This is a response to the increase in costs budgeted by the Ministry of Justice to enable the LCRO office to carry out its functions in reviewing decisions made on complaints to the Lawyers Complaints Service. The office is experiencing significant delays and has a large backlog. The legal profession is required to pay the costs of running the LCRO and the new measures will result in a rise. Legislative reform is in the pipeline which, if passed, will enable efficiencies to be implemented.
Three levies remain unchanged: the NZ Council of Legal Education levy of $25, the inspectorate fee of $385 and the Lawyers Fidelity Fund contribution of $320 (GST exclusive).
The new fees and levies are:
- barristers and employed barristers and solicitors – $1,332 (GST excluded);
- barristers and solicitors practising on their own account (without a trust account) – $1,717 (GST excluded); and
- barristers and solicitors practising on their own account (with a trust account) – $2,037 (GST excluded).
By now, all lawyers who held a practising certificate at 13 May 2015 should have received an email regarding renewal. Anyone who has not received a renewal email by the end of May should contact the Law Society Registry, email email@example.com or phone 0800 22 30 30.
If you are a member of a Law Society section, or the NZLS Panel of Mediators as a family specialist, the subscriptions fees will be included on your renewal invoice.
I also have some more good news. There is no subscription fee to renew your Law Society membership, surely one of the best deals around.